Day 1 ARRIVE IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY.
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2 FRANKFURT–WEIMAR–BERLIN.
Our first stop today is in Weimar, one-time intellectual heart of Germany and host to such luminaries as Luther, Cranach, Bach, Liszt, Schiller, and, of course, Goethe himself. It was at one time rightly known as the “Athens of Germany.” Continue through Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt all the way to Germany’s capital city, Berlin.
Day 3 BERLIN.
On this morning’s included guided tour, learn how the city is no longer divided but every bit as fascinating. Once the city of contrasts with its West and East side separated into two different worlds by a wall, Berlin has developed into a harmonious blend of old and new. It has preserved the old buildings, such as the State Opera House and Brandenburg Gate; its neoclassic-style boulevards, such as the Kurfürstendamm and Unter den Linden; and it has created brand new buildings in the most daring, contemporary architectural styles. It is once again Germany’s capital and one of Europe’s most lively and interesting cities.
Day 4 BERLIN–POZNAN, POLAND–WARSAW.
Drive east to Poznan, one of Poland’s oldest trading centers and admire its renaissance market square. Continue to Warsaw, capital of Poland.
Day 5 WARSAW.
The included sightseeing tour is an excellent introduction to Warsaw, magnificently reconstructed after wartime destruction. Today, its wide avenues contrast strikingly with the narrow lanes of the old section.
Day 6 WARSAW–JASNA GÓRA–AUSCHWITZ–KRAKÓW.
Two encounters with history on your southbound journey today. First, JASNA GÓRA near Czestochowa, the monastery that withstood the repeated onslaught of overwhelming Swedish forces during the religious wars of the 17th century. Since then, its Black Madonna is venerated as the “Queen of Poland” and has become the country’s national symbol. In the afternoon, visit what is left of the AUSCHWITZ CONCENTRATION CAMP, a chilling reminder of the Holocaust. Evening arrival in Kraków.
Day 7 KRAKÓW.
This is, they say, Poland’s most beautiful city. For almost 500 years it was the country’s capital; today, it is without a doubt its cultural capital. Join the included morning sightseeing in ancient Kraków, for centuries the residence of Polish kings. See the Market Square, the Jewish Quarter, St. Mary’s Church, and Wawel Cathedral. Free time later to explore this interesting town at your own pace and mingle with the locals. Tonight’s optional folklore dinner might be the way to round off your stay in this city.
Day 8 KRAKÓW–BUDAPEST, HUNGARY.
Travel through three countries today. First, south to the Tatra Mountains of Poland, then through scenic Slovakia, and finally into Hungary. Your destination is Budapest, the most lively of Eastern European capitals.
Day 9 BUDAPEST.
Included sightseeing features Buda Castle, which dominates the twin cities of Buda and Pest, separated by the broad ribbon of the Danube. Also see Heroes’ Square, which typifies the modern capital, as well as the old inns along the riverbank, Parliament, Margaret Island, Fishermen’s Bastion, and the Buda Castle.
Day 10 BUDAPEST–VIENNA, AUSTRIA.
Head for the Austrian border to Vienna in time to enjoy the afternoon and evening in this lively capital. Enjoy the included sightseeing tour with a Local Guide: the State Opera, Parliament, and the Town Hall. Stop for a stroll in Heroes’ Square to view the Hofburg.
Day 11 VIENNA–PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.
Morning at leisure or join an optional excursion to Schönbrunn Palace. This afternoon, cross the Czech border into Moravia, then through the rich farmlands of Bohemia to Prague.
Day 12 PRAGUE.
The wealth of gothic and baroque architecture perhaps inspired Dvorak and Smetana, both Prague composers. The included guided sightseeing features landmarks such as the Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge, and the Old Town Square with the ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK. Your Tour Director may suggest an evening optional excursion with traditional Czech music and spectacular entertainment.
Day 13 PRAGUE–MUNICH, GERMANY.
Into the landscape of the Bohemian Forest before reaching the Czech-German border. Drive south, enjoying the Bavarian scenery, to Munich, Germany’s “Secret Capital,” where you will drive through the city and see the main highlights.
Day 14 MUNICH–NÖRDLINGEN–ROTHENBURG–FRANKFURT AREA.
The highlight today is undoubtedly the Romantic Road, which runs north to south as far as the Alps. First, visit lovely medieval Nördlingen, built on a crater formed by a meteorite approximately 14.5 million years ago. Then onto Rothenburg with its ramparts and towers, cobblestone streets, and 16th-century houses, before heading towards the Frankfurt area.
Day 15 FRANKFURT AREA.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.