Carpathian Mountains to the Land of the Bears Spirit of the Danube River Cruise

Uncover the historic highlights of Budapest before Spirit of the Danube takes you on a scenic journey through the famous Iron Gates Gorge and wildlife rich Danube Delta, stopping en route for a walking tour of Novi Sad and visit to Rousse.
Enjoy an overnight stay at the locally rated 4-star Novotel Bucharest (4Q) and see some of the city’s main attractions such as the Palace of Parliament and Cretulsecu Palace. Continue through the Carpathian Mountains for a three-night stay at the locally rated 5-star Aro Palace (4Q) in the heart of Brasov. While here, discover the charred walls of the Black Church and the castle that inspired the creation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 14th-century Bran Castle. You can also visit the UNESCO-listed fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer, take a tour of the bear sanctuary at Zarnesti and go bear watching in the forests of the Carpathian Mountains during optional excursions. Visit the Red Lake at the foot of the Eastern Carpathians before spending the final two nights of your holiday at the locally rated 4-star Best Western Bucovina (3Q). Enjoy an included visit to the Painted Monasteries of Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet and admire the 15th- and 16th-century religious frescoes.

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Spirit of the Danube 2022 Cruises
Brasov

Itinerary

Fly to Hungary's capital and embark Spirit of the Danube. Enjoy a welcome cocktail reception and dinner on board as your ship remains moored here this overnight.

Your ship remains moored in Hungary’s capital until lunchtime and this morning an included tour will reveal some of the city's highlights, from the UNESCO-listed Buda Castle that sits above the river on the west bank, to the Hungarian Parliament buildings in Pest on the east bank.
Alternatively, perhaps join an included culinary walking tour, which features a tram ride to the First Strudel House for a live demonstration, followed by a walk through the city to sample authentic chimney cake and to visit Central Market Hall where you can try authentic Hungarian salami.
Set sail over lunch and cruise through the remainder of the day and night.

Arrive late morning in this city where European and Balkan cultures meet, with this stretch of the Danube acting as a natural border.
Novi Sad is the capital of Vojvodina, the northern Autonomous Province of Serbia. Situated on the Danube between Budapest and Belgrade, it’s a treasured regional and cultural centre. You can enjoy a short included walking tour of the old town centre, which boasts a fine selection of 18th and 19th-century architecture. Proceeding through the streets to an old family wine cellar, which is also a producer of local honey. Whilst here you have the opportunity to sample the wines and honey.
Set sail again this evening.

This morning sail through a particularly scenic stretch of the Danube – the world-famous Iron Gate gorge, between Romania and Serbia, the largest and longest in Europe, and the Iron Gates is the narrowest and deepest part. No doubt you'll want to head out on deck to admire the scenery, as the Danube passes through the Carpathian mountains and the foothills of the Balkans. Plus you can follow proceedings as Spirit of the Danube manoeuvres through two locks by the Djerdap power stations.
Continue sailing overnight.

This morning you will arrive in Rousse, the largest port in Bulgaria and often referred to as ‘Little Vienna’. Perhaps discover the city on an optional tour this morning.
Resume your cruise at lunchtime and sail through the day and night to Romania.

Enjoy the scenery as you cruise the wildlife-rich Danube Delta. Much of it is a protected reserve, as the meandering river, reed beds and groves of willow, oak and poplar provide sanctuary for over 300 species of bird. This afternoon you may like to join an optional small boat cruise further into this UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve.
Set sail at lunchtime and cruise overnight.

Arrive in Fetesti this morning and disembark your ship after breakfast before continuing by coach to Bucharest for an included tour of the city. Discover some of its highlights, such as the Palace of the Parliament, Cotroceni Palace where the President of Romania resides, and historic Cretulescu Palace.
Tonight you’ll stay in the heart of the capital, at the locally rated 4-star Novotel Bucharest (4Q) with dinner included.

Check out after breakfast and drive north of Bucharest, pausing at Peles Castle.
From here your journey becomes more scenic as you ascend into the Carpathian Mountains before arriving in Brasov, where you’ll stay at the locally rated 5-star Aro Palace (4Q), in the heart of the city, for three nights with breakfasts included, plus dinner at the hotel tonight.

Take a short drive to the centre of Brasov for an included tour. Look out for the 14th-century Black Church, whose interior was destroyed by a fire in 1689 which left the outer walls and roof blackened. You’ll also visit 14th-century Bran Castle, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, even though the author never visited Transylvania! It is thought that Vlad the Impaler, ruler of this area – Walachia – in the 15th century, may have been imprisoned here.

Optional excursions this morning include a visit to the fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer, or you may like to take a guided tour of the Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti, where over 130 bears are cared for. This afternoon another optional excursion takes you to an observatory in the forests of the Carpathian Mountains to watch bears in the wild.

Check out after breakfast and head to the Red Lake on an included excursion.
The lake was formed after a landslide caused by an earthquake in 1838. Admire the mountain scenery of the Eastern Carpathians and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing your transfer to Bukovina. You’ll spend the next two nights at the locally rated 4-star Best Western Bucovina (3Q), with dinner included at your hotel this evening.

Today you’ll visit the Painted Monasteries of Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet on an included excursion. The exterior walls of these byzantine churches are decorated with elaborate 15th- and 16th-century frescoes featuring portraits of saints and prophets. Their purpose was to share stories of the Bible with the onlooker. Lunch is included at a local restaurant and this evening dinner will be accompanied by folk entertainment at a local restaurant.

Check out of your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Price Guide

Date Price from (pp)
18 April 2022 £2,749
24 August 2022 £2,849

What's Included

  • 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)
  • 6 nights on board Spirit of the Danube
  • 6 night hotel stays in Bucharest, Brasov & Bucovina
  • 30 meals: 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 10 dinners
  • All gratuities on board
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Saga cruise director & Saga cruise escort on board

Excursion Guide

  • Bucharest city tour
  • Peles Castle
  • Medieval Brasov and Bran Castle
  • Red Lake and Bicaz Gorges
  • Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet
  • Tour of Rousse
  • Bucharest city tour
  • Danube Delta exploration
  • The bear sanctuary at Zarnesti
  • The fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer
  • Wild bear watching