Skip to navigation Skip to content
Search
  • *
    The bears of Brasov
  • *
    The Carpathian Mountain range
  • *
    The Iron Gates Gorge
  • *
    The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
River Cruise
River Cruise

The Carpathian Mountains to the Land of the Bears

The Danube

from £2,499 per person
2 passengers 12 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required
  • New New holiday
  • VIP travel service included on selected European tours VIP on selected river cruises

Discover the heart of Transylvania…

Uncover the historic highlights of Budapest before Spirit of the Danube takes you on a scenic journey through the famous Iron Gates Gorge and wildlife rich Danube Delta, stopping en route for a walking tour of Novi Sad and visit to Rousse.

Enjoy an overnight stay at the locally rated 4-star Novotel Bucharest (4Q) and see some of the city’s main attractions such as the Palace of Parliament and Cretulsecu Palace. Continue through the Carpathian Mountains for a three-night stay at the locally rated 5-star Aro Palace (4Q) in the heart of Brasov. While here, discover the charred walls of the Black Church and the castle that inspired the creation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 14th-century Bran Castle. You can also visit the UNESCO-listed fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer, take a tour of the bear sanctuary at Zarnesti and go bear watching in the forests of the Carpathian Mountains during optional excursions. Visit the Red Lake at the foot of the Eastern Carpathians before spending the final two nights of your holiday at the locally rated 4-star Best Western Bucovina (3Q). Enjoy an included visit to the Painted Monasteries of Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet and admire the 15th- and 16th-century religious frescoes.

Including...

Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Bed6 nights Full Board aboard the ship, 2 nights Half Board in a hotel, 2 nights Breakfasts only in a hotel

Dinner plate30 meals: 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 10 dinners

CocktailWine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on the ship

PersonCruise Host

Plus...

  • Drinks reception and Captain’s dinner
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board
  • All gratuities on board
  • Return flights and transfers

MapIncluded excursions

  • Bucharest city tour
  • Peles Castle
  • Medieval Brasov and Bran Castle
  • Red Lake and Bicaz Gorges
  • Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet

HeadphonesInteractive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration

Celebrity Guest

If your cruise departs on April 18, 2022 you’ll enjoy on-board talks from humanitarian and author Terry Waite. Terry travelled the world in the 1960s and 70s establishing aid and development programmes and supporting health and education initiatives. As the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs, he negotiated the release of hostages in Iran, Libya and Lebanon. Terry was taken hostage in Beirut in 1987 and held for 1,763 days before his release. He is now a best-selling author and lecturer.


View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Budapest

Sunset over Budapest, Hungary

Fly to Hungary's capital and embark Spirit of the Danube.

Enjoy a welcome cocktail reception and dinner on board as your ship remains moored here this overnight.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 2 Budapest 🎧

Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary

Your ship remains moored in Hungary’s capital until lunchtime and this morning an included tour will reveal some of the city's highlights, from the UNESCO-listed Buda Castle that sits above the river on the west bank, to the Hungarian Parliament buildings in Pest on the east bank.

Alternatively, perhaps join an included culinary walking tour, which features a tram ride to the First Strudel House for a live demonstration, followed by a walk through the city to sample authentic chimney cake and to visit Central Market Hall where you can try authentic Hungarian salami.

Set sail over lunch and cruise through the remainder of the day and night.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 3 Novi Sad

Novi Sad square, Serbia

Arrive late morning in this city where European and Balkan cultures meet, with this stretch of the Danube acting as a natural border.

Novi Sad is the capital of Vojvodina, the northern Autonomous Province of Serbia. Situated on the Danube between Budapest and Belgrade, it’s a treasured regional and cultural centre. You can enjoy a short included walking tour of the old town centre, which boasts a fine selection of 18th and 19th-century architecture. Proceeding through the streets to an old family wine cellar, which is also a producer of local honey. Whilst here you have the opportunity to sample the wines and honey.

Set sail again this evening.

Novi Sad Serbia Europe

Day 4 Sailing through the Iron Gate

Danube gorge

This morning sail through a particularly scenic stretch of the Danube – the world-famous Iron Gate gorge, between Romania and Serbia, the largest and longest in Europe, and the Iron Gates is the narrowest and deepest part. No doubt you'll want to head out on deck to admire the scenery, as the Danube passes through the Carpathian mountains and the foothills of the Balkans. Plus you can follow proceedings as Spirit of the Danube manoeuvres through two locks by the Djerdap power stations.

Continue sailing overnight.

Day 5 Rousse 🎧

Regional Court of Rousse, Bulgaria

This morning you will arrive in Rousse, the largest port in Bulgaria and often referred to as ‘Little Vienna’. Perhaps discover the city on an optional tour this morning.

Resume your cruise at lunchtime and sail through the day and night to Romania.

Rousse Bulgaria Europe

Day 6 Danube Delta

Glossy Ibis flying in the Danube Delta

Enjoy the scenery as you cruise the wildlife-rich Danube Delta. Much of it is a protected reserve, as the meandering river, reed beds and groves of willow, oak and poplar provide sanctuary for over 300 species of bird. This afternoon you may like to join an optional small boat cruise further into this UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve.

Set sail at lunchtime and cruise overnight.

Day 7 Fetesti to Bucharest

The Kretzulescu Palace, Bucharest

Arrive in Fetesti this morning and disembark your ship after breakfast before continuing by coach to Bucharest for an included tour of the city. Discover some of its highlights, such as the Palace of the Parliament, Cotroceni Palace where the President of Romania resides, and historic Cretulescu Palace.

