seven countries, one UNESCO World Heritage sites and the enchanting eastern Danube River Valley, a mystical region steeped in natural beauty that remains virtually unknown to Westerners. Cruise for nine nights aboard the exclusively chartered, deluxe Amadeus Silver II from the Habsburgs’ imperial capital of Vienna to the Black Sea. Here, a rich mosaic of medieval cities, charming villages and rugged countrysides await you, from the ancient lands of Bulgaria to the relatively young territories of Serbia and eastern Croatia, the spectacular Carpathian Mountains and Hungary’s fabled Puszta (plains) to the glittering palaces of Budapest. Admire a masterful display of traditional horsemanship in the Hungarian heartland, immerse yourself in the Slavic heritage of medieval Belgrade and cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates, which divide the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. Spend two nights in Romania’s elegant capital of Bucharest, known for its splendid architecture.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International River Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Oct 4, 2020 - Oct 16, 2020
Barbara Horlbeck, M.A., is an arts and culture professional with extensive global experience. She is a lecturer, writer, independent researcher and adjunct instructor of art history, and has developed and teaches college and university-level art history courses, including “Arts of the Islamic World” and “Arts of the Ancient World.” As Founder of Arts and Influences, Barbara developed the successful Food for Thought Lecture and Lunch Series and created a series of in-depth seminars covering a broad range of topics from “Arts of the Medieval World,” and “Arts of China, India and Japan” to “Collectors, Collections, and the Modern Museum.” As a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for nearly 20 years, Barbara has led tours for educators, specialists and the general public. She has traveled in nearly 40 countries, including five continents and the North Pole, as well as Iran, India, Pakistan and China. Barbara loves helping travelers develop a deeper understanding of our rich artistic and cultural legacy while, at the same time, placing works of art and architecture in their rich historical context.
- day October 4 & 5
Depart the U.S. Arrive in Vienna and embark the deluxe Amadeus Silver II. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner this evening.
- day October 6
Dock in Slovakia’s capital in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Beautifully restored since the end of the Cold War, the festive “little big city” of Bratislava showcases 21st‑century life amid its two‑thousand‑year‑old history. Enjoy a walking tour of the city’s Staré Mesto (Old Town) and its medieval, Renaissance and 19th‑century architecture, among the finest in Central Europe. Visit the Gothic 14th‑century Cathedral of St. Martin, where 19 Hungarian kings and queens were crowned, and the elaborate Primate’s Palace, famous for its rare collection of 17th-century English tapestries. See St. Michael’s Gate, Bratislava’s oldest preserved medieval fortification, built in 1300, and the eclectic 14th‑century Old Town Hall, embedded with a cannonball fired by Napoleon Bonaparte during his siege of the city in 1809.
- day October 7
Referred to as the “most Hungarian Habsburg,” Austrian Archduke Joseph Anton Johan, is credited with creating in Budapest an imperial capital that rivaled the scale and flamboyance
of Vienna. Swathes of historic Budapest have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status: the embankments of the Danube, including grandiose monuments of the centuries‑old twin cities of Buda and Pest; the medieval Buda Castle Quarter, site of the Roman city of Aquincum; and the illustrious palaces, mansions and squares of elegant Andrássy Avenue. In Pest, see the Gothic Revival, limestone Parliament Building, the second largest parliament in Europe, completed in 1904. At UNESCO-inscribed Heroes’ Square, admire monuments honoring Magyar chiefs who occupied the Carpathian Basin and established the Kingdom of Hungary in A.D. 896. Along Andrássy Avenue, see the 19th‑century, neo‑Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House, one of the world’s most beautiful performing arts venues. Cross the landmark Chain Bridge, the first stone bridge to link river‑level Pest to the hills of Buda. On Castle Hill, visit the late‑19th‑century, neo‑Romanesque Fisherman’s Bastion which affords exceptional city views, and the astonishing Gothic‑style St. Matthias Church, where Charles I, the last Habsburg ruler, was coronated in 1916.
- day October 8
Kalocsa and Puszta
Enjoy views of Hungary’s scenic, protected Puszta, one of Europe’s largest expanses of rolling grassland plains, where pastoral traditions have prevailed for over two millennia. Visit a working horse farm to see a performance of authentic Hungarian horsemanship and enjoy a traditional lunch of regional specialties in the farm’s restaurant. In Kalocsa, known for its intricate, brightly hued Hungarian embroidery, visit the House of Folk Art and Paprika Museum for further insights into this local art form and the traditional methods of cultivating paprika, the spice referred to as “red gold.”
