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Highlights of Central Europe

from $2,799.00

Discover the cultures of the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia

  • Reviews 6 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely
    1/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 16
All about the Highlights of Central Europe.

Few places in the world can rival the sheer diversity of cultural and natural heritage of Central Europe. From the hugely significant sites on the UNESCO list to small fairytale villages, this trip will show you just what makes this region so special, including historic capitals and cities of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Poland. The landscape is equally varied, with the dramatic Tatra Mountains and the beautiful parks and scenery of Moravia. These landscapes provide impressive backdrop to the towns, castles and villages we visit on this absorbing journey.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts
* 13 nights hotels and pensions, all rooms ensuite
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

Group normally 5 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 years

Travel by air-conditioned private minibus, train and boat

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Five countries and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in two weeks
  • Europe’s historic capitals and cities- Prague, Bratislava ,Vienna, Budapest and Krakow
  • Scenic landscapes in Moravia and in the Tatra Mountains
  • Optional activities such as a Danube boat cruise, or a visit to Auschwitz
  • 13 nights hotels and pensions, all rooms en suite
  • Group normally 5 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Travel by air-conditioned private minibus, train and boat
  1. Day 1 Start Prague.

    Start Prague, where we stay overnight.*Hotel Lunik or similar*

  2. Day 2 Full day in Prague, with guided sightseeing and free time.

    A full day to explore the wealth of attractions Prague has to offer, with guided sightseeing in the morning followed by free time. We will explore the Old Town, with the famous Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square that houses the impressive concert hall Lucerna (designed by Vaclav Havel’s father), the Jewish Quarter and Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world. Entrance fees are not included and payable locally if you wish to enter any attractions or museums. We then spend our second evening in the Czech capital.*Hotel Lunik or similar*

  3. Day 3 Transfer to historic town of Cesky Krumlov, characterised by cobbled streets, fairy tale buildings and a beautiful castle.

    We transfer ( approx. 2.5-3 hours) to the historic town of Cesky Krumlov, with its small squares, narrow cobbled streets, open air theatre with revolving auditorium and beautfiul chateau that overlooks the town. The early evening and morning are particularly good times to see this fairy tale town, as the light reflects off the red roofs and the surrounding hills. Overnight Cesky Krumlov.*Penzion Prelat or similar*

  4. Day 4 Visit Telc with its Renaissance architecture; transfer to Mikulov in the wine growing area of Moravia.

    After breakfast we transfer (approx. 2 hours) to the Czech town of Telc; a great example of Renaissance architecture that has changed little over the past century. The Renaissance chateau in Telc is the most poular chateau for film makers in Czech Republic. More than 50 films have been made there.The town square is flanked by traditional houses and buildings, many of which proudly display coats of arms that will immerse you in a bygone era. We end our day with a transfer (approx. 2 hours) to the wine growing town of Mikulov, where we stay for the night.*Hotel Reva or similar*

  5. Day 5 Drive to Lednice; visit the castle and beautiful gardens then on to Skalica.

    Leaving Mikulov we take a short transfer (approx. 20 min) to Lednice-Valtice, ”the Versailles of Southern Moravia”,  where we have the opportunity to visit the most romantic castle in the Czech Republic, a true highlight of the region including the beautifully landscaped garden and park. Then we transfer to Skalica ”the capital” of Western Slovakia´s folklore and wine. Experience horse and carriage ride to Skalica´s wineyards and wine tasting with local wine dresser. In the late afternoon we transfer to Bratislava.*Hotel Falkensteiner or similar*

  6. Day 6 Sightseeing in Bratislava; chance to visit the castle and old town.

    Bratislava may be one of Europe’s youngest capitals but it has a long and rich history. It has been the coronation town of the Hapsburgs, and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary. Bratislava is also home to two castles; Devin Castle, destroyed by Napoleon’s troops in 1809 and Bratislava Castle with its distinctive four towers and wonderful views over the Danube.After lunch optional day tours in Bratislava including: Post Communist Bratislava Tour.*Hotel Falkensteiner or similar*

  7. Day 7 Cruise on the Danube from Bratislava to Vienna. 

    In the morning we cruise on the Danube from Bratislava to Vienna. After checking in our hotel the afternoon will then be free with options to visit some of Vienna’s highlights including the Schoenbrunn Palace (summer palace of the Hapsburgs) or the Mozart Museum (all entrances payable locally).*Hotel Boltzmann or similar*

  8. Day 8 Full day sightseeing; optional evening concert.

    Full day’s sightseeing in the beautiful and former imperial city of Vienna, including some guided sightseeing. There will then be free time to visit impressive sites such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the popular Kunsthistoriches Museum or visit the Hundertwasser Hause (all entrances payable locally).No visit to Vienna is complete without a visit to one of it’s many famous cafés for coffee and cake or soaking up all the culture this city has to offer in one of Vienna’s many parks or beer gardens.There will also be an optional visit to an evening concert (this will need to be pre-booked and will be explained by your leader on Day 1).*Hotel Boltzmann or similar*

  9. Day 9 Train to Budapest; option to visit Budapest´s spa, or the secret nuclear hospital built during the cold war.

    Today we catch the train from Vienna to the Hungarian capital of Budapest, our base for the next two nights. The afternoon will be free with option to visit Budapest´s spa, or the secret nuclear hospital, Hospital in the Rock, built during the cold war.*Hotel Benczur or similar*

