AUSTRIA, SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY, CROATIA, SERBIA, ROMANIA, AND BULGARIA
On this air-inclusive trip, sail down the Danube River stopping at some of Eastern Europe’s most fascinating cities—from Vienna and Budapest to Belgrade and Bucharest. Before setting sail, go sightseeing in Vienna, which features beautiful palaces and modern architecture. Then, depart on the ship to Bratislava, Slovakia where you’ll explore the sights around Old Town. Next, stop down the river takes you into Hungary for a visit to Budapest. You’ll tour the city and then have a full day to discover sights at your leisure. Sail along the picturesque Drava River to Croatia for a day around Vukovar and then set your sights on Serbia, with stops at the charming cities of Novi Sad and Belgrade. Admire the stunning vistas as we cruise to Bulgaria, bringing you to Vidin. From Bucharest we’ll travel to Brasov and nearby Bran where the highlight is the mystical Vlad Tepes Dracula’s Castle.
Shorten Your Trip! Enjoy our 13-day Danube River Cruise: Vienna to Bucharest tour visiting highlights along the Danube River.
Did you know that you can make this tour private? Find out about pricing and options for groups of 10 or more travelers.
- 10-night Danube Cruise to Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), Vukovar (Croatia), Novi Sad (Serbia), Belgrade (Serbia), Vidin (Bulgaria)
- 2 nights in Brasov (Romania)
- 1 night in Bucharest (Romania)
- Hofburg Palace (Vienna)
- St. Martin’s Cathedral (Bratislava)
- Matthias Coronation Church (Budapest)
- Gypsy Concert (On Board – Budapest)
- Walking Tour with Concert (Vukovar)
- Petrovaradin Fortress (Novi Sad)
- Kalemegdan Fortress (Belgrade)
- Authentic Serbian Lunch with plum brandy
- Iron Gates Gorge
- Baba Vida Fortress (Vidin)
- Palace of Parliament (Bucharest)
- Peles Castle
- Brasov City Tour
- Dracula’s Castle
Your Tour Includes
- Optional round-trip airfare from the New York area (varies by departure) including taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
- 10-night cruise on the Danube River
- Two nights in a Brasov hotel
- One night in a Bucharest hotel
- Port charges
- 35 meals: 14 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 12 dinners
- 2 glasses of wine or beer with lunch and dinner
- Comprehensive sightseeing tours, shore excursions, onboard lectures, folklore performances, and concerts
- Free Wi-Fi on ship(where available)
- English-speaking cruise director and tour guides
Day 1: Depart USA
Your fascinating river cruise journey begins as you depart on your overnight flight to Europe.
*Passengers who did not purchase flights will join the tour in Vienna on Day 2.
Day 2: Arrive Vienna (Austria)
Arrive in Vienna, the splendid capital of Austria and the center of the Hapsburg Empire. You'll be met at the airport and will travel to your cruise ship for embarkation. This evening, enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by an orientation briefing and reception and then dinner.Accommodations: MS River Sapphire
Day 3: Vienna Sightseeing/Set Sail
Today, experience Vienna's glorious past as you embark on an included panoramic tour taking you along the Ring Boulevard, past Emperor Franz Josef's Hofburg Palace and the State Opera to the Cathedral of St. Stephen's. Afternoon at leisure to explore on your own. Your cruise director can assist in arranging tickets for an optional concert or cultural performance. Set sail late tonight.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Bratislava (Slovakia)
Welcome to Slovakia! Depart on your morning walking exploration of the lovely city center, past St. Martin's Cathedral and the Primate's Palace. The sightseeing will end with a walk through the Old Town - Michael's Gate, Michael's Tower, Main Square, Old Town Hall and Slovak National Theatre. Return to the ship for lunch. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Dinner is back on board and an evening free to waltz the night away!Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Budapest (Hungary)
Morning at sail. In the afternoon, your motor coach tour of this lovely city will include the most popular sights: The Parliament Building, St. Stefan Cathedral, the Opera, the Square of Heroes, (the Millennium monument) and the town park with the Vajdahunyad Castle, etc. There will be stops at the Square of Heroes, the Fisherman's Bastion and Gellert Hill. The rest of the evening is at leisure. You may consider an optional Hungarian Folklore show followed by nighttime views of the beautiful city bridges as they are illuminated.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Budapest (Hungary)
Full day at leisure for independent exploration. You may want to join your Cruise Director for a wonderful walking tour of downtown Budapest. Prior to dinner enjoy a short live concert of Hungarian Gypsy music performed in the lounge. This evening set sail.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Vukovar (Croatia)
After breakfast this morning, head up to the sun deck to observe the beautiful vistas as you sail into Vukovar, Croatia. This afternoon, after entry formalities, depart for a walking tour. Enjoy some free time to explore the city at your leisure before returning to the ship for dinner.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Novi Sad (Serbia)
