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12 Days | Budapest To The Black Sea


Day 1 | Budapest, Hungary. This most exciting of Danube cruises and tours begins at 6:00 PM at Le Méridien Budapest. A transfer is included from Budapest's Ferihegy Airport to Le Méridien Budapest in the heart of the city's Pest section (or a similar property). Meet your fellow travelers and Tauck Directors at the welcome cocktail reception and dinner at the Akademia Club in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences overlooking the Danube. (Please note: on Aug 12 departure, the welcome reception and dinner will be held at the Festetics Palace.) (D)

Day 2 | Budapest. Your exploration of Budapest begins in the city's Pest section – once an independent city of its own, but united with Buda in the mid-19th-century – with a visit to the neo-Renaissance St. Stephen's Basilica, built in 1905. Also view the Parliament building, a neo-Gothic masterpiece; Heroes’ Square, bounded by some of the finest architectural works in Hungary; and such Budapest treasures as City Park, Central Market Hall, and tree-lined Andrassy Avenue. (B)

Day 3 | Budapest. Embark. Today's exploration of Buda begins at a museum and memorial to Hungarian composer Béla Bartók in his 1920s home, where you'll hear his melodies in a private piano recital. Revisit Budapest's World War II years and the Cold War era at the Sziklakórház ("Hospital in the Rock"), a recreation of underground miltary medical facilities in a former secret bunker beneath Buda Castle. Then check out Castle Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a guided walking tour; see architectural landmarks including the iconic Fishermen's Bastion, and spend time exploring on your own. Later, board ms Treasures to launch this most extraordinary of Danube cruises, and meet the ship's crew at the Captain's welcome reception tonight. (B,D)

Day 4 | Kalosca. Spend some time discovering Kalocsa – celebrated for its paprika and folk art – where you'll learn about the history of paprika and its production from bell peppers at the Paprika Museum; visit the beautiful Baroque library in the Bishop’s Palace, housing one of the finest early collections in Europe; and attend a tasting at a Hungarian winery. (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Vukovar, Croatia. As your discovery of the lower Danube cruises into Croatia, attend an on-board lecture by a local expert on the country's culture and history. Travel overland to the Baroque city of Vukovar, once showcasing opulent 18th-century mansions, but now poignantly symbolizing the effects of the 1990s war as it rebuilds; visit the home of a Vukovar family who have recently returned to resume their lives in the city after the conflict, who will share homemade refreshments with you. Continue your cruise to Serbia this afternoon, enhanced by commentary by your Tauck Directors. (B,L,D)

Day 6 | Belgrade, Serbia. Dock in Belgrade, Serbia's modern capital at the juncture of the Danube and Sava rivers. A shipboard lecture sets the stage for sightseeing that includes visits to Tito's Memorial and the formidable Kalemegdan Fortress, and views of St. Sava Church, busy Slavija Square (now one of the city's major squares, but once a large pool where residents hunted wild ducks!), Parliament, Republic Square and City Hall. Following a Serbian lunch ashore at a former royal residence, you'll enjoy a special private reception at Belgrade's Royal Palace of Dedinje, where HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia and his family reside today. Return to the riverboat, where a Serbian folkloric group entertains you this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | The Iron Gate. Continuing one of Tauck's popular Danube cruises, relax on a day's cruise past the fields and vineyards of Eastern Europe; shipboard activities which may be offered throughout your cruise range from cooking demonstrations to folkloric, music and dance performances. Pass into Romania and through the Kazan Narrows and the Iron Gate of the Danube, a two-mile-long series of narrow gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountain ranges. As you glide along the Bulgarian / Romanian border, look for the massive monument to the 2nd-century Dacian King Decebalus – Europe's tallest rock sculpture, completed in 2004, carved into the riverbank on the Romanian side – as well as spectacular views of the Transylvanian Alps. (B,L,D)

Day 8 | Svishtov, Bulgaria. Learn all about the imagery and symbolism of Iconography with a lecture and demonstration as your journey along the lower Danube cruises to Svishtov, Bulgaria, for excursions to nearby towns. Travel to the medieval capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Turnovo, whose ancient walled fortress and castle are set atop three hills overlooking the Yantra River. In the nearby town of Arbanassi, you'll have a chance to visit the Konstant-Salieva House and the Archangels Michael & Gabriel Church. A busy day concludes with an on-board presentation on Bulgarian customs, as well as performances of traditional music and dance. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Cernavoda, Romania. Black Sea. Arrive in Cernavoda and head off on a day trip to Romania's Black Sea coast. Your first stop is the historic port of Constanta, originally the Greek colony of Tomis in ancient days; see the city's numerous Greek and Roman antiquities, a monument to the poet Ovid (who was exiled here in Roman times) and the distinctive 19th-century waterfront casino on your guided tour. Continue on to the seaside resort of Eforie Nord to enjoy a traditional Romanian folk wedding performance for lunch. Please join us aboard the riverboat for the Captain's farewell cocktail reception and dinner tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 10 | Bucharest. After disembarking your riverboat and bidding the crew goodbye in Cernavoda, travel through the Romanian countryside to Bucharest, capital of Romania and once regarded as the "Paris of the Balkans." A sightseeing tour includes Revolution Square and the Triumphal Arch; erected to commemorate Romania's reunification and those who fell in World War I, it is a smaller but otherwise exact copy of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. You'll also pay a visit to the massive People's Palace, home to Romania's Parliament; the world's second-largest building after the Pentagon, some parts of it are reportedly still unfinished! Tonight you'll spend the first of two nights at the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel in the heart of the city. (B,L)

Day 11 | Bucharest. A choice of sightseeing in Romania today features the legacy of the 15th-century Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (a.k.a. "Vlad the Impaler"), thought to be the historical model for Bram Stoker's character of Dracula. You may choose to take a full day's excursion to tour Transylvania's 14th-century Bran Castle, which Tepes once used as a fortress during his military campaigns and is now a Romanian national monument, returning to Bucharest early evening. Or you can opt for a boat ride to Snagov Island to visit isolated Snagov Monastery, whose grounds are said to contain the final resting place of the infamous prince, as well as a stop at Caldarusani Monastery, followed by an afternoon at leisure back in Bucharest. Please join us tonight for a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 12 | Bucharest. Tour ends in Bucharest, Romania. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel to Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport; please allow 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.

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