Cruise Itinerary | Istanbul to Budapest River Cruise - Avalon® Danube Cruises

2017

Highlights & Sightseeing

Meals

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Istanbul

Welcome to Istanbul, where you have free time to relax and begin exploring this unique city.

Day 2Istanbul

Known throughout the centuries as Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul, the city on the Bosporus is one of the most exciting places in the world. Guided sightseeing includes HAGIA SOPHIA, the BLUE MOSQUE; TOPKAPI PALACE, residence of the Ottoman Sultans; and the GRAND BAZAAR. (Breakfast)

Day 3Istanbul

A free day to explore on your own or to join a full-day optional excursion to the incredible archaeological site of Ephesus. (Breakfast)

Day 4Istanbul–Bucharest

Fly to Bucharest. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring this fascinating city.

Day 5Bucharest–Fetesti (Embarkation)

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 main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. Later a motorcoach ride takes you to Fetesti, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 6St. Gheorghe. Danube Delta Excursion

This morning during breakfast, dock in St. Gheorghe, from where the excursion into the DELTA will start. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved of Europe’s deltas, this area hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 species of freshwater fish. From its source in the Black Forest to its delta at the Black Sea, the Danube measures 2,845 kilometers in length. The Km markings can be clearly seen on the river banks the length of the river. Depart St. Gheorghe during lunch and enjoy a small CELEBRATION to mark Km “0”—the end of the Danube’s journey. This afternoon a chance to relax and to learn more about the fascinating Delta at an ONBOARD LECTURE. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Cernavoda. Excursion to Constanta

From Cernavoda this morning, an excursion takes you to Constanta, the most important commercial center in Romania, situated on the Black Sea. A CERTIFIED LOCAL GUIDE shows you the highlights of this city and a visit of the NATURAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM is included. This afternoon, relax on board as you cruise westward towards Rousse. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Rousse, Bulgaria. Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Svistov

Dock this morning in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. A comfortable motorcoach ride away 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. The oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the ROYAL FORTRESS, and the Patriarch’s Church. With your Local Guide, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. 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. If you do not wish to participate in the full-day excursion, you may choose to remain on board and join an INCLUDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR of Rousse after breakfast. At lunchtime, sail for Svistov, where excursion participants will rejoin the ship. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9Vidin, Bulgaria. Excursion to Belogradchik

Today, enjoy a leisurely morning of cruising before arriving in Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria. Its medieval FORTRESS, Baba Vidin, is the town’s primary landmark. It served as Vidin’s main defensive installation during 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 nearby Belogradchik, 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! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10Iron Gates. Excursion to Lepenski Vir, Serbia

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. After lunch 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11Belgrade

Early today, arrive in Belgrade. 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. Perhaps visit one of the many art galleries or museums, relax in the park, or walk along the city streets and browse the local shops. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12Mohács, Hungary. Excursion to Pécs

Relax on board this morning before arriving in Mohács, the first 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13Budapest (Disembarkation)

Early this morning, dock in the country’s capital. 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. Bid goodbye to your crew before joining a GUIDED TOUR of the city with your Local Guide. See Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion—with spectacular views of the city—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, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (Breakfast)

Day 14Budapest

You have time today to explore Budapest further. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform. Or maybe you would like to join one of the optional excursions on offer. (Breakfast)

Day 15Budapest

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

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Hotels

Budapest

Budapest

InterContinental Budapest

InterContinental Budapest Apaczai Csere Janos utca 12-14, Budapest,  Hungary Apaczai Csere Janos utca 12-14
Budapest, Hungary

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
Deluxe

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.

Hotel Amenities

Spa Services
Free WiFi
Currency Exchange
Fitness Room
Restaurant On-Site
Business Center
Gift Shop
Beauty Salon
Concierge desk
Pool
Dry Cleaning
ATM
Luggage Storage
Elevator
Parking/Valet
Room Amenities

Iron/Ironing Board
Hair Dryer
Internet Access
Air Conditioning
Climate Control
Television
Room Service
In-Room Safe
Alarm Clock
Phone
Non-smoking Rooms
Coffee Maker
Cable/Satellite
Mini-bar
Smoking Rooms

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)


Rousse
Belgrade
Budapest
Bucharest
Packages

Rousse

Veliko Tarnovo Arbanassi
Veliko Tarnovo Arbanassi

Veliko Tarnovo Arbanassi

A full day excursion explores two of the most astonishing places in Bulgaria. In Arbanassi visit the Nativity Church, which was built during the 15th century, where nearly every inch of the vaulted interior is covered in paintings and frescoes.

Price Range: $

Rousse Sightseeing
Rousse Sightseeing

Rousse Sightseeing

After a relaxing half day on the vessel, enjoy a city tour of Rousse, the largest river port in Bulgaria. Rousse was home to Bulgaria's most prosperous Jewish community. The city has even been referred to as "Little Vienna" in the past, for its Neoclassic style of buildings.

Price Range: $

Belgrade

Serbian Countryside Tour
Serbian Countryside Tour

Serbian Countryside Tour

Step back in time into the lifestyle and traditions of old Europe, as you visit the scenic rural region of northern Serbia, in an area called Vojvodina.

Price Range: $$

Budapest

Hungarian Puszta Farm with Horse Show and Lunch
Hungarian Puszta Farm with Horse Show and Lunch

Hungarian Puszta Farm with Horse Show and Lunch

Do not miss this unique opportunity to visit the Hungarian countryside and its authentic ways, an experience out of the ordinary.

Price Range: $$

Etyek Wine Tasting
Etyek Wine Tasting

Etyek Wine Tasting

Enjoy a genuine countryside experience only 30 minutes away from the capital. Stroll through the stunning vineyards of Etyek, enjoy the fascinating landscape of the youngest and the fastest developing wine region of Hungary.

Price Range: $$

Hungarian Culinary Tour
Hungarian Culinary Tour

Hungarian Culinary Tour

There is no better way to explore Budapest than with its food and drinks. Enjoy a cultural walking and tasting tour starts off at The Central Market Hall

Price Range: $$

Bucharest

Palace of the People
Palace of the People

Palace of the People

The ultimate dream of former Communist Leader of Romania Ceaucescu, this Palace of Superlatives is a breath-taking example of communist dictatorship's omnipotence, rarely seen anywhere else.

Price Range: $

Packages

Celebration Packages
Celebration Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while you're cruising? Add an Avalon Celebration Package to your vacation. You can make your special day even more memorable with special touches ranging from flowers to a private cocktail reception.

Price Range: $$

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