Tonight you’ll stay in the heart of the capital, at the locally rated 4-star Novotel Bucharest (4Q) with dinner included.


Day 8 Bucharest to Brasov

Peles castle, Sinaia, Romania

Check out after breakfast and drive north of Bucharest, pausing at Peles Castle.

From here your journey becomes more scenic as you ascend into the Carpathian Mountains before arriving in Brasov, where you’ll stay at the locally rated 5-star Aro Palace (4Q), in the heart of the city, for three nights with breakfasts included, plus dinner at the hotel tonight.


Day 9 Brasov

Brasov and its Black Cathedral

Take a short drive to the centre of Brasov for an included tour. Look out for the 14th-century Black Church, whose interior was destroyed by a fire in 1689 which left the outer walls and roof blackened. You’ll also visit 14th-century Bran Castle, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, even though the author never visited Transylvania! It is thought that Vlad the Impaler, ruler of this area – Walachia – in the 15th century, may have been imprisoned here.


Day 10 Brasov

Old town Brasov, Romania

Optional excursions this morning include a visit to the fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer, or you may like to take a guided tour of the Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti, where over 130 bears are cared for. This afternoon another optional excursion takes you to an observatory in the forests of the Carpathian Mountains to watch bears in the wild.


Day 11 Brasov to Bukovina

Red Lake, Eastern Carpathians, Romania

Check out after breakfast and head to the Red Lake on an included excursion.

The lake was formed after a landslide caused by an earthquake in 1838. Admire the mountain scenery of the Eastern Carpathians and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing your transfer to Bukovina. You’ll spend the next two nights at the locally rated 4-star Best Western Bucovina (3Q), with dinner included at your hotel this evening. 



Day 12 Bukovina

The Sucevita Monastery in southern Bucovina, Romania

Today you’ll visit the Painted Monasteries of Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet on an included excursion. The exterior walls of these byzantine churches are decorated with elaborate 15th- and 16th-century frescoes featuring portraits of saints and prophets. Their purpose was to share stories of the Bible with the onlooker. Lunch is included at a local restaurant and this evening dinner will be accompanied by folk entertainment at a local restaurant.


Day 13 Bukovina to UK

Check out of your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.


Tour of Rousse

After a short drive through the beautiful valley of the Lom River you can visit the only active rock monastery in Bulgaria. Situated 10 kilometres south of Rousse, it is devoted to a local saint, St Dimitrius of Bassarbovo. Once there, a short stone staircase will lead you to an extraordinary rock church and a rock cave where the monk lived in the 17th century.

After this visit you will be taken back to the city where you will enter the Holy Trinity Church to hear its turbulent history followed by a guided walk through the town. During the visit to Liberty square you'll be treated to a small Bulgarian snack with the local wine or coffee.

Walking Grade 3

Three-and-a-half hours
Rusenski Lom Natural Park, Bulgaria
  • Optional on 12 nights itinerary

Danube Delta exploration

Explore Europe's second largest delta through a series of channels and lakes that cannot be reached by large ships. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has a wild landscape and a diversity of habitats that attract many species of birds. Near Nebunu Lake, during the breeding season, you may see pelicans plus a large variety of other bird species such as heron, swan and wild duck, although obviously we cannot guarantee sightings.

Walking Grade 1

Three hours
Danube Delta
  • Optional on 12 nights itinerary

The bear sanctuary at Zarnesti

The Libearty bear sanctuary was built in 2005 and since then has rescued over 130 bears from captivity and rehoused them in the 69 hectares of oak forest within the sanctuary. Take a tour of the park and learn more about it’s history during a video presentation.

Walking Grade 3

Five hours
Bears from Zarnesti, Transylvania
  • Optional on 12 nights itinerary

The fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer

There are seven Transylvanian villages, including Harman and Prejmer, with fortified churches which are included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. They provide a picture of the cultural landscape of southern Transylvania and are characterised by a specific land-use system and settlement pattern that have been preserved since the Middle Ages. This excursion visits 13th-century Harman Fortified Church, which was originally built as a Romanesque three nave church, and the Lutheran fortified church in Prejmer, which was built by the Teutonic knights between 1212 and 1213. Entrance to both churches is included.

Walking Grade 2

Four hours
Prejmer Fortified Church, Brasov
Brasov Romania Europe
  • Optional on 12 nights itinerary

Wild bear watching

Travel to the forests of the Carpathian Mountains where around 5000 brown bears are believed to live in the dense forests and mountain meadows. Bears may not be the only wildlife you spot here, as this habitat is also home to lynx, wild boar, wolves, deer and other wildlife. You’ll be able to watch the brown bears in their natural environment from the safe distance of an observatory and in the company of a professional ranger. As with all wildlife spotting, sightings can’t be guaranteed but your ranger is an expert bear tracker.

It’s recommended that you wear comfortable walking shoes and dark clothing for this excursion.

Walking Grade 3

Three hours
Brown bear in Carpathian forrest
  • Optional on 12 nights itinerary
The Carpathian Mountains to the Land of the Bears

The Danube

from £2,499 per person
2 passengers
12 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required
Read reviews
The Carpathian Mountains to the Land of the Bears

The Danube

from £2,499 per person
2 passengers
12 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required