The large capital of Serbia has an energetic atmosphere, melding cultural influences from its turbulent past. Explore St Sava church, Republic Square and enjoy the lively café culture. The vast Kalemegdan Fortress has splendid views of the Sava and Danube Rivers, Marshal Tito's tomb and the former living quarters of high-ranking communist officials.
The quaint streets of Bratislava lead to lively squares and medieval St Michael's Gate, topped with a 51-meter tower and a balcony with fantastic views of the old city. Bratislava has the oldest Town Hall in Slovakia and many impressive Baroque palaces. Highlights include the grand Pramatial Palace, St Martin's Cathedral and 13th-century Bratislava Castle.
The lovely city of Bucharest has wide avenues and some impressive buildings including the Roman Arc de Triomphe, the Royal Palace which houses the National Art Museum and the Antim Monastery. The modern Parliament Building is the second-largest building in the world after the Pentagon and is open to visitors for tours. It was originally built by deposed President Ceaucescu as his palace.
The Danube divides the capital of Hungary into old Buda and cosmopolitan Pest. In the Pest district are graceful mansions leading to the vast and imposing Hero’s Square. Across the river is the famous Chain Bridge and in the hill-top castle district is Buda Castle and its fine gardens, the Royal Palace and the fairytale turrets of Fisherman’s Bastion.
Iron Gates (Romania)
The magnificent gorges of the Iron Gates are the natural border between Serbia and Romania, and are one of the highlights of a cruise on the Danube River. The gorges carve a channel between the Carpathian Mountains and the foothills of the Balkans.
Novi Sad (Serbia)
Novi Sad is Serbia’s second-largest city, and has broad, elegant streets and large squares, dominated by its lofty cathedral. Marshal Vauban’s impregnable fortress, Petrovaradin, overlooks the Danube and has a reversed clock which can be read by fishermen on the river.
Rousse is one of Bulgarias oldest cities, built on the site of a Roman fort. It is known as Little Vienna for its fine Baroque and neo-classical architecture, and has the only bridge across the Danube which connects Bulgaria and Romania. Nearby are medieval Veliko Tarnavo and Arbanasi.
Vienna is famous for its delicious pastries, the waltz and romantic architecture. Along the broad Ringstrasse is the beautiful Austrian National Library and cafés and shops line Kärntnerstrasse. Visits may be offered to Hofburg Palace, the Vienna Opera House or nearby Schönbrunn Palace, which was the grand summer residence of the Habsburgs. It has formal gardens, the first zoo and an atmospheric faux-Roman folly.