- day October 9
Vukovar, Croatia/Novi Sad, Serbia / Sremski Kavlovci
Visit remarkably renewed Vukovar, “The Hero’s Town.” See restored landmarks and monuments that stand as powerful symbols of resistance, including 18th‑century Eltz Manor, a paradigm of Croatian Baroque architecture; the iconic Grand Hotel, famously purchased by the city’s Labour Movement in 1919; and the imposing red-brick water tower. Visit the Baroque Church of Sts. Philip and James and see its intricate stained‑glass windows. “The Athens of Serbia,” Novi Sad, is Serbia’s vibrant second city. Enjoy a walking tour of the pedestrian-only Stari Grad (Old Town) to see the city’s most beautiful buildings—the neo‑Gothic Name of Mary Church and the neo‑Renaissance Town Hall. Crowning the Old Town, the 18th‑century Petrovaradin Fortress, the “Gibraltar on the Danube,” is Europe’s second largest fortress. On a panoramic tour of quaint Sremski Karlovci, see the lovely 19th‑century
Patriarchate Court and the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas with its impressive twin bell towers. Savor two regional favorites, wine and honey, with tastings in a local wine cellar and the
Museum of Beekeeping.
- day October 10
Belgrade traces its origins from the Stone Age, which was then followed by Romans, Byzantines, Serbs, Turks and Austrians, each leaving a lasting impression. Enjoy a walking tour featuring historic Terazije Square and the domed Temple of St. Sava, Serbia’s patron saint. Visit the strategic Kalemegdan Fortress, one of the world’s oldest fortifications, commissioned by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in A.D. 535. Tour the famous “House of Flowers” memorial dedicated to former Yugoslavia’s longstanding leader, Josip Broz Tito.
- day October 11
Donji Milanovac for Lepenski Vir/ Cruising through the Iron Gates
Tour Lepenski Vir, an exceptional Paleolithic site (6500 to 5500 B.C.) and archaeological exhibition center—stone idols found in Lepenski Vir, including the famous nine-thousand-year‑old Foremother sculpture, represent the oldest stone sculptures in Europe. Enjoy spectacular views of the Danube Gorge in its dramatic, autumnal glory. Cruise through southeastern Europe’s picturesque scenery, passing the Golubac Fortress, guardian to the legendary Iron Gates, which were naturally carved by the Danube River.
- day October 12
Nikopol, Bulgaria, for Arbanasi and Veliko Târnovo
Dock in Nikopol and continue to the picturesque, 12th‑century hillside village of Arbanasi, where nearly 90 historic buildings are protected monuments. See distinctive stone houses, famous for their fortified Bulgarian architecture and richly decorated interiors. Learn more about the comfortable life of a 17th‑century merchant in the perfectly preserved Konstantsaliev House and admire elaborate icons and frescoes in the 15th‑century Birth of Christ Church. Continue to the medieval town of Veliko Târnovo, historic capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire between the 12th and 14th centuries and often likened to Rome and Constantinople in greatness. Savor lunch in a local restaurant and enjoy a walking tour of the town center, an open‑air museum of National Revival architectural splendor, and see the magnificent 12th‑century Tsarevets Fortress.
- day October 13
Feteşti, Romania, for Constanţa and Adamclisi
The principal Romanian seaport of Constanţa was established in the sixth century B.C. as the Greek trading settlement of Tomis. The port later became a part of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. Today, it remains an amalgam of these historic civilizations. Explore Constanţa’s Old Town on a walking tour and view the Roman poet Ovid’s famous statue in Ovidiu Square. Later, see the many elegant mansions and hotels that remain from the 19th century when King Carol I revived Constanţa. This afternoon, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and time at leisure. En route to the ship, stop in Adamclisi, where the Tropaeum Traiani commemorates Roman Emperor Trajan’s victory over the Dacians in A.D. 102. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception and dinner this evening.
- day October 14
Disembark the ship in Feteşti and drive through the rolling Romanian campii (plains) to the fascinatingly diverse capital city of Bucharest. Along the Grand Boulevard, visit the Palace of Parliament—the infamous vision of Nicolae Ceaușescu and valued as the world’s most expensive administrative building—and the open-air National Village Museum. Check into the ideally located Five‑Star Athénée Palace Hilton Bucharest.
- day October 15
Visit the National Art Museum in the 19th‑century Royal Palace, housing Romania’s finest collection of artistic treasures. Your afternoon is at leisure; enjoy the Farewell Reception in the hotel this evening.
- day October 16
After breakfast, continue on the Castles of Transylvania Post‑Program Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.
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