Enchantment of Eastern Europe
Welcome to Budapest! On arrival at the airport, you’ll be met by a friendly Emerald Waterways representative and transferred by coach to your award-winning ship. After being welcomed by your Captain and crew, you’ll have the chance to unpack, relax in your room and explore all of the ship’s fantastic facilities, like the on board heated pool and bar, and the spacious Sun Deck which offers panoramic views of your surroundings. This evening you’ll enjoy an enchanting night cruise along the Danube, passing under the city’s numerous bridges.
Early this morning you’ll sail out of Budapest towards Kalocsa, one of the oldest towns in Hungary, famous for the production of paprika. Make the most of your time relaxing on board this morning, because this afternoon you’ll visit the large ranches of a local Puszta horse farm. Here you’ll enjoy a performance showcasing the exceptional riding skills of Magyar horseman. This includes a horse parade, followed by a display of exercises that were once practiced for wartime – such as sitting or lying down so as to provide a smaller target during a battle and to protect the horse’s rider. Back on board, tonight you are invited to a special Welcome Gala Dinner.
Today you’ll visit Osijek, Croatia’s fourth largest city. Despite finding itself in the epicentre of the Homeland War in the early 1990s, it’s easy to forget the turmoil endured by the residents of Osijek as you wander along the banks of the Drava. You’ll explore this leafy metropolis on a bus tour before visiting the 18th century fortress to explore on foot. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy a more authentic experience, as you meet a local family who will tell you tales of their past and everyday life, and welcome you into their home for a traditional lunch, specially prepared for you. Back on board your ship, you can enjoy swapping stories of the day’s events and an evening of relaxing sailing along the river.
Today you’ll explore Serbia’s vibrant capital of Belgrade. This happening city’s diverse past is clearly visible from the grey socialist blocks that sit alongside art nouveau masterpieces and remnants of Ottoman relics. As it heads towards a brighter future, you’ll explore Belgrade’s turbulent past during a guided city tour. You’ll visit Tito’s Memorial which is part of a memorial complex in the grounds of the Museum of Yugoslav History and the impressive Fortress Kalemegdan – a defensive structure overlooking the confluence of the Sava and the Danube rivers. You’ll also have a chance to visit St Sava Church which is the world’s largest Orthodox Cathedral.
Relax on board your deluxe Emerald Waterways ship as you sail through the narrow gorge between the Balkan Mountains and Karpatian Mountains known as the Iron Gate. The narrow and once dangerous passage boasts spectacular scenery forming the border between Serbia and Romania. As you journey through the Iron Gate, you can view the fantastic scenery from the Sun Deck or in the spacious lounge. Or why not unwind in the heated pool?
This morning you’ll cruise into Bulgaria where your ship will dock in the former Roman town of Svishtov, located in Veliko Tarnovo Province on the right bank of the Danube River. Here you’ll board your coach and travel to the impressive cliff top town of Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of the Bulgarian empire known once as the ‘City of the Tsars’. As well as being famous for its historical hills, the city is home to multiple emblematic Medieval churches. And the streets are filled with 200 year old houses, crafts workshops, souvenir shops and art galleries.
After your tour you’ll visit the historic town of Arbanassi, which is perched high on a plateau overlooking the Yantra Valley and lined with traditional houses. Due to its exciting past, Arbanassi has a large number of historical monuments, such as 17th and 18th century churches and many examples of Bulgarian National Revival architecture, which have turned the town into a popular tourist destination. Back on board your ship this evening you’ll join your Captain and fellow guests for a fabulous Captain’s Dinner.
Relax in the riverside city of Silistra which was once a Roman fort under the Byzantine Empire and later part of the Ottoman conquest. Today we head to see life in Alfatar, a small village where we visit a local school and a traditional old house museum.If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can replace today’s included excursion by booking a Discover More excursion to the Black Sea.
This morning you will say your goodbyes to your Captain, crew and Emerald Waterways ship as you disembark your river cruise and journey by coach to Romania’s capital of Bucharest. Here you’ll enjoy a two night stay at the Sheraton Bucharest or similar. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a visit to the magnificent Palace of the Parliament, Europe’s largest and heaviest civilian building, designed and constructed by its former dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. At the time of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s overthrow and execution in 1989, the building structure was complete however many of the furnishings were never installed – and even today, parts of the building are still yet to be completed. The new leaders of Romania referred to the building as the House of Ceaușescu to highlight the contrast between the excessive luxury in which Ceaușescu would have lived, and the squalor and poverty endured by many people living in Romania at the time. You’ll also enjoy an included guided tour of the city. As you walk the wide avenue, you’ll notice they have a distinctly French feel, which is why the city is often referred to as the Paris of the East.
Your second day in Bucharest is spent at your leisure. As always, your Tour Director will be on hand to help you plan your day. If you need advice, suggestions or simply pointing in the right direction, all you have to do is ask and our expert team will use their local expertise and knowledge to ensure you make the most of your destination.
Alternatively, you also have the option to book a Discover More tour to Snagov Monastery, which is believed to be the burial site of Vlad the Impaler, otherwise know as Count Dracula. The Monastery is situated on a remote island just outside of Bucharest. On return to the city, you have more time to spend on your own.