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Bulgaria River Cruises 2024/2025

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Bulgaria Travel Guide

Heading down the serene waterways of Bulgaria offers an intimate glimpse into a land where history whispers from the cobblestoned streets and echoes in the arches of ancient monasteries. Bulgarian river cruises primarily navigate the picturesque Danube, a gateway to Bulgaria's soul-stirring landscapes and rich cultural heritage. As you meander along Bulgaria's waterways, you'll discover a country that prides itself on its sandy beaches, a treasure trove of cultural attractions from the Thracian era to the age of the Bulgarian Renaissance, and towns brimming with historical significance. Every stop along the river is a chance to step back in time or indulge in the warmth of Bulgarian hospitality. Whether you're soaking up the sun on the decks, exploring a bygone fortress, or tasting local delicacies in a quaint riverside town, a Bulgarian river cruise invites you to experience the country's unique blend of natural beauty, history, and culture. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your Bulgaria river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.

Bulgaria Travel Guide
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Showing 1 - 40 River Cruises

Sail Date Operator Ship Departs Returns Length Price
May 22, 2024EmeraldEmerald LunaBucharestBudapest9$10,890
May 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestBudapest14$6,027
May 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestBudapest13$5,748
May 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestDeggendorf20$9,247
May 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestPrague22$9,836
May 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysImpressionAmsterdamBucharest26$11,406
May 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysImpressionAmsterdamBucharest24$10,457
May 24, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaBellaPragueBucharest22$9,998
May 24, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaBellaBucharestPrague22$9,998
May 24, 2024Avalon WaterwaysImpressionAmsterdamBucharest25$11,047
May 24, 2024Avalon WaterwaysImpressionAmsterdamBucharest23$10,297
May 24, 2024RivieraMS William WordsworthBudapestBudapest15$4,949
May 24, 2024EmeraldEmerald DestinyBudapestIstanbul12$10,005
May 25, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestBudapest12$5,277
May 25, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestBudapest11$4,998
May 25, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestPrague20$9,086
May 25, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPassionBucharestDeggendorf18$8,497
May 25, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestIstanbul18$15,680
May 25, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestBucharest15$14,610
May 25, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestBucharest11$13,560
May 26, 2024VikingViking KadlinViennaBucharest17$5,499
May 27, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaBellaVilshofenGiurgiu15$7,898
May 27, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaBellaGiurgiuVilshofen15$7,898
May 27, 2024EmeraldEmerald DestinyIstanbulBudapest12$11,440
May 27, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestIstanbul16$15,210
May 27, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestBucharest13$14,140
May 27, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestBucharest9$13,090
May 30, 2024EmeraldEmerald DestinyBucharestBudapest9$10,385
May 30, 2024EmeraldEmerald DestinyBucharestBudapest11$10,960
May 30, 2024ScenicScenic AmberBudapestBudapest23$15,985
Jun 01, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaBellaViennaBucharest14$5,979
Jun 02, 2024TauckMS TreasuresAmsterdamBucharest25$15,490
Jun 02, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBucharestBudapest11$11,060
Jun 03, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaBellaBudapestGiurgiu8$3,999
Jun 03, 2024VikingViking LifBudapestBucharest11$4,599
Jun 04, 2024VikingViking UllurBucharestBudapest11$7,199
Jun 04, 2024ScenicScenic AmberBudapestBucharest11$11,060
Jun 05, 2024EmeraldEmerald LunaBucharestBudapest9$8,590
Jun 05, 2024EmeraldEmerald LunaBucharestMunich16$25,980
Jun 06, 2024Avalon WaterwaysImpressionBudapestBucharest12$4,477

