Black Sea Explorer with Turkey

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Black Sea Explorer with Turkey

Tour Description:

Itinerary also travels in reverse.

Map for Black Sea Explorer with Turkey
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Dates & Pricing

Saturday 14 Sep 24 — Tuesday 01 Oct 24Starting at $13,480Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Sunday 15 Sep 24 — Monday 30 Sep 24Starting at $13,510Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Sunday 15 Sep 24 — Wednesday 02 Oct 24Starting at $13,980Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Monday 16 Sep 24 — Tuesday 01 Oct 24Starting at $13,010Check Mark Icon SPECIALGet a Quote
Check Mark Icon Disclaimer: Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy, and in USD. All promotions are valid for new bookings only, capacity controlled and valid on select dates and departures. Individual Terms and Conditions will apply to all promotions. Any promotion can be withdrawn at any time without notice. Please speak with your Pavlus Travel Planner for complete vendor terms and conditions, including eligible tour and cruise dates.


Welcome to Istanbul, the city that straddles two continents over the Bosphorus Strait, with one half of the city in Europe and the other in Asia. This strategic waterway has played a major role in world trade for centuries and is still one of the most important global shipping routes.  Home to more than 15 million people, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Istanbul will inspire all your senses, an exhilarating blend of cultures, cuisines, architecture, history and style. 

The wonders of Istanbul await you today on a guided tour. There have been settlements on this important site, occupying both banks of the Bosphorus Strait, for thousands of years. The modern city began life as Constantinople in the 4th century, before changing its name to Istanbul in 1930. At every turn, you’re walking through history. First, you’ll take a scenic cruise along the strait, winding between ferries, barges and fishing boats, and passing famous monuments and historic minarets on shore. See two of the city’s most famous landmarks setting on either side of the central Sultanahmet Park; Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Then your local guide will take you inside the 17th century Blue Mosque, also known as Sultan Ahmet Mosque, where you will marvel at the spectacular architecture and over 20,000 hand painted blue tiles. Freechoice: Choose from today’s Scenic Freechoice experience: The tastes of Turkey: Turkish cuisine is the ultimate in fusion, bringing together Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Eastern European flavours. Learn its secrets in a cooking class where you’ll be taught to make delicious traditional dishes. Soaking up culture: Relax and rejuvenate on a visit to the Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamami Turkish Baths. Built in the 16th century, the historic baths are some of the most luxurious in the city and the perfect place to experience this indulgent Turkish tradition.

This morning, visit two of the city’s grandest royal residences, Topkapi Palace and Dolmahbace Palace. Then it’s on to the colourful and chaotic Grand Bazaar, a vast undercover market made up of thousands of shops along wide plazas and tiny laneways. Traders have been coming here to sell their wares since the 15th century and it’s still the place to buy ceramics, carpets, glassware, jewellery and textiles. This afternoon is yours to enjoy at leisure. Visit one of the city’s excellent museums or galleries, hunt for antiques in the busy Çukurcuma neighbourhood, inhale the aromas of the Spice Bazaar, or catch the bright red tram between the two main squares. Be sure to take some time out to indulge in the Turkish national pastime, tea drinking, ideally at a busy streetside café. Enrich Tonight’s Scenic Enrich: A dinner to remember: A special treat awaits for your farewell dinner at the Hamdi Restaurant with its outstanding views over the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosphorus. You’ll dine on exceptional Turkish cuisine and raise a glass to an unforgettable journey.

Istanbul > Canakkale
Before you farewell Istanbul, take a moment this morning to listen out for the call to prayer before the sun rises. The traditional Muslim call rings out over the city five times a day and is a reminder of the nation’s strong ties to its faith. In the relative calm and silence of the morning, it’s a particularly moving sound. Travel along the Marmara Coast this morning bound for Canakkale. Sitting on the edge of the Dardanelle Strait, Canakkale has been at the forefront of history for centuries. It’s the gateway to the World War One battlefield of Gallipoli   En route you’ll venture to a place that is shrouded in mystery and legend, the ancient city of Troy. For more than 3,000 years, the tales of Troy and the Trojan War were thought to be mythical, made most famous by Greek poet Homer’s epic work, the Iliad. But in the late 19th century, the ruins of Troy were discovered in modern day Turkey and centuries of history were instantly rewritten. Take a tour through the 4,000-year-old ruins, see a giant replica of the famous Trojan Horse and learn the true story behind this illustrious city.