Welcome to Serbia! When you wake up this morning, you'll say hello to Novi Sad, Serbia's lively university town. You will be delighted with this pedestrian-friendly town as you are led on a walking tour through the town center and the Petrovaradin Fortress, referred to as the "Gibraltar on the Danube." Built in the 18th century on over 116 hectares, the fortress has four levels and more than 16km of underground tunnels. After the tour enjoy free time to explore the many charming streets lined with small shops and inviting outdoor cafes or consider an optional tour to the monastery for wine and a honey tasting. This evening continue sailing towards the "White City," Belgrade, Serbia's vibrant capital.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Belgrade
Witness the "new" Belgrade today as it rebuilds and once again warmly welcomes Western visitors. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is located on a hill at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. This ancient city, dating back to the Roman Empire, was destroyed and rebuilt several times during its tumultuous history. This morning's motorcoach tour of the city highlights includes the Kalemegdan Fortress, the imposing St. Sava Cathedral and the cobblestone bohemian quarter of Skadarlija. For lunch we will venture to a Serbian “salash” (farm), where you will meet an authentic Serbian multi-generation family and enjoy a wonderful taste of Serbian home-made food, unlimited booze, live music, and hospitality. We will return to the ship and after dinner, you'll be entertained by a local folklore ensemble featuring dancers and musicians dressed in colorful costumes.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Sailing through the Iron Gates (Serbia)
This morning, savor the beautiful vistas while learning about the fascinating history of the Balkans. Relax on board and after lunch, enjoy one of the highlights of your voyage: passage through the impressive Iron Gates Gorge and the gigantic Djerdap Lock where the Danube surges down from the Carpathian Mountains. The views along the two-mile-long gorge are spectacular! Arrive in Vidin, Bulgaria in the evening where you will overnight.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Vidin (Bulgaria)
This morning, embark on a walking tour of this delightful Bulgarian river port highlighted by a visit to the 13th-century fortress named "Baba Vida" ("Grandma Vida") the best-preserved medieval fortress in the country. Then enjoy some free time for strolling and shopping or take the optional Belogradchik Rock excursion.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12: Bucharest/Sinaia/Brasov
Disembark and depart by road for Sinaia and visit the magnificent Peles Castle, a former summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family. Continue to Brasov, a medieval resort town set high in the scenic Carpathian Mountains.Accommodations: Aro Palace Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Dracula's Castle Excursion
Enjoy a morning tour of Brasov including Town Square and the renowned Black Cathedral. Proceed to the nearby town of Bran where the highlight of the visit is a tour of the mystical Vlad Tepes Dracula's Castle. The afternoon is at leisure to explore lovely Brasov independently.Meals: Breakfast
Day 14: Brasov/Bucharest
After breakfast it's time to check out of your hotel and board your bus for the leisurely 2 hour ride back towards Bucharest for a half day city tour prior to checking in to your hotel. Tonight enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner with live entertainment at one of the city's renowned restaurants.Accommodations: Novotel Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15: Bucharest/USA
Board your return flight. Your fascinating voyage ends as you arrive New York later today.
*The tour will end for passengers who did not purchase flights on Day 15 in Bucharest.Meals: Breakfast
We are working diligently to secure future tour dates and pricing for this itinerary. Please fill out the "Request a Future Date" form linked below and we will notify you once dates are available.
Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.
Enhance your trip with our recommended optional tours. Indicated optional tours are available to pre-book when you reserve your trip and can be added to your reservation up to final payment. This is the best option to guarantee your spot on your preferred optional tour! Optional tours require a minimum number of participants. Optional tours are non-refundable unless they do not operate.
Some optional tours can be purchased in-destination and may cost extra. The payment methods and currency information to purchase tours in-destination will be provided on final documentation.
Classical Music Concert
- $97 per person
Quite rightfully, Vienna is often called the "Musical Capital of the World". Enjoy a concert in the heart of Vienna at Kursalon Wien, an exclusive and splendid building of the 19th century built in the Italian Renaissance style. In the very place where Johann Strauss used to direct his orchestra from the position of first violin, enjoy the essence of Vienna's classical music! The Salonorchester Alt Wien, one of the best-known interpreters of classical Viennese music, presents an evening full of Viennese charm with waltzes, polkas, arias and duets, as well as operetta and piano concerto melodies. Accompanied by excellent opera vocalists and our enchanting ballet soloists, Vienna's classical music reveals itself as a living firework display for all the senses.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Walking Tour of Downtown Pest
- $26 per person
Join your Cruise Director for a delightful stroll down Vaci Utca, the city's main pedestrian promenade full of shops, cafes, and beautiful people! Your stops will include the Great Market Hall and Gerbeaud, the oldest sweet shop in Budapest which opened in 1858! Your tour ends with a delightful ride aboard an old-fashioned tram back to the docking location.
