Day 1 Arrive in Istanbul, Turkey
Free time to relax and begin soaking up the unique atmosphere of this city built on two continents. At 6 pm, meet your Local Host for a welcome get-together.
Day 2 Istanbul
Founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, renamed Constantinople in the year 330, and finally called Istanbul, the city on the Bosporus remains one of the most exciting places in the world. Its strategic location as a gateway between the Orient and the Occident, the Islamic and the Christian worlds, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, predestined it for a turbulent history. Guided sightseeing includes Emperor Justinian’s HAGIA SOPHIA and Sultan Ahmet’s BLUE MOSQUE, magnificent monuments to two competing world religions that stand peacefully side by side; TOPKAPI SERAGLIO, residence of the Ottoman Sultans; and the GRAND BAZAAR.(B)
Day 3 Istanbul
A free day in Istanbul to explore on your own. Or, why not join a full-day optional excursion to the fabulous archaeological site of Ephesus? Fly to Izmir, then travel to the city which later became the capital of Roman Asia Minor. When St. Paul arrived here he was so awestruck that he asked, “Is there a greater city?” Visit the Library of Celsus, the Amphitheater, and listen to exciting “inside stories” of life in ancient Ephesus as you walk down its “Champs Elysées.” Also visit the House of the Virgin Mary before returning to Istanbul for a final evening in Turkey.(B)
Day 4 Istanbul–Bucharest, Romania
Fly to Bucharest! Its wide boulevards and Arc de Triomphe have gained this city the name “Paris of the East.”
Day 5 Bucharest–Oltenita (Embarkation)
Much recent history has taken place in Romania’s capital city. During your included tour this morning, see the impressive Parliament Building, the second-largest building in the world, after the Pentagon. The Royal Palace Square was the scene of riots in 1989, which finally led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. The former Royal Palace now houses the NATIONAL ART MUSEUM. This afternoon a motorcoach ride takes you to Oltenita, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception.(B,D)
Day 6 Harsova. Excursion to Murfatlar
Day 7 St. George, Danube Delta
Maybe this morning you will wake up early to watch the sunrise over the Black Sea. Later, enjoy a small celebration to mark “Km 0.” From its source in the Black Forest, to its delta at the Black Sea, the Danube measures 2,845 kilometerss in length. The Km markings can be clearly seen on the river banks the length of the river, and today it’s time to celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey, at “Km 0.” This afternoon, enjoy an excursion into the Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The World Heritage List includes over 800 properties with cultural and/or natural heritage of global significanceand the best preserved of Europe’s deltas, hosting over 300 species of birds as well as 45 species of freshwater fish.(B,L,D)
Day 8 Cernavoda . Excursion to Constanta
Cernavoda lies at the western end of the 40-mile-long Black Sea Canal, the pride and joy of communist achievement. From here, drive to Constanta, the most important commercial center in Romania, situated on the Black Sea. Enjoy a guided tour of this popular resort town and visit the NATURAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. Late this afternoon, return to your ship.(B,L,D)
Day 9 Svistov, Bulgaria. Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi
A comfortable ride from Svistov is the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. The oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the Royal Fortress, palaces and the PATRIARCH’S CHURCH. The historic village of Arbanassi is best known for its ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM and the outstanding collection of frescoes in the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY.(B,L,D)
Day 10 Iron Gates
The Trajan Table marking the Roman conquest of Dacia and the Serbian fortresses of Golubac and Smederevo are impressive sights on the left bank of the Danube. The most spectacular scenery must surely be the dramatic gorge of the IRON GATES, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania.(B,L,D)
Day 11 Belgrade, Serbia
The capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A local expert will be proud to show you its main sights, which include the city’s principal landmark, KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS; St. Sava, the world’s largest Orthodox church; and Marshal Tito’s tomb and monument. The city center has a lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 Vukovar, Croatia. Excursion to Osijek
Today, learn more about the complex history of Croatia and the events that led to the Croatian War of Independence. A Local Guide shows you both Vukovar, Croatia’s largest river port located at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka Rivers, and Osijek, an important economic and cultural center. Vukovar was scene to an 87-day siege in 1991, known as the Battle of Vukovar. This and other dramatic events in the recent past have shaped both the present and the future of this region.(B,L,D)
