From the Blue Danube to the Black Sea Coast Spirit of the Danube River Cruise
Your holiday begins on the Bulgarian Riviera with a two-night hotel stay at the locally rated 5-star Grand Hotel & Spa Primoretz Burgas (4Q), set in the Burgas Sea Garden. From here perhaps join a birdwatching trip to a nearby nature conservation centre teeming with birdlife, and enjoy a visit to the seaside town of Sozopol during optional excursions. An included walking tour will reveal the UNESCO-listed old town of Nessebar en route to Varna, where you’ll spend two nights at the locally rated 5-star Rosslyn Dimyat Hotel (4Q). See the city’s highlights, such as the cathedral and Roman baths on an included tour, which also visits the Retro Museum.
Then, in Silistra, you will step aboard Spirit of the Danube for a seven-night cruise along the Danube to Budapest. Along the way you’ll visit Rousse with its belle époque architecture, enjoy included tours of Pleven and Belgrade, and have the opportunity to experience a performance of traditional horsemanship in Puszta on an optional excursion. In Budapest there is a choice of included excursions: a culinary walking tour, which visits the First Strudel House and Central Market Hall, or a city tour of Buda and Pest.
Fly to Varna and transfer to Burgas, a journey of approximately two hours, where you’ll stay on a half-board basis for the next two nights.
Your hotel, the locally rated 5-star Grand Hotel & Spa Primoretz Burgas (4Q), is located in the Burgas Sea Garden next to the beach. Facilities include two restaurants, three bars and a spa and wellness centre with a gym and indoor pool. There are 87 air-conditioned rooms, each with cable television, telephone, cable internet access, a minibar (extra charge), safety deposit box and hairdryer. You have the rest of the day to settle in and perhaps do a little local exploring… Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.
This morning you’ll have the opportunity to embark on an optional birdwatching trip or join an optional half-day visit to Sozopol, one of Bulgaria’s most popular seaside resorts.
Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Perhaps go exploring the fourth largest city in Bulgaria. Wander through the streets window-shopping or head to the beach front to discover the bars, cafes and casinos. Stroll through Marine Park, a scenic walking route along the coast where you might see art installations, live music and other events. Or venture further afield to Lake Pomorie and treat yourself to a therapeutic mudbath!
Check out of your hotel after breakfast and board your coach for Varna. En route you’ll stop off at Nessebar which you can explore on an included walking tour, with lunch included. Virtually an island, the walled UNESCO-listed old town on a man-made rocky peninsular is linked to the new town on the mainland by just a narrow isthmus or strip of land. Explore the narrow lanes and discover remains of Roman and Middle Age forts, the many Byzantine churches, and wooden houses from the National Revival period, of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Afterwards, continue your transfer to Varna, where you’ll stay on a half-board basis at the locally rated 5-star Rosslyn Dimyat Hotel (4Q). The hotel has a central location next to the Seaside Garden, Varna’s popular landscaped coastal park. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant and lobby bar with a large terrace. There are 95 bedrooms, most of which have views of the Seaside Garden and bay.
Spend the morning exploring Varna, the largest city on the Black Sea coast, during an included tour.
Once one of the most important trading centres on the Black Sea Varna is still referred to as the ‘Sea Capital’ of Bulgaria. Highlights include the cathedral, the impressive Roman baths, a selection of museums and a large park where locals and visitors alike can stroll or visit the planetarium or aquarium. Enjoy an included visit to the fascinating Retro Museum, where Bulgaria’s socialist era has been lovingly recreated. To a background of Bulgarian music of the period you can view displays of artefacts of the time – 1944 to 1989 – from cars to waxwork images of famous people to everyday household items.
This afternoon you may like to join an optional wine tasting session or visit to the Balchik Botanical Gardens and Queen Palace.
Leave your hotel and transfer to Silistra where you embark Spirit of the Danube.
Rousse has been nicknamed 'Little Vienna' due to its belle époque architecture.