Payable by cash only on the ship (Euros)
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Krusedol Monastery & Wine Tasting
- $52 per person
Travel by motor coach through the Serbian countryside for a visit to Krusedol Monastery, located on the nearby mountain of Fruska Gora where more than 15 Serbian orthodox monasteries were built in medieval times. Well renowned for its fresco paintings dating from the early 16th century, the monastery is also a burial place for legendary personalities throughout Serbian history, such as King Milan Obrenovic and Duchess Ljubica. On the way back, stop in Sremski Karlovci, center of wine production in the region. Here we'll visit the Zivanovic family whose members have been producing their private label "Bermet" wine for over a century and whose products have been enjoyed by members of the Habsburg Monarchy as well as the Russian Tsars! Our hosts will welcome us to their large garden, including a wine cellar, and the "Museum of Honey". In this lovely ambiance we'll enjoy several varieties of wine including "Bermet", accompanied by their own organic honey!
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
- $52 per person
Take the tour to the most famous natural phenomena in the region, Belogradchik Rocks. This rocky fairy-tale is spread from west to east and it is 30km long and 3km wide. The most attractive rocks are around the town and named as The Madonna, The Monks, The Rider, The Dervish, The Bear, Adam and Eve, The Castle, The Little Shepherd, The Mushrooms, The Lion and many others. The Belogradchik fortress is situated at an altitude of 610 m above sea level. Experience the memorable view from the top of the fortress.
Important Note: This tour is only recommended for active walkers, as it requires going up steps and slopes for a full experience.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
MS River Sapphire
Refurbished in 2020, this 164-passenger premium vessel offers a casual and friendly ambiance. While onboard, enjoy the restaurant, panorama lounge, sun deck, and fitness room. The onboard currency is the Euro and Visa and Mastercard are also accepted.
Eroilor Nr. 27
Calea Victoriei 37B Sector 1
010061, Bucharest, Romania
Departing the U.S.: For the safety of everyone in the group, smarTours has implemented COVID-19 travel requirements which apply to all tours regardless of destination. To learn more, click here.
Please note destination entry requirements are changing rapidly. smarTours will communicate entry requirements in your Tour Documents 10–14 days prior to departure. For up-to-date information, please click the links below.
- Entry requirements
- State Department Travel Advisory Updates (Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania)
- Center for Disease Control Updates & Information (Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania)
Your flights from New York’s JFK Airport to Europe are on the following airlines with the corresponding schedules. We recommend that you arrive at the airport at least 3 ½ hours before the scheduled departure.
|2022: Sep. 10||Austrian Airlines||New York (JFK)||9:20 PM||8:00 PM|
|2022: Sep. 30||Austrian Airlines / Lufthansa Airlines||New York (JFK)||9:20 PM||8:05 PM|
|2023: Apr. 23||Swiss Airlines / Lufthansa Airlines||New York (JFK)||8:55 PM||8:05 PM|
|2023: May 7, Jun. 2||Austrian Airlines / Lufthansa Airlines||New York (JFK)||9:20 PM||8:05 PM|
Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight. We recommend at least 3 ½ hours. Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.
ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT
Please note that the above airlines do not assign seats in advance. Seat assignments can only be arranged upon check-in at the airport. Please note that smarTours is not involved in your seat assignment. It is between you and the airline!
International flights to/from the U.S. are not included. Land-only travelers are responsible for arranging the entry and exit flights, as well as their arrival and departure transfers. smarTours cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by air schedule changes and delays. Unused land services are non-refundable.
Main Tour + Extension: Land-only services start upon independent check in at river cruise boat in Vienna on Day 2 of the itinerary listed on our tour page. Land-Only services end after breakfast at Bucharest hotel on Day 15 of the itinerary listed on our tour page.
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. American citizens do not require a visa to enter the countries visited. Non U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates of the countries visited on this tour as to the most current visa requirements. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.
TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS
Final instructions, documents, and travel tips will be emailed to you 10–14 days before the scheduled start of your tour. If you have not received your final documents, please check your spam folder or contact smarTours.
Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities as to their suggestions.
You may expect daytime temperatures averaging in the 60’s & 70’s in May and September, 70’s & 80’s in June, July and August, 50’s & 60’s in October.
CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY
The currency used aboard the ship is the Euro! You will have an opportunity to exchange US dollars to Euros at the beginning of your trip. You may also purchase Euros in the USA before departure. The ship does not have currency exchange facilities. Traveler’s checks are not accepted aboard the ship nor are they widely accepted in the smaller towns and villages along the route. For incidental expenses onboard (excluding optional tours) you may also use Visa or Mastercard but a small service fee will apply. During visits to major cities and on shore excursions, you will find that many of the small souvenir vendors may accept US dollars or Euros as payment.
Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase) max. 44 pounds and one carry-on piece. Carry on must not exceed 18”x10”x8”. We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.