TUI East Danube Explorer 2021 River Cruise
From Hungary’s Paprika Capital to Serbia’s first city, this cruise navigates east to explore some of Europe’s less-trodden destinations.
Budapest, AKA the Pearl of the Danube, is first on your tick-list. This place is like a treasure chest of architecture, with its neo-Gothic Parliament Building, Art Nouveau bathhouses and Baroque opera house. The ship won’t leave until late this evening, so you can squeeze in some sightseeing before starting your adventure.
Just like the top belt of the Hungarian flag, red is the colour in Kalocsa. This town, just inland from the Danube River, is affectionately known as the ‘Paprika Capital of the World’, thanks to its bumper haul of flavoursome red peppers. Handsome architecture’s a running theme, too, as the town’s one of the oldest in the country, and the seat of one of Hungary’s four archbishops. There’s a milk-and-cookie-coloured cathedral and the sunflower-shaded Archbishop’s Palace. Folk art’s a big deal, and you can visit a museum where the best works are on display. Come afternoon, you’ll move onto Mohacs – a sleepy little town with a lot of history.
After passing through customs yesterday evening, you’ll cross the border into Serbia today. It might feel more like Greece, though. That’s because Novi Sad’s nicknamed the Athens of Serbia for its historical buildings and wealth of museums. Europe’s second-biggest fort sits across the river from the old town, which is dominated by a grand town hall. If you’re here in the summer, it’s worth making the half an hour walk from town to the riverfront beach.
This morning, you’ll see the Danube at its most scenic and natural. As you cruise the Iron Gates, it’s all about kicking back and absorbing the spectacular scenery. Towering cliffs soar up from either side of the river, and there are some man made touches to marvel at along the way. You’ll want to get your cameras ready for Decebal’s Head – a huge, 40-metre-high rock sculpture of the Dacian king. In the afternoon, you’ll pull up in Donji Milanovac where you’ll have the chance to set foot on Serbian soil for a second time.
Now, it’s time for Serbia's plucky capital, Belgrade. Architecture-wise, it’s a flurry of Art Nouveau masterpieces, socialist blocks, Ottoman relics and a pride-and-joy fort. Celts, Romans, Hungarians and Turks have all left their mark on the riverside citadel. You’ve got until night-time to explore, so you can also hunt down the Church of St Sava – one of the biggest Orthodox temples in the world.
You’ll briefly pass into Croatia today, as you visit Vukovar – a town, which sits directly on the country’s eastern border with Serbia. This place has a turbulent past – it was almost completely destroyed by a siege in 1991. You can learn all about it in the palace-turned-museum, or see the damage for yourself at the water tower. In the evening, you’ll cruise back past Mohacs.
You’ll pull into Budapest late afternoon. This gives you time to work your way around some of its top sights. Head up to Fisherman’s Bastion – the spired, neo-Gothic castle makes for a great viewing point. Then make the 15-minute walk across to Buda Castle. We’ll be staying put overnight, which means you can see the city by night, too.
You can spend the last few hours before your flight getting to know Budapest better. Watch the locals barter for fruit and veg at the Central Market Hall, or sip coffee in a super-grand setting at the stunning New York Café.
|6 September 2021||£1,119|
|4 October 2021||£949|
- Upgrade to All Inclusive from £252pp
- Direct flights from a range of UK airports with 20kg luggage allowance
- 7 nights on board TUI Skyla
- Airport transfers - to and from your ship
- Full board plus - breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Tea, coffee and juices with breakfast
- Wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner
- Barbecues on deck (weather permitting)
- Free WiFi (signal permitting)
- £120pp Experience Credit per 7 days
- All tips and port charges
- Paprika, palaces and a church performance in Kalocsa
- Walking tour of Pecs
- Walking tour of Mohacs
- Wine & history in and around Novi Sad
- The Krušedol Monastery & Novi Sad
- Lepenski Vir Archaeological site & Golubac Fortress
- Novi Sad & Krušedol Monastery (from Belgrade)
- Belgrade city tour & Folklore show
- Walking tour of Vukovar
- Dinner and dancing in Budapest
- Budapest city tour
- The great Hungarian plain