Enchantment of Eastern Europe with Transylvania

13 Days
Budapest to Bucharest
From (AUD)
$ 5,190
Dates & Pricing

2022 Budapest > Bucharest

Five countries, all unique in their own way, accompany the Danube on its journey towards the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe. In Kalocsa, visit a Puszta Horse Show, enjoy lunch in the home of a local Croatian family in Osijek and, in Belgrade, enjoy a guided city tour, before a Serbian folklore show on board. Taste Romanian wine, attend a choir concert in Arbanasi, and journey by road to Bucharest. Plus enjoy an extended stay in Transylvania.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
13 days
Departure City:
Return City:

13 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Budapest

    When you arrive in Budapest, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your Emerald Cruises 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.


    A Puszta 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.


    Home-hosted lunch with a Croatian family


    Meet the local students

    Included Excursion

    A guided walking 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.


    A Serbian folklore evening show


    A guided bike tour in Belgrade

    Included Excursion

    A guided tour of Belgrade


    National Opera Theatre tour (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.


    A hike to Belogradchik Fortress

    Included Excursion

    Visit a local vineyard with wine tasting& visit to Baba Vida Fortress


    Traditional Bulgarian pastry making (extra expense)

    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.


    A choir concert in Arbanasi


    Hike to Ivanovo Church

    Included Excursion

    A tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi


    Paint & Wine (extra expense)


    Wine-tasting at Leventa Complex (extra expense)

    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 - Brasov

    After breakfast, your Transylvanian adventure will begin. You will board coaches to the medieval town of Brasov, located in the centre of Transylvania. On your way you will visit the world-famous Bran Castle, also known as the castle of Count Dracula. The 14th century Bran Castle, which surrounded by an aura of mystery owes its fame more to the myth created around Bram Stocker's Dracula than to its imposing towers and turrets. We will also visit the Bran Castle museum, displaying an impressive art and furniture collection of Queen Marie.

    Included Excursion

    Visit of Bran Castle en route to Brasov

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  10. Day 10 - Brasov

    Join us today in a panoramic city tour of Brasov, including a visit of the First Romanian School Museum and the St. Nicholas Church, which were for centuries one of the leading learning centers of the Romanian community. The museum hosts a compelling legacy: more than 4,000 rare books (many printed or copied by hand right here), several hundred rare documents, the oldest Romanian Bible (printed on a goat's skin) and much more.  You will continue with a guided walk through Brasov's historical medieval downtown and discover the German heritage while having an inside visit of the Black Church - the largest Gothic church east of Vienna.

    Included Excursion

    City tour of Brasov


    The UNESCO fortified Church Prejmer (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  11. Day 11 - Brasov

    While being in the heart of Transylvania, you may want to explore on own some downtime in Brasov, visiting the Old Town Square, wander through the narrow colourful streets, or hike up Mount Tampa. If you wish to venture out of Brasov you can join one of the two full-day DiscoverMORE programs tailor-made for you: Sibiu and Clay Castle Valea Zanelor or Sighisoara & Viscri Village.

    If you decide to opt for Sibiu, you will get to see the largest and wealthiest of the seven citadels built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. Sibiu is a multicultural city, where Romanian, Saxon, Hungarian and Roma minorities are living together peacefully throughout centuries, in a city which managed to transform its diversity into a brand. After being European Capital of Culture in 2007, Sibiu stepped up on the international culinary stage, as a holder in 2019 of the title "European Region of Gastronomy".

    Those interested in Sighisoara will be rewarded with a delightful walk through the town's hilly streets with their original medieval architecture, magical mix of winding cobbled alleys, steep stairways, secluded squares, towers and enchantingly preserved citadel. At noon you will reach the picturesque Viscri Village, where you will taste the delicious homemade cooked lunch at the locals and then visit the UNESCO fortified Church Deutschweisskirch. 


    Sibiu & Clay Castle Valea Zanelor OR Sighisoara & Viscri Village (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  12. Day 12 - Brasov - Bucharest

    After breakfast, check out at the hotel and board coaches back to Bucharest. We will take a scenic drive while crossing south the Carpathian Mountains to reach Sinaia, the “Pearl of the Carpathians”. Sinaia is home of the Peles Castle, one of Romania’s most beautiful palaces. It was once the summer residence of the Romanian kings and it is now one of Romania’s most important museums. Begun in 1875 and inaugurated in 1883, the castle has 160 rooms, it is opulently decorated with leather, ebony, walnut and mother- of-pearl, with invaluable collections of art and furniture.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  13. Day 13 - Bucharest

    After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and transfer to the airport, taking memories of the Great Hungarian Plain and medieval fortresses with you

    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. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

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

  • A guided walking 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
  • Tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
  • Guided drive through Bucharest with visit of Spring Palace

  • A Puszta horse show
  • Meet the local Students
  • Home Hosted Lunch with a Croatian family
  • Serbian Folklore Band evening show
  • Choir Concert in Arbanasi

  • Guide bike tour in Belgrade
  • Guided hike to Belogradchick Fortress
  • Guided hike to the UNESCO Heritage-listed Ivanovo Church

  • 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

  • 3 nights at a hotel in Brasov
  • 1 night at a hotel in Bucharest
  • Visit of Bran Castle
  • City tour of Brasov
  • Transfer from the ship and to the airport
  • 4 Breakfasts (B) and 2 lunches (L)

Pricing & Availability