Bulgaria Travel Guide

Bulgaria River Cruises Highlights

  • Vidin: Located in the northwest part of Bulgaria, Vidin is a major stop along the Danube River. This port is home to the Baba Vida Fortress, a well-preserved medieval castle that stands as a testament to Bulgaria's historical struggles and triumphs. Close by, you can also explore the ruins of the Roman town of Bononia. Vidin is a hub of history and a window to Bulgaria's past.
  • Baba Vida Fortress in Vidin: This medieval fortress is one of the best-preserved in Bulgaria. Walking through its gates is like stepping back in time. The fortress often hosts historical reenactments, giving a glimpse into Bulgaria's medieval past.
  • Rousse: Rousse is often called "Little Vienna" because of its elegant architecture and is the fifth-largest city in Bulgaria. This port is your gateway to a wealth of Bulgarian culture. Just a short distance from the dock, you'll find the Rousse Regional Historical Museum, showcasing the region's diverse history. Don't miss Freedom Square, where you can absorb the local atmosphere and maybe catch an impromptu outdoor concert.
  • Rousse's Freedom Square: In Rousse, the Freedom Square is the beating heart of the city with its beautiful architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Check out the Rousse Regional Historical Museum nearby to learn more about the city's past.
  • Belogradchik Rocks and Fortress: These stunning rock formations tell a story millions of years in the making, with human history etched into them by the Romans who built a fortress here. The panoramic views are breathtaking and offer perfect photo opportunities.
  • Silistra: Perched on the southern banks of the Danube, Silistra is a treasure trove of historical layers dating back to Roman and Ottoman times. When you step off the boat here, you can visit the Silistra Historical Museum, which offers a glimpse into the diverse past of the region. The nearby Silistra Roman Tomb offers a hauntingly beautiful look at ancient frescoes and architecture. Take a leisurely stroll along the Danube promenade to soak in the views of this ancient city.
  • Ivanovo Rock Churches: These UNESCO World Heritage sites are not just religious dwellings; they are art galleries with well-preserved frescoes telling biblical tales. The churches carved into the cliffs of the Rusenski Lom River show the ingenuity of medieval Bulgarian hermits.
  • Lom: Lom is another notable stop on the Bulgarian Danube. It's a quaint river town with a laid-back charm that's palpable as soon as you disembark. In Lom, you'll find the Historical Museum with its collection of Thracian artifacts and the beautiful Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity. While Lom may not have the grandiose attractions of larger cities, its peaceful ambiance provides a different kind of value to the river cruise experience.
  • Srebarna Nature Reserve: A paradise for bird watchers, this UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve near Silistra is home to nearly 100 bird species, including the rare Dalmatian pelican. It's a peaceful escape into nature.

Bulgaria River Cruises Travel Tips

  • Always wear comfortable and well-gripping shoes for walking or hiking over precipitous terrains and cobblestone alleys and streets. 
  • Check your travel documentation for any errors before you leave. Make sure all the information is correct.
  • Convert your currency so you have another form of payment on hand. Not all restaurants or shops will accept credit cards for payments. 
  • Bring the clothes you will be wearing and need - don't include additional apparel.
  • Travel with a wheeled duffle bag with an adjustable handle and a carry-on. Both bags will make transport easier.
  • Carry a universal travel adapter to quickly link your electronics.
  • Include a windbreaker or light sweater in your duffle in case the AC is too cold or you get caught in a rain shower.
  • Carry an umbrella, especially in the spring and summer.
  • Download Google Translate to decipher the entrees on menus and the writing on signs.

Bulgaria River Cruises Things To Do

  • Budapest, Hungary - City of Embarkation
    Budapest, Hungary - City of Embarkation

    Referred to as the Queen of the Danube, Budapest is a stopover on some Bulgaria river cruises or the beginning point for others. Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary, features a hilly ("Buda") side and ("Pest'') flat side of the river. A hike up Castle Hill will be rewarded with lovely panoramic city views.

    Best Time To Visit

    While shoulder season is generally twice a year--spring and fall--it is better to take a Bulgaria river cruise in the fall to avoid the flooding that can take place in the spring.

     

    You Should Know

    Buda Castle was once the home of Hungarian kings. It was completed in 1265, but the Baroque building had additional structures added between 1749 to 1769. It once was known as the Royal Palace. Enjoy a traditional Hungarian lunch featuring goulash.
  • Novi Sad, Serbia
    Novi Sad, Serbia

    Situated in northern Serbia and sitting on the banks of the Danube River, Novi Sad has been referred as the Serbian Athens. The old quarter of the city, known as Stari Grand, is home to a neo-Renaissance City Hall.

