Enchantment of Eastern Europe with Istanbul

12 Days
Budapest to Istanbul
From (GBP)
£ 3,385
£ 2,885
Dates & Pricing

2021 Budapest > Istanbul

Tour Map
Tour Code:
EWBI
Duration:
12 days
Departure City:
Budapest
Return City:
Istanbul

12 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Budapest

    When you arrive in Budapest, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your Emerald Waterways Star-Ship, where your friendly captain and crew will be waiting to greet you.
    This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Eastern Europe’s liveliest city at leisure. The “Paris of the East” is a truly breath-taking 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

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Kalocsa

    In the morning, we’ll sail out of Budapest towards Kalocsa, best known for its vibrant paprika festivals. Traditional folk art and culture are yours to discover here, as you sail through one of the oldest towns in Hungary.
    This afternoon, 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, most of which were readily practiced for wartime.
    Tonight, your crew will welcome you for a Welcome Dinner & Reception.

    EmeraldPLUS

    A traditional Hungarian horse show 

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Osijek

    Cruise into the border region of Croatia and into Osijek, a historic university town full of leafy boulevards and promenades. Damage from the Homeland War is still visible across the city, but it is easily forgotten when you immerse yourself in the peaceful surrounds that can be found here.
    Today, you will be able to meet students from a local village who will be delighted to perform for you during your EmeraldPLUS excursion, before embarking on a walk around Osijek Fortress, nestled in the centre of the romantic old town. This ensemble of well-preserved Baroque buildings is laid out like a traditional star fort, with bastions, armouries, a guardhouse and a military hospital all protected within its walls.
    Later, sail further down the Danube and into Serbia, where remnants of recent conflicts can be seen on the riverbanks.

    EmeraldPLUS

    Visit the home of a local Croatian family

    EmeraldPLUS

    Meet the local village students

    Included Excursion

    A guided tour of Osijek Fortress

    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 the city, where remnants of a chaotic past look out of place among peaceful surrounds.
    Witness the symmetrical façade of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the world’s largest church buildings, and stop for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. Enjoy learning about the life of the leader of the Partisans, Josip Broz Tito, and the way that they became one of the most effective resistance movements in occupied Europe. Alternatively, 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

    A Serbian folklore evening show

    EmeraldACTIVE

    A guided bike tour

    Included Excursion

    A guided tour of Belgrade

    DiscoverMORE

    A tour of the National Opera Theatre (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. Archaeologists have used this site to track the development of prehistoric culture in Europe, and numerous Stone Age settlements have been found in the area.
    The day ends as we sail through the Iron Gates, a scenic narrow gorge that meanders between the Carpathian Mountains and the European Alps.

    Included Excursion

    A visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Vidin

    This morning, we’ll arrive in Vidin, a beautiful town in north-west Bulgaria. Situated on the right bank of the Danube, it is one of the oldest along the Bulgarian Danube bank, prospering from the surrounding countryside, renowned for producing wines. 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”. Construction began on the fortress in the 10th century, and it has been steeped in legend ever since. Alternatively, hike to Belogradchik Fortress, a well-preserved stronghold that sits against a series of impressive rock formations.

    EmeraldACTIVE

    A hike to Belogradchik Fortress 

    Included Excursion

    Visit a local vineyard for a tasting & Baba Vida Fortress

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Rousse – Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanasi

    Today, your Star-Ship will cruise into Rousse. You will have the opportunity to visit Veliko Tarnovo, stopping to learn about its rich history as 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 of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi.
    Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a complex of churches, chapels and monasteries. Witness the incredible nature of the 14th-century painted frescoes and learn about their composition and the emotional atmosphere that they convey, something that was far ahead of its time.
    Tonight, your crew will welcome you on board for a Farewell dinner.

    EmeraldPLUS

    A choir concert in Arbanasi

    EmeraldACTIVE

    Hike to the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo

    Included Excursion

    A tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi

    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 to see the elegant exterior of a well-kept secret and the plush interior of 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, perhaps going for a stroll down one of the wide avenues or leafy boulevards that give Bucharest a distinctly French feel.

    Included Excursion

    A guided drive through Bucharest

    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

    Topkaki & 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.

    This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

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

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
  • A guided tour of Osijek Fortress
  • Guided tour of Belgrade
  • Visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
  • Visit to local vineyard with wine tasting
  • Visit to Baba Vida Fortress
  • Visit to Veliko Tarnovo
  • Guided Bus Tour of Bucharest with visit of Spring Palace

EmeraldPLUS
  • A traditional Hungarian horse show
  • Meet the local village Students
  • Home Hosted Lunch with a Croatian family
  • Serbian Folklore Band performance on board
  • Choir Concert in Arbanasi

EmeraldACTIVE
  • Guide Bike Tour in Belgrade
  • Guided Hike to Belogradchick Fortress
  • Guided Hike to the UNESCO Heritage-listed 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
  • 3 Breakfasts (B)

Pricing & Availability