The Best of Eastern Europe
Day 1 Berlin
Arrive in Berlin at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. We recommended arriving a day or two early to fully explore this world-renowned city.
Day 2 Berlin (1B)
Berlin is an amazing city with tangible historical importance and a melting pot of different cultures and flavours. The very name Berlin conjures images of the famous Berlin Wall. Two sections of the wall still remain on display- the East Side Gallery, where artists have decorated the remaining section of the wall, and the Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstatte Berliner Mauer). Down the street from the Berlin Wall is the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, a museum that documents the history of the wall, and interestingly, many of the different ways people tried to escape. Learn about all of the creative ways used to cross over to the other side. After, you can head over to the Brandenburg Gate, another spot of great historical significance. Here, hundreds of thousands of people were finally able to cross from the East side to the West after the fall of the wall. It has traditionally been a political rallying point for different groups and continues to be so today. If you are still craving museums, Berlin has plenty! Visit the Pergamon Museum, home to one of the world's greatest collections of ancient architecture and art. Also give the Egyptian Museum (Agyptisches Museum) a try as it houses many old Egyptian artifacts and the Judisches Museum tells the story of the relationship between the Germans and the Jews throughout the last few centuries. Art lovers will enjoy the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin Museum with plenty of modern art that is sure to spark interest and curiosity. The Berggruen Collection at the Die Sammlung Berggruen is also a must-see. Here, see an extensive art collection of Picasso, as well as paintings by Klee, Cezanne and Van Gogh. For those interested in Berlin's government, past and present, visit the Reichstag, home to the German parliament. Here, you can go up to the glass dome for a view of Berlin, or learn about the fascinating history of the building. For more history from this grim period, visit the Topographie des Terrors, a row of old cellars where prisoners were tortured. See the hundreds of pictures from the era and read the newspaper clippings to get a better understanding of what went on in the cellars and throughout Nazi Germany. Finally, for an amazing view of Berlin, visit the famous Berlin Television Tower with a viewing room and cafe located 203 meters above ground, providing sweeping views of the city.
Day 3 Warsaw (1B)
We depart early this morning by train to Warsaw. Guided tour to explore the city and marvel at the dedicated and painstaking reconstruction work which has allowed the "Old Warsaw"to rise again from the rubble of wartime destruction. Warsaw suffered hugely from bombing raids and Nazi occupation in the Second World War, and thereafter from the Soviet occupation and Communist rule. Today the city is a testament to the courage and determination of the Polish people who have at the same time reconstructed their capital city to ensure its character was not lost for ever, and risen above the trials of its past to embrace the twenty-first century. Time allowing, visit the Royal Castle Museum and Royal Apartments for a glimpse of Polish splendor through the depictions in paintings and perfectly restored rooms. Estimated travel time: 6 hours
Days 4-5 Zakopane (High Tatra Mountains) (2B)
Start early for an optional visit to the sombre but unmissable Warsaw Rising Museum, which has a vivid portrayal in film of what it was like to suffer bombing raids and destruction. Travel by train or bus to Zakopane, at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. A quaint little ski town, Zakapone is very popular with the locals in the winter and summer seasons. The town is located in southern Poland near the border with Slovakia. Venture on a guided hike around the Tatra Mountains, we will utilize a cable car to arrive at the most spectacular views so the hike is more enjoyable for everyone. Don't miss a chance to try Oscypek, smoked sheep's milk cheese, a local specialty sold by several vendors on the main pedestrian street. Estimated travel time: 7 hours
Days 6-7 Krakow (2B)
Krakow is a thriving European city that still retains the old Eastern European charm. Head first to the centre of everything- the Old Town’s Rynek Glowny square, one of the world’s largest medieval squares. You can sit for hours watching the people wander by over the cobblestoned streets. Make time to indulge in the mighty carbohydrate, Poland’s favorite food group. As the birthplace of the bagel you can sample them from vendors in the square or eat your body weight in the most delicious of Polish delicacies, the pierogie. These little ravioli-like pouches filled with all sorts of things, the best being mashed potato, will tempt you to work your way through each variety during your stay. To really eat like a local, get your CEO to take you to a “milk bar” where you can line up with the locals for traditional cheap Polish food, cafeteria style! When you awaken from your carb-coma, visit the royal castle perched on the Wawel Hill, providing a great view of the city. For some of the history that makes Krakow so famous, visit the former Jewish district with its 7 synagogues, which was used as the location for filming the movie Schindler’s List. Three gigantic Gothic churches and more than 800 pubs are huddled in nooks and alleyways where time slows down. If you can tear yourself away from the charms of Krakow, make a visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines, located only a short distance away. Here, you will be plunged into a deep underground network of tunnels and chambers some 135m below the surface. The Blessed King's Chapel is a highlight not to be missed, with its elaborate salt chandeliers and carvings. You may want to end your day embracing Polish social traditions in one of Krakow’s many cellar restaurants and pubs. Dive into the thriving social scene over a few vodkas in one of these cheerful establishments, Zubrowka (Bison Grass Vodka) is a must!!! Day 7 visit the site of one of history's most horrific crimes, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The site embodies tragedy, inhumanity and the survival of will. Today the museum stands testament to the inconceivable atrocities of the Second World War, whilst paying tribute to the thousands of lives unjustly taken within. After the tour return to Krakow for the night. Estimated travel time: 2 hours
