The Danube from Sea to Source

Gellert Bath and Spa, Budapest - © István Práczky/
Budapest - © István Práczky budapestinfo
Budapest Panorama from south - © Istvan Práczky BFTK
Budapest Parliament - © Istvan Práczky BFTK
Chain Bridge, Budapest - © István Práczky/
Danube Valley, Romania - © Alan Heywood
Danube Valley, Romania - © Alan Heywood
Budapest - © István Práczky/
Hydrofoil Vocsok III - © István Práczky/
Budapest - © István Práczky/
Nyugati station - © István Práczky/
Parliament in Budapest - © István Práczky/
Pesti korzo - © István Práczky/
Pont de Chaine, Budapest - © István Práczky/
Széchenyi Chain Bridge between Buda and Pest - © István Práczky/
The Danube Island - © WienTourismus Christian Stemper
View to the Danube - © WienTourismus Christian Stemper
Summer days on Old Danube - © WienTourismus Christian Stemper

Holiday Highlights

  • Danube Delta boat trip with a local guide
  • Lunch cruise through the Danube gorge
  • Evening sightseeing cruise in Belgrade
  • Cruise on the historic Danube boat “Ulmer Spatz”
  • Travel through UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Travel on the Schwarzwaldbahn (Black Forest Railway)
  • 16 days from £2,595pp
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Tour Dates:
Friday 30 June to Saturday 15 July 2017

Follow the mighty Danube River from the sea in Romania through five European capital cities to its source in the Black Forest. We travel by both train and river as we follow the course of the Danube.


Day 1 – To the Sea

We take a morning flight from Luton to Bucharest Henri Coanda airport. We transfer to our hotel on the banks of the Danube in Tulcea for a 2-night stay.

Day 2 – Danube Delta

Today we take a boat trip around the Danube Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is the second largest and best preserved river delta in Europe. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes. Lunch is included.

Day 3 – Bucharest

We take the train to our first capital city, Bucharest. Free time to enjoy Romania’s capital city.

Day 4 – Following the River

We travel west by train to Baile Herculane for a 2-night stay. This spa town is popular with Romanians but is less well known on the international tourist scene.

Day 5 – Danube Valley Cruise

After a short transfer to Orşova, we take a four hour cruise along the Danube Valley through the gorge. Lunch is provided on the boat (included).

Day 6 – Timişoara

The rail line to Timişoara now leaves the river and continues through pleasant countryside to our next overnight stop.

Day 7 – Belgrade

We travel south to the second capital city along the Danube today – Belgrade in Serbia. After checking into our hotel we have an evening cruise on the river, taking in the lights from the Kalemegdan fortress, the Orthodox Church and the Zemun Gardos.

Day 8 – Budapest

Our rail journey today will take just over eight hours as we cross the border into Hungary and the next capital city along the Danube. We have a 2-night stay in Budapest with plenty of time to explore. This section of the Danube, which has been habited by humans since the Palaeolithic era, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Day 9 – Danube Bend

Our excursion today takes us along the river around the Danube Bend to Esztergom, the birth and coronation place of the first Hungarian king, St Stephen. Its famous churches, monuments and the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside makes it an extremely popular tourist destination. We return to Budapest by train.

Day 10 – Three Capitals

Departing the capital of Hungary we take a train to the next capital city, Bratislava in Slovakia. The route follows the Danube and is one of the most scenic railway lines in Hungary. We have time for lunch in Bratislava before returning to the river for a catamaran trip to Vienna for a 2-night stay. After checking into our hotel we return to the Danube for a dinner cruise.

Day 11 – Grinzing and Kahlenberg

We take a tram to Grinzing, well known for its wine, and continue by bus to Kahlenberg which was a summer retreat for the royalty. We enjoy lunch with a view over the Danube. Overnight in Vienna.

Day 12 – Wachau Cultural Landscape

Our train this morning hugs the banks of the Danube as we travel to Krems. We then journey through the Wachau Cultural Landscape, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a boat trip to Melk. We continue to Linz by train for a 1-night stay.

Day 13 – Danube Loop

The morning is at leisure in Linz. Our afternoon cruise from Linz to Passau will give a wonderful impression of the Upper Danube Valley with views of the Wilhering Abbey, Engelszell Abbey and the Danube Loop. We stay 1night in Passau.

Day 14 – The Ulmer Spatz

We travel by train from Passau to Ulm. After lunch we return to the water for today’s cruise on board the historic Danube boat “Ulmer Spatz”, German for the Ulm Sparrow. According to legend, the inhabitants of Ulm needed a particularly large beam for the construction of Ulm Minster, but could not get it through the city gate. It was watching a sparrow carrying a straw for its nest, turning it from crosswise to lengthwise in its beak that stopped the people tearing down the city gate. Overnight in Ulm.

Day 15 – The Source

Today we finally reach the Danube source fountain at Donaueschingen. Crystal-clear water wells up almost unnoticed amidst the spring’s aesthetic surroundings. You have to look carefully to see the continually rising bubbles in the turquoise coloured spring water. The source of the Danube is a karst spring, whose water rises up through strata of chalk and gravel. After a guided tour and lunch we continue via the highly scenic Schwarzwaldbahn to Karlsruhe for our final night.

Day 16 – Homeward Bound

Our journey home takes us through Cologne and Brussels for a late afternoon arrival in London. A rail ticket back to Luton Airport Parkway is included for those needing to retrieve their cars.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Hotel Esplanada, Tulcea

Ibis Hotel, Bucharest

Pensiunec Noblesse, Baile Herculane

Hotel Timisoara, Timisoara

Hotel Zira, Belgrade

Ibis Budapest City, Budapest

InterCityHotel, Vienna

Ibis Linz City, Linz

IBB Hotel, Passau

InterCityHotel, Ulm

Hotel Leonardo, Karlsruhe

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flight in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Rail travel as specified
  • All transfers as specified
  • Excursions and admissions as listed
  • Danube Delta trip
  • 8 cruises on the Danube River
  • Services of a tour leader throughout the tour plus local professional Romanian guide within Romania

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,595
Single room supplement: £350
Deposit for this holiday: £200
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2016

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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