Delve behind the former ‘Iron Curtain’ to explore these stunning cities of the east. Flourishes from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a mélange of medieval charm are juxtaposed against more sombre reminders of WWII.
Welcome to Budapest.
On arrival at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, there are complimentary transfers to your hotel at 10:00, 13:00 & 15:30. Join your Travel Director at 18:00 and travel to the famous and elegant Gundel Restaurant. Your Welcome Dinner is a treat of mouthwatering Hungarian specialties, accompanied by specially selected Hungarian wine.(Dinner with Wine)
Delve into Budapest.
Stroll through the alleys of the Old Town of Buda with a Local Expert. Admire the facade of Matthias Church and take in the view from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Enjoy a short drive following the Danube and arrive at Gellért Hill. From the top, appreciate astounding panoramic views presided over by the Liberty Statue. Across the river, back in Pest, visit Heroes’ Square. The rest of the day is yours to browse the boutiques of Vaci Street. In the evening, perhaps choose an Optional Experience to see this fairy-tale city as you cruise along the Danube and enjoy a meal of Hungarian specialties, served with drinks?(Breakfast)
The Mountains to Kraków.
Take a gentle drive into Slovakia and through the breathtaking Low Tatra Mountains, where villagers still live in traditional wooden houses. Stop at scenic Donovaly. Continue north to see the picturesque Oravský Hrad Castle before crossing into Poland and continuing to historic Kraków.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
The Damsels and Dragons of Kraków.
Perhaps visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine in the morning? Later, join your Local Expert to explore Kraków, for centuries the seat of Poland’s kings. Ascend Wawel Hill to visit the cathedral. Walk past the courtyard of Jagiellonian University through the Old Town, to Europe’s largest and most beautiful town square. See the medieval Sukiennice Cloth Hall and visit the 14th century St. Mary’s Basilica, the most important church in the city, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the trumpeter in the tower. Then enjoy free time to explore. Maybe visit the Renaissance Trading Hall, host to many merchant stalls, with the Gallery of the National Museum upstairs?(Breakfast)
Auschwitz and Częstochowa.
Join a Local Expert at Oświęcim, better known throughout the world by its German name, Auschwitz, infamous for its role during the Holocaust. Spend reflective moments amid the remains of the concentration camp and the memorials to those who died. Travel north to Częstochowa to visit the 14th century Monastery of Jasna Góra, famous for the Black Madonna, said to have been painted by St. Luke. Continue across the Polish plains to the country’s capital, Warsaw for the night. Dumplings are an Eastern European tradition, so in the evening enjoy a dumpling demonstration and degustation at Halka restaurant in the Old Town. Once this culinary high art has been mastered, enjoy a delicious Highlight Dinner featuring succulent local dishes.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
The Polish Capital of Warsaw.
Join a Local Expert in the morning to see the Old Town, Royal Castle, Palace of Culture. Visit the Chopin Memorial in the Łazienki Park. Pay your respects at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and then enjoy a free afternoon to explore at your own pace. Perhaps attend a Chopin recital or delve into Warsaw's communist past?(Breakfast)
Wielkopolska to Berlin.
Your route leads westward, across the rolling farmlands of the central plains, past Poznań known as the ‘cradle of the Polish State’ and continue over the Oder River to enter Germany. Your destination is the vibrant capital of Berlin where you can try traditional Berliner cuisine.(Breakfast)
The Spirit of Berlin.
Prepare to embrace the rejuvenated spirit of Berlin. Join a Local Expert for a drive along the Ku’Damm, past the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Continue through the leafy Tiergarten to the refurbished Reichstag building and see the Brandenburg Gate. On the eastern side, take the Unter den Linden past the State Opera House to Museum Island. Spend the afternoon at leisure, shopping in the KaDeWe Department Store or exploring the new, vibrant Potsdamer Platz.(Breakfast)
Dresden and Golden Prague.
Journey south to Dresden. Almost totally destroyed by horrific air raids in 1945, Dresden has now risen again from the ashes in a blend of old and new. See the reconstructed Frauenkirche and walk past the colossal ‘Procession of the Dukes’ on the wall of the Royal Palace. Venture around the Catholic cathedral to view the tiered facades of the opera house, Semperoper, and the Baroque Zwinger Palace. After free time for lunch, head for the Czech border, high in the Ore Mountains and continue to the capital city of Prague.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Prague, City of a Hundred Spires.
Prague has blossomed since the Velvet Revolution, but its unique character remains unchanged. A Local Expert will show you the amazing St. Vitus’ Cathedral inside the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle. Cross the Vltava River to explore the vast cobblestoned expanse of the Old Town Square and see its famous Astronomical Clock. As night falls, why not head for a local restaurant to sample tasty Czech cuisine, as well as the famous local beer?(Breakfast)
Bohemian Český Krumlov.
A journey through the green Bohemian countryside will bring you to České Budějovice. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of a local brewery to sample the beer and discover the secrets of how this golden vintage is made. Continue on to Český Krumlov, a picturesque medieval town nestled on the banks of the Vltava. Walk the narrow cobbled streets and arch-covered footpaths, past colourful townhouses and centuries-old inns. With a Local Expert, visit the fairy-tale, red-roofed castle, considered by many to be the finest in the land. Your hotel is one of the most charming in the Czech Republic, set in a former 16th century Jesuit dormitory in the historic town centre. When all the day trippers have left, soak up the unique atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site on your Dine-Around Evening. You will be offered a selection of restaurants amid the tangle of streets, high-gabled houses and old squares.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Cross the border into Austria and enjoy a delightful journey to Vienna. The afternoon is free for you to explore this stately capital and later why not enjoy a delightful Austrian meal with the option to dine at a country mansion?(Breakfast)
The Habsburgs of Vienna.
Vienna owes much of its present-day charm to the long reign of the Habsburgs. Join your Local Expert for a private visit of Maria Theresa’s Schönbrunn Palace and its formal gardens. Then, take some great photos on a circuit of the famous Ring Road. This grand boulevard, built along the lines of the old city walls, showcases many of the capital’s architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House, magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence, Austrian Parliament Building and Karlskirche. As night falls, experience an extraordinary concert of Viennese classical music combined with a delicious meal of traditional Austrian fare, with drinks included.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
A transfer arrives at Vienna airport at 08:00.(Breakfast)