Days 8-9 Prague (2B)
Today we head to the capital of the Czech Republic – “Golden” Prague. Prague is regarded by many as the unspoilt jewel in Europe’s historic crown. As well as the chance to visit all the major sights of the Old Town and Hradcany (the Castle of the Bohemian Kings), we have time to simply soak up the atmosphere of a unique community. Just a stone's throw away is Charles Bridge, by day thronged with vendors and street musicians. At night, the bridge is less crowded, and it's much easier to appreciate the scenery as well as the ever-so-slightly sinister quality of the statues looming overhead. Cross the bridge and you'll find yourself in Mala Strana, a far less crowded district that offers the perfect atmosphere for some introspective wandering. If you can handle the stairs, climbing the hundreds of steps to the famous Prague Castle (known as Hradcany), you'll be rewarded with a glorious view of the city. Like Charles Bridge, the castle is best enjoyed at night, when there is dramatic lighting and few visitors. If you're in the area and want to experience traditional Czech pubs, which are guaranteed to be loud, lively, and packed with locals on any night of the week, this is the place to find restaurants serving traditional Czech cuisine such as fried pork cutlets, goulash, and dumplings. The Prague Ghetto, which includes the Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues is one of the famous areas of Europe where the Jews of the city lived and thrived before WWII and definitely worth a visit. Prague certainly has no shortage of breathtaking views and the next hill over from the castle, Petrin Hill, offers a less obstructed panorama-style view. If you're not in the mood for hiking uphill, you can always take a cable car all the way to the top. An alternative is an evening watching the sunset from the heights of the Letna Beer Garden, where you can sample Czech beer, world-famous for its superb quality and low cost, on a warm summer evening. Estimated travel time: Day bus from Krakow to Prague 8 hours
Day 10-11 ?eský Krumlov (2B)
Take your time exploring the spectacular castle and narrow cobblestone streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site oozing with culture, history and life. Art galleries, cozy inns and ancient taverns abound inside of old buildings designed in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Tour the ?eský Krumlov State Castle and Chateau, which is complete with hidden passageways, a unique Baroque theatre, a hedge maze and beautiful gardens. Day 11 after breakfast, we will set off for a rafting trip (approx. 1-2 hours) on the Vltava River that winds right through the centre of ?eský Krumlov - a favorite summer pastime here. Afterwards, you might want to have lunch in one of the many pretty restaurants offering fantastic local cuisine, sitting on a terrace overlooking this fairy-tale medieval town. The afternoon is yours for exploration: discover the history and architecture of this charming town. Check out the Jewish synagogue built in Nouveau-Romanesque style in 1909 by the local Jewish community, featuring an eight-sided tower with Torah-shaped windows. Cycle through the region's forests or explore the area by horseback. Sample the famous Czech beer with a visit to a local brewery or travel to Budvar (translated to Budweiser), and be sure to get out and see the town at night. Estimated travel time Prague to Cesky Krumlov 4 hrs
Day 12-13 Vienna (2B)
Travel by minivan and train to Vienna. In the afternoon we will enjoy an orientation walk of the city's beautiful and elegant streets, taking in Vienna's most famous sights. The walk will focus on the Hofburg, residence of the Habsburg family for nearly 650 years and St. Stephen´s Cathedral, the landmark of Vienna. As we discover the sights, you will hear tales of the infamous Habsburgs - such as the story of Sissi and Franz Joseph - their marriages and deaths, and other tales from Vienna's folklore as we discover the Sachertorte coffee houses and of course, the oldest cake shop in the city. Day 13 is yours to explore at your leisure. Wander the elegant streets a little more, take in some of Europe's most distinguished art galleries, pay a visit to the stunning Lipizzaner horses of the renowned Vienna Riding School, experience a joyful mass with the Vienna Boys Choir, or just settle yourself on a café terrace, order up a slice of mouthwatering Viennese cake and watch the world go by over coffee. Estimated travel time: 4 hours
Day 14 Bratislava/Budapest (1B)
Our journey through Central Europe continues to the capital of Slovakia – Bratislava. After lunch you can enjoy an afternoon walking orientation tour of the Bratislava Old Town and spend the rest of the day in this charming and vibrant city full of very good restaurants, bars and clubs. A short, but good introduction to Slovakia ends as we embark on a train to the “Queen of the Danube” – Budapest. Estimated travel time: Vienna to Bratislava: 1 hour, Bratislava to Budapest: 3 hours
Day 15 Budapest (1B)
You are free to depart at anytime today. We recommend booking post-accommodation to experience all this city has to offer.