Passage to Eastern Europe

Viking River Cruises
Bucharest to Budapest
March 26 - April 9, 2014

Bucharest, Romania

3/26
British Air flight from Philadelphia to Bucharest
3/27
Welcome to Bucharest. Transfer to the Radisson Blu Hotel Bucharest in the heart of the city with the former Royal Palace.
3/28
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and take a motorcoach drive through the Transylvania countryside. Stop for a tour of Peles Castle, a 19th-century fortification in Sinaia that melds numerous European architectural styles and materials into a harmonious and romantic structure. Continue to Brasov, where you have a panoramic city tour featuring the city’s Gothic-style Black Church. Check in to the Ramada Brasov; you have a free evening to enjoy the town square, with its Council House (complete with ancient Trumpets Tower) and lovely fountain.

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Transylvania, Romania

3/29
This morning, check out of your Brasov hotel. Take a short ride to Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula’s Castle. This landmark citadel, built in the 14th century and used by Saxon and Wallachian kings, is the best-known of several locations linked to the Dracula legend; it was used by Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, as his headquarters for his incursions into Transylvania. The castle has Gothic and baroque furnishings and decorative arts on display. After your tour, return to the Radisson Blu Hotel Bucharest.

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Constanta, Romania

3/30
You have the day at leisure in Romania’s gracious capital city, which offers many churches and monasteries, palaces and the Parliament, museums, parks, gardens and interesting neighborhoods. An excursion to Constanta on the Black Sea coast. The oldest living city in Romania, Constanta was founded around 600 B.C. by Greek settlers, and is now a fashionable resort town. Arrive midmorning for a city tour featuring the iconic seaside casino and Art Nouveau architecture, and a stroll along Mamaia Beach, the “Palm Beach” of the Black Sea.

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Bucharest to ship

3/31
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and take a morning tour of the city. See the Patriarchal Church, the Palace of Parliament and the Arch of Triumph. You then proceed to Giurgiu to board your ship and enjoy a welcome dinner.

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Veliko Tarnivo, Bulgaria

4/1
Today you disembark at Russe for a full-day excursion to Bulgaria’s former capital, Veliko Tarnovo. There you will see Tsaravets Hill and the ruins of the royal castle. During free time, shop for local crafts along Samovodska Charshia. Proceed to Arbanasi for lunch in a local restaurant and a guided tour of the Nativity Church with its intricate floor-to-ceiling murals and icons. Rejoin your ship at Nikopol/Svishtov and dine aboard.

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Vidin, Bulgaria

4/2
Arrive in the picturesque Bulgarian port of Vidin during breakfast, then take an excursion to see Belogradchik Fortress, built right into the striking Belogradchik Rocks. See the fortress’s amazing construction, begun in Roman times and greatly extended by Bulgarian czars and the Ottomans, and enjoy breathtaking views. Lunch aboard is followed by free time to explore Vidin’s city center, Orthodox churches and the ruins of the city’s once-grand synagogue. Depart during dinner.

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Iron Gates Gorge

4/3
Today, enjoy scenic cruising as you travel through one of the most picturesque areas of the Lower Danube. The Iron Gate is one of Europe’s most dramatic natural wonders, a spectacular narrow gorge with enormous white limestone cliffs. Your cruise director will provide commentary about the region and scenic points of interest as you sail toward Belgrade.

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Belgrade, Serbia

4/4
Wake up in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. Take a guided walk through the grounds of Kalemegdan Fortress, now a beautiful park; also see the Orthodox cathedral and stop at the Square of the Republic. Lunch aboard, then free time to explore Belgrade’s gracious architecture or visit one of its many museums, like the Nikola Tesla Museum. Dine aboard or experience some of Belgrade’s nightlife—we depart very late this evening.

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Osijek, Croatia

4/5
Cruise along the Danube, arriving at Vukovar around noon. Disembark for an afternoon excursion to the charming Croatian city of Osijek. Inhabited by humans since Neolithic times, this area has had several heydays under the Romans, the Ottomans and the Habsburgs; now it is a pleasant town popular for its baroque buildings, parks and monuments. Return aboard for dinner.

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Kalocsa, Hungary

4/6
Sail into Hungary this morning, arriving in Kalocsa after lunch. Take a guided city tour including a visit to the Archbishop’s Palace. Then, you are treated to a performance of traditional Puszta horsemanship. Return to the ship and enjoy a festive final dinner aboard as we depart for Budapest.

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Budapest, Hungary-Day 1

4/7
Disembark after breakfast and take a tour of Hungary’s capital, exploring both the “Buda” and “Pest” sides. Begin in Pest, where you see the National Opera House and visit historic Heroes’ Square. Cross the Chain Bridge to Buda, where you stroll Fishermen’s Hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Check in to the deluxe Budapest Marriott for a 2-night stay, then take the rest of the day to sightsee on your own—explore a museum, do some shopping or peek inside one of the Art Nouveau spas.

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Budapest, Hungary-Day 2

4/8
Take a full day to explore Budapest on your own—ride around the city on its wonderful subway system, walk through the City Park or along the Pest embankment for views of the Buda Castle District, explore the Buda Castle Labyrinth, visit the Jewish Quarter and tour the beautifully restored Dohány Street Synagogue. (B)
4/9
After breakfast, check out of the Marriott and proceed to the airport for our return flight back to Philadelphia.

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Tour Map  Eastern Europe on the Danube