Balkan Discovery

Price per person
from £2,492

Price based on
London Stansted
12th Sep 2018 departure

Key inclusions

  • VIP private home pick-up service
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • 10 days

  • Hungary

  • River cruise

Experience the best of Eastern Europe on this engaging Balkan adventure. After two nights in the lively Hungarian capital of Budapest, head south on the Danube for guided sightseeing at each city stop along the way. Highlights include visits of the eclectic rock formations of Belogradchik, Tsarevet's Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, and Arbanassi's Ethnographical Museum. Cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge to finish your holiday in Bucharest, Romania's vibrant capital.

At a glance


Budapest Visit Fisherman's Bastion and Heroes Square on a guided sightseeing tour.
Belgrade See St. Sava, the world’s largest Orthodox church, and visit one of the many art galleries or museums.
Iron Gates Gorge Cruise the spectacular scenery of this natural passage between Europe's Alps in the north-west and the Carpathians in the south-east.

Balkan Discovery - Budapest to Bucharest map

What's included

  • VIP private home pick-up service
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Services of a cruise director
  • Accommodation
  • Selected meals
  • Wine & beer with lunch and dinner
  • Excursions
  • Gratuities on cruise
  • All airport and port taxes

Overview

Total meals included:

  • 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners

Budapest

Day
1

Travel to Budapest where you will be met and transferred to the InterContinental Budapest (or similar) for a two night stay.

No meals included

Budapest

Day
2

Included today: Guided sightseeing, see Fishermen's Bastion and Heroes Square Whether you're seeing the sights, shopping for hand crafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest's unique energy is positively palatable. On your included guided tour of the city, see Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen's Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city's eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves, which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. This afternoon is free. Perhaps visit St. Stephen's Basilica for marvellous city views from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Budapest (Embarkation)

Day
3

This morning is free for you to enjoy Hungary's exciting capital. Visit one of the many museums, take a walk to see some of the remaining statues from the communist era, shop at the Great Market Hall to purchase paprika and embroidery, or stroll along Vací Utca main shopping street. Transfer to your ship and meet your crew at a welcome reception.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Mohács

Day
4

Included today: Guided sightseeing in Pécs, visit underground tombs; organ concert. Cruise to Mohács this morning and join the included excursion to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. With a local guide, visit the early Christian Underground Tombs, many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes that are now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later, enjoy an organ concert. After lunch, enjoy some time leisurely cruising towards Belgrade.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Belgrade

Day
5

Included today: Guided sightseeing. One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A local guide will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world's largest Orthodox Church. In your free time, be sure to check out the city's lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafes. Perhaps visit one of the many art galleries or museums or browse the local shops. Stroll through Belgrade's largest and most beautiful park which surrounds the city's principal landmark, Kalemegdan Fortress.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Lepenski Vir - Iron Gates Gorge

Day
6

Included today: Visit Lepenski Vir archaeological site; cruise the Iron Gates Gorge. This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes you to the impressive Lepenski Vir Exhibition Centre which houses archaeological artefacts, and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise the spectacular scenery of the dramatic Iron Gates gorge. The gorge is a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing the Alps in the north-west from the Carpathians in the south-east, forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Cetate - Belogradchik

Day
7

Included today: Visit the cultural port of Cetate; excursion to Belogradchik rock formations. This morning stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain shipping port, now turned into a cultural centre. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to taste some of the locally made products. In nearby Belogradchik, view the eclectic group of rock formations on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Sculpted by natural elements for more than 200 million years and in a variety of sizes and shapes, the Belogradchik Rocks are a spectacular sight to behold.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Veliko Târnovo - Arbanassi - Rousse

Day
8

Included today: Visit Tsarevet's Fortress in Veliko Târnovo and the Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi' or guided sightseeing of Rousse. This morning stop in Nikopl from where an excursion takes you to the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the Royal Fortress and the Patriarch's church. With your local guide, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria's history. Next, journey to Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century, and best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and Ethnographical Museum, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the Church of the Nativity, one of the town's oldest churches, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Return to your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria's largest inland port. If you don't wish to participate in the full-day excursion, you can stay on board and relax, or join a guided tour of Rousse.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Oltenita (Disembarkation) - Bucharest

Day
9

Included today: Guided sightseeing. After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania's lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe - built in 1922 to honour the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I - have gained it the name 'Paris of the East'. During the included tour, see the main sights including the Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, discover this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue), Bucharest's most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés and fine houses.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Bucharest

Day
10

Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Hotels

It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative hotels of a similar standard to those shown.

Athenee Palace Hilton

Built in 1914 and set in the heart of the city, Athénée Palace Hilton is perfect for visiting Bucharest's spectacular sights. This beautiful hotel boasts fantastic views of Revolution Square and is close to the former Royal Palace and Romanian Athenaeum. Official rating: 5 stars.

