Check-in to your hostel and meet up with your Contiki crew in über-cool Berlin! With two nights in this historical hot spot, you’ve got time to find out what makes Germany’s capital one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world. It’s hard to believe that this funky town has had such a troubled past. After dinner, hop on the coach as your Tour Manager peels back the layers of history and points out the lesser-known details of Berlin’s troubled past on an orientation tour of the city.
Today why not join a local guide for a tour? Learn about the East/West split at the Berlin Wall and check out the controversial Reichstag (German Parliament) as well as Tiergarten (one the world’s biggest parks). You'll also visit Checkpoint Charlie, where many East Berliners tried to escape to the West, and be reminded of Germany’s darker past at the Brandenburg Gate. With free time, get inspired by Berlin’s creative scene and check out its galleries and street art. As a world forerunner in contemporary art, Berlin’s walls are covered in cutouts and graffiti. Shopping-wise, this town has it all and is right up there defining style. Berlin is great for small boutiques, funky fashions and one-of-a-kind buys. Your Tour Manager knows Berlin’s ins and outs, so get some pointers before you splurge. Do as the Berliners do and grab a currywurst (a local favourite) and kick back at a Bierkeller (German beer house). Experience the world of espionage in an optional evening Eye Spy Berlin tour with our Local Guide, and enjoy a fascinating look into the Stasi (what was once the East German Secret Police). Then top off your time in Berlin with some of your new friends and explore the city’s legendary nightlife. With cool cocktail bars and some of the best techno clubs in the world, there are heaps of fun choices.
Berlin to Prague
Heading south, we roll on to the region of Dresden, often dubbed 'Florence of the North' because of its beauty. This town completely rebuilt itself after being flattened in World War II. Your Tour Manager will show you Dresden’s signature buildings, like the Opera house, the domed Frauenkirche, the Royal Residence – once home to the Saxon Kings – and the massive Zwinger Palace, where the royals went to party! Lunchtime! Go local and hang out in a river side beer garden, order some hearty German dishes with regional specialities like sour roast and potato soup. Then we head over the border and into the Czech Republic to Prague. Prague is a beautiful and atmospheric city. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s best explored on foot. Get straight into Prague’s historic heart with your Tour Manager. You’ll walk together over the landmark Charles Bridge, through Hrad?any Castle, the home of the original Bohemian Kings and to the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral along the way. By night, Prague is loaded with all types of music, from jazz bars and hip DJs to opera. There is something for everyone, so make the most of it with the group.
More free time means you can get deeper into Prague’s Old Town in your own time. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a jumble of little lanes, alleys and courtyards. Slow the pace down and give yourself a chance to uncover its hidden treasures. This is also the spot to pick up some famous Bohemian glass, beads or garnet and amber jewellery. Choose a lunch cruise on the Vltava River, which runs through the heart of Prague, and take in stunning views of the city from the water. The Czech capital has a really mixed past so look out for signs of the Holy Roman Empire, the Bohemian Empire, the Nazis and the Communists. With a night off, spend some time in the picturesque Old Town Square, where historic buildings and churches surround cafés that spill out onto the pavement. With some world-famous Czech pilsner in hand, park yourself at a table, people-watch and try out some of the traditional local dumplings.
Prague to Vienna
We hit the road this morning and travel to Vienna, via World Heritage-listed Kutná Hora. Maybe choose to visit the chilling Sedlec Ossuary – a small chapel containing the bones of over 40 000 people, arranged artistically to form the decorations and furnishings inside! See buildings from Kutná Hora’s former heyday as the financial powerhouse of Bohemia and discover its medieval centre, before continuing on to the cultural hub of Vienna. Your Tour Manager starts Vienna off by introducing the group to the city’s historical heritage. There’s the imperial grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, the elegantly ornate State Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral – a Gothic masterpiece.
Today there’s free time to check out the magnificent squares and majestic palaces or the city’s art galleries. Take a break in a coffee house like the locals do or wander along the Danube River. Get schnaps savvy with a behind-the-scenes look into this local liqueuer’s production in an optional excursion to the Old Vienna Schnaps Museum. Tonight, there’s a chance to experience Vienna’s musical legacy with a Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the city’s imperial palaces.
Vienna to Budapest/Sziget
We hit the road this morning and head to Budapest. With two cities rolled into one, this exotic town has a bit of everything. Buda and Pest sit on different sides of the river, but bring together the stunning buildings and atmosphere that makes Budapest so romantic. On arrival, you will have a city orientation to get your bearings. Prepare to celebrate the 22nd edition of Sziget! With headline acts such as Queens of the Stone Age, Calvin Harris, Placebo and many more as well as around 400,000 fans on one beautiful island in the heart of the city, it’s going to be an unforgettable experience. With 50 program venues and around 200 programs daily, it’s going to be 3 amazing days. Sziget has a huge range of performing bands for you to enjoy, but it’s not just about music, as it offers several other cultural programs like theatre, circus and exhibitions. So make the most of everything that this festival has to give.
Wake up, have breakfast and prepare to celebrate another day at Sziget! Before heading to the island for another day of surreal festivities, you could go sightseeing around the city and enjoy a lunch cruise? Budapest is a city with a lively cultural scene, beautiful historic buildings, picturesque gardens and stunning fountains. If you’re after something different, why don’t you treat yourself to a truly local experience? You could relax/recover in an outdoor thermal spa amoungst Art Nouveau architecture, or have a few pre-drinks at the special ’ruin pubs’.
Time to empty the tank and give it everything! It’s your final day at the festival, so make the most of every moment. Today Sziget will be going off… maybe you could start the day chilling in the beach section and enjoy the summer sun and Danube river, then hit the main stages and party with your crew into the night. Expect an unforgettable night!
The tour ends after breakfast and it’s time to share your contact details and say farewell to your new Sziget friends.