Discover the traditions, culture and folklore of the Balkans, including the legend of Count Dracula, on this fascinating tour of Eastern Europe.
You will stay overnight in the Cremona/Parma area in northern Italy, before an overnight sailing into Split, Dubrovnik. You will then travel to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for one night, then a two night stay in Belgrade, such as the Queen's Astoria Design Hotel. You then travel for another two nights in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, before an overnight stay in Veliko Turnovo. You then travel to Bucharest for a two night stay, such as in the Hotel Capitol, then stay a further two nights in Brasov in the heart of Transylvania, before an overnight stay in the Cluj-Napoca or Alba Iulia area. You will then stay for two nights in Budapest, such as in the Danubius Hotel Flamenco, and finally an overnight stay in the Salzburg or Vocklabruck area.
Throughout the tour, you will stay in minimum 3-star hotels; all hotels will have a restaurant and bar and all bedrooms have en suite facilities and modern amenities.
Overnight stays in northern France and Belgium will be in city-style hotels.
On your overnight ferry sailing, accommodation will be in en suite cabins.
Local departure by coach or Door-to-Door service, then to northern France for an overnight stay.
Continue to the northern Italy area for an overnight stay.
<p> Today we make our way across Italy past the cities of Parma and Bologna and onto the port at Ancona. Here we board our overnight ferry for the sailing to Split in Croatia. Our evening meal will be served on board. </p><p> <i>Please note: your driver will be required to collect your passport in order for you to be checked-in before boarding the ferry. Please ensure you have your passport to hand. It is advisable to pack a small overnight bag for this evening.</i></p>
We arrive in Split this morning and disembark the ferry. We commence our journey south crossing the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina and pausing at the city of Mostar situated on the Neretva River. During Turkish occupation a bridge, known as the Stari Most, was built across the river. Only 20 years ago, 90% of the city was destroyed. The Stari Most itself became the symbol of the city when it was totally destroyed during the Croatia-Bosnia conflict in the early 1990’s. Since the end of the war the bridge has been painstakingly rebuilt. There will be free time in Mostar for you to explore the narrow, cobbled streets of the bazaar. Perhaps visit the well-preserved 350-year-old Turkish House furnished for a Bosnian family of some stature, (entrance extra, approximately €2). After free time we continue to the capital, Sarajevo where we stay overnight.
Sarajevo is one of the most historically interesting and varied cities in Europe. It has been both an example of historical turbulence and the clash of civilizations, as well as a beacon of hope for peace and tolerance through multi-cultural integration. Today the city has physically recovered from most of the war damage caused by Yugoslav Wars of 1992-1995. It is now a cosmopolitan European capital with a unique Eastern twist. Sarajevo became the only city outside of the European Union to be nominated for the European Capital of culture in 2014. To get the most from your visit, join our included guided sightseeing tour before we head north into Serbia and to Belgrade for a two-night stay.
Belgrade lies on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. It has a long history dating back to the 4th century BC when the area was first settled by Celtic tribes. Later it became the Roman city of Singidunum and relics of that era can still be seen in the city, particularly the Kalemegdan Fortress. During the Middle Ages the town became a Serbian stronghold until the Ottoman invasion. Then, in 1878, when Serbia received its independence, Belgrade became the capital. Join our included sightseeing tour of Belgrade’s main attractions including the imposing Kalemegdan Fortress, Republic square, Saint Sava Temple and of course Tito’s Memorial. (Entrances not included)
Our journey today takes us south through Serbia and over the border into Bulgaria. We continue to the capital city of Sofia where we stay for the next two nights.
Today is free for you to relax and explore this wonderful capital city at your own pace. Alternatively, why not join our optional guided sightseeing tour to introduce you to the main sights. Accompany our local English-speaking Guide on an informative sightseeing tour of this fantastic capital city. We start by coach passing the Levski Monument, which commemorates the hanging of the Bulgarian national hero and major revolutionary figure, Vasil Levski. We then leave the coach and continue on foot along the ‘Yellow Brick Road’. We pass the Monument to the Tsar Liberator, an equestrian monument erected in honour of the Russian Emperor Alexander II who liberated Bulgaria of Ottoman Rule. We continue past the Russian Church, a magnificent example of a Byzantine style Cathedral surrounded by picturesque gardens and then onto the Presidency Building, home to the Bulgarian Presidents official chambers. Sofia is the largest city in the country and is a dynamic Eastern European capital. It is distinguished by its unique combination of European and Communist style architecture and is also home to many beautiful orthodox churches. In the administrative centre of Sofia, the streets are yellow. The pavement was laid at the beginning of the 20th century and was a present to the Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand for his wedding from the Austrian-Hungarian Royal family.
