Enchantment of Eastern Europe & Istanbul

12 Days
Budapest to Istanbul
From (AUD)
$ 4,805
Dates & Pricing

2023 Budapest > Istanbul

Five countries, all unique in their own way, accompany the Danube on its journey towards the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe. In Kalocsa, visit a Puszta Horse Show, enjoy lunch in the home of a local Croatian family in Osijek and, in Belgrade, enjoy a guided city tour, before a Serbian folklore show on board. Taste Romanian wine, attend a choir concert in Arbanasi, and journey by road to Bucharest. Plus enjoy an extended stay in Istanbul.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
EWBI
Duration:
12 days
Departure City:
Budapest
Return City:
Istanbul

12 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Budapest

    Welcome to Budapest, where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship to be greeted by your friendly captain and crew. 
    This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Eastern Europe’s liveliest city at leisure. The ‘Pearl on the Danube’ is a truly breathtaking sight, where dozens of lights adorn the stone bridges that cross the mighty Danube, separating both sides of the city.
    This evening, join your fellow guests for dinner on board.

    Please book your flight to arrive into Budapest prior to 05:00 PM.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Kalocsa

    This morning, we’ll reach Kalocsa, best known for its vibrant paprika festivals. You’ll venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, for a traditional performance showcasing the exceptional equestrian skills of the Magyar cowboys. Relax as you watch their spectacular horse parade and witness their exercise drills.
    Tonight, your crew will welcome you for a welcome dinner & reception.

    EmeraldPLUS

    Puszta horse show

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Aljmas - Osijek

    This morning, we will drive to Osijek, a historic university town full of leafy boulevards and promenades. Today, you will meet students from a local village who will then perform for you during your EmeraldPLUS excursion, before you embark on a walk around Osijek Fortress, nestled in the centre of the romantic old town. 
    Later, sail further down the Danube and into Serbia, where remnants of recent conflicts can be seen on the riverbanks.

    EmeraldPLUS

    Home-hosted lunch with a Croatian family 

    EmeraldPLUS

    Meet the local students

    EmeraldACTIVE

    Trek to Adica 

    Included Excursion

    Guided walking tour of Osijek Fortress

    DiscoverMORE

    Vucedol Culture Museum (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Belgrade

    The capital of Serbia awaits you today, as a city tour introduces you to the highlights of one of Europe’s oldest cities, including Belgrade Fortress. Relax as your coach takes you through the centre of this peaceful city and witness the symmetrical façade of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the world’s largest church buildings. Stop for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia or learn about the history of Belgrade during a guided bike tour of the city.
    This evening, relax in the Horizon Lounge and watch a traditional Serbian folklore show.

    EmeraldPLUS

    Serbian folklore evening show on board

    EmeraldACTIVE

    Guided bike tour in Belgrade

    Included Excursion

    Guided tour of Belgrade

    DiscoverMORE

    National Opera Theatre tour (extra expense)

    DiscoverMORE

    Routes of Nikola Tesla (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Golubac – Donji Milanovac

    In eastern Serbia, within the Majdanpek municipality, the town of Donji Milanovac sits on the right bank of the Danube. Today, you will have the opportunity to visit the Palaeolithic site of Lepenski Vir on an included excursion. Enjoy learning about the importance of this archaeological site and its illustrious history, spanning more than 8 millennia.
    The day ends as we sail through the Iron Gates, a picturesque narrow gorge that meanders between the Carpathian Mountains and the European Alps.

    Included Excursion

    Visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum

    EmeraldACTIVE

    Visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum Donji Milanovac by bike

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Vidin

    This morning, we’ll arrive in Vidin, a beautiful town in north-west Bulgaria, renowned for its wine production. Your included tour will introduce you to the best of Vidin’s viticulture, as you stroll through a local vineyard and enjoy a tasting of their produce.
    Later, venture to Baba Vida, a medieval fortress whose name can be translated to mean “Granny Vida”. Alternatively, hike to Belogradchik Fortress, a well-preserved stronghold that sits against a series of impressive rock formations.

    EmeraldACTIVE

    Hike to Belogradchik Fortress 

    Included Excursion

    Visit to a local vineyard with wine tasting & a visit to Baba Vida Fortress

    DiscoverMORE

    Traditional Bulgarian pastry making

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Rousse – Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanasi

    Today, your Star-Ship will cruise into Rousse, where you will have the opportunity to visit Veliko Tarnovo. The former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, this medieval city was built atop three hills and its fortifications and cobbled streets are certain to delight history lovers.
    Nearby, Arbanasi sits on a high plateau overlooking the Yantra River. Each street in the area is lined with traditional houses, and old churches offer centuries of exploration during your guided tour.
    Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a complex of churches, chapels and monasteries. 
    Tonight, your crew will welcome you on board for a farewell dinner.

