Budapest To The Black Sea 2022 Riviera Travel River Cruise
On this incredible river cruise through the Balkans, you start by exploring the stunning sights of Kalocsa, Pecs and Belgrade with its magnificent Kalemegdan Fortress. Then it’s off to Pleven passing through the Iron Gates Gorge and the Djerdap locks before visiting Bucharest. Known as ‘little Paris’ this gem of a capital city will capture your heart with its romantic buildings and tree-lined boulevards
Then you explore the very best of The Danube Delta and enjoy a cruise through Europe’s largest area of wetlands and marshlands – a UNESCO-listed site. From here you see Constanta where you can explore it’s charming Old Town and museums, Veliko Tarnovo and the village of Arbanassi.
After taking a scenic drive to the spectacular rock formations at Belogradchik you visit Lepenski Vir – one of the most important Mesolithic archaeological sites in Serbia before travelling to Novi Sad, Osijek and Vukovar. Finally, on the final leg of this stunning river cruise you discover the imperial city of two halves – Budapest.
You fly to Budapest, where a coach transfers you to your five-star cruise ship, moored in this beautiful city. The friendly crew will welcome you on board and help you settle into your spacious, luxuriously appointed suite. The ship remains here overnight, so watch dusk descend over Hungary’s capital as you enjoy your first dinner on board.
Your adventure begins this morning when you arrive in Kalocsa, a city whose 1,000-year-old lore swirls with tales of warlike bishops, saintly kings, rampaging Ottomans and Magyar heroes.
You can choose to enjoy a walking tour of the town seeing the sights plus the fascinating Paprika Museum, alternatively you can take the short drive to a paprika house on the outskirts of the town to learn more about its production before continuing on a scenic drive into the Puszta, Hungary’s Great Plain, a hauntingly atmospheric prairie whose spirit is burnt into the Magyar soul. Return to the ship for lunch as your elegant vessel seamlessly glides away from her mooring. Later, enjoy a welcome drink with the Captain in the lounge before descending the elegant staircase to the restaurant for a special Welcome Dinner.
This morning arrive in historic Belgrade. The only European capital built at the confluence of two rivers, the city has been fought over numerous times, most recently during the Second World War and the Kosovo War, when it faced months of NATO airstrikes. After lunch, you are free to explore this fascinating capital, still one of the least visited in Europe. Maybe you’d like to wander the Old Town’s lattice of winding streets, pausing for a welcome drink in one of the grand coffee houses or visit the bubbling bohemian quarter, which is being transformed into a 21st-century cultural hub by an influx of creative talent. As the evening draws in, relax with a stroll or a drink on the Sun Deck before tonight’s culinary delights.
For many, today will be a highlight of the cruise as you begin your passage through the magnificent Iron Gates Gorge. One of the most memorable stretches of the Danube, this is where the river cuts its mighty path between the Carpathian and Balkan mountain ranges, forming part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania.
On a day like this, the spacious Sun Deck comes into its own. Watch the spectacular scenery drift by from the comfort of a sun lounger or maybe enjoy a drink with new friends. You may even find an ice cream being served on the Bow Deck, which is beautifully attired with soft furnishings and stylish wooden fittings.
After breakfast drive across the Danubian Plain to Pleven. Surrounded by several thousand acres of parks and forest, the town is famed as the scene of a major siege in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877.
During lunch, the ship will slip its moorings for an afternoon’s cruising, so why not enjoy the invigorating river breeze up on the Sun Deck? It will soon be time for dinner, so reconvene with your fellow travellers for an aperitif in the bar.
Today you'll visit Bucharest, with its tree-lined boulevards and elegant belle-époque villas – echoes of the hedonistic 1900s when it earned the nickname ‘Little Paris’ – dotted among the utilitarian architectural legacy of Communist rule.
On your guided tour you'll see the Palace of the Parliament, which really has to be seen to be believed, and the city’s other main sights, such as the former royal palace – now the national art museum – and the Athenaeum with its impressive Baroque cupola and remarkable acoustics. There’s also time to explore this vibrant city under your own steam.
Lunch isn’t included today. Return to the ship with time to relax before dinner. Perhaps borrow a board game or novel from the library or book yourself in for a manicure or pedicure at the on-board Hair and Nail Salon.
Overnight you'll have cruise towards the city of Tulcea, clinging to seven hills overlooking the river and regarded as the gateway to the vast Danube Delta on the edge of the Black Sea. After lunch, disembark to take an excursion on smaller boats into the heart of this inspirational and tranquil place. Your guide helps to point out some of the fascinating flora and fauna – you could spot a colourful kingfisher or a catfish darting beneath the water’s glassy surface.
