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2024 Tour Details2023 Tour Details »
Discover the treasures of the Balkans on this vacation through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Visit the capitals—Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia, Bucharest—as well as some of the fascinating towns and cities along the way. Discover Novi Sad, famous for its citadel; Plovdiv, with its picturesque old town centre; Veliko Târnovo, Bulgaria’s capital during the Middle Ages; and Sinaia, a lovely ski resort town. Explore Brasov, a charming Transylvanian town featuring Saxon walls and bastions and an expansive square surrounded by Baroque architecture and the Gothic Black Church. Sighisoara is one of Romania’s prettiest towns with 11 medieval towers within the city walls, cobblestone streets, ancient houses, and churches. Visit Sofia’s Boyana Church, a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Plovdiv’s Roman Amphitheatre, one of the world’s best-preserved ancient theatres, and Arbanassi’s Church of the Nativity, built in 1637 and housing an outstanding collection of frescoes. Rila Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a history dating back 10 centuries. Marvel at Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German neo-renaissance architecture built in the 1880s and nestled at the foot of the mountains. It is considered one of the most stunning and romantic European castles. In Bucharest, visit the open-air Village Museum, showcasing traditional village life with a collection of traditional farmhouses, cottages, wind and watermills, and artisans’ workshops from all parts of the country. Last, but not least, visit Bran Castle, built in 1377 with imposing towers and turrets, and once inhabited by Vlad the Impaler—the Count who gave Bran Stoker the inspiration for his novel’s character, the vampire known as Dracula. This Balkans and Transylvania tour is designed for value-minded, savvy travel lovers. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation!
To know more about the visas for this vacation, click here
*Book a select 2023 Avalon Waterways Europe river cruise to receive $750 off per person on the cruise/land or cruise only price. Booking must be made, under deposit and discount applied between August 1, 2022 and November 11, 2023 for travel in 2023. Promotional discount will apply to Groups of 8 or more who provide their Group Block Deposit within the promotion's booking dates and will apply to all individual members of the Group until the due date of the passenger names/non-refundable individual deposits. Not applicable on TBA space. Offer reliant on space availability at time of booking and may be withdrawn at any time. Offer combinable only with Welcome Back Credit. Applies to new 2023 bookings only and offer will not be applied to pre-existing bookings. Full cancellation penalties will apply. Additional restrictions may apply; see Travel Terms & Conditions for details. May be withdrawn at any time. Offer applies to participating GFOB offices only. PRMW0992 PRMW0992
BUDAPEST Guided sightseeingNOVI SAD VisitBELGRADE Guided sightseeingSOFIA Guided sightseeing, visit Bojana ChurchRILA Visit the MonasteryPLOVDIV Old Town and visit Roman AmphitheaterVELIKO TÂRNOVO Visit Arbanassi Village and the Church of the NativityBUCHAREST Guided sightseeing, visit open-air Village MuseumSINAIA Visit the Monastery and Peles CastleBRAN Visit the legendary Castle of DraculaBRASOV Orientation of the Old Town, visit Black ChurchSIGHISOARA & CLUJ-NAPOCA Visit
World Heritage Sites are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance. The sites are judged to contain cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach with free Wi-Fi
Buffet breakfasts daily; 4 dinners
ARRIVE IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY Check into your hotel. Take advantage of the CosmosGO app to visit Budapest at leisure. In the early evening, meet your Tour Director and travel companions.
BUDAPEST Budapest is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, from Gothic to Baroque and Neoclassical to Art Nouveau, but also full of history and other surprises, such as delicious food and wines, as well as a multitude of spa establishments built on top of natural hot springs. The Danube River divides the old city in two, making it even more spectacular. Discover all of this and more during the guided city tour.
BUDAPEST–NOVI SAD, SERBIA–BELGRADE Travel to Serbia. Stop in Novi Sad, capital of the province, built on the banks of the Danube River and famous for its Petrovaradin Citadel, the fortress featuring the iconic clock tower with the “reversed clock”. Continue to Belgrade and discover the capital of Serbia on a guided city sightseeing tour. Today’s Distance: 267 mi/ 430 km
BELGRADE–SOFIA, BULGARIA Cross the border into Bulgaria to arrive in the capital city of Sofia. Join a Local Guide for a city tour that includes the Parliament building, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Boyana Church, a medieval Bulgarian orthodox church listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National Theater, and St. Sofia Church.Today’s Distance: 273 mi/ 440 km
SOFIA. EXCURSION TO RILA MONASTERY This morning, discover Rila Monastery, located inside a nature park and featuring vibrant frescoes. Its checkered history goes back to Ivan Rilski, the hermit who founded it in 927. During the long Turkish rule over the country, the monastery became a beacon of Bulgarian culture. Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 210 km
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 amphitheatre. Journey northwards through fine scenery over the Stara Planina Mountains to Veliko Târnovo. Today’s Distance: 190 mi/ 305 km
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 still retains some of its most attractive medieval features. Visit nearby Arbanassi, world famous for its house design, 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 Nativity, built in 1637. Carry on north to Rousse and cross the Danube to reach Bucharest. Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 210 km
BUCHAREST Flower-festooned parks, gardens, and wide boulevards shaded by century-old trees contribute to Bucharest’s beauty. The highlight of the included sightseeing tour is a visit to the open-air Village Museum, a unique collection of traditional farmhouses, cottages, windmills, watermills, and artisans’ workshops from all parts of the country. Your 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 optional afternoon visit to the massive Romanian Parliament, known as the “Peoples 'Palace.”
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 castles 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.Today’s Distance: 106 mi/ 170 km
BRASOV Transylvania is commonly associated with vampires due to the influence of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, and all the subsequent books and many films the tale has inspired. This morning, depart for Bran and visit the legendary Dracula castle. It was built in 1377 and inhabited by the Wallachian prince, Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. In the afternoon, a walking orientation of the Old Town of Brasov includes a visit to the Black Church, followed by leisure time.
BreakfastToday’s Distance: 39 mi / 62 km
BRASOV–SIGHISOARA–CLUJ-NAPOCA Stop in Sighisoara, a medieval town with 11 towers within the city walls surrounding cobblestone streets, ancient houses, and churches—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. Today’s Distance: 174 mi/ 280 km
CLUJ-NAPOCA–BUDAPEST, HUNGARY Cross the border at Oradea into Hungary and return to Budapest. Today’s Distance: 292mi/ 470 km
BUDAPEST Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Escorting tours for more than 15 years
"In my country, there is a saying that "Romanians were born poets." It is a great pleasure to present my country as a descendant of Dracula (though today we switched from blood to wine). Even more, I live in a country with a tremendous landscape of diversity, great inventors, history, and culture."
Escorting tours for more than 20 years
"I decided to become a Tour Director in order to see the world-and lose weight. Unfortunately, the latter is impossible, because the food is incredible here. Still, it was worth a try! Since those early years I've discovered that the reality of travel is better than I ever imagined. Every day is different, and there is always something new to see and learn."
Escorting tours for more than 15 years
"Traveling, researching the history and culture of new places has always been a passion of mine so when the opportunity arose to become a Tour Director I did not hesitate, and I still enjoy it - sharing my knowledge, passion and experience with guests, doing my best to ensure that their trip exceeds their expectations and becomes a wonderful memory. On tour there are travelers from all around the world, so I also learn a lot from them, broadening my horizon with each tour. It is not easy to choose a favorite country or a favorite tour as there is something unique and delightful in every corner of the world, but perhaps the Balkans and Transylvania are closest to my heart, as they are regions I am closely linked to."