    EmeraldPLUS

    Choir concert in Arbanasi

    EmeraldACTIVE

    Guided hike to Ivanovo Church

    Included Excursion

    Tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi

    DiscoverMORE

    Paint & Wine (extra expense)

    DiscoverMORE

    Wine tasting at Leventa Complex (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Giurgiu – Bucharest

    This morning, relax and enjoy the passing scenery as we drive towards Bucharest, including the Romanian city of Giurgiu, set amongst the mud flats and marshes of the Danube.
    Visit the Spring Palace and the private residence of Nicolae Ceausescu, before enjoying free time to explore the city at leisure. Learn about Bucharest’s vibrant history on a guided coach tour, passing by the Palace of Parliament.
    This evening, settle into the comfortable surrounds of your hotel and perhaps go for a stroll down one of the wide avenues or leafy boulevards that give Bucharest a distinctly French feel.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  9. Day 9 - Bucharest - Istanbul

    After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Istanbul, one of the most important and inspiringly beautiful cities of the world history. You will be met at the airport in Istanbul and taken to your centrally-located hotel, with a three-night stay included in your itinerary.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  10. Day 10 - Istanbul

    Today, you will explore some of the Istanbul’s highlights – such as the famed Hippodrome Square which was once the sporting and social center of Constantinople that hosted the chariot races until the Middle Ages. You will get to see the Blue Mosque, probably one of the most famed masterpieces of Ottoman religious architecture. Standing in great prestige with its six minarets and perfect proportioned dome, it is named after its Turquoise colored tiles made of quartz minerals. Ottoman Sultans preferred to pray in this timeless shrine due to its incomparable beauty until when the empire collapsed after the World War I. Afterwards, you will carry on to the Basilica of Saint Sophia, one of the largest Christian shrines ever built in history. 

    DiscoverMORE

    Topkapi & Harem section AND/OR Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (extra expense)

    Included Excursion

    City tour of Istanbul

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  11. Day 11 - Istanbul

    We start the day with a tour of the Underground Cistern known by the locals as the Sunken Cistern. From there you will continue your exploration with the bustling atmosphere of the Spice Market, dating back to the 17th century, but still the most popular bazaar visited by locals to shop for fresh ingredients to spice up the dishes prepared in the kitchens of Istanbul. Afterwards, you will experience a very unique aspect of the city by boarding private boat for an unforgettable cruise on the waters of the Bosphorus. During your cruise on the famed strait running between the two continents, your guide will share with you all the legends and myths about the Bosphorus and its impressive mansions and palaces. As well as the scenery of the historical edifices, you will be overwhelmed by the skyline of Istanbul ornamented with domes and minarets of Byzantine and Ottoman cultures. 

    DiscoverMORE

    Turkish Bath at Roxelana AND/OR Street Food tour (extra expense)

    Included Excursion

    Bosphorus cruise & Spice market tour

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  12. Day 12 - Istanbul

    After breakfast, bid farewell to your fellow guests as you are transferred to the airport for your onward or homebound flight.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

YOUR CRUISE INCLUDES
  • 7 nights on board an Emerald Cruises Star-Ship
  • 1 night in a hotel in Bucharest
  • Airport transfers to and from the ship
  • The services of an Emerald Cruises Cruise Director
  • Port taxes and charges
  • All tipping and gratuities

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
  • Guided walking tour of Osijek Fortress
  • Guided tour of Belgrade
  • Visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
  • Visit to a local vineyard with wine tasting & a visit to Baba Vida Fortress
  • Tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
  • Guided drive through Bucharest with a visit to the Spring Palace

EmeraldPLUS
  • Puszta horse show
  • Meet the local Students
  • Home-hosted lunch with a Croatian family
  • Serbian folklore evening show on board
  • Choir concert in Arbanasi

EmeraldACTIVE
  • Guide bike tour in Belgrade
  • Donji Milanovac by bike
  • Trek to Adica Park
  • Guided hike to Belogradchick Fortress
  • Guided hike to Ivanovo Church

DINING HIGHLIGHTS
  • 21 superb meals including 8 Breakfasts (B), 6 Lunches (L), 7 Dinners (D)
  • Including a Welcome and Farewell Reception & Dinner
  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board

EXTENSION INCLUSIONS
  • 3 nights at a hotel in Istanbul
  • A city tour of Istanbul
  • Bosphorus cruise & Spice market tour
  • Transfer from the ship and to the airport
  • 3 Breakfasts (B)

Pricing & Availability