Iconic Rivers of Europe - The Rhine, Main & Danube with Transylvania - Eastbound 2018

24 Day River Cruise from Amsterdam to Bucharest

2018 Information. Switch to 2019 »

From Holland to Romania, with a host of exciting stops along the way, this river cruise vacation across Europe is truly an adventure!

Amsterdam, Holland’s lively capital, is set amongst sophisticated architecture and classic squares and canals with countless museums, cafés, shops, and restaurants to explore. See the treasures of this 700-year-old city on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten. In Germany, enjoy a guided city walk in 2,000-year-old Cologne. There’s guided sightseeing in Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, and Regensburg, and you’ll sail the Main Danube Canal connecting the Main and Danube Rivers. Melk, Austria, offers the magnificent Benedictine Abbey, and then sail through the picturesque Wachau wine region to Dürnstein, famous for its blue and white baroque Stiftskirche. Guided sightseeing introduces you to three capitals: Vienna, Austria; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Budapest, Hungary. Continue your river cruise adventure on the Lower Danube with an excursion to 2nd-century Pécs, Hungary, where you’ll visit underground burial chambers now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop in Serbia’s Belgrade and cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates Gorge. In Bulgaria, visit Belogradchik’s eclectic rock formations, the ancient capital of Veliko Tarnovo, and Arbanassi—with its Church of the Nativity housing an outstanding collection of frescoes.

Leave your ship in Oltenita, and head for Romania’s vibrant capital of Bucharest, also known as the “Paris of the East.” A guided tour will show you many of its historical treasures. To round out this fabulous vacation, drive into Transylvania to visit Bran Castle, of Dracula Fame and spend a night in Brasov. Before returning to Bucharest, visit Peles Castle, considered to be one of the most breathtaking castles in Europe.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Amsterdam (Embarkation): welcome reception

Day 2 Amsterdam: canal cruise

Day 3 Cologne: choice of guided walk or Jewish Heritage walk

Day 4 Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim: cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; enjoy a special treat

Day 5 Main River Village: guided walk

Day 6 Würzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz

Day 7 Bamberg: guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall

Day 8 Roth–Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing of Roth; or guided sightseeing in Nuremberg, or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour

Day 9 Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche; beer tasting

Day 10 Passau: guided walk

Day 11 Melk–Dürnstein: guided visit of the Benedectine Abbey in Melk; cruise through the Wachau Valley; guided walk in Dürnstein, see the Stiftskirche

Day 12 Vienna: guided sightseeing

Day 13 Bratislava: guided sightseeing, visit St. Martin’s Cathedral

Day 14 Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square

Day 15 Budapest: day at leisure

Day 16 Mohács. Excursion to Pécs: guided sightseeing in Pécs, visit the underground tombs; organ concert

Day 17 Belgrade: guided sightseeing

Day 18 Iron Gates: visit Lepenski Vir archaeological site; cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge

Day 19 Cetate–Vidin–Belogradchik: visit the cultural port in Cetate; special tasting; excursion to Belogradchik to see the rock formations

Day 20 Nikopol–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Rousse: guided sightseeing, visit Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, and the Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi; or guided sightseeing of Rousse

Day 21 Oltenita (Disembarkation)–Bucharest: guided sightseeing in Bucharest

Day 22 Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov: guided visit of Dracula’s Bran Castle

Day 23 Brasov–Bucharest: guided sightseeing in Brasov and Peles Castle

Day 24 Bucharest: your vacation ends this morning

Meals

  • Welcome & farewell cocktails with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course à la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

(D)

Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)

Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich 700-year-old history and a distinct ambiance. Maybe stroll through the lively marketplace or see the works of famous Dutch masters at world-renowned museums. This afternoon, board your river cruise ship and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception.

NOTE:
Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2

(B, L, D)

Amsterdam

Today, get a unique perspective of Amsterdam on an included CANAL CRUISE, floating along the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time in the city this afternoon—or you might like to join an optional excursion before bidding tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and setting sail for Germany.

