Balkan Odyssey : 11-Day Tour and Cruise

Your adventure begins with a one-night stay in Bucharest followed by a two-night stay in Transylvania known for its numerous castles and painted monasteries.  From here you enjoy a Danube cruise from Oltenia, Romania to Osijek, Croatia on an all-suite ship with Avalon. One of the journey highlights will be the Romanian capital’s WWI Arc de Triomphe and the Royal Palace Square as well as the opportunity to spend some free time browsing the lovely shops and cafes of Victory Boulevard. Additional highlights include the opportunity to see the incredible ancient architecture in Veliko Târnovo and Arbanassi, and sail to Vidin, Bulgaria, to marvel at the remarkable rock formations of the Balkan Mountains in Belogradchik. Cruise through the Iron Gates Gorge, explore the amazing archaeological site of Lepenski Vir, and visit the fascinating Fortress of Golubac. Sail to Belgrade, Serbia, where the Danube and Sava Rivers meet, and discover ancient architecture in Novi Sad. Sail into beautiful Croatia, where a 1,000-year-old winemaking tradition lives on in Ilok. Disembark in Osijek and spend the night in the Croatian capital of Zagreb—dating back to the Roman Empire. This Danube River cruise through the Balkans reveals the beauty of its people and culture across a land of beauty and inspiration. Following the cruise there is a one-night stay in Zagreb.



September 26 - October 06, 2021

Land only: $5,978 based on double occupancy

See special promotion price in the itinerary. Single supplement: on request



*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


Day 1 - Sunday, September 26: Arrival in Bucharest and Food Tour of the City

Arrival on your own in Bucharest, known as “The Paris of the East”.  Transfer to the hotel (included).  Orientation tour this afternoon as we taste our way through Bucharest’s most charming and unusual ‘mahallas,’ or neighborhoods, on a small-group food tour. Together we will venture beyond crowded squares and Communist architecture to discover the Romanian capital’s quieter, Belle Époque quarters, where Old World elegance meets bohemian flair. Along the way, we pop into lively markets, specialty shops, and cafes to sample the best of artisan Romanian cuisine like goats-milk cheese, cured meat, homemade bread, craft beer, and Wallachian doughnuts.  Balance of the day is yours to relax and enjoy Bucharest

Day 2 - Monday, September 27: Bucharest-Sinaia-Brasov

Drive into the Carpathians to Sinaia to visit Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture, considered by many one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Continue to Brasov.  Dinner and overnight.

Day 3 - Tuesday, September 28: Brasov

Breakfast followed by a guided Sightseeing Tour of Brasov, known for its medieval Saxon walls and bastions, the towering Gothic-style Black Church and lively cafes. Piata Sfatului (Council Square) in the cobbled old town is surrounded by colorful baroque buildings and is home to the Casa Sfatului, a former town hall turned local history museum.  In the evening enjoy a tour of Bran Castle of Dracula lore followed by dinner.

Day 4 - Wednesday, September 29: Bucharest/Oltenita

Breakfast at the hotel before travelling back to the Romanian capital for a Beautiful Boulevards and Bold History tour which begins with its tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—honoring WWI Romanian soldiers. See the Royal Palace Square—the scene of the city’s 1989 riots to overthrow the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.  Following the tour we transfer to Oltenita to board our Avalon River cruise.  Time to settle in and familiarize yourself with the ship before a welcome drink followed by dinner.    

Day 5 - Thursday, September 30: Nikopol, Veliko, Tarnovo and Arbanassi Excursion

Cliff Houses and Revival Architecture.  Join a full-day Guided Tour to the former Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo—with its ancient stone houses clinging to the cliffs above the Yantra River.  This aftertnoon discover one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (circa 4300 BC), as well as more Bulgarian Revival architecture in the 15th-century town of Arbanassi.

Day 6 - Friday, October 01: Vidin, Bulgaria

Rocks, Ruins and Beauty in Bulgaria is what awaits us on our guided Sightseeing in Vidin, and Belogradchik. Marvel at the remarkable rock formations on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains, sculpted by 200 million years of natural elements.  This evening, enjoy live entertainment on board with a Bulgarian folklore show.

Day 7 - Saturday, October 02: Iron Gates Gorge - Donji Milanovac. Excursion to Lepenski Vir - Golubac

Today’s experience includes ancient artifacts and the Iron Gates.  Join your Adventure Host for today’s special activities as we sail through the spectacular and narrow Iron Gates Gorge—a natural border between Serbia and Romania.  Later enjoy a tour to Lepenski Vir—an important Mesolithic archaeological site chronicling prehistoric cultures, settlements, and art. Marvel at the ancient discoveries and artifacts, as well as the unique views the site affords of the Danube Gorge.  Enjoy a brief sailing to Golubac where we will visit the Fortress of Golubac, one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. You’ll hear about its tumultuous history as a border control defense in the Middle Ages, and a source of conflict between Serbia, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire.

Day 8 - Sunday, October 03: Belgrade, Serbia

We begin the day with a guided tour of Belgrade—where the Danube and Sava Rivers converge—and see the city’s many fascinating sights, including Saint Sava, one of the world’s largest Orthodox churches.  Spend free time in Belgrade exploring Knez Mihailova Street—Belgrade’s central pedestrian thoroughfare with many lively cafés, shops, and cultural spots.  Before dinner, attend an onboard Lecture to learn about the Danube Delta. This evening, you might like to join an Optional Excursion for an authentic Bohemian Dinner in the Quarter of Skadarlija.

Day 9 - Monday, October 04: Novi Sad/Ilok

A capital of culture.  Morning tour of Novi Sad, the second largest town in Serbia. Admire its Austro-Hungarian old town, with its baroque buildings, and ancient fortifications.  Enjoy a brief cruise to Ilok, Croatia while having lunch onboard.  This afternoon will focus on Croatian heritage and hilltop vintages during a tour of Ilok, with its 1,000-year-old winemaking tradition still thriving and its medieval fortress protected for its Croatian cultural heritage.

Day 10 - Tuesday, October 05: Osijek and Zagreb

Disembark your ship this morning and travel to Zagreb for a guided tour of the Croatian capital and discover its rich history dating from the Roman times to the present day.  Farewell dinner and overnight.

Day 11 - Wednesday, October 06: Transfer to airport for flight to Toronto

Breakfast before transferring to the airport for your flight back to Toronto. OR continue on your adventure with a transfer to the coastal town of Sibenik for our  in depth Dalmatian Coast program.




Tour/cruise includes: • Transfers from and to airport • One-night pre-cruise tour of Bucharest, including exclusive food tour • Two-night pre-cruise tour to Transylvania • Daily breakfast during the land tour • 7 night river cruise in category selected and all meals and snacks during the cruise including wine or beer with lunch and dinner. • 1 night accommodation in Zagreb • Transportation throughout the tour • All sightseeing and admissions as per the itinerary • Pre-paid gratuities • Services of a Pauwels Travel escort


• Items of a personal nature • Meals not indicated • Optional travel insurance: call the office for rates.


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