From the Balkan Mountains to Vienna Spirit of the Rhine River Cruise

Sail the Danube where it runs parallel to Bulgaria’s Balkan Mountain range from Rousse to Nikopol. Visit the Pleven panorama depicting the events of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877 and perhaps join an optional excursion to medieval Veliko Tarnovo where the historic walls of the Tsarevets fortress encircle the Royal Palace.
Continue through the dramatic scenery of the Iron Gates, a gorge framed by sheer cliffs, to arrive in the Serbian capital Belgrade. Enjoy an included tour of the city and visit to Kalemegdan Fortress, built and rebuilt numerous times between the 2nd and 18th centuries. See Hungarian horsemanship during an optional excursion to Kalocsa and Puszta, before exploring a trio of capital cities: Budapest, Bratislava and the musical city of Vienna, birthplace of the waltz.

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Itinerary

Fly to Bucharest before transferring to Rousse, where you will embark Spirit of the Rhine. Look forward to your welcome drink reception and dinner on board.

Nicknamed 'Little Vienna' due to its belle époque architecture, Rousse prospered from its location on the Danube, becoming Bulgaria’s main port. As a result it’s home to many grand buildings, such as the Building of the Tax Administration with its elaborate facade. Perhaps join an optional morning tour, which also visits the only active rock monastery in Bulgaria or embark on a full-day excursion to Veliko Tarnovo, rejoining your ship in Svistov, where she will moor overnight.

Enjoy a coach trip to Pleven to visit a historic panorama depicting the events of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877 on an included excursion this morning. Rejoin your ship in the town of Nikopol, which features the remains of a ruined fortress, a 13th century church and a drinking fountain constructed in the second century. After a brief visit Spirit of the Rhine will begin sailing towards Belgrade.

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 this morning in the Serbian capital where you’ll enjoy an included tour and visit to Kalemegdan Fortress, built and rebuilt numerous times between the 2nd and 18th centuries. This afternoon perhaps join an optional tour of Novi Sad. Rejoin Spirit of the Rhine in Novi Sad and begin the overnight journey to Mohács.

Depart for Kalocsa, stopping en route for the opportunity to join an optional full-day excursion through the Hungarian lowlands to Puszta, where you can watch traditional horsemanship, rejoining your ship when she pauses in Kalocsa late this afternoon. Spirit of the Rhine will then continue cruising overnight to Budapest.

Arrive this morning in Budapest and perhaps uncover the city’s 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 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 you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Lazar Equestrian Park Horse Farm on an optional excursion. Your ship remains moored in Budapest overnight.

This morning you may like visit Gödöllo Palace on an optional excursion before your ship begins the journey to Bratislava.

Arrive this morning in the capital of Slovakia and enjoy an included trip aboard the miniature city tourist train past Bratislava Castle, before disembarking in the Old Town for a walking tour to see the Archbishop’s Palace, St Martin’s Cathedral, the Market Square, Town Hall and more…. This afternoon you may like to join either an optional visit to the UFO observation tower for beer tasting with panoramic views or visit a Majolica pottery workshop. Spirit of the Rhine cruises late this afternoon to arrive in Vienna tonight.

Disembark your ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Price Guide

Date Price from (pp)
28 July 2022^ £2,199
6 August 2022 £2,199

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)
  • 9 nights on board Spirit of the Rhine
  • 26 meals: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners
  • All gratuities on board
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Saga cruise director & Saga cruise escort on board
  • 5 included excursions & experiences

Excursion Guide

  • Pleven panoramic
  • Belgrade and the Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Tour of Budapest OR culinary walking tour of Budapest
  • Tour of Bratislava