The Complete Danube 2021 Fred Olsen River Cruise

There’s so much to discover along the Danube, from spellbinding areas of natural beauty to some of Europe’s most inspirational cities, and on this epic three-week river adventure you’ll get to see, explore and immerse yourself in the very best of them, during time on board Brabant and ashore.

Sailing the extraordinary Danube all the way to the Danube Delta and back, taking in diverse highlights along the way, will be an experience to remember. You visit Vukovar, exhibiting Croatian history and culture; and in Serbia, have a chance to catch a traditional folklore show in Belgrade. Then, after a momentous navigation of the awe-inspiring Iron Gates gorge, Ruse – Bulgaria’s ‘Little Vienna – awaits you. You’re sure to be charmed by Ruse’s extravagant architecture, rock monastery and historic wineries. The picturesque Lower Danube, with its vast floodplains, forests and islands, is your route into Romania, where the pièce de résistance is a chance to take a boat safari tour of the blissful Danube Delta, an unspoilt natural wonderland, from St Gheorghe. There’s also stop at Galati, from where it’s possible to tour to the charming Moldovan village of Valeni, famed for its wines and traditional cuisine.

Budapest Parliament

Itinerary

Your incredible 20 day journey begins today in bustling Budapest.

Mohács is a sleepy little port on the Danube that wakes up during the frenzied annual Busójárás festival (late February or March), a pre-Lenten free-for-all carnival celebration where men adorned with freakish, horned wooden masks (busós) parade through town to scare off winter and welcome spring. But history buffs won’t want to give this place a miss: it’s a must-do for its significant role in Hungarian history. And last but not least, Mohács is an excellent place to start exploring the Mohács-Bóly White Wine Route.

Noted for its picturesque baroque architecture, Vukovar was a traditional Croatian town, situated at the meeting point of the Vuka river with the Danube. However, in 1991, this all changed with the war for Croatia’s independence, and the town was virtually decimated.

Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture.

Situated on the Danube River, Galati is part of the historical Romanian region of Moldovia. During the 1960’s, the town was linked with Coventry, due to its post-war similarities and volume of industrial investments.

Many of the buildings here are renowned for their architecture, dating back to the 18th century. The oldest building here is the Fortified Precista Church, and is typical of Romanian architecture, with a bell tower and battlements for observation of the Danube Valley, and is well worth visiting. It is said there may even be a tunnel from the church under the Danube River.

Hidden away deep within the breathtaking Danube Delta, where the Danube River empties into the Black Sea on Romania’s east coast, the fishing village of St Gheorghe – not to be confused with the Transylvanian city of the same name – is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Situated at the end of the winding Sfântu Gheorghe branch of the Danube, St Gheorghe is surrounded by simply spectacular wetland landscapes that must be seen to be believed, and for many visitors is the starting point for unforgettable tours taking in the many wonders of the Danube Delta. The chance to ride a small boat into the heart of the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and explore the marshlands in search of gorgeous flora and wonderful wildlife – including pelicans and hundreds of other bird species – is an experience that’s not-to-be-missed. Alternatively, you could take a short, 30-minute walk to the coast to discover St Gheorghe’s beautifully unspoilt, eerily quiet golden sand beach.

Located on the River Danube, Fetesti is the Gateway to Bucharest, and a popular port for river cruises to Romania. Brabant will dock here to allow guests to visit the atmospheric city of Bucharest.

The city is often compared with Berlin, and upon arrival at Bucharest, you can see why. Here, the heady mix of 17th and 18th century orthodox churches and graceful belle époque villas, tucked away between trendy cafes and gardens beg to be explored, and the stunning Cişmigiu Garden must surely be included on your must-see list. With shady walks, a lake, cafes and many benches, the flora here is astounding. Don’t miss the imposing Palace of Parliament, built in the 1980’s during the height of Communism and is said to be the largest Parliament building in the world, housing the National Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the Romanian Parliament. Another important, and relatively recent, historical site to visit is Revolution Square, where Ceaușescu's regime was ended in 1989.

Located on the banks of the River Danube, Cetate is nestled between Calafat and Turnu Severin, and until the middle of the 20th century, was a leading agricultural port, exporting wheat and flour to Budapest and German cities on the Danube. From the late 1990’s, Cetate reinvented itself as a cultural hub, with many buildings having been restored, and playing host to sculptors, poets and art exhibitors.

Situated on the left bank of the Danube, Drobeta-Turnu Severin – shortened to Severin in conversation – is situated close to the spectacular Iron Gates. The stunning Iron Gates gorge is part of a nature park offering opportunities for bird watching and visiting caves, or awe-inspiring views to experiences as part of a cruise on the Danube River.

