Istanbul with Enchantment of Eastern Europe

12 Days
Istanbul to Budapest
From (CAD)
$ 6,435
Dates & Pricing

2021 Istanbul > Budapest

Enjoy a three-night stay in the colourful Turkish city of Istanbul before journeying to Bucharest in Romanian. Your cruise begins in Arbanasi where you will attend a choir concert. Embark on a guided city tour of Belgrade, returning to your Star-Ship for a traditional Serbian folklore evening show. In Osijek, visit a local Croatian family for home-hosted lunch and then spend your day in rural Hungary for a Puszta Horse Show in Kalocsa.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
EWBI
Duration:
12 days
Departure City:
Istanbul
Return City:
Budapest

12 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Istanbul

    Welcome 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.

  2. Day 2 - 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

    Topkapi & Harem section AND/OR Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (extra expense)

    Included Excursion

    City tour of Istanbul

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  3. Day 3 - 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

  4. Day 4 - Istanbul - Bucharest

    After breakfast, fly to Bucharest where you will be transferred to your centrally-located hotel for a 1-night stay before your exciting cruise on the Danube.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  5. Day 5 - Bucharest - Giurgiu

    After enjoying the plush surrounds of your hotel this morning, you will get the opportunity to learn about some of Bucharest’s most iconic highlights during your guided drive around the city, including a visit to the Spring Palace, before enjoying some time to explore the leafy boulevards at leisure.
    After your insightful tour, you will be transferred from Bucharest to Giurgiu, on the banks of the Danube, where a warm welcome awaits you from your captain and crew on board your Emerald Waterways Star-Ship.

    Included Excursion

    A guided drive through Bucharest

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Rousse – Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanasi

    Today, you will have the opportunity to learn about Bulgarian history as you explore the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire with your local guide, an ancient city that was strategically positioned overlooking the surrounding area. On your included tour, you will have the opportunity to traverse its cobbled streets and witness its medieval fortifications.
    Afterwards, you will be taken to neighbouring Arbanasi, situated overlooking the Yantra River, a tributary of the Danube that is known for its many scenic gorges. Your local guide will enable you to explore the past, as your tour touches on a number of traditional houses and ancient churches.
    If you would prefer to do something more active, then you could instead choose to embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, known for their famous 14th-century frescoes.
    Tonight, your crew will welcome you back on board for a welcome reception and 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

  7. Day 7 - Vidin

    Viticulture forms the heart of life in the most western town in Bulgaria, where sun-kissed vineyards pepper the banks of the Danube and the region has prospered from winemaking for generations. Your included tour of Vidin will introduce you to a peaceful side of life that revolves around wine, as you weave through a local vineyard and learn about their produce, before enjoying a tasting. Afterwards, your local guide will take you to Baba Vida, a fortress that was originally constructed at the turn of the 10th century; known for being one of only a handful of beautifully preserved castles in the country.
    If you are feeling more active, then you may instead choose to embark on a guided hike to Belogradchik Fortress, located on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains. It’s easy to imagine how this stronghold would have offered the Romans a perfect lookout point. 

    EmeraldACTIVE

    Hike to Belogradchik Fortress

    Included Excursion

    Visit a local vineyard for a tasting

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Donji Milanovac - Golubac

    This morning, relax on board and admire your surroundings as we sail along the mighty Danube to Donji Milanovac, where a visit to the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, one of Europe’s best-hidden gems, awaits. Located right on the riverbanks, the Palaeolithic site is one of the most important of its kind on the continent, effortlessly capturing more than 8 millennia of history. Archaeologists from around the world have used this site to learn about a number of different Stone Age settlements and the way that prehistoric cultures moved across Europe.

    Included Excursion

    A visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Belgrade

    Serbia’s vibrant capital is yours to explore today, as your local guide takes you on a coach tour through the heart of the city, highlighting its many landmarks and the iconic Belgrade Fortress. Your coach will pass through the centre, where you will be able to catch glimpses of Serbia’s turbulent recent past, set amongst now quiet and peaceful streets. Witness the ornate beauty of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest religious buildings in Europe, before stopping for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. If you are feeling more active, then you may instead choose to learn about Belgrade’s history during a guided bike tour.
    This evening, you will be invited to the Horizon Lounge to 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

  10. Day 10 - Osijek

    Today, you will have the opportunity to explore one of Croatia’s postcard-worthy historic university towns, full of delightful waterfront promenades and quaint cobbled streets. As you walk around the city, you will notice that damage from the Homeland War is still visible, but it’s difficult to imagine turbulent times in this peaceful area.
    Embark on a guided walk around Osijek Fortress, a true icon in the romantic old town. This traditional star fort houses a number of different buildings, including a military hospital and armouries, making it perfect for times of conflict. Your EmeraldPLUS experiences today are certain to be a highlight of your trip, as you dine on traditional cuisine with a local Croatian family and meet some students from a local village.
    Enjoy an evening of sailing further up the Danube towards Hungary, before joining your fellow passengers for a farewell dinner.

    EmeraldPLUS

    A home-hosted lunch with a Croatian family

    EmeraldPLUS

    Meet the local village students

    Included Excursion

    A guided tour of Osijek Fortress

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Kalocsa

    In the morning, we will sail away from Osijek and on to Kalocsa, a place known for its paprika production and colourful festivals. Discovering Hungary’s culture is an easy task in Kalocsa, where traditional folk art can be found around every corner and old traditions pave the way for daily life.
    Later, you will venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, to visit a traditional Puszta horse farm. Your guide will teach you about the traditional performances of the Magyar cowboys, and you will have the opportunity to witness some of their exceptional equestrian skills first hand, as they perform for you during their horse parade and showcase some of their memorable exercise drills.

    EmeraldPLUS

    Visit a Puszta horse farm

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Budapest

    After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and transfer to the airport, taking memories of a traditional Puszta equestrian performance and viticulture on the banks of the Danube 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.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

YOUR CRUISE INCLUDES
  • 1 night in a hotel in Bucharest
  • 7 nights on board an Emerald Waterways Star-Ship
  • 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
  • Guided Bus Tour of Bucharest with visit of Spring Palace
  • Visit to Veliko Tarnovo
  • Visit to Baba Vida Fortress
  • Visit to local vineyard with wine tasting
  • Visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
  • Guided tour of Belgrade
  • A guided tour of Osijek Fortress

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

EmeraldACTIVE
  • Guided Hike to the UNESCO Heritage-listed Ivanovo Church
  • Guided Hike to Belogradchick Fortress
  • Guide Bike Tour in Belgrade

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