This morning we leave Sofia after breakfast and head east to Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city. Located on the banks of the Maritsa River Plovdiv is one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, incorporating into its history a Neolithic settlement, a Thracian hub and a Roman cultural and economic centre. Nearly all of the historical attractions are situated in and around the Old Town, a tree lined maze of cobblestone streets, shops, museums and Roman ruins. The city’s main draw however is the impressive amphitheatre. Discovered by chance after a mudslide in the 1970s and restored by the Bulgarian Conservation School. The theatre dates from A.D 98, and now stands on a hill overlooking the city, set against the green backdrop of the Rodopi Mountains. We continue our journey, which takes us north through the beautiful Stara Planina Mountain scenery and continue to our overnight hotel in Veliko Tarnovo.
Location: Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi
We spend the morning at leisure in the former Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo. Located in the heart of Bulgaria, the town clings to a hill high above the Yantra River on the edge of the Stara Planina mountain range. This was Bulgaria’s capital during the Middle Ages and the city retains many of its medieval features. To make the most of your visit, why not join our optional sightseeing tour with local English speaking guide? The old part of the city is situated on three hills Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora. Although the town is fairly large, walking is the best way to see Veliko Turnovo, as the main attractions are within easy reach. Later, we travel the short distance to Arbanassi, once a favourite summer residence of the Bulgarian kings and home to the Church of the Nativity, built in 1637. Arbanassi is located on a high plateau, sandwiched between the larger towns of Veliko Tarnovo and Gorna Oryahovitsa. After free time we continue across the Danube, which forms the border with Romania, and onto Bucharest for a two-night stay.
The Romanian capital has a long and turbulent history, but in recent years has transformed itself to former glories. Once known as ‘Little Paris’ tranquil parks and gardens sit alongside wide, tree-lined boulevards, which all help to contribute to Bucharest’s beauty. To make the most of your visit, why not join our optional city tour, which will give you an insight into the history of this fine capital. Our local English-speaking guide will take you on a fascinating sightseeing tour by coach. We start by passing the Parliament Palace the world’s second largest building (after the US Pentagon) and certainly Europe’s largest building. Formerly named ‘Casa Poporului’ (People’s House), the Parliament Palace spans 12 stories, 3100 rooms and covers 330,000 sq m. We continue past Piata Universitatii where some of the fiercest fighting during the 1989 Revolution took place. We also see the 27 metre high Triumphal Arch, based on Paris' namesake monument. It was built in 1935 to commemorate the reunification of Romania in 1918. Sites of WWI battles are inscribed inside the arch, while King Ferdinand and Queen Marie feature on its southern façade.
Location: Sinaia & Bran Castle
We leave Bucharest and head to Sinaia, often referred to as ‘the Pearl of the Carpathians’. It is located in a beautiful mountain region in the foothills of the Bucegi Mountins. Whilst in Sinaia we include a visit to the Monastery and also Peles Castle (entrances included). Peles Castle is considered to be one of the most romantic in the world. After spending time here we continue to the village of Bran and to the ‘spine chilling’ Bran Castle (entrance included). According to legend, this was once the home of Count Dracula. Later we travel to nearby Brasov where we stay for two nights.
Fringed by the peaks of the southern Carpathian Mountains, Brasov contains some fine examples of gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture. The city is also home to the Rope Street, possibly the narrowest street in Europe. The Rope Street (Strada Sforii) is approximately four feet wide and links Cerbului Street with Poarta Schei Street. We start the morning with an included orientation tour of Brasov Old Town. See the famous Black Church, (Biserica Neagra), the largest gothic church in Romania. Its name derives from damage caused by the Great Fire of 1689, when flames and smoke blackened its walls. The interior is impressive and well-kept and houses one of the largest organs in Eastern Europe. This afternoon is spent at leisure allowing you to explore the Old Town Square (Piata Sfatului) where you can admire the colourfully painted and ornately trimmed baroque architecture.
