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Danube Delta to the Austrian Lake District

4.6 stars(7 reviews)
River Cruise

Cruise through Eastern Europe's captivating landscapes discovering rich history, natural beauty, and diverse culture.

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
17 days From £4,695 per person

2024 Tour code: GDR24

About the tour

Delve into a journey of discovery along the beautiful Danube river as we sail through changing landscapes and experience diverse cultures.

Spot rare wildlife in the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta, uncover the history of Constanța, and sail through the legends of the Iron Gate Gorge. The stories of Serbia's ancient capital unfold on a tour of Belgrade and we soak up the illuminated sights of Budapest on an evening cruise.

Experience the creative culture of Salzburg and Regensburg's medieval centre before our Danube adventure finishes in the lively atmosphere of Cologne. Every day of this amazing holiday shows a new side to the Danube river.


What’s included


Day 1 - To bustling Bucharest

After meeting our group at London Heathrow, we board our flight to Bucharest, the lively capital of Romania. We spend the night in this dynamic metropolis with a fascinating mix of history, culture, and modernity.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Discovering Bucharest and boarding our luxurious ship

On a guided tour, we discover the palaces, medieval homes, and skyscrapers of Bucharest. The city is renowned for its world-class museums, grandiose Palace of the Parliament, and picturesque Old Town.

This afternoon we meet our luxurious ship and are greeted with a refreshing cocktail in the lounge. After settling into your wonderful cabin and familiarising ourselves with our magnificent ship, we indulge in our first dinner on board before beginning our first overnight cruise toward the Black Sea.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Nature spotting on a Danube Delta safari

This morning, we board smaller safari boats for a nature cruise through the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta. This biosphere reserve is packed with wildlife, including many rare and endangered species such as the golden jackal, European hoopoe, white-tailed eagle and lesser-spotted woodpecker.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Delightful Constanța

After a night of relaxed cruising, we drive to the port town of Constanța for a guided tour. We discover this historic city's Greek origins, Roman ancestry, and Persian influences as we wander the streets. Some of the attractions we see include the great mosque, art-nouveau casino, and Genovese lighthouse. A short visit to the city's History and Archaeology Museum is also enlightening, and there's time to take a stroll along the pristine beach before we return to our ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Medieval Veliko Târnovo

We dock in the Bulgarian town of Rousse then head to the historic town of Veliko Târnovo, set at the foot of the Balkan mountains. A tour through the Old Town showcases beautiful timber-framed buildings, medieval churches, and the striking Tsarevets Fortress. During lunch on board, we begin cruising, continuing overnight.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - The iconic Iron Gate Gorge

We spend the day at leisure on board our luxurious ship. During the afternoon we pass through the amazing Iron Gate Gorge which is blanketed in legend. As we sail, we're surrounded by towering cliffs covered in lush moss, some adorned with intricate carvings - our cruise director gives us an insightful commentary, adding to the enchantment of the crystal-clear waters and ancient ruins that seem to immerse us.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Historic Belgrade

During breakfast, we arrive in Belgrade, the lively capital of Serbia, eager to explore its rich history and impressive architecture. Our guided tour takes us to Kalemegdan Fortress, the oldest surviving part of the city that dates back to the 3rd century BC. From here, we enjoy breathtaking views of the Danube and Sava rivers, immersing ourselves in the city's ancient past.

We then move on to Belgrade's National Museum, where we can appreciate the artistic and cultural heritage of this vibrant city. Our tour also includes the parliament building, Terazije Square, and the Palace of Princess Ljubica. This unique building, with its distinct Asian influence, was built in the 1800s for the wife of Prince Miloš - Princess Ljubica.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Great Hungarian Plains

This morning, we arrive at the port of Mohács, the gateway to the Great Hungarian Plains. Our 'Puszta' tour by coach takes us to Kalocsa, with stops along the way, offering us a unique insight into the region. Our first stop is at a paprika house, also known as 'red gold', Paprika has been one of Hungary's most famous and important cooking ingredients for centuries. We indulge in a variety of dishes seasoned with this unique spice and learn about its fascinating history.

Our journey then takes us to the former home of a wealthy 19th-century family, where we are treated to a mesmerizing performance of traditional folk music and dancing. Next, we venture into the vast expanse of the great plains, where we have the opportunity to try more local delicacies and meet the magnificent Hungarian half-blood horses. We even get to experience a wagon ride, hauled by these majestic creatures.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Striking Budapest

Today, we sail into Budapest and pass the impressive buildings that line the banks of the river. After dinner this evening, we enjoy the enchanting ambience of a traditional Hungarian Folklore troupe.

Once the sun sets, we begin a magical night-time cruise along the Danube River, taking in the illuminated sights of Budapest. From the Gothic-style Parliament building to Buda castle, the state buildings that line the banks on both sides are all sensationally lit up, as well as the stunning Chain Bridge.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Discovering striking Budapest

This morning, we delve deeper into Budapest's beauty and history that we saw last night. On a sightseeing tour of this captivating city, known as the 'Pearl of the Danube', we explore its impressive buildings and monuments. From St Stephen's Basilica to Heroes Square and Fisherman's Bastion, each sight is more remarkable than the last. After lunch on board, you can explore the city further at your leisure before we set sail to Bratislava.