    Best Time To Visit

    Take a trip in early fall to Novi Sad, when the water levels are lower and there is no threat of rains or flooding.

     

    You Should Know

    Discover the city while taking a walking tour of Dunavski Park, which can be accessed through the Old Town center of Stari Grad. Guided biking or hiking can also be scheduled through Fruska Gora National Park. A good time of the day to see the Petrovaradin Fortress is at sunset. The fortress boasts tunnels and a unique clock tower. 
  • Belgrade, Serbia
    Belgrade, Serbia

    Observe the Beogradska Tvrdava fortress as you approach Belgrade, the Serbian capital. Besides the ancient landmark, Serbia is home to museums and various monuments. Kalemegdan Park is another must-see site.

    Best Time To Visit

    Plan a trip to Belgrade in the early fall.

     

    You Should Know

    See impressive sites, such as the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. Pay a visit to the Royal Palace, the official residence of Serbia's Royal Family, or tour the House of Flowers, the mausoleum of the first President of Yugoslavia, or Marshal Tito. For authentic cuisine, sample Serbian plum brandy at the Quburich Distillery.
  • Vidin, Bulgaria
    Vidin, Bulgaria

    The ancient city of Vidin is one of the highlights of a Bulgaria river cruise. Rich in tradition and history, Vidin sits beside the banks of the Danube River next to Romania. The city, whose history unfolded in the first century A.D., was once known as Bononia. On a river cruise holiday to the city, some river cruise providers feature fun activities, such as yhr making of some of the city's local fare, including banista (a pastry) and Bulgarian yogurt.

    Best Time To Visit

    Keep your calendar open for early fall so you can see Vidin when there are fewer tourists.

     

    You Should Know

    Discover the Baba Vida Fortress, the biggest preserved castle in Bulgaria. The Belogradchik is a great place to hike and observe the area's spectacular rock formations. A beach near Vidin gives river cruise-goers a place to swim and relax.
  • Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
    Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

    A side excursion on Bulgaria river cruises is Veliko Tarnovo, the ancient capital of Bulgaria. The city is home to several orthodox temples and a medieval castle. Also known for its university, the town's vibrant nightlife is fueled by the students from one of the country's largest learning institutions.

    Best Time To Visit

    Take a river cruise holiday in the fall, or early September, when you can see the crimson and gold-leaved trees and the pace is slower.

     

    You Should Know

    Visit the Tsarevets, a castle which was prominent when Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of Bulgaria. Visit the old city, which features traditional Renaissance-style houses, which can be seen scattered over the hillsides next to the Yantra River. The new part of Veliko Tarnovo features contemporary and Communistic style buildings.
  • Rousse, Bulgaria
    Rousse, Bulgaria

    The fifth-largest city in Bulgaria, Rousse (also Ruse) lies in the northeast section of the country and sits on the right bank of the Danube River across from the Romanian city of Giurgiu. The city is the ideal place to walk and review the city's illustrious past.

    Best Time To Visit

    Keep your travel calendar open for a September or October visit to the ancient city.

     

    You Should Know

    When strolling through Rousse, the best place to begin is at Liberty Square or Svboda, the largest square in the city. In the square, the Monument of Liberty depicts a female grasping a sword in one hand while pointing with the other hand – a symbol of liberation. The Profit-Yielding Building was built in 1909 by Raul Paul Branck, an architect from Vienna. The structure has been used as a theater, library, casino, art gallery, and shopping venue.
  • Giurgiu, Romania
    Giurgiu, Romania

    The capital city of Giurgiu judet (county) in south Romania, Giurgiu sits on the north bank of the Danube River only 40 miles south of Bucharest. One of the sites of interest is the Giurgiu Fortress, an important defense structure that goes back to the 1300s. During several wars, the city suffered much damage. Given that amount of turmoil, it is amazing that any of Giurgiu's ruins survived the conflicts.

    Best Time To Visit

    Visit Giurgiu in the fall, as the city is more peaceful and tranquil.

