Gems of Southeast Europe

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Gems Of Southeast Europe River Cruise from Freedom Tours and Travel

DAY – 1 ARRIVE IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

Arrive in Budapest and transfer to your hotel.

DAY 2 – BUDAPEST

You cannot help but fall in love with Budapest, known as the “Queen of the Danube.” Your city tour begins with visit to the vibrant Great Market Hall brimming with vendors selling everything from food to souvenirs. The remainder of this tour takes you to both the Buda (hilly) and the Pest (flat) sides of the river. (B)

DAY 3 – BUDAPEST – EMBARKATION

Transfer from Vienna via motorcoach to Budapest where you’ll be taken on a city tour. Visit the UNESCO listed Castle Hill district, Fisherman’s Bastion, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Houses of Parliament and the Chain Bridge. During the evening, be treated to an Illuminations cruise past the capital’s glittering river front. (B,D)

DAY – 4 MOHÁCS – PÉCS

Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to 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. 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 2000 years ago. (B,L,D)

DAY 5 – VUKOVAR, CROATIA – NOVI SAD, SERBIA

Vukovar is a Croatian symbol of resistance, which you’ll better understand on your city tour showcasing the Ovcara Memorial and Eltz Palace. 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 or hiking tour.

During the evening, visit Petrovaradin Fortress, a mighty stronghold no enemy has ever breached. (B,L,D)

DAY 6 – BELGRADE

Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour, which includes the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. Later, choose from three intriguing excursions. 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. Or enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian plum brandy, Šlivovitz, and delicious local delights at the Quburich Distillery. For those wishing a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour. (B,L,D)

DAY 7 – 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. The banks of the river dazzle with sheer-faced rocks that stretch high overhead along this natural border between Serbia and Romania. (B,L,D)

DAY 8 – VIDIN, BULGARIA

Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria overlooking the Danube. 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. (B,L,D)

DAY 9 – 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 and Bulgarian medieval art. (B,L,D)

DAY 10 – GIURGIU – DISEMBARKATION – BRASOV

Disembark the ship in Giurgiu and board a motorcoach to journey through the Romanian countryside to Bran, where you’ll visit Transylvania’s legendary Bran Castle, which is forever linked with the legend of Dracula. Afterwards, you’ll travel to the lovely village of Brasov Enjoy a tour of the town and then check into your hotel. (B)

DAY 11 – BRASOV – SIGHISOARA

Dracula lovers will be in for another treat with an excursion to Sighisoara, birthplace to Transylvania’s most notorious ruler, Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula. It’s hard to believe that this perfectly preserved UNESCO designated town filled with resplendent pastel-coloured buildings, stone lanes, medieval towers and pedestrian-friendly Old Town was Vlad’s place of birth. His home is still here, marked with a placard; however, today it houses a kitschy restaurant called “Casa Dracula.” (B)

DAY 12 – BRASOV – BUCHAREST

En route to Bucharest, stop in Sinaia to visit the enchanting Pele? Castle, considered by many to be one of the most stunning in Europe. Tour the castle, which was once the residence of the royal family. Later in the day, check into your hotel. (B)

DAY 13 – BUCHAREST

Bucharest, Romania’s capital, has earned its nickname, the “Little Paris of the East,” with its wide boulevards and Arc de Triomphe. Enjoy a visit to the city’s most impressive sites—including the historic city center and the Palace of the Parliament, second only to the Pentagon as the largest administrative building in the world. (B)

DAY 14 – DEPART BUCHAREST

Bid farewell to Bucharest as you prepare for your homeward flight. (B)

What’s included

From Budapest to Bucharest, touch history in Austria, 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.

SPACIOUS STATEROOMS

  • 7 nights luxury accommodation in an outside stateroom (most with twin balconies)
  • Computer for internet access
  • Entertainment-On-Demand in all staterooms featuring free high-speed internet access, movies, a music library and English language TV stations
  • Mini-fridge, desk and sitting area
  • Bottled water replenished daily

AN ARRAY OF AMENITIES

  • Wellness Program with a dedicated Wellness Host leading various exercise classes as well as discussions on healthy eating and relaxation techniques, both on board and on shore.
  • Personalized service from a highly trained Cruise Manager during both cruise and land programs
  • Internet and Wi-Fi access
  • Sun deck pool with swim-up bar and walking track
  • Fitness room, massage services and hair salon
  • Main Lounge with panoramic views and bar
  • Daily entertainment including cultural performances

AWARD-WINNING DINING

  • All onboard dining in a variety of venues
  • Regionally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients
  • The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant
  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner, La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Dinner, Captain’s Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs exclusive dining experience
  • Unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Unlimited sparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast
  • Sip & Sail Daily Cocktail Hour with complimentary wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks
  • Tapas, sandwiches, snacks and refreshments served daily in the Main Lounge

A WORLD OF EXPLORATION

  • Immersive tours in every destination
  • Gentle, regular, active and late-riser tour options
  • Bike tours and hikes
  • Special Interest Tours
  • Knowledgeable guides
  • Personal headset for easy exploration
  • Airport transfers with purchase of air from AmaWaterways

LAND PROGRAM

  • 2 nights hotel in Budapest at the Sofitel Chain Bridge (or similar), including city tour and daily breakfast
  • Transfer from the ship in Giurgiu to Bran Castle and then Brasov
  • 2 nights hotel in Brasov at the Kronwell Brasov Hotel (or similar), including a city tour, Sighisoara excursion and daily breakfast
  • Transfer from the hotel in Brasov to Peles Royal Castle in Sinaia and then to Bucharest
  • 2 nights hotel in Bucharest at the Athenee Palace Hilton (or similar), including city tour and daily breakfast

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