  • Location

    Located in central Bucharest, the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel is situated just a five-minute walk from many popular tourist attractions, shops, theatres, cafes and iconic sites. The Old Town is a short stroll away. 

  • Facilities

    • Three restaurants
    • Bar
    • Café bistro
    • Heated indoor swimming pool
    • Jacuzzi
Athénée Palace Hilton Bucharest

InterContinental Budapest

You're spoilt for choice when it comes to panoramic views across the River Danube. Admire the Chain Bridge and the former Royal Palace from one of the hotel's beautifully appointed rooms, or treat yourself to a gourmet Hungarian dinner with views of Buda Castle. Official rating: 5 stars.

  • Location

    Just a leisurely stroll away from the historic Castle district, this luxurious hotel sits on the banks of the river Danube in the heart of Budapest. 

  • Facilities

    • Restaurant and bar
    • Gym
    • Spa
    • Indoor heated pool
    • Sauna and steam room
InterContinental Budapest

Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge

The Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge hotel has an enviable position overlooking the River Danube and Budapest's famous Chain Bridge, and many of the 357 rooms come with a view of the river. A Swarovski water fountain, luxury spa, original art and a French-Hungarian restaurant make this hotel a special base for your time in Budapest. Official rating: 5 stars.

  • Location

    The hotel boasts a prime location near the River Danube, Hungarian Parliament, Hungarian State Opera and Castle.

  • Facilities

    • Luxury spa
    • Atrium restaurant
    • Bistro restaurant
    • Bar
    • Luxury spa

Avalon Illumination

Avalon Illumination accommodates 166 passengers. This gorgeous ship features two full decks of Panorama Suites with wall-to-wall panoramic windows that transform into a unique open-air balcony. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard, affording you the unique opportunity to wake each morning facing the splendid passing scenery. Onboard amenities include an alternative light dining option in the Panorama Bistro, a fitness centre, complimentary Wi-Fi access, and a spacious Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, and light al fresco lunches at the Sky Bistro.

Ship facts

  • Style: Luxury
  • Class: Suite ship
  • Size: Boutique
  • Number of crew: 47
  • Number of cabins: 83
  • Number of wheelchair cabins: 0
  • Number of large cabins: 0
  • Capacity: 166 passengers
  • Main language on board: en
  • Currency on board: EUR
  • Number of decks: 4
  • Length (m): 135
  • Width (m): 11.45
  • Speed in knots: 13
  • Launch year: 2014

Amenities

  • Smoking
  • Adults only
  • Childrens facilities
  • Nursery

Cabins on this ship

These suites feature a 6-person sitting area, bathrobes & slippers, choice of bed configuration, Comfort Collection Beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, double sinks, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, European-style duvets, flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel, hairdryer, in-room safe, L'Occitane bath products, marble countertops in bathroom, nightly turn-down service, soft and firm pillows, vanity, well-stocked minibar, alarm clock, bedside tables with reading lamps, coffee table, complimentary bottled water, direct-dial telephone, easy under-bed luggage storage, elegant, contemporary design, extra blankets, full shower with glass door, individual climate control, large mirror in bathroom, make-up mirror, memory foam mattress toppers, a sofa, spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage, wall-to-wall panoramic window with Open-Air Balcony®, and a writing desk.

Details

  • 300 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

These suites feature a 6-person sitting area, bathrobes & slippers, choice of bed configuration, Comfort Collection Beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, easy under-bed luggage storage, elegant, a contemporary design, extra blankets, full shower with glass door, individual climate control, large mirror in bathroom, make-up mirror, memory foam mattress toppers, sofa, spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage, wall-to-wall panoramic window with Open-Air Balcony®, writing desk, alarm clock, bedside tables with reading lamps, coffee table, complimentary bottled water, direct-dial telephone, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, European-style duvets, flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel, hairdryer, in-room safe, L'Occitane bath products, marble countertops in bathroom, nightly turn-down service, soft and firm pillows, vanity and a well-stocked minibar.

Details

  • 200 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

These staterooms feature an alarm clock, bedside tables with reading lamps, Comfort Collection Beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, easy under-bed luggage storage, an elegant, contemporary design, extra blankets, full shower with glass door, individual climate control, large mirror in bathroom, memory foam mattress toppers, soft and firm pillows, two windows, well-stocked minibar, bathrobes & slippers, choice of bed configuration, complimentary bottled water, direct-dial telephone, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, European-style duvets, flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel, hairdryer, in-room safe, L'Occitane bath products, nightly turn-down service, spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage, vanity and a writing desk.