As dusk begins to fall on this magical landscape, your ship will slip its moorings again. Enjoy another delicious dinner, maybe tonight choosing a more intimate dining experience in the Bistro at the stern.
Today begin your return passage, but these lands still have so much to reveal. Hold on to your hat up on deck, as this area is well known for its windy weather and windmills were once a common sight. There is free time to explore, so perhaps visit one of the museums or simply enjoy the sea air with a portside walk.
Crossing into Bulgaria, arrive in Rousse, a city known as ‘Little Vienna’ for its wealth of fine 19th-century buildings. A scenic drive brings us to possibly Bulgaria’s most beautiful city – Veliko Tarnovo, the ‘City of the Tsars’ and former capital, located in a rugged landscape entangled by the meanderings of the Yantra River.
Later head to the village of Arbanassi, set high on a plateau. End the day with a visit to the Churches of Ivanovo, a fascinating complex of churches, chapels and monasteries hewn into the solid rock during the 12th century and with frescoes dating back to the 14th century, so exquisite and historically significant they are now on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This morning why not take a cup of coffee up on deck and soak up the spectacular open spaces of this landscape, where thick woods of fragrant pine and silver fir cling to the banks, forming a hazy outline on the distant horizon? After lunch we moor in Vidin, home to the Baba Vidin, the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in the country. From here, drive into this rugged wilderness and suddenly the horizon is dotted with huge sandstone cliffs, in a spectrum of orange-reds and yellows, eroded into huge, bizarre shapes.
Return to the ship for dinner. Later on, maybe enjoy a drink in the lounge with your companions while the resident pianist plays gentle melodies.
This morning’s cruising brings us once again to the dramatic splendour of the Iron Gates Gorge, at the heart of Serbia’s Djerdap National Park. The gorge was cut out of the Carpathian mountains over millions of years as the Danube drained the Pannonian Sea. Why not enjoy the splendour of this stretch of the river from a sun lounger on deck or through the panoramic windows in the ship’s lounge?
This afternoon we moor in Donji Milanovac and take the short drive to Lepenski Vir, one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe, dating back to 9,500 BC. It consists of a series of Mesolithic villages located on a high terrace overlooking the Danube. Your guided tour will reveal more about this fascinating place and how these ancient people lived.
After a lazy day moor in Novi Sad, Serbia’s second-largest city, in the shadow of the Fruska Gora mountain, its fertile slopes terraced with vineyards. Moor here this evening, so why not enjoy an after-dinner stroll and take in the relaxed ambience of this lovely city?
Today wcross into Croatia and stop in Vukovar, the country’s largest river port, located at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka Rivers. Enjoy a guided tour, seeing the main sights and learning about the city’s tumultuous past. You'll then drive to the historic city of Osijek, which hugs the banks of the River Drava. Explore the Old Town – behind its thick stone walls lies an intriguing market square, lined by handsome public buildings with pastel-coloured facades. In the Upper City you’ll see the neo-Gothic cathedral, its red-brick spire soaring above the rooftops.
This evening cross into Hungary again, as the chef presents tonight’s appetising menu.
Enjoy a guided tour of Budapest, seeing all the main sights of this lovely city including the iconic Parliament Building, the National Gallery with its huge collection of Hungarian masterpieces, and the Matthias Church with its intricate rose windows. The rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps head back to the Castle District to take in the panoramic views or explore one of the city’s many museums and galleries.
The Captain’s Dinner is served this evening, with a superb menu reflecting the countries and regions we have visited. As the sun sets on this memorable city, retire to the bar with your fellow travellers to reflect on all you have seen during this exceptional cruise.
Today at the appropriate time you return to the airport for your return flight.
|20 May 2022||£3,599|
|24 May 2022||£3,599|
|26 May 2022||£3,599|
|7 June 2022||£3,599|
|9 June 2022||£3,599|
|17 June 2022||£3,599|
|23 June 2022||£3,599|
|1 September 2022||£3,699|
|2 September 2022||£3,699|
|29 September 2022||£3,499|
|30 September 2022||£3,239|
- Deposit of only £250pp
- Return flights from the UK - regional airports are available but may carry a supplement
- 14 Nights on board MS Oscar Wilde, MS Thomas Hardy or MS William Wordsworth
- All meals on board, including Welcome Cocktails & Dinner & Captains Dinner
- Sixteen visits and tours
- 5 Star service from English-speaking crew & knowledgeable local guides
- Complimentary WIFI on board
- All Port charges, airport taxes & overseas transfers
- Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager
Dining Drinks Package
- Dining drinks package from £109pp
- Draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rose house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu are included with lunch & dinner.
- The drinks package must be purchased prior to departure. Ask the team for more information