Black Sea Explorer (10 days, Budapest - Bucharest, 2014)
Take a voyage of discovery to the furthest reaches of the Danube, from Budapest and Belgrade, through the towering ‘Iron Gate’, a river gorge with the Carpathian Mountains pressing from the north and Balkan Mountains barricading from the south. Sail into mystical lands, rich in legend, before travelling to the Black Sea and Bucharest.
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There are a number of ways to travel to Budapest. Fly from your choice of 15 UK regional airports via Amsterdam with KLM; travel from London Heathrow with British Airways; or fly with Lufthansa from Manchester or Birmingham indirect. A Scenic Tours Representative will transfer* you to your luxury Scenic ‘Space-Ship’. Tonight enjoy a Welcome Reception with your fellow travellers.
Enjoy early morning cruising to the Baroque provincial town of Kalocsa, which lies at the periphery of the great Hungarian plain and is renowned for its decorative embroidery and paprika production. Be impressed by a Hungarian Puszta horse farm and enjoy a show before tracing the interesting Turkish origins of paprika. Alternatively, explore with Scenic Tailormade and choose a city tour of Kalocsa. More than 1,000 years old, Kalocsa is a quaint town filled with culture and is a great place to see Hungarian crafts. Highlights include the House of Folk Arts and Cathedral. Tonight join your Captain in the Crystal Dining Restaurant for your Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Today choose one of the following included Scenic FreeChoice activities: (1) a guided walking tour of Osijek (2) a guided cycling tour of Osijek’s countryside. Scenic Enrich: As a special Scenic guest, you will be invited into the home of a local family for a home cooked traditional lunch and an opportunity to learn about everyday life in Croatia. You will also have an opportunity to taste some local wines from boutique family vineyards.
Today explore Serbia’s capital Belgrade, one of the oldest capital cities in Europe. Visit Tito’s memorial, Fortress Kalemegdan and see St. Sava Church on your included tour. This afternoon choose one of the following included Scenic FreeChoice activities: (1) join your guide as you take a leisurely bicycle journey along the banks of the Danube (2) enjoy the ‘Tastes of Belgrade’; during your walking tour you will have the opportunity to sample traditional Serbian specialities (3) see Belgrade through the eyes of the locals when you meet a native Belgradian who will take you around the city. Alternatively, explore with Scenic Tailormade and choose from two self-guided tours, Belgrade through the ages and the Wonder of Zemun, one of the most beautiful residential areas in the city, with an ideal location next to the Danube and bursting with picturesque cobblestone streets.
Be sure to have your camera ready as you cruise the spectacular Iron Gate, a narrow gorge carved by the River Danube between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains, which forms a natural border between Serbia and Romania. Relax on the Riverview Terrace or in the Panorama Lounge as you have a relaxing day of cruising.
From the former Roman fortress town of Svistov in Bulgaria, venture to Veliko Tarnovo, a city with a rich historical past which you can discover with Scenic Tailormade at your own pace. In the 14th century as the Byzantine Empire weakened, the city was the Bulgarian capital and known as the third Rome. We then venture to the nearby leafy village of Arbanassi, which is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list of valuable cultural sites. Upon arrival in Russe in the late afternoon, why not enjoy a self-guided city tour with Scenic Tailormade? Russe is the fifth biggest city in Bulgaria and is home to a grand square enlivened by cafés and Austro-Hungarian influenced architecture, often illuminated to great effect at night. The city’s past is abundantly displayed in several museums, and in its ruined Roman fortress that stands guard high over the Danube.
Cernavoda in Romania is your ship’s base today for an excursion to the seaside town of Constanta, the gateway to the Black Sea coast with the largest harbour in the Black Sea. Visit the Archaeology Museum and the Greco-Roman style St. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church. Also visit Mamaia, this popular resort town stretches eight kilometres in length, with only a 300 metre sliver of land separating the Black Sea shore from the waters of Lake Siutghiol.
This morning disembark your cruise ship and travel to the Romanian capital of Bucharest. Its perplexing mismatch of eras - grey housing blocks from Ceausescu’s brutal rebuilding phase, deliberately French palaces with Baroque clam-shaped canopies, remains of medieval churches and courts, 21st-century office buildings - means that even a short walk is a lesson in history. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city, including a visit to the Ceausescu’s imposing Palace of the Parliament, the largest building in Europe.
Two Night Stay: Bucharest
Today choose one of the following included Scenic FreeChoice activities: (1) journey to Bran Castle, the legendary home of Count Dracula. See the castle that is steeped in history and is one of Romania’s national treasures (2) visit Snagov Lake and see its famous Monastery, that is situated on an island in the middle of the lake. This is said to be the burial place of Count Dracula.
After breakfast, transfer* to the airport for your flight home: fly with British Airways to London Heathrow, via Amsterdam with KLM to one of 15 UK regional airports, or indirect with Lufthansa to Manchester or Birmingham.
B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, HL – Highlight Lunch, D – Dinner
* Please check your transfer entitlements with the UK office.