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Discover the treasures of the Balkans on this vacation through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. On this Balkans and Transylvania tour, visit the capitals—Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia, Bucharest—as well as some of the fascinating towns and cities—Novi Sad, famous for its citadel; Plovdiv, with its picturesque old town centre; Veliko Târnovo, Bulgaria’s capital during the Middle Ages; Sinaia, a lovely ski resort; Brasov, a charming medieval town famous for its town square filled with baroque architecture and outdoor cafés; Sighisoara, one of Romania’s prettiest towns with 11 medieval towers within the city walls, cobblestone streets, ancients houses, and churches; and Cluj Napoca, Romania’s film capital.
Enjoy sightseeing throughout this tour with highlights including visits to Sofia’s Bojana Church, a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Plovdiv’s Roman Amphitheatre, built between the 1st and 2nd centuries and one of the world’s best-preserved ancient theatres; Arbanassi’s Church of the Nativity, built in 1637 and housing an outstanding collection of frescoes; Sinaia Monastery, built between 1690 and 1695; Rila Monastery, with a history dating back 10 centuries and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German neo-renaissance architecture built in the 1880s and nestled at the foot of the mountains—considered one of the most romantic and stunning 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—better known as Dracula.
This Balkans and Transylvania tour is designed for value-minded, savvy travelers. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation!
Please note: 2021 itinerary is based on 2020 and is subject to change, but by booking today you will lock in your price. Full details will be confirmed in September 2020.
Book your 2021 escorted tour early and save £75 per person. Plus, if you reserve flights with us now, we'll take away the hassle of tracking on-sale dates, recommended arrival times and airline options, and send you a recommendation as soon as flights are available. All with ATOL protection, naturally.See offer details
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Total meals included:
Check into your hotel. Take advantage of the CosmosGO app to visit Budapest at leisure. In the early evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Budapest is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, from Gothic to Baroque; Neoclassical to Art Nouveau, but also full of history, a food capital, and surprisingly rich in thermal waters. Discover all of this and more during the guided city tour.
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, and discover the capital of Serbia on a guided city sightseeing tour.
Today’s Distance: 267 mi/ 430 km
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, BOJANA 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
This morning, discover Rila MONASTERY with its colorful frescoes, located inside a nature park. Its checkered history goes 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.
Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 210 km
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.
Today’s Distance: 190 mi/ 305 km
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 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 THE NATIVITY, built in 1637. Carry on north to Rousse and cross the Danube to reach Bucharest.
Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 210 km
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, 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 “House of the People.“
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
This morning, depart 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, followed by leisure time.
Stop in Sighisoara, a medieval town with 11 towers within the city walls that surround 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
Cross the border at Oradea into Hungary and return to Budapest.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative hotels of a similar standard to those shown.
Located at the west gate of Budapest this 114-room property offers Free Wi-Fi access and lobby bar.
Ideal for business guests, athletes and those who travel visit Belgrade.
Crystal Palace four star-rated Boutique Hotel opened in 2004 is one of the most distinct hotels in Sofia.
The 4-star Yantra Grand Hotel is part of the Bulgarian Hotel Chain Sharlopov Hotels. Situated at Velchova zavera Square in Veliko Tarnovo - the old capital of Bulgaria, the hotel welcomes guests all year round and offers excellent conditions for recreation and amusement, business meetings, seminars and company celebrations. The hotel will charm you with magnificent view of the Tzarevets Fortress, the Architectural reserve village of Arbanassi and the University of Veliko Tarnovo.
"Located in the commercial center of the city just a short drive away from downtown Bucharest and 15 minutes from the airport. This modern hotel offers 204 air-conditioned guestrooms with safes, mini-bar, coffee/tea making facilities, and LCD TV. Guests can also enjoy a fully-equipped fitness center and a spa. Other amenities include a restaurant and a bar, and free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the property. "
With a history of over 70 years, inaugurated with great fast in 1939, Aro Palace is the only 5 star hotel in Brasov. In 1963 it was extended by building a new assembly, and in 2005 was upgraded to five star standards. The hotel has a privileged position being situated in the center of town. Because of the experience accumulated over the years, we managed to exceptionally harmonize business with pleasure and provide a service guaranteed to meet your needs.
Located only a few minutes away from downtown Cluj-Napoca, the Golden Tulip Ana Dome hotel will impress you with its superb urban view. Close to shopping malls, business centers and recreation areas, Golden Tulip Ana Dome is the perfect choice for leisure or business travel. The newest Golden Tulip Hotel in Cluj-Napoca sets the highest standards of quality and elegance.
Our expert Tour Directors help you get the most out of every place you visit - and have a 96% customer satisfaction rating.
We’re delighted to have achieved the Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended endorsement for customer experience.
We are a member of ABTA and our flight-inclusive holidays are protected by ATOL. If your holiday is cancelled for any reason, you’ll receive a full refund.