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Setting sail from Budapest
Budapest is one of Eastern Europe's most appealing cities, a vibrant and welcoming capital that straddles the Danube. The history of Budapest has been somewhat turbulent - ransacked by the Mongols in 1241, occupied by the Ottoman Turks for over a century, and almost flattened by the Soviets in 1945 - but plenty of older buildings survive, including the imposing Parliament and iconic St Stephen's Basilica. Although a pedant might point out that Budapest has only really existed since 1873; up until then the city's two distinct halves, Buda and Pest, were separate towns.
Hungarian cuisine is vastly underrated; don’t visit Budapest without trying goulash, the paprika-infused national dish.
Vukovar is one of the great tragedies of the Balkan wars, a once prosperous and elegant city reduced to rubble by fierce fighting between Croats and Serbs. There are green shoots of optimism as the city rebuilds, but the battle-scarred streets are a powerful reminder of the devastating conflicts of the 1990s.
Belgrade has been invaded and occupied dozens of times over the centuries, a fact that's reflected in the mish-mash of architectural styles, from Ottoman and Art Nouveau to grim relics of the communist era. But Belgrade is also a city with real soul, emerging from a difficult recent history as one of Europe’s most exciting capitals.
Romania: Iron Gates
As the Danube wends its way east, along the border between Serbia and Romania, the river narrows to a dramatic gorge known as the Iron Gates. The river here is flanked by a huge stone carving of Decebalus, the last king of the Dacians and a Romanian national hero.
The Bulgarian city of Ruse (also written ‘Rousse’) sits on the right bank of the Danube just opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, and is one of the country’s most attractive cities. Sometimes known as ‘Little Vienna’, thanks to the plethora of Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, it’s an unexpected highlight of a cruise along this stretch of the Danube.
Arriving in Bucharest
Once known as the 'Paris of the East', it's fair to say that modern Bucharest bears some pretty ugly architectural scars from the 22-year dictatorship of the late Nicolae Ceauşescu. Of all the concrete monstrosities bequeathed by Ceauşescu, the enormous Palace of Parliament is both the most grotesque and the most fascinating, a monument to one man's staggering vanity. Looks aren't everything though, and Romania's capital has emerged from the ashes of communism as a feisty, dynamic city with some lovely parks, interesting museums and a lively nightlife.
The Old Town will reveal to you some of Bucharest's pre-communist treasures.
Your home from home
Uniquely designed and decorated with an exceptional attention to detail.
What we love
Uniworld's ships really do stand out from the crowd, unmatched in their opulent style and individual features. Every detail of the ship has been carefully considered to create an environment which enhances your itinerary by providing supreme levels of comfort and reflecting the region in which you travel.
|Style||Relaxed and informal during the day, giving way to an elegant evening atmosphere.|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Budapest
We like the Hotel Palazzo Zichy on the Pest side of the river, which used to be the residence of Count Nándor Zichy.
A taste of Hungary
If you’re a wine lover, you really should visit the world’s oldest classified wine region, known for its sweet Tokaji aszú dessert wine.
Extend your stay in Bucharest
Stay in grand style at the JW Marriott – an imposing palace!
Bucharest is the jumping off point for Transylvania and a gothic castle extravaganza.