Situated on the banks of the River Danube, Donji Milanovic is a pretty Serbian town with panoramas stretching between towering cliff faces, and has earned itself the moniker of the ‘town of 100,000 roses’.

Although Novi Sad is arguably not as well-known as Belgrade, there is plenty to suggest that Serbia’s second city in fact has much more to offer than its capital. Energetic, creative and multi-cultural, Novi Sad is an expression of modern Serbia, with its bustling pedestrianised thoroughfares and squares, trendy bars and cafés, thriving music scene and interesting museums and galleries. Throw the city’s abundance of historic landmarks into the mix too and it’s easy to understand why Novi Sad is to become the first ever non-EU European Capital of Culture in 2021.

Mohács has a number of fascinating churches: the 18th-century Baroque Protestant church, the Serbian Greek Orthodox church and the Avas church with its imposing bell tower. The central square is dominated by the Battlefield Memorial Church, the so-called Votive Church; when it was built in 1929, earth was supplied for the foundations from over 3,000 towns and villages around Hungary. On one side of the central square is the Town Hall, an intriguing Moorish style building, with cream and pink stonework and green domes.

Although Kalocsa is the famed ‘paprika capital of the world’, there is much more to recommend this quaint, culture-rich town than the history of Hungary’s ‘red gold’. Founded by St Stephen – the First King of Hungary – over 1000 years ago, Kalocsa is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and among the country’s most important religious centres. The town is also renowned for producing vividly coloured folk embroideries and flowered porcelains.

Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, which – with its soaring rococo spire – is the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more. The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.

Beautiful Bratislava – Slovakia’s engrossing capital – is one of the most intriguing, immersive and diverse cities in Europe, combining contemporary delights and an abundance of historic highlights with the scenic beauty of the picturesque Danube River. Unlike many other European capitals, the city is laid-back rather than frenetic and, despite considerable growth in recent years, retains an enchanting small town charm.

At the south-western entrance of the beautiful, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley lie the charming town of Emmersdorf and the historic city of Melk – two of Lower Austria’s prettiest and most popular holiday destinations. Whether you choose to explore one or both of these small, yet attraction-packed settlements situated on opposite sides of the River Danube, you’re in for an enjoyable and rewarding experience here during your Danube River cruise.

On the German-Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers sits the charming Bavarian city of Passau. Nicknamed the ‘City of Three Rivers’, pretty Passau has made the most of its unique location throughout its fascinating history. For centuries its waterways were vital trading routes, bringing wealth which helped to shape and develop the beautiful old streets here; while today they serve as gateways for visitors stopping-by to take in the city’s historic highlights and cultural delights.

The largest and brightest shining of the many jewels in Austria’s crown, Vienna is without doubt among the most beautiful and captivating capitals in Europe. A leading artistic and cultural hub, the city was once home to many of the great composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert, and is renowned for its contribution to theatre, the arts, opera and classical music over the years. It is also revered for boasting one of the most architecturally diverse historic centres found anywhere on the continent.

As well as architectural marvels, Vienna is – as you might expect from such a culture-rich city – also home to an abundance of fantastic galleries and museums. Among the city’s best cultural venues are the Museum of Fine Arts, which exhibits the world’s largest collection of Bruegel paintings; the Rinsgstrasse’s Kunsthistorisches Museum; and the many institutions of the MuseumsQuartier, such as Leopold Museum, the Museum Moderner Kunst, Architekturzentrum and Kunsthalle. No time spent in Vienna is complete without visiting the neo-renaissance State Opera, Musikverein, the Staatsoper and the Haus der Musik museum to immerse yourself in the City of Music’s famous musical heritage.

Your journey ends today in Budapest.

Price Guide

Date Price (pp)
4 October 2021 £4,199

What's Included

  • Return flights & non UK transfers
  • Comfortable en suite accommodation with TV, hairdryer, safe and individually controlled air conditioning
  • Tempting cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with ‘early riser’ breakfast, breakfast buffet, casual lunch, five-course à la carte dinner and late-night snacks
  • Complimentary tea & coffee station 24 hours a day
  • Complimentary afternoon tea & coffee with sandwiches and cakes
  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner and Captain’s Gala Dinner
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Use of leisure facilities including Fitness Room and Wellness Tub
  • Lounge music by pianist, or duo every day
  • All local taxes and port charges (where collectable in advance)
  • Complimentary bike hire