See the highlights of Eastern Europe on this Balkan river cruise adventure along the Danube River! Enjoy relaxing time on your ship and stops in the most fascinating cities, with free time and guided sightseeing - so you don’t miss a thing!
You’ll begin with two overnights in the lively Hungarian capital of Budapest. This city has a unique energy and offers an eclectic mix of activities. See the iconic statues of Heroes’ Square and with free time, explore the lovely lookout towers of Fishermen’s Bastion. On an excursion to Pécs, Hungary, you’ll visit underground burial chambers with fascinating murals, now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is one of the oldest cities in Europe, where the Sava River meets the Danube. Cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates Gorge and visit the cultural port of Cetate. Visit Bulgaria’s Belogradchik, where you’ll see the fascinating rock formations sculpted by natural elements for over 200 million years. On an excursion to the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo, you’ll visit Arbanassi’s Church of the Nativity, housing an impressive collection of frescoes.
To round out this timeless Eastern European river cruise, a stay in Romania’s vibrant capital of Bucharest is a must. Known as the “Paris of the East,” a local expert will show you many of its historical treasures, such as the Arc de Triomphe, built in honour of WWI soldiers.
Multiple itineraries are available:
Day 1 Budapest
Travel to Budapest where you will be met and transferred to the InterContinental Budapest (or similar) for a two night stay.
Day 2 Budapest
Included today: Guided sightseeing, see Fishermen's Bastion and Heroes Square Whether you're seeing the sights, shopping for hand crafted 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, see Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex 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 want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. This afternoon is free. Perhaps visit St. Stephen's Basilica for marvellous city views from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.
Day 3 Budapest (Embarkation)
This morning is free for you to enjoy Hungary's exciting capital. Visit one of the many museums, take a walk to see some of the remaining statues from the communist era, shop at the Great Market Hall to purchase paprika and embroidery, or stroll along Vací Utca main shopping street. Transfer to your ship and meet your crew at a welcome reception.
Avalon has designed included activities with a choice of experiences. We invite you to select the tours, activities, and events that interest you most, so you can experience your cruise your way. There are three types of included shore excursion on every Europe cruise:
Your local expert is ready to guide you through the history and heritage of local destinations. You’ll marvel at the legends, lore, and spectacular architecture of iconic and historic sites.
We’ve found inspiring and interactive activities to speak to your interests - from cooking classes, to painting workshops - to immerse yourself in each culture you explore.
Embark on energetic excursions to keep you in motion and on the go - from a guided jogging tour of Amsterdam, to biking, paddling, and hiking your way through scenic locales.
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Built in 1914 and set in the heart of the city, Athénée Palace Hilton is perfect for visiting Bucharest's spectacular sights. This beautiful hotel boasts fantastic views of Revolution Square and is close to the former Royal Palace and Romanian Athenaeum. Official rating: 5 stars.
Located in central Bucharest, the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel is situated just a five-minute walk from many popular tourist attractions, shops, theatres, cafes and iconic sites. The Old Town is a short stroll away.
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to panoramic views across the River Danube. Admire the Chain Bridge and the former Royal Palace from one of the hotel's beautifully appointed rooms, or treat yourself to a gourmet Hungarian dinner with views of Buda Castle. Official rating: 5 stars.
Just a leisurely stroll away from the historic Castle district, this luxurious hotel sits on the banks of the river Danube in the heart of Budapest.
The Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge hotel has an enviable position overlooking the River Danube and Budapest's famous Chain Bridge, and many of the 357 rooms come with a view of the river. A Swarovski water fountain, luxury spa, original art and a French-Hungarian restaurant make this hotel a special base for your time in Budapest. Official rating: 5 stars.
The hotel boasts a prime location near the River Danube, Hungarian Parliament, Hungarian State Opera and Castle.
It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative similar standard hotels to those shown.
"cruise excellent though docking at night noisy and disturbed sleep."
"Great Holiday made better with Avalon service and attention to detail"
"A excellent trip"
They were efficient and helpful cabins a good size with plenty of storage space .we enjoyed so much we have booked another trip in three weeks time !
"Fantastic boats and service"
I would recommend Avalon. My rating only stops short of very good because of a few relatively minor points eg while the food was consistently good, it was not exceptional - desserts for example leery never particularly exciting though perfectly competent. Also although advertised as a river cruise, in fact 3 nights were spent in hotels which was slightly disappointing.
Bistro food was also not sufficiently different from main restaurant but any disappointment may be my fault as I had probably erroneously expected matching of food to wine. Having said this, I should also say that in both the main restaurant and bistro the included wines were good and generously offered.
Generally I was very impressed with the standard of the boats, the space in the cabins and the attention to detail and by the high standards and exceptional service offered by all staff.
See previous answers. I do think that that the overall experience of a river cruise is boat plus excursions and I would rate the experience on the boat as higher than that of the excursions but do accept that you may be limited by their country you're in! However it was slightly disappointing that although advertised as a river cruise, three nights of the holiday were in fact spent in hotels and of course the advertised included excursions did not apply to those times. Pecs was a highly rated excursion and it seemed disappointing for all, that we had no free time there. Other excursions did include a long time on coaches. On board entertainment was good and I particularly rated the lecture on the history of Tito's Yogoslavia.
"Can't wait to do again!"
The cruise director, the crew, and the entire "hotel" were fantastic. The food was great, the facilities were wonderful, and I cannot wait to go back.
The cruise was wonderful; the excursions were mostly great. However, the headsets weren't working for most of the excursions I went on, meaning I missed a lot of information in Budapest, Pecs, and Cetate. These were included yet I felt I missed out on them! Other than that, the experience was perfect and wonderful.