     

    You Should Know

    Taverna la Green and La Taverna serve great Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Pela is noted for its seafood. Comana Natural Park serves both cyclists and hikers. Bike paths run through the site's woods, and a pick-your-own garden features vegetables and herbs. Park visitors can canoe and kayak, or go birdwatching in the park's protected bird area.
  • Bucharest, Romania (Disembarkation)
    Bucharest, Romania (Disembarkation)

    Disembarkation often happens in Bucharest, Romania. At this point, you will follow a professionally guided tour of the Romanian capital. One of the must-see sites is the Palatul Parlentlui government complex, which features an astounding 1,100 rooms. Only a small portion of the building is used.

    Best Time To Visit

    A trip to Bucharest on a Bulgaria river cruise is best planned during the fall. There is less chance of flooding and you will pay less money for river cruises during this time.

     

    You Should Know

    The Lipscani District is home to an active nightlife. One of the major sites to see is the Curtea Veche Palace, known as the place where Prince Vlad III (The Impaler) once held court.

Bulgaria River Cruise Packages

  • Getting There

    Bulgaria's key river cruise destination is along the Danube, Europe's second-longest river. To join a cruise, most travelers fly into Sofia, the capital, which has the country's main international airport. From there, it's a trip by road or a domestic flight to cities like Ruse, often called "Little Vienna," which is a popular starting point for these river cruises.

    The ports are well-equipped to welcome international visitors, with cruise ships usually docking close to city centers. This makes it easy for passengers to start their sightseeing right away. Plus, the Danube is connected through a network of European waterways, so some cruises might kick off from neighboring countries like Hungary or Romania, offering a scenic route into Bulgaria's waterside attractions.

  • The Perfect Time for a Bulgaria River Cruise

    When planning a river cruise in Bulgaria, the weather is a crucial factor to consider. Late spring, specifically May and June, and early autumn, typically September and October, are considered the best times for river cruising in the country. During these months, the weather in Bulgaria is pleasantly warm, offering an ideal climate for enjoying the scenic views and cultural sites without the extreme heat common in the summer. Additionally, the natural landscapes during these seasons are particularly beautiful, adorned with spring blooms or vibrant autumn leaves, enhancing the river cruising experience.

    In contrast, the summer months of July and August in Bulgaria bring hotter temperatures. This season is suitable for those who enjoy basking in the warmth, but it's also the peak tourist season. Consequently, river cruising during the summer in Bulgaria might involve more crowds and busier tourist spots.

    Winter, spanning from December to February, offers a different perspective for river cruising in Bulgaria. The colder weather during this season means fewer tourists, potentially leading to lower prices and a more tranquil cruising experience. However, it's important to note that some attractions along the Bulgarian river routes might be closed or have limited access due to the winter conditions.

    For those seeking a balance between favorable weather and a less crowded river cruising experience, the transitional periods around summer, specifically late spring and early autumn, are ideal. These times allow you to enjoy Bulgaria's beauty and attractions with fewer tourists, providing a more relaxed and enjoyable river cruising adventure.

  • Immerse Yourself in Bulgaria's Culture

    Ready to dive into Bulgaria's vibrant culture? It's a mix of ancient traditions and lively modern customs. Here's a snapshot:

    Bulgarians are known for their warm hospitality and strong sense of community. Don't be surprised if a local invites you for a cup of coffee or a homemade meal. It's their way of welcoming you.

    One of their oldest traditions is the "martenitsa." Every March, Bulgarians exchange red and white bangles or tassels to mark the arrival of spring. It's a charming custom that adds a splash of color everywhere you look.

    Festivals here are lively and often linked to history or folklore. The Kukeri Festival is a must-see, where men dress in elaborate costumes and masks, dancing to scare away evil spirits. And if you're cruising in the summer, look out for the Rose Festival, celebrating the season of rose harvesting with parades, music, and dance.

    Embrace these experiences; they're the heart and soul of Bulgaria and will make your river cruise unforgettable.

  • Experience the Flavors of Bulgaria on a River Cruise

    If you're setting sail on a Bulgarian river cruise, get ready to treat your taste buds. Bulgarian cuisine is rich, hearty, and full of flavor. You'll find lots of fresh vegetables, meats, and the staple dairy product, yogurt, which is said to be the secret to the locals' longevity.