As we sail upstream through the evening we navigate the scenic Danube bend. This section of the river has a long and fascinating history and from the sun deck or panoramic windows in the bar, you'll have the best view as we pass the village of Visegrad famous for its hilltop castle and later we pass Esztergom, the former capital of Hungary.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - Glorious Bratislava

After a morning of relaxing sailing through scenic landscapes of rolling hills and endless fields, we arrive in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, welcomed by its castle overlooking the river. We set out on a fascinating guided tour after lunch. Bratislava is divided neatly into two parts by the waters of the Danube, and we have time to get to know both the Baroque Old Town and the newer city. As we explore the enchanting streets, we're immersed in the vibrancy of the city, which has dramatic historic buildings, Baroque palaces and a wealth of fantastic museums and galleries.

Following our tour, you have plenty of free time to explore the tangle of cobblestoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, 18th-century Rococo buildings, and street cafés.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Imperial Vienna

After a calm night of cruising, we arrive in glorious Vienna for a sightseeing tour. This is a chance to relish in Austria's Imperial culture, one full of tradition and rich in architectural, artistic and musical heritage. Making our way to Ringstrasse boulevard, we see many of Vienna's most ornate buildings including the impressive Opera House (one of the leading opera venues in the world), and the grand Parliament Building.

After our tour, there's time to wander around at leisure and soak up the magnificent atmosphere of Vienna. You could indulge in the famous Sacher Torte, a Viennese delight, at one of the cosy coffee shops. Alternatively, you could explore the city centre and marvel at St. Stephen's Cathedral, or delve into one of the numerous museums the city has to offer.

Tonight, a real treat awaits us in the lounge as we're joined by four past members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra who whisk us away with their performances of well-known classical pieces.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 - Charming Dürnstein, beautiful Wachau Valley, and picturesque Melk Abbey

Austria's Wachau Valley is a famous wine-making region, which makes it the perfect stop on our cruise to sample the renowned local wine. There's free time in the quaint village of Dürnstein to do just that, or simply wander the charming streets, soaking up the fairytale landscapes. From the riverside, we can see the renowned castle where Richard I of England was imprisoned for a time.

This afternoon, we cruise through the scenery of the Wachau Valley during lunch, truly a highlight of the river. This scenic area of green valleys and vineyards is dotted with picturesque riverside towns and commanding fortresses.

Later, we disembark in Emmersdorf to visit Melk Abbey, an 11th-century Benedictine Abbey that stands atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. It's here we see the abbey's church, one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14 - The enchanting Austrian Lake District or stunning Salzburg

This morning we wake up in beautiful Linz where you can choose between a day in the Austrian Lake District, the Salzkammergut, or a visit to Salzburg.

The first option sees us heading into the country for a day in the lakes where we stop at UNESCO-listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its pastel-coloured houses. We also visit Hallstätter See Lake and Mondsee, a pretty town set on the lake of the same name and famous for its 15th-century parish church which featured in 'The Sound of Music'.

Alternatively, travel via Mondsee to Salzburg, a beautiful Baroque city on the banks of the Salzach river. During a guided sightseeing tour, we explore Getreidegasse street, famed for its traditional shops with metal signboards the place where Mozart was born. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is filled with stunning Baroque architecture, beautiful churches, quaint squares, and charming alleyways that we admire as we meander through.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15 - Historic Regensburg

We arrive in Regensburg, ready to discover one of Germany's oldest and most unspoiled towns on a guided tour. With an atmospheric, medieval centre, exploring this UNESCO-listed city feels like stepping back in time and we see The Old Stone bridge which has been standing for over eight centuries, shrouded in local myths and legend.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16 - To vibrant Cologne

After breakfast, it's time to disembark in Passau this morning and say goodbye to our wonderful crew. We make our way to the railway station and head to vibrant Cologne, known for its impressive Gothic cathedral, the largest in Northern Europe. After settling into our hotel there's time to explore this striking city before dinner.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17 – Discovering Cologne and Homeward bound

This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Cologne, getting a glimpse of the city's landmarks, including the impressive Gothic cathedral with its intricate spires and magnificent architecture.

After our tour, we bid farewell to vibrant Cologne and head to the train station to make our way home. We journey by rail to Brussels where we then board the Eurostar to London St Pancras. Here, we bid farewell to new friends and fellow travellers.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.




MS Amadeus Imperial

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4.6 stars4.6 / 5 · 7 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mr J Mann

4 stars

Submitted 30 Aug 2018

The ship and service not as good as AMA waterways ships

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr K Emmerson

5 stars

Submitted 29 Aug 2018

Great Holiday, great company, Great ship and crew, and our Tour manager was excellent. Can recommend this trip to everyone. Food was wonderful and included tour very good except one. (meal out one eve was disappointing)

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr H Ray

5 stars

Submitted 28 Aug 2018

Superb experience in a new part of Europe..

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Canon D Atkins

5 stars

Submitted 12 Nov 2017

The adjustments made necessary by the bridge closures at Novi Sad were superbly handled. The rail adjustments due to a general strike in Belgium say much about Great Rail communication. The optional excursions were better than the planned ones. The Tour Manager went way above and beyond the call of duty

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr K Barraclough

4 stars

Submitted 15 Aug 2017

Excellent holiday itinerary - thoroughly enjoyable.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr R Reynolds

4 stars

Submitted 10 Aug 2017

Very relaxing holiday,well organised,fantastic varied scenery,great ship with a good and very helpful crew.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Show all 7 reviews
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