Details

  • 172 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

Life on board

Age Restriction

Avalon Waterways do not accept bookings for children under 8. There are no special arrangements or activities on board for children and they cannot accept bookings from unaccompanied children under 18 years of age and any travellers under this age must share the adult’s accommodation.

Dietary Requirements

Avalon Waterways will try their best to accommodate dietary requirements if they are mentioned at the time of booking.

Disabled Facilities

Passengers must report any disability to Avalon before any reservation is made so that Avalon may advise whether they and/or their suppliers for any particular holiday are able to accommodate the passengers. Avalon may rely on the information provided to them by the passengers regarding the details of any disability in order to make a decision as to whether the passengers can be accommodated. Avalon will make reasonable attempts to accommodate the special needs of disabled passengers, in accordance with the applicable laws.Not all sightseeing stops/sites accommodate wheelchairs and some locations and sightseeing activities require extensive standing, sitting or walking. Avalon is not responsible for any missed activities due to a participant’s inability to participate within a group.All of the ships have lifts, however they do not service the SkyDeck. Additionally most stateroom doors and bathrooms are not wide enough to allow access by standard wheelchairs, and bathrooms and other doorways may be fitted with coamings.For safety reasons passengers cannot be carried on ramps in ports when the ship is docked. In certain circumstances, they may ask that a disabled person or person with reduced mobility be accompanied by another person capable of providing any assistance required.

Dress Code

The dress code for dinner is casual and comfortable. The Welcome and Farewell Dinners give you a chance to dress up but are not formal.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is only allowed on the ships outside decks where ash trays are provided.

Deck Games Area

Relax after a long day and play a game with your fellow guests at the game area towards the rear of the deck.

Fitness Centre

The ship is fitted with a fully equipped Fitness Centre for you to release some tension.

Hairdressing Salon

Situated on the Royal Deck you might like to take advantage of the onboard hairdresser to indulge in a manicure or hair styling.

Sky Deck & Whirlpool

The Sky Deck has a shade system, with premium loungers for luxurious relation. The warm Whirlpool is situated along side for when guests fancy a quick dip.

Club Lounge

Enjoy a quiet moment in the Club Lounge whilst enjoying a cappuccino.

Library

Guests will find a small Library onboard and guests may check out books from the ship's library free of charge. 

Observation Lounge

The Observation Lounge on the Royal Deck, gives guests a prime view to enjoy the premium spirits.

Sky Lounge

On the Sun deck you will find the Sky Lounge, where you can relax and catch the sun's rays whilst enjoying a drink or snack from the nearby Sky Bistro. 

Internet Centre

Complimentary Wi-Fi access and free use of computers or laptops is available to help you stay in touch with friends and family while you enjoy a coffee at the Internet Cafe. 

Shore Excursions

On shore, Avalon includes a great range of comprehensive sightseeing excursions led by knowledgable Certified Local Guides. They also provide individual personal audio headsets to ensure you still have the freedom to roam through some of Europe's most famous attractions without missing a moment of fascinating commentary.

If you'd like to experience something slightly off the beaten track, they offer unique alternative excursions in select destinations. In many cities they also give you a choice of sightseeing pace: 'Traditional' to see all the major sights, 'Leisurely' available on walking tours when you want to take it slower, and 'Independent' allowing you to explore on your own. Have a chat with your Cruise Director to learn about the available options.

They even provide Nordic walking sticks to put that extra spring in your step!

Dining Room

A spacious, open-seating dining room with elegant dining service and large panoramic windows is situated on the Sapphire deck. With an elegantly simple design, you can enjoy a full buffet breakfast or lunch with special options for those who wish to eat lightly, and delicious four-course dinners in the evening. 

Panorama Bistro & Lounge

The Panorama Lounge & Bistro, with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows for a stunning view, offers a casual atmosphere for guests to enjoy a variety of regional and tapas-style dishes, hand-paired with local wines.

Room Service

Room service is available for Continental breakfast & beverages.

Sky Bistro

On a sunny day, enjoy hand carved meats and expansive buffets including fresh salads and amazing homemade soups, all a view courtesy of the Sky Bistro.

Deck Plans

Deck 1

  • Fitness Centre
  • Deluxe Staterooms

Deck 2

  • Observation Lounge
  • Panorama Bistro & Lounge
  • Bar
  • Internet Corner
  • Reception
  • Hair Salon
  • Club Lounge
  • Panorama Suites 
  • Royal Suites

Deck 3

  • Galley
  • Dining Room
  • Panorama Suites

Deck 4

  • Sky Lounge
  • Navigation Bridge
  • Sky Bistro
  • Whirlpool
  • Premium Lounge Chairs and Shade Awnings
  • Deck Game Area

Why book with Archers Holidays?