We visit the pretty medieval town of Sighisoara, a tranquil village nestled within stone city walls. Meander around the cobblestone streets and admire the ancient houses and churches. Behind the charming exterior however, Sighisoara holds a dark secret. According to legend, it was the birthplace of the notorious Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). Later we continue by way of Tirgu Mures to Cluj Napocaor Alba Lulia, the historic capital of Transylvania for an overnight stay.
We leave our hotel after breakfast and commence our journey west, crossing the border into Hungary. We continue to the capital, Budapest for a two-night stay.
Today you will have the full day to discover the Hungarian capital of Budapest. The city is composed of two historically independent communities, Buda and Pest, separated by the majestic River Danube. Our optional guided sightseeing tour will introduce you to the city’s array of spectacular sights. This afternoon why not take to the water for an optional cruise on the famous Danube River with lunch included. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga, which flows through central Russia. Classified as an international waterway, the Danube originates in the town of Donaueschingen in the Black Forest of Germany. It then flows southeast for almost 3,000 km passing through four Central European capitals before emptying into the Black Sea. Our cruise, during which a commentary will be provided, will take you along the majestic Danube River allowing you to take in the spectacular views of Budapest. A sumptuous lunch of traditional Hungarian dishes is provided, alongside a complimentary drink from the bar. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore the city on your own, maybe take a stroll by the river or visit the tempting stores of the Vaci Utca street, ensuring that your time in this wonderful city is certainly something to remember.
We leave Budapest today and head towards Austria and the Imperial City of Vienna, which is without question, one of Europe’s great cities. After a brief visit we continue to the Salzburg or Vocklabruck area for an overnight stay.
We have an early start this morning as we continue our journey north through the heart of the German countryside and into Belgium and our overnight hotel.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
Boasting over 35 years’ experience and an interesting and varied selection of planned itineraries, Leger Holidays has become the leading provider of escorted touring holidays across the UK, Europe and beyond. In addition to being able to take you to the most incredible destinations throughout the world, this award-winning company provides an excellent choice of experiences and great-value escorted tours to ensure you get the very most out of your holiday. With Ledger Holidays, you can relax in the knowledge that everything will be taken care of from the moment you book.
When it comes to selecting the perfect escorted holiday destination, Ledger Holidays spoils you for choice. Want to visit one of the best destinations in Europe this year? No problem. Ledger Holidays can take you to France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia, Croatia or even Switzerland. If you want to go further afield and discover a breathtaking bucket list destination, you can visit India, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Canada or the USA. But if you prefer the idea of a staying closer to home, Ledger Holidays has you covered with a range of fantastic touring holidays in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Then there’s the wide array of exciting experiences and to choose from. No matter which destination you pick, you can join fully escorted tours with trained drivers, expert local guides and highly experienced crews. Ledger Holidays offers more than 180 tours and excursions, which means you never have to waste precious time planning and organising your trips and experiences. Simply select the escorted tours that excite you the most, then sit back, relax and let Ledger Holidays take care of the rest. Enjoy a thrilling weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix, go on a grand alpine adventure in Austria or explore the Baltic capitals and highlights of Scandinavia. Alternatively, discover the jewels of Croatia, see the very best of Jersey or tour the must-see sites in Israel’s old city of Jerusalem – your options are endless.
If you want to book a specific kind of escorted touring holiday, Ledger Holidays offers a huge variety of holiday and tour types, such as battlefield tours, motorsport weekend breaks, winter wonderland holidays, Grand Explorer tours, walking holidays and even short breaks to some of the world’s most famous Christmas markets. Ledger Holidays also offers Luxuria Signature Collection holidays, which combine state-of-the-are coach travel with some of Europe’s most unique luxury hotels in the most spectacular locations.
As a family-run company, Ledger Holidays is committed to providing amazing value for money and an impressive collection of ABTA and ATOL protected escorted holidays for families, groups, couples and solo travellers. From coach tours, holidays by air and train experiences to resort-based tours, relaxing river cruises and festive holidays, Ledger Holidays has something to suit each budget and every type of traveller.