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Highlights
  • Visit a cliffside monastery in Turkey and Histria in Romania
  • See Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district and the 17th century Blue Mosque
  • Visit the largest Roman ruins in Bulgaria, the 2nd-century Roman thermae (public baths)
  • Enjoy energetic performance of traditional Georgian dance, accompanied by lunch with wine
  • Board on Danube River Delta cruise to search for over 200 species of birds
  • Discover the grand city of Odessa, including a tour of the magnificent Opera House
  • Enjoy a tour of the dramatically-situated Byzantine Sumela Monastery with brilliantly-colored frescoes

Our Black Sea expedition features all of the countries rimming this famous sea—Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. In the company of our expert leaders, explore lands with centuries upon centuries of history, rich architecture, contemporary cultures and stunning landscapes. As we venture forth from Istanbul for our Black Sea tour, we discover four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Romania’s winding Danube Delta and several archaeological masterpieces. Enjoy a local Georgian dining tradition, visit busy bazaars and sample regional wines. Explore Byzantine monasteries, elegant 18th- and 19th-century architecture and the 17th-century Blue Mosque. In the land where Jason and his Argonauts searched for the Golden Fleece, you’ll find treasures of your own.

Countries
Cities & Attractions
Flights & Transport
  • Only ground transport
Rivers & Seas
  • Black Sea
  • Danube River

2
Travcoa Travel Reviews & Ratings
50% Recommend

5.0 out of 5
Excellent 2 Great 0 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0
Value
5.0 Guide
5.0 Activities
5.0 Lodging
5.0 Transportation
5.0 Meals
5.0
Circumnavigation Of The Black Sea

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H

Recommends

Awesome!! March 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Travcoa gives you eyes and ears to our awesome world

Operator Travcoa

T

Does Not Recommend

Fantastic November 2014

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Empowering exploration!

Operator Travcoa

Itinerary

Day 1 – 3: Istanbul, Turkey & Embark the Variety Voyager

Accommodation: Pera Palace Hotel,

Departing your home city on Day 1, you are greeted upon arrival and transferred to our luxury accommodations at the spectacular Pera Palace Hotel. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before gathering with your travel director and fellow travelors for a special welcome dinner.

After breakfast, we set out to explore the heart of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit the 17th-century Blue Mosque and continue to the beautiful Hagia Sophia. Alternatively, a visit can be made to the Byzantine Church of the Holy Savior of Chora, the beautiful Rustem Pasha Mosque, and the colorful Spice Bazaar. Explore the opulent Topkapi Palace, which served as the chief residence of Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years. In the late afternoon we board the Variety Voyager and cruise up the scenic Bosporus, a strait which runs through the center of Istanbul and forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia.

Day 4: Safranbolu

Today we dock in Bartin and travel inland to Safranbolu, a World Heritage Site. Once an important center of saffron production and stopover for Silk Road caravans, Safranbolu boasts a wealth of well-preserved Ottoman architecture. A walking tour visits the marketplace as well as a mosque, traditional house, and Turkish hammam that date back to the 16th century. Enjoy lunch in a converted Ottoman caravanserai, with free time to explore on your own before returning to the ship in Bartin.

Day 5: Sinop

The charming port of Sinop has been continuously occupied since the 7th century B.C. Tour the ancient fortress walls; the small archaeological museum, with fascinating artifacts spanning the centuries; and the 11th-century Alaaddin Mosque. After lunch there is free time to explore on your own.

Day 6: Trabzon, Turkey

Ancient Greeks settled in Trabzon along a branch of the Silk Road from Asia. A highlight of our visit takes us to a stunning alpine setting within a national park. Here, we find the Byzantine Sumela Monastery perched dramatically on a cliff face in the monastic tradition of Greek Orthodox architecture. The interior is covered with detailed frescoes, etched in brilliant blues, reds, and golds. Later, we continue to the 13th-century Hagia Sophia and its exquisite frescoes followed by free time to explore the modern city of Trabzon.

Day 7: Batumi, Georgia

Today the ship docks in the charming port of Batumi. Here we visit the colorful farmers market and take a relaxing walk through the lovely Botanical Gardens. We savor regional delicacies and Georgian wines during lunch at a local restaurant, and enjoy a fantastic folk performance of traditional music accompanied by energetic dances. In the afternoon, we board coaches for the short drive to the ruins of the ancient Gonio Fortress, which dates back to the first century A.D. On our return to Batumi, you will have free time to explore on your own.

Day 8-9: Sochi, Russia

This Russian mineral-spring resort community with a subtropical climate is sometimes called the Russian Riviera. This morning we explore the town with a special visit to Stalin’s dacha. Well-hidden among trees on the outskirts of town, this house was a favorite summer retreat for the infamous leader. After hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi has taken its place on the world stage.

Day 10: Odessa, Ukraine

Odessa’s European-Russian heritage is evident as we ascend the Potemkin Steps to explore cobblestone streets lined with shady plane trees. Explore the compact central district’s spectacular architecture, including monuments, statuary, parks, and ornate 19th-century gems such as the Opera House and Gagarin’s Palace. We also visit one of the country’s oldest archaeological museums, housing an extensive collection of Ukrainian artifacts ranging from the Paleolithic age to the medieval period. Enjoy free time this afternoon to stroll the graceful boulevards, with the option to dine ashore on your own.

Day 11-12: Danube River Delta, Romania

The Danube is Europe’s second longest river as well as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Board a local boat to explore this wetland habitat looking for over 200 species of birds, including pygmy cormorants, purple herons, white-tailed eagles, and Dalmatian pelicans. On board, sample local vodka and Romanian snacks.

Day 13: Histria & Constanta, Romania

Histria was Romania’s earliest-founded city and flourished as an extraordinary trading center, later to be abandoned and swallowed by alluvial deposits and sand. The site has been under excavation since its rediscovery in 1914. We walk through fascinating seaside ruins, tour the new museum, and spot birds in this wetland environment. Next we explore Constanta where we tour the archaeological museum and view one of the largest Roman mosaic floors in Europe. In the late afternoon, we enjoy wine tasting and a cultural performance on board our ship.

Day 14: Varna, Bulgaria

The modern port city of Varna was once the Greek colony known as Odessos. We disembark in the morning and visit Varna’s archaeological museum that chronologically traces the progress of human society in the region over the course of millennia, and includes the oldest worked gold in the world. We also explore the extensive remains of the 2nd-century Roman thermae, or public baths, which make up the largest Roman ruins in Bulgaria. Afterwards, we reboard the ship for lunch as we sail full circle to Istanbul.

Day 15: Istanbul, Turkey & Depart for Home

After disembarking mid-morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home or on to your next destination.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 12,980

Price Per Day:

$ 865 per person
 
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.
Details
Trip Includes
  • All gratuities
  • All onboard meals and all group meals on land
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
  • All group activities and excursions
  • Landing and port fees
Trip Excludes
  • Air transportation
  • Airport taxes
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Laundry, alcohol, and all items of a personal nature
  • Expenses of guides, buses or cars for sightseeing not included in the itinerary
  • Excessive baggage charges
  • Health, accident, baggage, and trip cancellation insurance
  • Gratuity for any personal services
  • Gratuity to the Travel Director
Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Start City
Istanbul
End City
Turkey

Trip ID#: cirofttra

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