Budapest to Bucharest: Castles & Medieval Europe
From $3119 with flightsPayments as low as $78
If you've been described as unique, underrated, or mysterious, we understand why you've landed on this trip. Get your fill of thermal spas, mountaintop castles, and Eastern European views on this medieval adventure.
Unwinding in a traditional Hungarian thermal spa
Exploring the ancient fortifications of Belgrade Fortress
Soaking in the stunning views of Fruška Gora
Experiencing an authentic Transylvanian countryside dinner
Discovering the haunting secrets of Dracula’s castle
What you'll get
Round-trip flights & airport transfers
10 nights in handpicked accommodations
Expert Tour Director
24/7 support from our travel gurus
4 insider city tours
Entrance to Belgrade Fortress
Danube River cruise
Day trip to Bran Castle
- Day 1: Overnight Flight
Board your overnight flight, bound for Budapest. Sit back, relax, and try picking up Hungarian, one of the hardest languages to learn (it’s a lot more throaty for starters).
- Day 2: Arrive in Budapest + Welcome Dinner
Today is the day to adjust, make new friends and start the journey right.
In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Dinner. Enjoy some dinner over drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Then it’s on to wherever your new friends and the party takes you.
- Land at the airport and meet a waiting EF representative.
- Transfer to your hotel to check in and check out your room.
- Get familiar with the area around your hotel with an introductory walk with your Tour Director.
- Day 3: Sightseeing Tour of Budapest + Optional Thermal Bath & Spa Visit
Now that you’re rested from travels and acquainted with your group, shake off the culture shock with an in-depth look at the Pearl of the Danube. Hope you like panoramic views, because you’re in for an epic one today.
- Tour Buda and Pest with a local guide to show you all the buda-best there is to see.
- Climb the imposing Castle Hill to see the city from the nearly 750-year-old Buda Castle.
- Hit the town like never before in the city’s grungy, eclectic nightlife scene.
Thermal Bath & Spa Visit (extra cost)
Ease blissfully into Europe’s largest medicinal baths housed in one of the city's most ornate buildings. Enjoy the spa facilities, saunas, steam rooms, and 18 indoor and outdoor baths fed by hot springs. Plus, there’s beer.
Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.
- Day 4: Free Day in Budapest
Hope you’re Hungary for more, because today you have a free day in Budapest. Go for another soak in the thermal spas (or hit one you haven’t been to yet, there’s plenty, and they’re all unique!), chow down on local cuisine, and see the city however you see fit.
Free time suggestions
Chimney Cakes: Popular across all of Eastern Europe, these delicious and age-old treats are a Hungarian pastry specialty that’s a bit like American fried dough. Here they call them Kürtöskalács, so keep an eye out and a sweet tooth ready.
Dohány Street Synagogue: Budapest is home to Europe’s largest Jewish synagogue. The ornate building represents a somber reminder of the Holocaust, as it stands at the border of the WWII-era Jewish Ghetto in the city.
- Day 5: Travel to Belgrade + Explore Belgrade
Ever heard of Nikola Tesla? He was Serbian! Today you’ll board your private motorcoach (not a Tesla—yet) and head to Belgrade, the poppin’ capital city of Serbia. Humans have lived here for at least 8,000 years, and maybe Neanderthals, too, for as long as 50,000 years. Just to be safe, we’re making sure you’re cramming 50,000 years of fun into a few days here.
- Follow the Danube down a ways to your next destination: Belgrade, Serbia.
- Enter Belgrade Fortress for a tour of the ancient fortifications—local legend has it that Attila the Hun is buried beneath it.
- Continue your Serbian sightseeing with a visit to the Temple of St. Sava and Republic Square.
- Shop until you drop (if that’s what you’re into) along Knez Mihailova Street.
- Day 6: Danube River Cruise + Free Time in Belgrade
Hope you’re ready for a cruising that’s anything but snoozing. When you board your boat for a cruise down the Danube River today you might be all like “oh I remember this guy,” when you recognize it as the same river that runs through Budapest. In fact, the Danube runs from Germany to the Black Sea—and it is certifiably beautiful the entire way.
- Ooh & aah your way down the Sava and Danube Rivers for picturesque views from the water of Belgrade and the surrounding landmarks.
- Return to land for free time to do as you please.
Free time suggestions
Kalemegdan Park:** You’ve seen the fortress housed on this sprawling park, but now you’ve got time to go green. Pack a picnic and pick a sunny spot to chill in Serbia’s most famous park.
Knez Mihailova Nightlife: Head back to Belgrade’s bustling pedestrian center to turn up for the night. Does Belgrade go hard? Hit the bars here or on Obilićev Venac and you tell us.