The city prospered from its location on the Danube, becoming Bulgaria’s main port, so it’s home to many grand buildings, a good example of which is the Building of the Tax Administration with its elaborate facade. Perhaps join an optional morning tour before your cruise continues shortly after lunch.
Arrive in Svistov early this morning and set off on an included half-day excursion to Pleven where you’ll walk through the town with your guide to the Pleven Panorama and afterwards enjoy a glass of Bulgarian wine in a hotel. The ancient city is known for its museums and is famous for the 1877 siege which saw Bulgaria break away from Ottoman rule.
This afternoon an optional excursion visits Veliko Tarnovo. The town sits across three hills beside the dramatic gorge of the Yantra River with a medieval fortress complex that was the centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire, which ruled the region from the 12th to 14th centuries. Excursion participants will rejoin the ship in Nikopol where you moor overnight.
Cruise along a particularly scenic stretch of the river, as the Danube passes through the southern stretch of the dramatic Carpathian mountains and the foothills of the Balkans to the ‘Iron Gates’, a gorge framed by sheer cliffs. The passage was infamous in ancient times as the water level was much lower, making navigation treacherous.
Your cruise continues this evening and overnight.
Arrive in Serbia’s capital early this morning and join an included city tour. Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe and the meeting point of Eastern and Western Europe.
Depart after lunch and cruise to Novi Sad where you pause briefly for the opportunity to join an optional tour before meeting your ship in Mohács in Hungary.
Arrive in Mohács this morning with a couple of hours to explore the home of some of Hungary’s most exciting folk traditions. Perhaps join an optional full-day excursion through the Hungarian lowlands where you can enjoy a performance of traditional horsemanship, rejoining your ship when she pauses briefly in Kalocsa.
Spirit of the Danube continues cruising to Budapest.
After an early arrival, you’ll have the whole day to explore the many treasures of Budapest.
This morning, uncover the city’s thriving food and cultural scene on an included culinary walking tour, which visits the First Strudel House and Central Market Hall, or join an included city tour that will reveal the main highlights. A city of two halves – Buda and Pest – the Hungarian capital is a cosmopolitan, culture-rich centre. Buda is the older part, with cobbled streets and medieval architecture, while Pest is the administrative and commercial centre, with wide avenues and 19th-century public buildings. The beautiful Parliament Building dominates the Pest waterfront. St Stephen’s Basilica is also in Pest, and home to a holy relic of St Stephen, the first king – his mummified right hand! The Fisherman’s Bastion has seven towers, each one symbolising one of the Magyar tribes that came to Hungary in 896, and from here you can enjoy superb city views. Heroes’ Square, flanked by the Palace of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art, is another of Hungary’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This afternoon, perhaps join an excursion to Gödöllo Palace or to the Lazar Equestrian Park Horse Farm. Your ship moors overnight in Budapest.
This morning, disembark Spirit of the Danube after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
|Date||Price from (pp)|
|12 June 2022^||£2,849|
|21 September 2022||£2,749|
- Low deposit of only £99pp
- VIP door-to-door travel service
- Optional travel insurance or a discount of £54 if not required†
- A selection of return transport including UK flights, Eurostar or coach travel (subject to availability and some may carry a supplement)
- 7 nights on board Spirit of the Danube
- 4 night hotel stay in Brasov
- 31 meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 11 dinners
- All gratuities on board
- Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Saga cruise director & Saga cruise escort on board
- Budapest city tour OR Budapest culinary walking tour
- Belgrade and the Kalemegdan Fortress
- Pleven Panoramic
- Varna city tour and Retro Museum
- Walking tour of Nessebar
- Trip to Sozopol
- Birdwatching in Burgas
- Wine tasting in Varna
- Balchik Botanical Gardens and the Queen Palace
- Tour of Rousse
- Veliko Tarnovo
- Novi Sad
- Kalocsa and Puszta
- Gödöllo Palace
- Lazar Equestrian Park