Day 1 Bucharest
When you arrive in Bucharest, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your perfectly situated hotel, including a one-night stay in Bucharest.
Welcome to the “Paris of the East”. The centre of Bucharest perfectly encapsulates a distinctive Parisian atmosphere, with wide avenues adorned by famous landmarks and quaint leafy boulevards that cross the city. (Dinner)
Day 2 Bucharest - Giurgiu
After enjoying the plush surrounds of your hotel this morning, you will get the opportunity to learn about some of Bucharest’s most iconic highlights during your guided drive around the city, including the elegant exterior of the Spring Palace, before enjoying some time to explore the leafy boulevards at leisure.
After your insightful tour, you will be transferred from Bucharest to Giurgiu, on the banks of the Danube, where a warm welcome awaits you from your captain and crew on board your Emerald Waterways Star-Ship. (Breakfast, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided drive through Bucharest
Day 3 Rousse – Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanasi
Today, you will have the opportunity to learn about Bulgarian history as you explore the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire with your local guide, an ancient city that was strategically positioned overlooking the surrounding area. On your included tour, you will have the opportunity to traverse its cobbled streets and witness its medieval fortifications.
Afterwards, you will be taken to neighbouring Arbanasi, situated overlooking the Yantra, a tributary of the Danube that is known for its many scenic gorges. Your local guide will enable you to explore the past, as your tour touches on a number of traditional houses and ancient churches.
If you would prefer to do something more active, then you could instead choose to embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, known for their famous 14th-century frescoes. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Tonight, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner.
EmeraldPLUS: A choir concert in Arbanasi
EmeraldACTIVE: Hike to the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
Day 4 Vidin
Viticulture forms the heart of life in the most western town in Bulgaria, where sun-kissed vineyards pepper the banks of the Danube and the region has prospered from winemaking for generations. Your included tour of Vidin will introduce you to a peaceful side of life that revolves around wine, as you weave through a local vineyard and learn about their produce, before enjoying a tasting. Afterwards, your local guide will take you to Baba Vida, a fortress that was originally constructed at the turn of the 10th century; known for being one of only a handful of beautifully preserved castles in the country.
If you are feeling more active, then you may instead choose to embark on a guided hike to Belogradchik Fortress, located on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains. It’s easy to imagine how this stronghold would have offered the Romans a perfect lookout point. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldACTIVE: Hike to Belogradchik Fortress
EmeraldEXCURSION: Visit a local vineyard for a tasting
Day 5 Donji Milanovac - Golubac
This morning, relax on board and admire your surroundings as we sail along the mighty Danube to Donji Milanovac, where a visit to the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, one of Europe’s best-hidden gems, awaits. Located right on the riverbanks, the Palaeolithic site is one of the most important of its kind on the continent, effortlessly capturing more than 8 millennia of history. Archaeologists from around the world have used this site to learn about a number of different Stone Age settlements and the way that prehistoric cultures moved across Europe. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
Day 6 Belgrade
Serbia’s vibrant capital is yours to explore today, as your local guide takes you on a coach tour through the heart of the city, highlighting its many landmarks and the iconic Belgrade Fortress. Your coach will pass through the centre, where you will be able to catch glimpses of Serbia’s turbulent recent past, set amongst now quiet and peaceful streets. Witness the ornate beauty of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest religious buildings in Europe, before stopping for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. If you are feeling more active, then you may instead choose to learn about Belgrade’s history during a guided bike tour.
This evening, you will be invited to the Horizon Lounge to watch a traditional Serbian folklore show. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A Serbian folklore evening show
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Belgrade
DiscoverMORE: A tour of the National Opera Theatre (extra expense)
Day 7 Osijek
Today, you will have the opportunity to explore one of Croatia’s postcard-worthy historic university towns, full of delightful waterfront promenades and quaint cobbled streets. As you walk around the city, you will notice that damage from the Homeland War is still visible, but it’s difficult to imagine turbulent times in this peaceful area.
Embark on a guided walk around Osijek Fortress, a true icon in the romantic old town. This traditional star fort houses a number of different buildings, including a military hospital and armouries, making it perfect for times of conflict. Your EmeraldPLUS experiences today are certain to be a highlight of your trip, as you dine on traditional cuisine with a local Croatian family and meet some students from a local village.
Enjoy an evening of sailing further up the Danube towards Hungary, before your farewell dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A home-hosted lunch with a Croatian family
EmeraldPLUS: Meet the local village students
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Osijek Fortress
Day 8 Kalocsa
In the morning, we will sail away from Osijek and on to Kalocsa, a place known for its paprika production and colourful festivals. Discovering Hungary’s culture is an easy task in Kalocsa, where traditional folk art can be found around every corner and old traditions pave the way for daily life.
Later, you will venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, to visit a traditional Puszta horse farm. Your guide will teach you about the traditional performances of the Magyar cowboys, and you will have the opportunity to witness some of their exceptional equestrian skills first hand, as they perform for you during their horse parade and showcase some of their memorable exercise drills. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: Visit a Puszta horse farm
Day 9 Budapest
After breakfast, leave the lush surrounds of your suite or stateroom and be transferred to your centrally-located accommodation in Budapest, where a two-night stay in the city is certain to delight. When you arrive, enjoy a guided tour of the city, touching on its two distinctive faces and the ornamented Buda Castle district. (Breakfast)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided coach tour of Budapest
Day 10 Budapest
Today, the storied capital of Budapest is yours to explore at leisure, perhaps crossing the Chain Bridge to see how the city differs in Buda and Pest, or stopping to try some delightful Hungarian treats. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 11 Budapest
After breakfast, it is time to bid farewell to your fellow passengers as you leave your centrally-located accommodation for your transfer to the airport, taking memories of a home-hosted Croatian experience and the ornamented Buda Castle district with you. (Breakfast)
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.