Canakkale > Gallipoli > Canakkale
Today you are bound for Gallipoli, a site that holds a special place in the heart of Australians and New Zealanders. As the first major battle for ANZAC troops in the First World War, it was a brutal introduction to global conflict for the new nations. Though the Gallipoli campaign was ultimately a failure, the bravery and strength of the ANZAC soldiers became legendary and helped shape the cultural identity of the two countries. The Gallipoli peninsula where the eight-month campaign took place is now a national park and your guide will take you through the most significant sites. Stand on the beach at ANZAC Cove, where the soldiers first came ashore on 25 April 1915. Contemplate the courage and sacrifice that took place at battlegrounds like Lone Pine and the Nek. Walk through some of the 31 cemeteries that dot the peninsula and where more than 10,000 Anzac soldiers are buried. A visit to Gallipoli is a moving experience that will stay with you long after you leave. 

Canakkale > Plovdiv
This morning sees us setting off towards the historic city of Plovdiv, Bulgarias second largest city. Originally founded more than 8,000 years ago the city offers a rich history from prehistoric times, through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period right through to the present.

Your local guide will be delighted to showcase this magnificent city including a visit to the Kapana district, also known as ‘The Trap’, which is lined with quaint, colourful buildings housing galleries, ateliers and local shops. You’ll also visit Tsar Simeon’s Garden, a beautiful 19th-century garden complete with impressive fountains and sculptures, and visit the ancient amphitheatre that dates back to the 2nd century AD.

Plovdiv > Bucharest
Depart Plovdiv after breakfast and journey towards the Romanian capital of Bucharest stopping along the way in a traditional Bulgarian village where you learn about the local way of life before a hearty lunch of typical Bulgarian cuisine.

Bucharest > Giurgiu
Today you’ll explore the city of Bucharest, with your selected Scenic Freechoice followed by a guided tour of the city by coach. Travel from the south of Bucharest to Primaverii Palace, stopping to see its squares, including Union Square, University Square, Roman Square, Victory Square and Charles de Gaulle Square. Freechoice: This morning’s Scenic Freechoice: Ceausescu’s Spring Palace: Located in one of the wealthiest districts in Bucharest, this 1960s residence is made up of 80 spacious and elegant rooms decorated with silk wallpaper, wood panels, paintings by famous Romanian painters, mosaics, marble, chandeliers and mirrors made of Murano glass. Village Open Air Museum: Take a visit to the ethnography exhibits depicting Romanian heritage and culture at the Village Open Air Museum. The museum depicts traditional peasant houses, barns, churches and more, rebuilt by craftsmen using traditional techniques. This afternoon, you will be transferred to Giurgiu, where you will be welcomed on board your luxurious Scenic Space-Ship.  

Arrive in Silistra early this morning, a Bulgarian town that played a significant role in the Russian-Turkish wars.   Freechoice: This morning’s Scenic Freechoice: Active walk to Silistra Fort: Transfer to Silistra Fort by coach. Upon arrival take a guided walking tour of the fort and learn about its history. It is the best preserved of the six points of the Turkish fortification system, which played an important role in the Russian-Turkish wars. Visit Alfatar Village: Take an excursion to the small village of Alfatar, located just outside of Silistra. Visit the ethnographic museum featuring a typical country house, where visitors will see how the residents of this region have lived over the centuries and have kept their traditions alive. Also see the beautifully restored Holy Trinity temple, a treasured symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox religion, and visit the Alfatar school to meet local children and learn about daily life for young Bulgarians. Excursion to Varna: Take a full-day excursion to the Black Sea coast. Varna is a cosmopolitan city, home to Roman bath ruins, a white-sand beach, and many open-air bars and restaurants. Your local guide will be delighted to show you through the city, including the recently renovated Cathedral and the Military Naval Museum Excursion to Varna: Take a full-day excursion to the Black Sea coast. Varna is a cosmopolitan city, home to Roman bath ruins, a white-sand beach, and many open-air bars and restaurants. Your local guide will be delighted to show you through the city, including the recently renovated Cathedral and the Military Naval Museum (Please note: The Military Naval Museum is closed on Sundays, and will be replaced with Varna Archaeological Museum).