Day 3

(B, L, D)

Cologne, Germany

Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising before reaching Cologne after lunch. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years!

Day 4

(B, L, D)

Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim

This morning, cruise through the dramatic RHINE GORGE—without a doubt, the most beautiful stretch of river and where ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the water. Cruise past the rock of the Lorelei, where legend tells of enchanted siren song that lured sailors to their doom. On your included shore excursion in pretty Rüdesheim, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll be mesmerized by the self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT and free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Main River Village

On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. With half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centers, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK.

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Würzburg

Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR this morning, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Depart Würzburg at lunchtime and spend a leisurely afternoon cruising the Main River.

Day 7

(B, L, D)

Bamberg

Today, join an excursion to medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! Wander the town’s serpentine streets with their charming houses and 18th-century mansions.

Day 8

(B, L, D)

Roth–Nuremberg

This morning, dock in Roth and after breakfast join a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of the city. This delightful Bavarian town, with its half-timbered houses and market square, is also an industrial center for textile manufacturing. Take pictures of Schloss Ratibor, an ancient hunting lodge built in 1535, with a most picturesque inner courtyard. Or you may prefer to choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR of nearby Nuremberg. Although 90% of the city’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour.

Day 9

(B, L, D)

Regensburg

Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany, then grab a beer and enjoy a SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS.

Day 10

(B, L, D)

Passau

Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses and dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers.” Alternatively, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of The Sound of Music sights or to Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 11

(B, L, D)

Melk, Austria–Dürnstein

This morning, enjoy a GUIDED VISIT of Melk’s magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. Words cannot describe the splendor of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. Then, cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley to Dürnstein, known for the magnificent baroque, blue Stiftskirche. The main street of this small town—with a population of less than 1,000 people—is lined with 16th-century homes and charming cobblestone streets. Your Local Guide will take you on a WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town.

Day 12

(B, L, D)

Vienna

Early this morning, arrive in Vienna, the “City of Music,” which inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sites you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses—historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available tonight.

Day 13

(B, L, D)

Bratislava, Slovakia

At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia. After breakfast, join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. The afternoon is free to explore on your own.

Day 14

(B, L, D)

Budapest, Hungary

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 SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. Be sure to note the city’s eight bridges—famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. Alternatively, consider visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica with marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.

Day 15

(B, L, D)

Budapest

Enjoy a free day today to explore on your own. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do.

Day 16

(B, L, D)

Mohács. Excursion to Pécs

This morning arrive in Mohács, the last stop in Hungary, from where 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 17

(B, L, D)

Belgrade, Serbia

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. 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, or browse the local shops. Stroll through Belgrade’s largest and most beautiful park which surrounds the city’s principal landmark, Kalemegdan Fortress, and gaze down at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers.

Day 18

(B, L, D)

Excursion to Lepenski Vir–Iron Gates

This morning, 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 19

(B, L, D)

Cetate, Romania–Vidin, Bulgaria. Excursion to Belogradchik

This morning, stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain shipping port that is now a cultural center. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to TASTE some of the locally made products. Then, on to Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria, from where an included excursion takes you 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 20

(B, L, D)

Nikopol–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Rousse

This morning, stop in Nikopol from where an excursion takes you 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. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), 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. 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. Return to your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. If you don’t wish to participate in the full-day excursion, stay on board and relax or join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse.

Day 21

(B)

Oltenita, Romania (Disembarkation)–Bucharest

After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew. 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 morning, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. 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 22

(B, L, D)

Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov

Head out of the city and visit BRAN CASTLE, of Dracula fame, built in 1377 and assumed to be the home of Romanian vampires. Continue to Brasov, where you’re free to explore on your own.

Day 23

(B, L)

Brasov–Bucharest

This morning, join a local expert for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Brasov. In the afternoon, drive into the Carpathians to Sinaia to visit PELES CASTLE, considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, before returning to Bucharest.