- Day 7: Travel to Romania
Say goodbye to Serbia, and hello to Romania: land of vampires and the vast, wide-open valleys of the Carpathian Mountains.
- Continue on to Romania and arrive in the fairytale city of Timisoara.
- Join a local guide to see the best and Baroque-est the charming city has to offer.
- Day 8: Travel to Sibiu + Optional Romanian Dinner
Get the garlic, you’re going to vampire country: Transylvania. The city of Sibiu used to be the capital city of Transylvania, in fact. Rest assured, there’s nothing scary about it here. In fact, with its medieval village church steeples and gingerbread-looking houses, it’s downright cute here.
- Enjoy the rural morning drive from Timisoara to Sibiu.
- Arrive in Sibiu and follow your Tour Director for a walking tour that includes the legendary Liar’s Bridge (you’ll see why they call it that).
Romanian Home Hosted Dinner (extra cost)
Get out of town and into the countryside to embrace rustic Romania. Walk the grounds to get a sense of a centuries-old way of life, then sit down for a hearty meal of traditional dishes and drinks.
- Day 9: Explore Brasov
This trip has had it all so far, hasn’t it? Old towns ripped straight out of Hansel & Gretel, chances to taste unique treats like fermented plum brandy, mile-high Hungarian chimney cakes. But we felt it needed a little bit more mountain charm, so today you’re going into the Carpathians at Brasov.
- Head to Brasov, Romania—you’ll know you’re there when you see the city name written “Hollywood”-style in the mountains.
- Take a walk around Brasov with your Tour Director that includes entering the straight-out-of-Disney St. Nicholas Church. Rebuilt in 1495, it’s practically brand new.
- Chow down on an included Romanian dinner in town.
- Day 10: Dracula’s Castle Day Trip + Arrive in Bucharest
Don’t be scared, but a visit to Dracula’s Castle is on the docket for today. Vlad the Impaler, the medieval Romanian ruler who inspired the famous fictional vampire, may never have actually lived here. But this 800-year-old castle, immortalized in Bram Stoker’s original *Dracula* horror novel, is nevertheless equal parts skin-crawlingly creepy and insanely cool. Time to get the heebie jeebies!
- Get spooked at Bran Castle—not just by the lore, but by how shockingly stunning the views are, as well.
- After channeling your inner-Edward, head to mountaintop Râsnov Fortress to look out over just about all of Transylvania.
- Hop on your private bus to Bucharest, and feel free to take the time to look for vampires hidden in the photos you took today.
- Walk Bucharest’s scenic Old Town with your Tour Director and get a feel for your final stop on this tour.
- Day 11: Sightseeing Tour of Bucharest + Farewell Dinner
It’s your last day of this Eastern European adventure. How does it feel to be the first of your friend group to have traveled these lesser known but arguably more beautiful regions off the beaten path? We bet it feels pretty good. Enjoy Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, and live it up tonight with your new travel family.
Share some last laughs and revisit the best moments of the trip at this included farewell dinner with the group.
- Celebrate Romanian culture with a tour of the landmarks that earned it the nickname “Little Paris.”
- Meet the heavyweight champion of the world, AKA the heaviest building in the world, the Palace of the Parliament.
- Savor one final free afternoon of souvenir-shopping, wandering the city center, and bonding with your group.
- Day 12: Fly Home
La revedere prieteni!
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s, “See you later.” The only question is, where?
EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS
1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.
2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.
Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.
Traveling with us helps the EF community plant trees, at no extra cost to you.
Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5
Based on 8 authentic traveler reviews
Partyyyyy in BudapestAnonymous, traveled Aug. 2022
So much fun doing this brand new tour of East Europe partyyyyy
Immersive historyAnonymous, traveled May 2022
Roxie was an amazing tour director and quick to share fun facts wherever we were. All of the local guides were great story tellers as they shared the history and culture of the region. I equally enjoyed exploring the city during our free time with my fellow travelers. It was a wonderful way to experience a little of eastern Europe.
DO IT!Cassidy, traveled May 2022
Sign up right now! This trip and Romania especially was amazing. I could not have been more happy. I have made friends and memories to last a lifetime. I 100% recommended signing up solo. It’s worth it.
Take the road less traveled and go!!Christine, traveled May 2022
WOW!! This trip was absolutely amazing! Although you see more churches than castles, the trip is worth every moment. Roxie was our tour guide and she was the best person to explore these countries with. These cities are straight out of a fairytale and the history is so fascinating to learn about. If you're questioning it, just go!!!!