Trip Type : River Cruise
Nature of Belogradchik, Bulgaria_P

Balkan Discovery - Westbound

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: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
10 days
From: $ 3,280 $ 328 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Experience 10 day river cruise from Bucharest to Budapest
  • Deluxe 6-night cruise in an outside stateroom
  • Visit Patriarch’s Church in Veliko Târnovo
  • Vidin’s fortress
  • Excursion to Belogradchik to see the rock formations
  • See Lepenski Vir archaeological site
  • Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square

Short Description

See the best of Eastern Europe on this exhilarating Balkan adventure. Your cruise vacation begins with an overnight in vibrant Bucharest, the “Paris of the East.” Enjoy guided sightseeing in each city, including inside visits of Tsarevet’s Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, Arbanassi’s Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity, the eclectic rock formations of Belogradchik, and Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade. Other highlights: visit the medieval fortress of Vidin, pass through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge, visit the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, and enjoy an organ concert in Pécs. Your journey ends with two overnights in Hungary’s lively capital of Budapest, where there’s time on your own to shop for paprika at the Central Market Hall, explore the extensive hilltop castle grounds, visit the many churches and museums, and delight in the vibrant atmosphere.

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
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Bucharest
End City Budapest

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation
  • Most of the meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Internal transportation
  • Wi-Fi accessibility
  • Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Bucharest, Romania

Welcome to Bucharest! The remainder of the day is free to start exploring this intriguing city.

Day 2: Bucharest–Oltenita (Embarkation)

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Much recent history has taken place in Romania’s capital city, and 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.” During your INCLUDED TOUR this morning, see the impressive Parliament Building, the second-largest building in the world after the Pentagon. The Royal Palace Square was the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. A motorcoach ride takes you to Oltenita, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception.

Day 3: Rousse, Bulgaria. Excursion To Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Svistov

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In Rousse this morning, you may choose to join a Certified Local Guide for an included CITY TOUR, rejoining your ship in time for lunch and enjoying a pleasant afternoon of cruising to Svistov. Alternatively, you may take a full day excursion to 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. The oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the Royal Fortress, palaces, and the PATRIARCH’S CHURCH. Then, journey to Arbanassi. Founded in the 15th century, the historic village of Arbanassi is best known for its examples of Bulgarian Revival architecture and its ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the oldest churches in Arbanassi, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Rejoin your ship in Svistov.

Day 4: Vidin. Excursion To Belogradchik

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast today a Local Guide shows you Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria. Its medieval FORTRESS, known as “Baba Vidin,” served as Vidin’s main defensive installation during the Middle Ages and is the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in the country. It is the town’s primary landmark and now a fortress museum that 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! Before you leave Vidin, a local expert will come on board to demonstrate the technique of ICON PAINTING.

Day 5: Iron Gates. Excursion To Lepenski Vir

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The TRAJAN TABLE marking the Roman conquest of Dacia and the Serbian fortresses of Golubac and Smederevo are impressive sights on the left bank of the Danube. The most spectacular scenery must surely be the dramatic gorge of the IRON GATES, 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. In the afternoon dock at Donji Milanovac from where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER housing archaeological artifacts found in this area and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge.

Day 6: Belgrade, Serbia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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, which include St. Sava, the world’s largest Orthodox Church; and Marshal Tito’s tomb and monument. 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. Depart Belgrade during lunchtime, and this afternoon, attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE about the Balkans as you head for Hungary.

Day 7: Mohács, Hungary. Excursion To Pécs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, a GUIDED EXCURSION takes you to Pécs, Hungary’s fifth-largest city. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. Pécs is also rich in terms of Turkish architecture and offers Turkish mosques, attractive churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafés. Enjoy an ORGAN CONCERT before returning to your ship for lunch and heading to Budapest.

Day 8: Budapest (Disembarkation)

Meals: Breakfast

Say goodbye to your crew after breakfast this morning. Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. 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 GUIDED TOUR of the city, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex, 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. The afternoon is free - stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street or visit the Great Market Hall and purchase paprika or embroidery at one of its 180 vendor stalls.

Day 9: Budapest

Meals: Breakfast

A free day to enjoy Hungary’s exciting capital. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, with marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform, or walk across Chain Bridge built in 1849, a symbol of Budapest. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for many things to do.

Day 10: Budapest

Meals: Breakfast

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. 

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 3,280
Price Per Day: $ 328 per day
Check Availability
  • Deposit Price: $ 250
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 145

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Avalon Waterways .

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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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 - Westbound

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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.
Read more

Details

Ship Name

Passion

Ship Stats

Amenities

  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
  • Sky Deck with shade awnings
  • Non-smoking interior
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Headsets for all guided shore excursions in Europe
  • Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
  • Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment
  • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
  • Internet Corner
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Durnstein
  • Behind-the-scenes ship tour
  • Use of Nordic walking sticks
  • English-speaking TV channels with over 100 free movie options
  • Panorama Bistro
  • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees
  • Complimentary maps
  • Selection of Local Favorites to bring the customs, cultures, and tastes of your destination to life
  • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs
  • Expanded Fitness Center
  • Elevator
  • Outside viewing deck
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew
  • Cruise Director
  • Revolutionary engineering
  • Sky Deck whirlpool
  • Hair salon (manicures available)
  • Onboard movie nights
  • Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
  • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing options
  • Local Favorites onboard experiences with local chefs, entertainers, artisans & experts
  • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
  • Sky Deck game area
  • Well-stocked library
  • Fresh fruit available throughout the day

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

Deck Plans:

Cat. E

Avalon Deluxe Stateroom (Cat. E)

All Deck & Cabin Plans Trip Photos

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Cancellation Policy:

Booking Cancellations & Cancellation Fees:

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

Additional Information:

Meals

Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés

Welcome dinner

Daily Afternoon Tea

Daily Night Fare

Farewell dinner

Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel

NOTES:

In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.

Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.

Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.

Trip ID#:

BalCovAva

Trip Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Alcohol & beverages outside of the contracted menu
  • Additional excursions and activities not listed as 'included' in the itinerary
  • Travel Protection premiums
  • Applicable cruise taxes, fees, fares and port charges
  • Other items of a personal nature

Meals Included:

9 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches and 7 Dinners

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