From Budapest to Giurgiu, touch history in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, as you sail along the lower Danube. Medieval towns, Roman ruins and the Iron Gate showcase the best of Eastern Europe. Visit Belogradchik, Bulgaria’s natural wonder, and Serbia’s Novi Sad. Taste history from centuries-old vineyards in Ilok, and visit two of Romania’s legendary castles, Bran and Pele?. Throughout your journey, be treated to the flavors and cultures of this diverse swath of the continent.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – EMBARKATION. Board the ship for your Gems of Southeast Europe cruise.
MOHÁCS – PÉCS. Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to Mohács. You’ll then visit Pécs, founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans. Visit the UNESCO-designated Christian Necropolis; St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral along with its catacombs; and Széchenyi Square, the heart of Old Town Pécs. You will also see the Mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious, one of the symbols of the city. Or for wine connoisseurs, you’ll want to go to the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2,000 years ago. You may also take an exhilarating guided bike tour around Mohács.
VUKOVAR, CROATIA – NOVI SAD, SERBIA. Vukovar is a Croatian symbol of resistance, which you’ll better understand on your city tour showcasing the Ovčara Memorial and Eltz Castle. Alternatively, choose a wine tasting in Ilok, a center of wine production since Roman times, where you’ll sample its famous Grasevina, Traminac and Frankovka wines. Back on board, cruise to Novi Sad, sometimes called the “Serbian Athens.” Discover Novi Sad on a walking tour to Dunavski Park and through Stari Grad, the Old Town center. If you prefer a more active exploration, join a guided biking tour or hike through Fruska Gora National Park. During the evening, visit Petrovaradin Fortress, a mighty stronghold no enemy has ever breached.
BELGRADE. Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour, which includes the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. Visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Serbian Royal Family; and then tour the House of Flowers, the mausoleum of Marshal Tito, who became the first President of Yugoslavia. Alternatively, you can enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian plum brandy, Šlivovitz, and delicious local delights at the Quburich Distillery. Later in the afternoon, for those wishing a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour or hike to Belgrade Fortress.
SCENIC CRUISING THROUGH THE IRON GATES. The Iron Gates is one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. The Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains, forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. The ancient King Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, is proudly carved into the mountainside and always captivates travelers.
VIDIN, BULGARIA. Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Enjoy a walking tour of Vidin, or discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria. Continue on to Belogradchik, one of Bulgaria’s natural wonders, where you can hike around its most spectacular rock formations. Alternatively, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. You also have the choice to bike through Vidin and to the castle.
ROUSSE – GIURGIU, ROMANIA. Visit Bulgaria’s ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples. You can opt instead to go to Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterwards visit the UNESCO-designated Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings. Later in the day, travel through the Romanian countryside to the capital of Bucharest, known as the “Little Paris of the East.” Enjoy a panoramic tour of the historic city center and its elegant architecture, followed by a visit to the Palace of the Parliament, the second largest administrative building in the world.
GIURIU – DISEMBARKATION. Bid farewell to Giurgiu as you prepare for your flight home.