When you think of having an Eastern Europe vacation, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s visiting old churches and seeing historic sites that have been standing for many centuries. Perhaps you think of visiting cities bombed in World War II and restored to their former splendor. Or maybe you think of learning about the counties’ rich histories. If so, this Best of Eastern Europe guided tour includes all of that and more with overnights in Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. You’ll also have special experiences in some of the smaller towns as well. You’ll enjoy a special lunch in Telc, one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic, and taste a Trdelnik rolled pastry in Prague.
Your guided sightseeing in the capitals includes the must-see attractions. All of this and more – including a private Chopin concert in his hometown of Warsaw!
DAY 1 ARRIVE IN BERLIN, GERMANY (D)
Welcome to Berlin! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
DAY 2 BERLIN (B)
Sightseeing with a Local Guide in the once-divided metropolis includes the Ku’damm, the restored Reichstag, a picture stop at monumental Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial, Charlottenburg Palace, and the 210-foot Victory Column in the vast Tiergarten park. Visit the KAISER WILHELM MEMORIAL CHURCH, drive along Unter den Linden boulevard, and pass the German State Opera House and Checkpoint Charlie. To enhance your stay, why not join an optional excursion to historic Potsdam?
DAY 3 BERLIN–POZNAN, POLAND–WARSAW (B/D)
Cross the Polish border, enjoy vistas of rural life in the fertile central plains, and take a break in historic Poznan on your way to Warsaw.
DAY 4 WARSAW (B)
Your Local Guide will tell you about the tormented, often tragic history of this important gateway city between East and West. See the medieval Stare Miasto (Old Quarter) with its market square and 14th-century CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN, the “wedding cake” Palace of Culture and Science, neoclassical Lazienki Palace, and the remnants of the Jewish ghetto. Later, attend a PRIVATE CHOPIN CONCERT.
DAY 5 WARSAW–CZESTOCHOWA–AUSCHWITZ–KRAKOW (B/D)
A fascinating morning: visit JASNA GÓRA, the monastery near Czestochowa, and admire its BLACK MADONNA, which is venerated as the “Queen of Poland” and has become the country’s national symbol. Next, stop in Auschwitz to visit what is left of the CONCENTRATION CAMP, a chilling reminder of the Holocaust. Evening arrival in Krakow.
DAY 6 KRAKOW (B)
This morning, there is a chance to join an optional excursion to the Wieliczka salt mines. Later, guided sightseeing in ancient Krakow features a walking tour of the KAZIMIERZ QUARTER, a picture stop at Wawel Castle, and a visit to ST. MARY’S CHURCH. Tonight, why not join an optional Polish dinner and folklore show?
DAY 7 KRAKOW–DONOVALY, SLOVAKIA–BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (B)
A scenic drive through the heart of mountainous and densely wooded Slovakia, where brown bears still roam free, brings you to Donovaly, a popular ski resort in the Tatra Mountains. Continue to Budapest, proud capital of Hungary. This evening, you may wish to join an optional private dinner cruise on the Danube River, the perfect introduction to this fascinating city.
DAY 8 BUDAPEST (B)
Your Local Guide takes you through Eastern Europe’s most cosmopolitan city. See elegant Andrassy Avenue, the Thermal Baths, and the world’s second-largest Jewish synagogue. From the lacy lookout towers of Fishermen’s Bastion, enjoy a panoramic view of the sprawling city. Then, visit the 13th-century MATTHIAS CORONATION CHURCH and Heroes’ Square. Afternoon at leisure. Tonight, a delectable optional Hungarian specialty dinner can be arranged.
DAY 9 BUDAPEST–VIENNA, AUSTRIA (B)
Drive through the Hungarian plains to Vienna, once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire. Meet your Local Guide and start your sightseeing with vistas of Prater park with its giant Ferris wheel. Then, drive along the elegant Ringstrasse. Pass the impressive State Opera House, the Jewish quarter, and stop at the Hofburg Palace, winter residence of the Austrian imperial family. Marvel at the impressive courtyards and famous Heldenplatz, and visit awesome ST. STEPHEN’S CATHEDRAL.
DAY 10 AT LEISURE IN VIENNA (B)
A whole day at leisure offers you the opportunity to join exciting optional excursions to the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, and a concert in one of Vienna’s concert halls, or to just explore this magnificent city on your own.
DAY 11 VIENNA–TELC, CZECH REPUBLIC–PRAGUE (B/L/D)
Cross the Czech border and enter Moravia. Stop in one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic, Telc, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where a light lunch with local specialties awaits you. In the afternoon, drive through the rich farmlands of Moravia and Bohemia to Prague. Tonight is your chance to join an optional outing to explore Prague by night.
DAY 12 PRAGUE (B)
Guided sightseeing includes a visit to HRADČANY CASTLE GROUNDS. Also see St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Town, the Jewish ghetto, and the ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK, once the envy of all Europe. Then, taste a Trdelnik, the famous rolled pastry topped with sugar and walnut mix. Balance of the day at leisure.
DAY 13 PRAGUE–DRESDEN, GERMANY–BERLIN (B/D)
Re-enter Germany and stop in Dresden, the former capital of Saxony. Badly damaged by Allied bombing in February 1945, the city has since been restored to its baroque splendor. During your walking tour, admire the architecture of the Zwinger Palace and Semper Opera. Next, return to Berlin, where a special farewell dinner awaits you at a local restaurant.
DAY 14 BERLIN (B)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation: