Trip Type : River Cruise
Ships on a canal, Balkan

Balkan Discovery – Eastbound

Avalon Waterways
4.8 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Minimal walking. Motor vehicles for all major parts of trip. Wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Most cruises. Very Easy
Lodging Level: The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
10 days
From: $ 3,580 $ 358 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • 10 Day River Cruise from Budapest to Bucharest
  • Deluxe 6-night cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
  • Remarkable service throughout the cruise

Short Description

10 Day River Cruise from Budapest to Bucharest

See the best of Eastern Europe on this exhilarating Balkan adventure. Your cruise vacation begins with two overnights in the lively Hungarian capital of Budapest. Board your ship and head south, enjoying guided sightseeing in each city, including inside visits of Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade, the eclectic rock formations of Belogradchik, Patriarch’s Church in Veliko Târnovo, Arbanassi’s Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity, and the National Art Museum in Bucharest. Other highlights: an organ concert in Pécs, passing through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge, and visits to the Lepenski Vir archaeological site and Vidin’s medieval fortress. Your journey ends with an overnight in Bucharest, Romania’s vibrant capital and the “Paris of the East.”

Stride Take

TBD

These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Trip Type River Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Lodging Level Luxury - 5 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Budapest
End City Bucharest

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation
  • Meals

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Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive in Budapest, Hungary

Welcome to Budapest, Hungary’s lively capital spanning the banks of the Danube. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring Eastern Europe’s most cosmopolitan metropolis.

Day 2 : Budapest

Meals : Breakfast

Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On your included GUIDED TOUR of the city, the massive hilltop castle complex is a major sight with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, a symbol of Budapest built in 1849. This afternoon is free. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvelous city views from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.

Day 3 : Budapest (Embarkation)

Meals : Breakfast and Dinner

This morning you can explore this vibrant city at your own pace. Shop at the Great Market Hall and purchase paprika or embroidery at one of its 180 vendor stalls, or wander around the Royal Palace grounds. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception.

Day 4 : Mohács. Excursion to Pécs

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning, enjoy some leisurely cruising before arriving in Mohács, the last stop in Hungary. After lunch, an included excursion takes you to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. These early Christians left behind many underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above ground. With a Local Guide, visit the UNDERGROUND TOMBS—now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site—many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes. Later, enjoy an ORGAN CONCERT. Pécs is also a rich showcase of Turkish architecture and home to Turkish mosques, striking churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafés.

Day 5 : Belgrade, Serbia

Meals : B , L , D

Before arriving in Belgrade this afternoon, attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE on the Balkans to better help you understand this region of Europe. One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A Local Guide will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world’s largest orthodox church. Also visit the city’s principal landmark, KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS, which showcases the history of Belgrade. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, the fortress witnessed many battles and observed the courage of those trying to defend the city from conquerors. The surrounding park is the most beautiful and largest park in Belgrade. In your free time, be sure to check out the city’s lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés.

Day 6 : Excursion to Lepenski Vir–Iron Gates

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast, dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER, which houses area archaeological artifacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic IRON GATES gorge, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania.

Day 7 : Vidin, Bulgaria. Excursion to Belogradchik

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Vidin is an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria. Its medieval FORTRESS, known as “Baba Vidin,” is the town’s primary landmark. It served as Vidin’s main defensive installation during the course of the Middle Ages and is the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in the country. It is now a fortress museum and has been restored to its former appearance. In the afternoon, drive to nearby Belogradchik to view the eclectic group of ROCK FORMATIONS on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Sculpted by natural elements for more than 200 million years and with a variety of sizes and shapes, the Belogradchik Rocks are spectacular! )

Day 8 : Svistov–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Rousse

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

A comfortable ride from the river port of Svistov is the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the Royal Fortress, palaces, and the PATRIARCH’S CHURCH. With your Local Guide, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. Next, journey to Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century, and best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the town’s oldest churches, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Rejoin your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. If you don’t wish to participate in the full-day excursion, stay on board, relax, and join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse in the afternoon.

Day 9 : Oltenita, Romania (Disembarkation)–Bucharest

Meals : Breakfast   

Bucharest, Romania’s lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI—have gained it the name “Paris of the East.” Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the INCLUDED TOUR this afternoon, see the impressive Parliament Building, the second-largest building in the world after the Pentagon, and the Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. The former Royal Palace now houses the NATIONAL ART MUSEUM, which includes over 100,000 works of Romanian and European art from the 15th to the 20th centuries. In your free time, discover this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei, “Victory Avenue,” Bucharest’s most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés, and fine houses.

Day 10 : Bucharest

Meals : Breakfast

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 3,580
Price Per Day: $ 358 per day
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  • Deposit Price: $ 250

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Stride Featured in

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1,268 Avalon Waterways Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.8 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 1,130
Great 88
Average 30
Disappointing 9
Terrible 11
Value
4.8
Guide
4.8
Activities
4.8
Lodging
4.8
Transportation
4.8
Meals
4.8

Balkan Discovery – Eastbound

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Company Reviews

Our experience far exceeded our…

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Our experience far exceeded our expectations. Everyone and everything was wonderful. The only disappointment was the independently contracted guide that we had in Munich. He was very dismissive of Avalon's policies and made us feel he was doing us a favor by showing us around the city.
Read more

Amsterdam to Budapest

2.0
Details
Value2.0
Guide2.0
Activities2.0
Lodging2.0
Transportation2.0
Meals2.0
Amsterdam to Budapest. Just returned River was low. My travel agent called for three days in a row before our departure. She was told there were no low water issues. The day we were to depart we were told there would be two nights on land in Frankfort. We could obtain a full refund and cancel the trip. But the rest of the trip would be fine. Not so we were "tossed off the second ship' the last two days and bused to Budapest. There is no way Avalon did not know of this schedule change. You do not make arrangements overnight for 100+ people to spend six days and four nights off the ship. Avalon was not truthful gave us a paltry return of our costs. We also found out the ships were loaded with other guests who were also being shuffled around. Terrible way to run a business. I would not endorse them to anyone....ever. Ruined a very expensive fifteen day holiday.
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Excellence

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The crew, service, food and excursions were excellent. Would
travel with Avalon again and recommend them to anyone interested
in river cruising.

Excellence

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The crew, service, food and excursions were excellent. Would
travel with Avalon again and recommend them to anyone interested
in river cruising.

We had the greatest time

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We had the greatest time! We would definitely use Avalon Waterways in the future.

Quaint and Acitve

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
The staff was exceptional meeting our every need and always with a smile. The housekeeping was not exceptional and could have been a little better. There was a wide variety of food choices but not terrible flavorful. The seafood was not always properly cooked.

The activities and tours with well planned and good for people looking for athletic options. Although you could sit and relax, this cruise was more for active middle aged individuals.The tour guides were all local and outstanding. Activities and tour guides are the selling point for this cruise.
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Details

Ship Name

Passion

Ship Description

Yet another beautiful Suite Ship graces the rivers of Europe in 2016. The Avalon Passion welcomes passengers to their home-away-from-home with two full decks of Panorama Suites, featuring Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform into a unique Open-Air Balcony. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than industry standard and ideal for stretching out and relaxing-or even throwing a private cocktail party for up to six adults in the spacious sitting area. On board, passengers enjoy free Wi-Fi access, complimentary computer use at the Internet Corner, a Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment, a hair salon, elevator, and an expansive Sky Deck with shade system, premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, deck games, and the delightful Sky Bistro for al fresco lunches of light grill fare.

Deck & Cabin Plans

All Deck & Cabin Plans Trip Photos

Optional Activities

The following list of optional excursions and on-board packages are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

We know that many times travelers celebrate special occasions on vacation and you can now pre-purchase celebration packages before your cruise departure. We offer special birthday, anniversary and wedding vow packages. These packages include all the elements you need to celebrate with family & friends.

Availability of optional excursions is subject to sufficient participation, weather conditions, seasonal suitability, days of operation, group interests, and general feasibility for your vacation. The approximate value listed gives you a good, general idea of what you can expect to pay but may vary once you are on your vacation. Some information provided might be in a foreign currency; to get an estimated price, use a currency converter for exchange rate information (pricing may vary at the time of booking).

Once you have booked your vacation, Avalon Waterways provides the ability to pre-purchase excursions and packages, register for your cruise and provide emergency contact information online.

Budapest:

Gold & Glamorous: "Belle Epoques" Of Budapest

Hungarian Countryside Experience With Wine Tasting

Hungarian Food And Wine Pairing Dinner

Belgrade:

Dinner At Belgrade's Skadarlija District

Serbian Countryside

Bucharest:

The Romanian Parliament - The Second Largest Building On Earth

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

InterContinental Budapest

Few would argue the InterContinental Budapest is in the city's best location: right on the Danube across from Castle Hill and the Royal Palace. With the Chain Bridge and the Parliament just steps away, there's no shortage of superb sightseeing opportunities. The Váci Utca shopping street, Central Market Hall and the Gellért Baths are also nearby.

Athenee Palace Hilton

Explore Bucharest from the glorious Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest hotel, one of the city's most sophisticated and prestigious landmarks. The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the city and enjoys views of Revolution Square and is close to Bucharest's many local attractions.

Cancellation Policy:

If a booking cancellation is received by Avalon prior to the final payment date of your vacation, your non-refundable land deposit and Travel Protection payments will be retained in addition to your Flex-Air deposit, Instant Purchase Air payment and service fee, and/or intra-vacation air deposit. For individual reservations, the following per person cancellation fees apply. Total price does not include discounts, promotions, or special incentives. (For group reservations, refer to the Group Policy.)

Standard Cancellation Fees:

  • 90-60 days prior to commencement of services: 35% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments
  • 59-30 days prior to commencement of services: 50% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments
  • 29-1 days prior to commencement of services: 80% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments
  • On departure day and later: 100% of total price* plus Travel Protection payments

Trip ID#:

BalDisAva

Trip Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Passport and Visa Charges
  • Personal Expenses

Meals Included:

9 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches and 6 Dinners

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