Danube River:
Vienna to Bucharest

Program Overview

This extraordinary journey from the Habsburgs’ imperial capital of UNESCO-inscribed Vienna to the captivating Black Sea features two nights in Romania’s elegant capital of Bucharest and a nine-night river cruise through the Iron Gates to discover the eastern Danube River Valley. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-designated castles, palaces and squares of Budapest; Hungary’s fabled Puszta (plains); the young territories of Serbia and eastern Croatia; and the ancient land of Bulgaria. Enhance your experience with the Vienna Pre-Program and/or Transylvania Post-Program Options.

Program Details

September 26 to October 8, 2024 (Amadeus Silver III)
From $4,945 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Exclusively chartered, 13-day, 13-night voyage featuring two nights in Bucharest, Romania, and a nine-night luxury cruise along the fabled Danube River—one of the greatest river journeys in the world.
  • Visit seven countries (Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania) and five capital cities.
  • Experience the best of Eastern Europe during an ideal time of year on this exclusive land and river itinerary.
  • Cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates dividing the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains.
  • See the best of Eastern Europe during autumn, an ideal time of year to visit.
  • Vienna Pre-Program and Transylvania Post-Program Options.

Day 1 - Depart Home City

Day 2 - Vienna, Austria / Embark Amadeus Silver III

Day 3 - Bratislava, Slovakia

Day 4 - Budapest, Hungary

Day 5 - Kalocsa

Day 6 - Vukovar, Croatia / Novi Sad, Serbia

Day 7 - Belgrade

Day 8 - Donji Milonavac for Lepinski Vir / Cruise through the Iron Gates

Day 9 - Nikopol, Bulgaria / Veliko Târnovo / Ruse

Day 10 - Fetești, Romania for Constanța

Day 11 - Fetești / Disembark boat / Bucharest

Day 12 - Bucharest

Day 13 - Bucharest / Return to home city

View detailed program itinerary >

Amadeus Silver III

Exclusively Chartered Deluxe River Boat

• Only 84 stylish suites and staterooms, each with a river-view.
• All meals are included on board the river boat, as well as wine and beer served with lunch and dinner.
• Luxury amenities of a stylish deluxe hotel.

Learn more about the Amadeus Silver III >

Austria, Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace

Vienna Pre-Program Option

Vienna showcases an open‑air museum of splendid Baroque architecture in its historical center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the famous Ringstrasse, see this remarkable city’s most important landmarks. Visit Hofburg Palace and see the Gothic‑style Stephansdom (Saint Stephen’s Cathedral). Learn more about the Austrian Empire in Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Habsburgs’ summer estate. Accommodations are for two nights in the 5‑star InterContinental Vienna hotel

Romania, Sinaia, Peles Castle

Transylvania Post-Program Option

Extend your tour by three nights to explore the treasures of medieval Transylvania. Highlights include the 19th‑century Peles Castle; the imposing, 14th‑century Bran Castle (believed to have inspired the Dracula story); the Black Church in Brasov; the UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Sighisoara; and UNESCO‑inscribed Prejmer, the largest fortified church in southeast Europe. Spend two nights in the Aro Palace in Brasov and one night in the 5‑star InterContinental Athénée Palace Hotel Bucharest.

Pre- and Post-Program Options are available at an additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Jonna Mendez

Jonna Mendez

A retired CIA intelligence officer, Jonna Hiestand Mendez served as a Chief of Disguise for the agency’s Office of Technical Services. During her 27-year career, her responsibilities included preparing the CIA’s most highly placed foreign assets to gather intelligence using espionage technology and techniques. With expertise in operational disguise and identity transformation, Jonna later focused her efforts in the most difficult and hostile areas, where she and her colleagues matched wits with the Soviet KGB, the East German Stasi and the Cuban DGI.

Over her career, Jonna has briefed presidents and prime ministers and has lectured extensively. In addition, she and her late husband Antonio Mendez co-wrote several books, including Spy Dust, Argo and The Moscow Rules.

