Hungarian Parliament Building

On our next Viking River cruise, we’ll be exploring Eastern Europe with Viking’s Passage to Eastern Europe offering. This fascinating 11-day tour is filled with cultural and architectural highlights of big cities and small villages alike.

With Budapest and Bucharest bookending this particular cruise-tour, we’ll explore cities along the river in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria before winding down in Bucharest.

Hungarian Parliament Building from Buda side of Budapest
[Admiring the Hungarian Parliament Building from the Buda side of Budapest]

Aboard the Viking Atla, we’ll have complimentary excursions, a lovely veranda with lounge chairs, 110/220-volt outlets, USB ports, a small fridge, heated floor tiling in the bathroom and premium amenities. I’ll feature life aboard the ship in a separate post once back home.

I do know from last season’s Waterways of The Czars cruise that Viking goes above and beyond in service, organization and friendliness to make sure passengers feel right at home, despite long-haul flights, jet lag and stepping foot inside a new country (or five).

Viking Atla stateroom

The Atla has three levels of passenger staterooms, a sun deck, herb garden, library with computer station, shop, restaurant, lounge and Aquavit Terrace.

These intimate longships offer open seating at meals, a relaxed dress code and lots of options for exploring on and off the boat.

You just unpack your suitcase, put it under the bed and forget about it until it’s time to pack.

Iron Gate, Serbia
[Iron Gate, Serbia]

Unlike the Russian cruise (where we slept on the boat from beginning to end), we’ll first start with two nights at a luxury Budapest hotel, then get transferred to the ship, where we’ll unpack and spend our nights until arrival in Bucharest, where we’ll be brought to another luxury hotel for a full day and final evening of exploring.

I’m hopeful to have wifi for most of the cruise so we can share our adventures on social media.

Once you hit smaller waterways in between, coverage can become spotty and even non-existent at times. This makes for a chance to explore the library, sit on the veranda and enjoy the view or get to know some of the passengers (190 in total). And there’s always a game night or two to break the ice.

Passage to Eastern Europe Vancouverscape

11 days in Eastern Europe. 5 countries. 7 ports along the Danube. Here’s our itinerary:

The journey starts in Budapest, a city we’re no stranger to (we spent a week here in 2006). Outside the city’s attractions and views along the Danube, we’ll likely stroll the streets of Szentendre, a small village known for its pretty, colourful buildings, cobblestone streets, art galleries and famed Margit Kovács Museum.

Viking Atla Budapest

On our third and final day in the city, we’ll check out of the hotel and embark the ship. We’ll have some time to enjoy Budapest before returning back (I see a historic bath house in our future) and joining the crew for a welcome dinner.

Kalocsa is one of the country’s major cultural centers, and once we’ve arrived, we’ll check out the town on a guided tour, take in a short concert, then get our fix of traditional Pustza equestrian skills. This area is covered with large ranches; Kalocsa is also recognized as the paprika capital of the world, so we’ll likely pick up some of the famed spice to take home.

Osijek, Croatia
[Osijek, Croatia]

We next venture into Croatia and will visit Osijek (with an 18th century neo-Gothic center) and Vukovar, known for its Baroque buildings, parks and monuments. We’ll take a quiet afternoon and hopefully settle the last of our jet lag before heading along to Belgrade.

Belgrade has been on my list of must-visit cities for decades. We’ll get a full day to explore the highlights, including the Kalamegdan Fortress, Square of the Republic and the Nikola Tesla Museum.

IRON GATE, SERBIA (sail-though)
We’ll travel along the Lower Danube and take in this impressive gorge with its white limestone cliffs, and hopefully get to spot this gentleman in the rocks as we make our way towards Bulgaria.


Another day, another country. In Bulgaria, we’ll visit the port of Vidin, with an included excursion to the Belogradchik Fortress, begun in Roman times and expanded by Bulgarian tsars and the Ottomans. We’ll lunch on the ship, then explore the city center and its architectural monuments.

Bulgaria’s former capital, Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval town with a hilltop royal castle to boot. We’ll get to view the scenery from the Yantra River bridge, then enjoy some local handicraft shopping, lunch at a local restaurant, visit a local merchant house and marvel at the beautiful frescoes inside the Nativity Church.

Bucharest, Romania

In Giurgiu, we’ll disembark and make our way to Bucharest for a one-night stay. Once checked in, we’ll lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a folkloric performance, then take an afternoon tour of the city’s highlights. It’ll be the cruise’s final night in Bucharest, however we’ll be staying on to explore some more of Bucharest and neighbouring Transylvania.

If you’d like to follow along, find our full itinerary here.

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