    Don't miss out on trying "shopska salata," a refreshing salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and a generous sprinkling of feta cheese. For a main dish, "kavarma" is a must-try; it's a flavorful stew with meat and veggies. And for something truly traditional, "banitsa," a flaky pastry filled with cheese or spinach, is perfect with a cup of strong Bulgarian coffee.

    Speaking of drinks, Bulgaria's "rakia" is the spirit of choice. This fruit brandy packs a punch and is often enjoyed as an aperitif. Wine lovers are also in for a treat, as Bulgaria's vineyards produce some excellent varieties that are gaining international acclaim.

    For a local dining experience, check out the eateries along the riverbanks in towns like Vidin and Rousse. Many places will serve up these Bulgarian classics with a view of the river, making for a memorable meal. Don't skip the local markets, either; they're a great spot to grab some fresh produce and local cheeses. Enjoying the local cuisine is a highlight of any Bulgarian river cruise, and these flavors are sure to be a memorable part of your journey.

  • Why Book a River Cruise to Bulgaria?

    Thinking about taking a river cruise to Bulgaria? It's a smart move. Cruising is a hassle-free way to see the best of Bulgaria without the headache of hopping from hotel to hotel. Everything's on board: your room, meals, and even entertainment. Plus, you unpack once, and your 'floating hotel' takes you from one incredible spot to the next.

    Value for money? It's hard to beat a cruise. You pay upfront, and a lot of your vacation expenses are covered. That includes some activities and excursions that you'd pay extra for if you were traveling the regular way. And let's talk views – there's nothing like the view from your cabin or the deck. You get to see parts of Bulgaria's coast that you just can't see from the road.

    And then there are the special stops—the little towns and hidden gems that you might miss if you were traveling on your own. Some cruises even get you into places that are usually off-limits to the general public. Plus, with guides who know the ins and outs of each stop, you'll get the lowdown on all the must-see spots.

    So, why book a river cruise to Bulgaria? It's simple, really. It's about seeing the best parts without the stress and getting a taste of everything while you're at it. Sounds like a good deal, right?

  • Ready to Book Your Bulgaria River Cruise?

    Are you thinking about booking a Bulgaria River Cruise? Here's why you should go for it.

    Bulgaria offers a blend of beautiful landscapes, rich history, and cultural depth that's hard to match. Cruising along its rivers, you get to see the country from a unique perspective, with views you just can't get from land. Plus, it's a great deal. You'll see multiple spots without the hassle of repacking or moving hotels.

    From the comfort of your cruise ship, you'll glide past rolling hills, ancient castles, and quaint villages. Each stop brings a new adventure, whether it's exploring a historic site or trying delicious local food.

    Cruises can often get you closer to the hidden gems of Bulgaria that aren't as easily accessible by road. They're about convenience, unique experiences, and making memories that last a lifetime.

    So, what are you waiting for? A Bulgarian River Cruise is calling. It's time to explore, relax, and take in everything this stunning country has to offer. Book your journey today and get ready for an unforgettable experience!

Bulgaria River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are Bulgaria River Cruises?

    The Danube River is a major river that runs through Europe. Although the Iskar River, which is a tributary of the Danube River, runs through Bulgaria, most Bulgaria river cruises stop at ports along the Danube River. Therefore, some of the ports-of-call will include Budapest, Sophia (the capital of Bulgaria), Vidin, Rousse, and Romanian cities, such as Giurgiu and Bucharest. Avalon Waterways is a major river cruise provider of Bulgaria River cruise holidays.

  • What’s Included on Bulgaria River Cruises?

    You get a total package of all-inclusive amenities on Bulgaria river cruises, including 3 free meals each day and complimentary beverages, including coffee, tea, and soda. Luxury accommodations, built-in gratuities, and airport transfers round out the package.

  • What’s the Best River Cruise of Bulgaria River Cruises?

    Check on the Bulgaria River cruises offered by Avalon Waterways, which features river cruises along the Danube that stop at several Bulgaria river cruise ports.

  • How Much Do Bulgaria River Cruises Cost?

    The amount spend on a Bulgaria river cruise holiday will depend on when you choose to go and what you can afford to pay. Usually, Bulgaria river cruises range from $4,500 to $6,500 for river cruises that are priced for mid-range travel.

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