A recent recipient of the Patriot Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution for “lifelong service to America in the defense of freedom,” Jonna is also a founding Advisory Board member of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Departure

Depart your home city for your flight to Vienna, Austria.

Day 2 Vienna, Austria

Arrive the next day in the capital city of Vienna, where you will embark the Amadeus Silver III. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner this the evening.

Day 3 Bratislava, Slovakia

In Bratislava, enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town. See the Gothic 14th‑century St. Martin’s Cathedral and the elaborate Primate’s Palace, a breathtaking 18th century landmark. Stroll through St. Michael’s Gate, the only remaining portion of the city’s medieval fortifications.

Day 4 Budapest, Hungary

Start the day on the Buda side of the river to see Castle Hill and visit St. Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. In Pest, see the Parliament Building, the second largest in Europe. At UNESCO‑inscribed Heroes’ Square, admire monuments honoring Magyar chiefs who established the Kingdom of Hungary. Along Andrássy Avenue, see the Hungarian State Opera House and the Chain Bridge that links Pest to Buda.

After dinner on board the ship this evening you will see the best of Budapest on a nighttime illumination cruise. Watch the city’s glittering historical landmarks light up the sky as they reflect off the Danube.

Day 5 Kalocsa

Enjoy a scenic drive through Hungary’s protected puszta and visit a farm to see a performance of Hungarian horsemanship. Learn about the history of paprika on your way to Kalocsa, where you will visit the Folk Art House and the Bishop’s Palace.

Day 6 Vukovar, Croatia / Novi Sad, Serbia

In Vukovar, see 18th‑century Eltz Manor and the iconic Grand Hotel, famously purchased by the city’s Labor Movement in 1919. Visit the Baroque Church of Saints Philip and James. Enjoy a walking tour of Novi Sad’s Old Town to see the Name of Mary Church, Town Hall, and the 17th‑century Petrovaradin Fortress, nicknamed the “Gibraltar of the Danube.”

Day 7 Belgrade

Embark on a tour of Belgrade, featuring Terazije Square and Temple of St. Sava. Visit Kalemegdan Fortress and the famous “House of Flowers” museum dedicated to former Yugoslavia’s leader, Josip Broz Tito.

Day 8 Donji Milanovic / Iron Gates

Visit Lepenski Vir archeological site and museum to see the impressive exhibition center of Paleolithic artifacts. Later, enjoy spectacular views of the Danube Gorge and cruise past the Iron Gates.

Day 9 Nikopol, Bulgaria for Arbanasi and Veliko Tarnovo/Ruse

Visit Arbanasi’s perfectly preserved Konstantsaliev House, a unique, fortress‑like structure originally built at the end of the 17th century and reconstructed several times—today serving as an ethnographic museum. The next stop will be a visit to the Church of the Nativity before continuing to the city of Veliko Tarnovo, one of Bulgaria’s oldest settlements. Explore the historical center of this “City of the Tsars” and see the 12th-century Tsarevets Fortress.

Day 10 Constanţa, Romania

In Constanta Old Town, see the poet Ovid’s statue in Ovidiu Square, the Great Mahmudiye Mosque and the Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception on board this evening.

Day 11 Fetesti / Bucharest, Romania / Disembark the river boat

Your land tour in Bucharest begins with an authentic lunch at a local restaurant and a visit to the National Art Museum of Romania, located in the 19th century Royal Palace in Revolution Square.

Check in to the InterContinental Athénée Palace Bucharest.

Day 12 Bucharest

Today you will visit the immense Palace of Parliament, the world’s second largest administrative building, and the National Village Museum. The largest of its kind in Europe, this open-air ethnographic museum features a collection of 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania’s rural architecture.

Enjoy a farewell reception at the hotel this evening.

Day 13 Bucharest / Return to home city

Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for a flight back to your home city.