Duration: 13 Days
Discover the treasures of the Balkans on this holiday through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Visit the capitals—Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia, Bucharest—as well as some of the fascinating towns and cities along the way. Discover Novi Sad, famous for its citadel; Plovdiv, with its picturesque old town centre; Veliko Târnovo, Bulgaria’s capital during the Middle Ages; and Sinaia, a lovely ski resort town. Explore Brasov, a charming Transylvanian town featuring Saxon walls and bastions and an expansive square surrounded by Baroque architecture and the Gothic Black Church.
Sighisoara is one of Romania’s prettiest towns with 11 medieval towers within the city walls, cobblestone streets, ancient houses, and churches. Visit Sofia’s Boyana Church, a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Plovdiv’s Roman Amphitheatre, one of the world’s best-preserved ancient theatres, and Arbanassi’s Church of the Nativity, built in 1637 and housing an outstanding collection of frescoes. Rila Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a history dating back 10 centuries. Marvel at Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German neo-renaissance architecture built in the 1880s and nestled at the foot of the mountains. It is considered one of the most stunning and romantic 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—the Count who gave Bran Stoker the inspiration for his novel’s character, the vampire known as Dracula. This Balkans and Transylvania tour is designed for value-minded, savvy travel lovers. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime holiday!
Adventure is knocking with everything you need for perfectly affordable touring. Cosmos includes hand-selected accommodations, guided sightseeing, and seamless transportation between destinations—with value-minded travel lovers in mind. Explore with expert Cosmos Tour Directors and Local Guides, complimentary headsets, private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach with free Wi-Fi. Enhance your free time to explore like a local with your CosmosGO mobile app!
Please note: Itinerary is based on 2024, and is subject to change. Full details will be confirmed in 2024.
Check into your hotel. Take advantage of the CosmosGO app to visit Budapest at leisure. In the early evening, meet your Tour Director and travel companions.
Budapest is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, from Gothic to Baroque and Neoclassical to Art Nouveau, but also full of history and other surprises, such as delicious food and wines, as well as a multitude of spa establishments built on top of natural hot springs. The Danube River divides the old city in two, making it even more spectacular. Discover all of this and more during the guided city tour. (B)
Travel to Serbia. Stop in Novi Sad, capital of the province, built on the banks of the Danube River and famous for its Petrovaradin Citadel, the fortress featuring the iconic clock tower with the “reversed clock”. Continue to Belgrade and discover the capital of Serbia on a guided city sightseeing tour. Today’s Distance: 267 mi/ 430 km (B)
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, Boyana 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 (B,D)
This morning, discover Rila Monastery, located inside a nature park and featuring vibrant frescoes. Its checkered history goes back to Ivan Rilski, the hermit who founded it in 927. During the long Turkish rule over the country, the monastery became a beacon of Bulgarian culture. Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 210 km (B)
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 amphitheatre. Journey northwards through fine scenery over the Stara Planina Mountains to Veliko Tarnovo. Today’s Distance: 190 mi/ 305 km (B,D)
Today, time to see some of the highlights of Veliko Tarnovo, located on the Yantra River. During the Middle Ages, it was Bulgaria’s capital, and 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 Nativity, built in 1637. Carry on north to Rousse and cross the Danube to reach Bucharest. Today’s Distance: 130 mi/ 210 km (B,D)
Flower-festooned parks, gardens, and wide boulevards shaded by century-old trees contribute to Bucharest’s beauty. The highlight of the included 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 “Peoples' Palace.” (B)
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 (B)
Transylvania is commonly associated with vampires due to the influence of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, and all the subsequent books and many films the tale has inspired. This morning, depart for Bran and visit the legendary Dracula castle. It was built in 1377 and inhabited by the Wallachian prince, Vlad the Impaler, also 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. Today’s Distance: 39 mi / 62 km (B)
Stop in Sighisoara, a medieval town with 11 towers within the city walls surrounding 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 (B,D)
Cross the border at Oradea into Hungary and return to Budapest. Today’s Distance: 292mi/ 470 km (B)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)