Day 24

(B)

Bucharest

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

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.

Ship Details

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Hotels

Amsterdam
Bucharest
Brasov

 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). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyAvalon site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

Price Ranges

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


Amsterdam
Packages
Regensburg
Passau
Vienna
Bratislava
Budapest
Belgrade
Oltenita

Amsterdam

Discover Zaanse Schans & the Symbols of Holland

Discover Zaanse Schans & the Symbols of Holland

Tour a working windmill, watch wooden clogs being made, and visit a cheese farm on this exciting half-day guided excursion to Zaanse Schans!

Price Range: $

Muiderslot Castle

Muiderslot Castle

From Golden Age paintings to 13th-century arms and armor, discover the wonders of Muiderslot Castle, one of Holland's most beautiful medieval castle fortresses, on this captivating half-day guided tour.

Price Range: $$

Biking in Amsterdam

Biking in Amsterdam

Pedal your way past polders, dykes, and quaint, centuries-old villages on this exhilarating guided bike tour through the beautiful Dutch countryside.

Price Range: $$

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: $$$$

Regensburg

Weltenburg Abbey Visit

Weltenburg Abbey Visit

Visit Bavaria's oldest monastery, 7th-century Weltenburg Abbey with its stunning setting in the Danube Gorge, splendid interior, and the oldest monastic brewery in the world!

Price Range: $$

Passau

Sound of Music Salzburg

Sound of Music Salzburg

From Mozart to ¿The Sound of Music¿, this delightful excursion provides an in-depth look at both the city of Salzburg and its majestic surroundings.

Price Range: $$

Southern Bohemia

Southern Bohemia

You'll feel like you've stepped right into the Middle Ages on this full-day excursion to Ceský Krumlov, the 'Pearl of the Bohemian Forest'.

Price Range: $$

Vienna

Classical Concert

Classical Concert

Enjoy a spellbinding evening of classical works by Mozart and Johann Strauss, performed brilliantly by professional Salon Orchestra Alt-Wien musicians in one of Europe's prettiest venues.

Price Range: $$

Grinzing

Grinzing

The famous village of Grinzing in the green suburbs of Vienna is dotted with villas, parks, vineyards and of course - Heurigen wine taverns with their famous courtyards and gardens among the linden and chestnuts trees.

Price Range: $$

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Visit magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former summer residence of the Habsburg imperial family.

Price Range: $$

Bratislava

Schloss Hof Visit

Schloss Hof Visit

Explore the Habsburg Empire's largest imperial residence outside of Vienna, incredible Schloss Hof, on this unforgettable half-day guided excursion.

Price Range: $$

Budapest

Illuminated Budapest

Illuminated Budapest

The nighttime magic of Budapest comes to life on this enchanting guided coach tour of the most famous landmarks illuminated in a most unforgettable way!

Price Range: $

Belle Époque Art & Architecture of Budapest

Belle Époque Art & Architecture of Budapest

Travel back to the Golden Age of Budapest's Belle Époque on this captivating guided excursion featuring Andrássy Avenue, glass-painter Miksa Róth's Memorial House, and the crown jewel of Budapest: the incomparable Hungarian State Opera House!

Price Range: $$

Belgrade

Bohemian Dinner in Skadarlija

Bohemian Dinner in Skadarlija

Enjoy a feast of hearty local dishes and live music during this dinner excursion in Belgrade's historic, Bohemian Skadarlija district.

Price Range: $$

Folklore

Folklore

Shumadia represents the heart of Serbia, where you can find the most beautiful and the most interesting original Serbian folk dances. The tiny and delicate steps of these dances are connected in filigreed dance which has ethnographic and historical significance interwoven with customs.

Price Range: $$

Oltenita

Romanian Parliament

Romanian Parliament

Visit Bucharest's colossal Palace of the Parliament, the second-largest and most expensive administrative building and heaviest building in the world, on this mesmerizing guided excursion.

Price Range: $$

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