Buffet breakfasts daily; 5 dinners, including a dinner at a local restaurant in Belgrade
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to visit Budapest at leisure. In the early evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
BUDAPEST. Discover the Hungarian capital with a Local Guide: Buda Castle, which dominates the twin cities of Buda and Pest, separated by the broad ribbon of the Danube; Heroes’ Square, which typifies the modern capital, as well as the old inns and along the riverbank, the Royal Castle, Parliament, Margaret Island, Fishermen’s Bastion, and Matthias Coronation Church. (B)
BUDAPEST–NOVI SAD, SERBIA–BELGRADE. Travel to Serbia. Stop in Novi Sad, capital of the province, situated on the Danube River and famous for its Petrovaradin Citadel, the fortress known in the west as the “Gibraltar of the Danube.” Continue to Belgrade, capital of Serbia. This evening, taste the local specialties at a typical restaurant. (B,D)
BELGRADE–SOFIA, BULGARIA. Cross the border into Bulgaria to arrive in Sofia, its capital. Join a Local Guide for a city tour that includes the Parliament building, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, BOJANA CHURCH, a medieval Bulgarian orthodox church listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National Theater, and St. Sofia Church. (B,D)
SOFIA. EXCURSION TO RILA MONASTERY. This morning, discover Rila MONASTERY with its colorful frescoes, located inside a nature park. It has a checkered history that goes way back to Ivan Rilski, a hermit who founded it in 927. During the long Turkish rule over the country, the monastery became a beacon of Bulgarian culture. Return to Sofia. Tonight, maybe join an optional folklore dinner. (B)
SOFIA–PLOVDIV–VELIKO TÂRNOVO. Head eastwards to Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city, located along the banks of the Maritsa River. Stop here to visit the charming Old Town and the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Journey northwards through fine scenery over the Stara Planina Mountains to Veliko Târnovo. (B,D)
VELIKO TÂRNOVO–BUCHAREST, ROMANIA. Today, time to see some of the highlights of Veliko Târnovo, located on the Yantra River. During the Middle Ages, it was Bulgaria’s capital and it still retains some of its most attractive medieval features. Visit nearby Arbanassi, world famous for its type of house, which is a cross between a dwelling and a fortress. The village is known as an architectural and historic reserve and was at one time the summer residence of Bulgarian kings. One of the highlights of the visit is the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, built in 1637. Carry on north to Rousse and cross the Danube to reach Bucharest. (B,D)
BUCHAREST. Flower-festooned parks, gardens, and wide boulevards shaded by century-old trees contribute to Bucharest’s beauty. The highlight of your sightseeing tour is a visit to the open-air VILLAGE MUSEUM, a unique collection of traditional farmhouses, cottages, wind and watermills, and artisans’ workshops from all parts of the country. The Local Guide will show you other places of interest, including the Government Victoria Palace, the Royal Palace, and the Savings Palace. There is also an afternoon optional visit to the massive Romanian Parliament, known as the “House of the People.“ (B)
BUCHAREST–SINAIA–BRASOV. Travel to Sinaia in the Prahova Valley. This is a lovely ski resort, almost 3,300 feet above sea level. While in Sinaia, there will be time to visit the SINAIA MONASTERY and PELES CASTLE, considered among the most romantic in the world. Only a few more miles and you reach Brasov, a lovely medieval town famous for its town square filled with baroque architecture and outdoor cafés. This evening, enjoy an optional folklore dinner in a typical Transylvanian restaurant. (B)
BRASOV. This morning, leave for Bran and visit its legendary CASTLE, built in 1377 and inhabited by Vlad the Impaler—better known as Dracula. In the afternoon, a walking orientation of the Old Town of Brasov includes a visit to the BLACK CHURCH and leisure time. (B)
BRASOV–SIGHISOARA–CLUJ-NAPOCA. Stop in Sighisoara, a medieval town with 11 towers within the city walls that surround cobblestone streets, ancient houses, and churches—it is one of Romania’s prettiest towns. Legend has it that it is also the birthplace of the notorious Vlad (Dracula). Continue to Cluj-Napoca, the film capital of Romania. (B,D)
CLUJ-NAPOCA–BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. Cross the border at Oradea into Hungary and return to Budapest. (B)
BUDAPEST. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)