Day 13 Mohacs, Excursion to Villány Wine District
This morning, an excursion takes you into the Villányi district, where some of Hungary’s best red wines are produced. Learn more about which varietals are grown, and why the climate and soil conditions here are ideal for the production of excellent wines. Relax on board this afternoon as you sail toward Budapest.(B,L,D)
Day 14 Budapest
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is Eastern Europe’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan metropolis. Seven bridges, including the famous Chain and Elisabeth Bridges, connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. The massive hilltop castle complex with FISHERMEN’S BASTION and the Matthias Church is among the many sights your Local Guide will show you.(B,L,D)
Day 15 Bratislava, Slovakia-Vienna, Austria
A leisurely morning before you arrive in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. A Local Guide will show you the charming Old Town with its Town Hall and views of Mirbach Palace, as well as gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL. Return to your ship in time for lunch and cruise to Vienna, where you arrive in the late afternoon.(B,L,D)
Day 16 Vienna
Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, the city has much to offer: the lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ring Boulevard and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral, to name just a few of the sights you will enjoy during your included tour. You do not rush through Vienna; you waltz, taking your time to savor each classic sight and sound. Shop in the Kärntnerstrasse and enjoy Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighborhood café. An optional concert is available during your stay.(B,L,D)
Day 17 Dürnstein-Grein
Standing on the banks of the Danube, the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade is without a doubt the landmark of Dürnstein. A Local Guide will take you on a walking tour of this town, which lies right in the heart of the Wachau wine region, and willtell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. In the late afternoon, arrive in the attractive country resort of Grein, nestled at the foot of a bluff in the shadow of its castle. Enjoy a guided walk and take pictures of the turreted houses on the main square.(B,L,D)
Day 18 Grein-Linz
In the early morning hours, depart Grein for Linz, where you arrive before lunch. A Local Guide will acquaint you with the highlights of this, Austria’s third-largest city, and an important river port. Culture is an important part of life in Linz. Composer Anton Bruckner lived here and Mozart’s Linzer Symphony was composed in the city. Alternatively, you may opt for a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.(B,L,D)
Day 19 Regensburg, Germany
Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Architectural highlights on your guided tour include the Old Town Hall, and Porta Pretoria—gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. The city is the capital of Upper Palatinate, a bustling university town, and one of Bavaria’s cultural centers. It is here you will find Germany’s oldest restaurant, the 12th-century Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen).(B,L,D)
Day 20 Nuremberg
Although Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it was restored to its original style. Marvel at this historic city with its fabulous gothic churches and elegant patrician houses—all explained by a local expert. Nuremberg’s traditions include famous Lebkuchen, toy making, and metal working. After dinner we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS! (B,L,D)
Day 21 Bamberg
Another beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site The World Heritage List includes over 800 properties with cultural and/or natural heritage of global significanceis medieval Bamberg. Your walking tour takes in its breathtaking cathedral, the Old Town Hall straddling the River Regnitz, and serpentine streets with charming houses and 18th-century mansions.(B,L,D)
Day 22 Würzburg
Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Würzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The magnificent BISHOP’S RESIDENZ is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The World Heritage List includes over 800 properties with cultural and/or natural heritage of global significance.(B,L,D)
Day 23 Miltenberg
Located on the Main River, Miltenberg is a picturesque Bavarian village that thrived on income from river traffic. Its cultural wealth and affluence are reflected in the beautiful medieval and renaissance houses and the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall. This afternoon, learn how to bake a local SOFT COOKIE specialty.(B,L,D)
Day 24 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge
Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM in pretty Rüdesheim. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to explore the Drosselgasse and pick up some souvenirs. The dramatic RHINE GORGE is the most beautiful stretch of river. Pass the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where sweet songs of local beauties lured enchanted sailors to their doom.(B,L,D)
