Begin your vacation in Vienna (or in Budapest), one of the world’s most celebrated cities, renowned for its music, architecture and dance. Transfer to Budapest and embark upon your Danube river cruise. Traverse the dramatic narrow gorge known as the Iron Gates, then cruise along the Romanian-Bulgarian border. Visit Vidin, Belogradchik and Bucharest, the capital and largest city in Romania. Disembark and continue by land to Veliko Tarnovo, the ancient capital of Bulgaria, before arriving in Plovdiv. Conclude your journey in Istanbul, a truly exotic and fascinating cultural crossroads.
AMA Waterways - Gems of Southeast Europe
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*Some dates may feature reverse itinerary.
Day 1 - ARRIVE IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA.
Arrive in Vienna and transfer to your hotel. The balance of the day is at your leisure.
Day 2 - VIENNA
Your morning city tour takes you around the Burgring, the circular road around Vienna’s historic center. You will also take a walking tour through Vienna’s charming old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Vienna Opera House, the Ringstrasse and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion to Schönbrunn Palace, former summer residence of the Habsburg emperors and an impressive example of Baroque architecture. Tonight, explore the vibrant Austrian capital on your own or attend an optional Mozart and Strauss concert. (B)
Day 3 - VIENNA - BUDAPEST - EMBARKATION
After checking out of your hotel in Vienna, you will travel to Budapest, Hungary, where you will have free time for lunch followed by a sightseeing tour of Buda and Pest. From the historic Buda Castle, enjoy a splendid view of the twin cities spread over both sides of the Danube. Your tour also includes the Fisherman’s Bastion. Afterwards, embark upon your river cruise ship, docked in the city center. This evening, meet your fellow passengers at the Welcome Dinner as the ship cruises past Budapest’s illuminated riverfront. (B,D)
Day 4 - MOHACS - PECS - VILLANY
Arrive in Mohacs around breakfast time and depart for your excursion to Pécs, the 2010 European Union Cultural Capital. Founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans, Pécs was an important cultural base during many centuries of Ottoman rule. You will see St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral, as well as the restored Synagogue, before returning to the ship in Mohács. After lunch, enjoy a wine-tasting excursion to sample aromatic, spicy wines from the vineyards of Villány. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - VUKOVAR, CROATIA - NOVI SAD, SERBIA
This morning, enjoy a “Yugoslav Civil War” tour of Vukovar that will show you the Ovcara Memorial, the monumental cross that serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives during Croatia’s struggle for independence. You may also choose to take a wine tasting excursion to Ilok instead Enjoy lunch on board as you cruise to Novi Sad, Serbia, one of Europe’s greatest historical treasures. On your afternoon walking tour of the city, you will see the Petrovaradin fortress, a mighty stronghold no enemy has ever breached, now home to a hotel, museum and artists’ studios. Guests will also see the Old Town District and Danube Park. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - BELGRADE
Wake up in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, and enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, that includes the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. After your tour, you will have free time in the city center to stroll along Prince Michael Street, the city’s main shopping area. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - CRUISING THROUGH THE IRON GATES - VIDIN, BULGARIA
Today, enjoy a full day of cruising through one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders, the Iron Gates. Here the Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between Serbia and Romania. The banks of the river along this natural border are lined with sheer-faced rocks that stretch high overhead, a sight that will be an unforgettable highlight of your Black Sea adventure. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - VIDIN
Your time in Vidin begins with a visit to Belogradchik, a beautifully restored castle dating back to the Dark Ages, located in a stunning landscape of unusual rock formations. Continue on to the Baba Vida Fortress, the only entirely preserved medieval castle in the country. Standing guard over the Danube at the Bulgarian frontier town of Vidin, this massive medieval castle has thick walls and four imposing towers, a stark contrast to the peaceful park that surrounds it. Inside, you’ll be treated to a fascinating historical re-enactment. The ship departs early afternoon. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - GIURGIU - BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - ROUSSE, BULGARIA
Enjoy a full day excursion to Bucharest, the “Paris of the East.” Begin your day with a city tour that features a visit to the Open Air Museum, dedicated to preserving the traditional architecture of rural Romania. After lunch, guests will have a choice between free time in the newly renovated Lipscani district, the historical city center of Bucharest, or a guided tour of the Palace of the Parliament. Return to the ship afterward and enjoy a free evening. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - ROUSSE – DISEMBARKATION – VELIKO TARNOVO – PLOVDIV, BULGARIA
Disembark the ship in Rousse and continue your tour by motor coach. Your first stop is the ancient capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo, where you will see a traditional market known as Samovodska Charshia. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional Bulgarian lunch before continuing on to Plovdiv. This evening, take a walking tour to see traces of ancient Roman ruins found throughout Plovdiv’s Old Town area, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Day 11 - PLOVDIV - ISTANBUL, TURKEY
After breakfast, continue on to exotic Istanbul for the grand three-night conclusion of your Black Sea Voyage. The rest of the evening is free to explore this cultural crossroads on your own. (B)
Day 12 - ISTANBUL
A comprehensive city tour will take you through Istanbul’s Old City, with its numerous Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments. Admire the mighty defensive walls, the Roman aqueduct and the hippodrome. See the Galata Tower and visit the beautiful and historic Blue Mosque, so named for the blue tiles adorning its interior. This afternoon is free to explore the town on your own or join the optional “Turkish Delight” tour, an in-depth look at some of Istanbul’s most unique sights. (B)
Day 13 - ISTANBUL
Today, your guided sightseeing tour will take you to the spectacular Ottoman Sultans’ Grand Palace of Topkapi, home to every Sultan from the 15th-19th centuries. During your tour, admire the private chambers of the Sultans, the Harem (women’s quarters) and the Imperial Treasury’s vast collection, including the jewel-encrusted Topkapi Dagger and the stunning 86 carat Spoonmaker’s Diamond. This afternoon, enjoy an optional Bosphorus cruise to Istanbul’s chic, trendy neighborhood of Ortaköy, or spend the remainder of the day shopping for souvenirs or relaxing at a tea house or café. (B)
Day 14 - ISTANBUL - USA
Bid farewell to Istanbul as you prepare for your homeward flight. (B)
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