This morning you’ll arrive in Rousse (or Ruse), which has been described as ‘Little Vienna’.   Freechoice: Choose one of today’s Scenic Freechoice excursions: Guided city tour of Rousse: Join a local guide on a sightseeing tour of this opulent town, resplendent in Belle Epoque architecture and leafy manicured squares. Afterward you’ll enjoy a short piano recital and some free time to wander, before returning to the ship. Excursion to Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi: Take a full-day excursion from Rousse to Veliko Tarnovo, one of Bulgaria’s oldest towns which is built among lush forested hills and on the banks of the twisting Yantra River. In the 14th century as the Byzantine Empire weakened, Veliko Tarnovo was the Bulgarian capital and was known as the third Rome. On the way to town, you will stop to enjoy the panoramic views of the old town and see the Asenevtsi Brothers Monument. You will then venture to the nearby leafy village of Arbanassi, stopping to see the 17th century Konstantsalieva House for an insight into how affluent locals lives, and the Christ Nativity Church.  This afternoon, relax on board as you continue to sail along the Danube. Mingle with other guests as you sit back with a regional wine or beer in the Panorama Lounge & Bar and soak up the scenery.   

Iron Gates 
Today you will cruise through the spectacular scenery of the Iron Gates, a narrow gorge carved out between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. This stretch of the Danube is the natural border between Serbia and Romania and features four narrow gorges, soaring cliffs and the might rock carving of Decebalus, the former Romanian king.   Spend some time relaxing in your suite, many of which have a window that converts into a Scenic Sun Lounge, allowing you uninterrupted views to watch a rolling tapestry of river life as you cruise the Danube. Or perhaps you’d prefer to sweat it out in the state-of-the-art gym or take time out in the wellness centre.

Arrive in the capital of Serbia this morning. Belgrade is known as the ‘Door to Central Europe’ and lies at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. This eclectic city is steeped in history, with Neolithic ruins found nearby, a fortress built by the Romans, Brutalist buildings that sit beside Art Nouveau buildings and a bohemian vibe. One of the oldest capitals in Europe, Belgrade has been rebuilt almost 40 times.   Freechoice: This morning’s Scenic Freechoice: Guided city tour with extended free time: By coach and foot, you’ll tour the major sites of the city with a guide. You will explore the city’s highlights such as cobbled streets of the Bohemian Quarter and Kalemegdan Fortress, an imposing structure that has been the site of more than 100 battles and offers panoramic views of the rivers below. Afterwards, enjoy free time to explore on your own. Guided city tour including Titos Memorial: Join a more in-depth tour of Belgrade with a local guide. See and learn about the major sites of the city including the Ottoman heritage of the old town, the imposing fortress and Republic Square followed by some free time in the city centre. During this tour you will also visit the memorial dedicated to Tito, the former ruler of Yugoslavia. Cycling tour along the Danube: Trace the banks of the Danube on two wheels during this guided cycling tour. Learn about the region and its people, including the history of Yugoslavia and Belgrade from WWII to today.  You will see the Palace of Serbia (the former seat of the government of Yugoslavia), the historic neighbourhood centre of Zemun, which became part of Belgrade in the early 1900s and still has a distinct character, and Staro Sajmiste, a former concentration camp. Walking tour with a student: Learn about life in Belgrade from a local. Get to the heart of the city and understand the troubles and triumphs that Belgradians have experienced. You’ll get to know these happy and resilient people as you are guided through their city with a local student.   This afternoon is free at leisure to explore Belgrade further. Soak up the bohemian culture with a wander along cobblestoned Skardalija Street, a district once frequented by writers and artists and other creative souls, now home to traditional restaurants, local stores and galleries.   Enrich Tonight, we have a special treat in store for you with our Scenic Enrich event: Classical concert at St. Sava Temple: Visit the St. Sava, the largest orthodox temple in the Balkans. Have a chance to explore the frescos-lined walls of the cathedrals crypt where the church choir will perform some of the most beautiful hymns just for you. Because of the acoustics in the crypt, this is a once of a lifetime opportunity.