Day 25 Cologne
Cologne is one of Germany’s largest cities, with a river skyline dominated by the soaring twin spires of its magnificent gothic cathedral. The Germano-Roman Museum located next to the cathedral is a must for history buffs! Try a Kölsch in one of the many taverns and shop for a bottle of “4711,” the original eau de cologne.(B,L,D)
Day 26 Amsterdam, Holland
Holland’s delightful 700-year-old capital is sophisticated and modern, with a rich and fascinating history. The works of famous Dutch masters can be seen in world-renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes.(B,L,D)
Day 27 Amsterdam (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.(B)
- CRUISE: Deluxe 22-night cruise from Oltenita to Amsterdam in an outside stateroom with hotel style beds
- ISTANBUL: Guided sightseeing, visit Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Seraglio, and the GrandBazaar; Host service during your stay
- BUCHAREST: Guided sightseeing, see the Parliament Building and visit the National Art Museum
- HARSOVA: Excursion to Murfatlar
- DANUBE DELTA: Delta excursion
- CONSTANTA: Guided sightseeing, visit the Natural History & Archaeological Museum
- VELIKO TÂRNOVO: Guided sightseeing, visit the Patriarch’s Church
- ARBANASSI: Guided visit of the Ethnographical Museum and the Church of the Nativity
- IRON GATES: Cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge; see the Trajan Table
- BELGRADE: Guided sightseeing, visit Kalemegdan Fortress
- VUKOVAR: Guided sightseeing
- OSIJEK: Guided sightseeing
- MOHÁCS: Wine tasting in Villány wine region
- BUDAPEST: Guided sightseeing, visit Fishermen’s Bastion
- BRATISLAVA: Guided sightseeing
- VIENNA: Guided sightseeing; excursion to the Vienna Woods, visit Heiligenkreuz Monastery
- DÜRNSTEIN: Guided walk, see the Stiftskirche
- GREIN: Guided walk
- LINZ: Guided walk
- REGENSBURG: Guided sightseeing
- MAIN DANUBE CANAL:Cruise in the canal
- NUREMBERG: Guided sightseeing; beer tasting
- BAMBERG: Guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall
- WÜRZBURG: Guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz
- MILTENBERG: Guided walk; baking demonstration
- RÜDESHEIM: Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum
- RHINE GORGE: Cruise in the gorge
- COLOGNE: Guided sightseeing
- AMSTERDAM: Canal cruise
All This Included
The Black Sea, the North Sea, and the rivers in between are the focus of this memorable river cruise along the magnificent Danube, Main, and Rhine Rivers. Your vacation begins with three overnights in exciting Istanbul, Turkey. Founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, you will visit Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Seraglio, and the Grand Bazaar. Next: fly to Bucharest, Romania’s vibrant capital, then travel to Oltenita to embark your ship for a 22-night cruise from Romania to Holland. A highlight right at the start: Explore the Danube Delta with its unique birdlife, and celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey as it flows into the Black Sea. Enjoy included guided sightseeing in each city with inside visits of the National Art Museum in Bucharest, the Natural History & Archaeological Museum in Constanta, Belgrade’s Kalemegdan Fortress, Fishermen’s Bastion in Budapest and the stunning Bishop’s Residenz in Würzburg. Relax and enjoy as you cruise through the dramatic gorge of the Iron Gates, past quaint villages, along the Main Danube Canal and past the legendary rock of the Lorelei. Sample Hungary’s wines in Villany and Germany’s beers in Nuremberg and learn how to bake a traditional local cookie in Miltenberg. Your vacation ends with a cruise through Amsterdam’s lovely canals. What a wonderful way to conclude this marvelous vacation!”
- Buffet breakfast in Istanbul and Bucharest; superb dining with meals on board featuring full breakfast (B) with complimentary sparkling wine, lunch (L) with complimentary soft drinks, and dinner (D) including complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks; a welcome reception, Captain’s reception, and farewell dinner; one sitting with open seating arrangements.
- Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds.
- Included shore excursions with Local Guide.
- Headsets for shore excursions.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi access.
- Personalized room options & excursions.
Accommodations on this Tour
Istanbul: Crowne Plaza Istanbul Old City (SF)
Cruising: outside stateroom onboard Avalon Imagery or Avalon Tranquility
Bucharest: Athénée Palace Hilton (SF)
- Cabin upgrades available.
- Port charges of $396 are not included.
- Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
- In the event of water level problems on stretches of any river, it may be necessary to operate part of the itinerary by motorcoach.
- Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
- Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package, at the price quoted.