Today you will visit   Osijek, a small city with a turbulent history. Osijek was at the epicentre of the 1990s war, and its scars are still evident on its buildings today. Freechoice: Today, explore the region in one of these Scenic Freechoice excursions: Walking tour of Osijek: Take a guided walking tour of Osijek to see the highlights of the town including the well-preserved Baroque Old Town and fortress. You’ll also have the opportunity to hear some traditional and classical music popular in the region. Boat cruise at Kopacki Rit: Covering 238 hectares, Kopacki Rit is one of the largest natural wetlands in Europe, , and you will have the opportunity to explore it by boat. Learn more about this beautiful untouched nature in the easternmost part of Croatia through a presentation by one of the park’s rangers. During a 50-minute boat ride, you will cruise among lush greenery, hundred-year-old willow woods, meadows and spot the variety of flora and fauna including deer, wild boar, white tailed eagle and black stork. Ancestry of the Kitchen: Recipes have long been passed down through generations and often kept as family secrets. Today, guests will meet with a local who will divulge a family recipe of traditional fish stew, while also chatting to you about life in this region. After your touring this morning, all guests will visit the home of a typical Croatian family and have lunch with the family members. Immerse yourself in this cultural and culinary experience, and enjoy an authentic meal prepared with fresh vegetables from the host’s garden. North-eastern Croatia is the ‘bread basket’ of the country, so it is only natural that the villagers take great pride in their gardens, from which ingredients are used to make a feast for both the palate and the eyes.

Your space ship will arrive early this morning in Kalocsa, one of the oldest towns in Hungary. This historic town has some of the richest folk art in the world and was an important agricultural centre in the 19th century. Freechoice: Todays’ Scenic Freechoice: Hungarian Traditions: The region of Kalocsa is teeming with culture and traditions. It is famous for its traditional handicrafts such as needlework and embroidery. Learn about the origins of these beautiful designs as well as other crafts. Hungarian Horse Show: Kalocsa is located on the Great Hungarian Plain, with an agricultural history dating back more than 2,000 years. Witness a traditional horse show, meet the local horsemen who will demonstrate impressive equestrian skills and enjoy a tasting of local delicacies.

Arrive in Budapest this morning, one of Europe’s most diverse and vibrant cities. Divided by the Danube, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other, this city became united in 1873 when a newly built bridge connected the two. The city is an architectural treasure trove comprising styles from Gothic to Art Nouveau and everything in between. It is also well known for its hot springs and thermal baths and has a vibrant nightlife scene.  You will disembark your Scenic Space-Ship and be transferred to a luxury hotel for a two-night stay. Enjoy dinner with your fellow guests and enjoy the evening to wander around Budapest as the sky darkens and city lights begin to sparkle. Perhaps check out the Jewish Quarter’s famous ruin bars, which are housed in old and abandoned buildings that were left in decay after WWII.

Today you’ll have the entire day at your own leisure to explore this magical city.   You may wish to cross the bridge between Buda and Pest to see Matthias Church, the iconic Fisherman’s Bastion where you’ll have enchanting views of Budapest, and the medieval town on Castle Hill, located on a limestone plateau 170 metres above the city.   Or pack your swimsuit and make your way to one of the city’s thermal baths for a relaxing soak in the therapeutic waters. Szechenyi Baths are the largest, boasting 15 indoor baths and three vast outdoor pools.  

After breakfast, transfer to Budapest airport for your onward journey.  This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions. 

Check Mark Disclaimer: Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy, and in USD. All promotions are valid for new bookings only, capacity controlled and valid on select dates and departures. Individual Terms and Conditions will apply to all promotions. Any promotion can be withdrawn at any time without notice. Please speak with your Pavlus Travel Planner for complete vendor terms and conditions, including eligible tour and cruise dates.