  10. Day 10 Guided tour of Budapest with some free time.

    The mighty Danube literally splits this great city into two halves, Buda, dominated by the Castle Hill Palace complex high above the river, and Pest, the bustling and more cosmopolitan centre of trade. The morning is spent visiting the Castle Hill area, perched above the Danube and inner city area. In the afternoon or evening there is an optional boat cruise on the Danube, offering close-up views of the spectacular Neo-Gothic Parliament building on the waterfront. There also may be the chance to visit Budapest Great Market Hall.*Hotel Benczur or similar*

  11. Day 11 To the High Tatra Mountains, stopping en route at Banska Stiavnica and UNESCO village of Vlkolinec; visit Strbske Pleso Lake and on to Tatranska Lomnica.

    Leaving Hungary behind we journey to the imperious Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. We stop en route (2.5 hours transfer) in Banska Stiavnica, now on the UNESCO World Heritage list thanks to its rich history and once prolific mines. The mediaeval town is spread across a steep valley and in the Middle Ages was the main supplier of gold and silver to the Kingdom of Hungary. It boasts a number of beautifully preserved buildings such as the 14th century chateau and the Church of St Catherine, and numerous small picturesque squares.We then proceed (approx. 1.5 hours) to Vlkolinec in the Velka Fatra Mountains. Vlkolinec is something akin to a ’living museum’ with 45 wooden vernacular buildings dating back to 1372, set in a remarkable natural environment. The village has permanent residents, however remains untouched and is today a Folk Architecture Monument Reserve. We continue (approx. 1 hour) to the highest settlement in the Tatras, Strbske Pleso lake (1346m) a popular spot for summer and winter sports enthusiasts and a great place to sample high-mountain atmosphere. In the evening we transfer (20 min) to our nearby accommodation in Tatranska Lomnica.*Hotel Titris or similar*

  12. Day 12 Visit Spissky Castle, experience traditional rafting in Dunajec gorge; on to Krakow.

    This morning we visit one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe, Spissky Castle, before we transfer to Pieniny National Park for a traditional rafting experience on Dunajec River gorge. In the evening we travel (approx. 2.5- 3 hours) to the cultural gem of Krakow in Poland, where we spend our final two nights.*Hotel Poleski or similar*

  13. Day 13 Morning tour visiting Old Market, Mariacki Church and Jewish quarter.

    We take a short tour on foot of the main sights of the old city, including the Mariacki church, Old Market Square, Collegium Majus (the oldest part of the Jagiellonian University), the Jewish quarter and Wawel Hill. Wawel Castle is renowned as the best example of a Renaissance style castle on the north side of the Alps. The afternoon is free to explore, or an optional visit to the impressive and labyrinthine Wieliczka Salt Mine. This vast network of tunnels and rooms now covers 9 levels to a depth of 327m and was described by an eighteenth-century visitor as being ’as remarkable as the Pyramids and more useful’. This huge mediaeval underground salt mine contains chambers, chapels and even concert halls all excavated from salt by hand. There is also the possibility to arrange an optional trip to Auschwitz in the afternoon.*Hotel Poleski or similar*

  14. Day 14 End Krakow.

    The trip ends this morning after breakfast. If you wish to explore this fascinating city in more detail we recommend booking an extra night post tour, please ask our sales team for details.

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Where you stay

Hotels & Pensions

Please be advised that the below accommodation listed in each location are the standard hotels used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

We use a mix of 3 and 4-star hotels and small pensions during our trip, chosen for comfort and convenience. All hotels have en suite facilities and offer free Wi-Fi.

Hotel Lunik- Prague

Penzion Prelat- Cesky Krumlov

Hotel Reva- Mikulov

Hotel Falkensteiner- Bratislava

Hotel Boltzmann- Vienna

Hotel Benczur- Budapest

Hotel Titris- Tatranska Lomnica

Hotel Poleski- Krakow

Single supplements are available upon request.

 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts.

The cuisines of Central European countries possess many similarities yet still retain their own strong gastronomic traditions and dishes. Hearty soups, noodles, dumplings made from wheat or potato, meat dishes consisting of pork, beef and game are all staples across the region. You will also find a large variety of sausages and vegetables such as mushrooms, potatoes and peppers featuring prominently in many dishes. Dairy products such as cheeses and creams are heavily used in the region too. Desserts are plentiful and varied with each country having their own unique sweets and cakes. And of course the Czech beer is world renowned for it’s quality and taste. Many of the countries visited on the trip also offer good quality wines and local spirits that are worth tasting along the way!

The breakfasts during the trip are usually continental with a choice of eggs.

Lunches are the main meal of the day in Central Europe and the leader will usually recommend or stop for a hot lunch at a restaurant or café.

The leader will accompany the group to a restaurant each evening, but will provide recommendations for those wishing to explore separately.

Vegetarians can be catered for, as are other dietary requirements although there may not be the same choice or variety as you have at home. Please advise us upon booking.

This is a relaxed cultural discovery itinerary but with a few long driving days due to the amount of distance that we cover on this trip. There is some walking involved on a few days, but this is gentle and not like mountain hiking (it is also optional). Travel is by private bus, generally on good roads, train and boat.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 07/10/2019
4/5

A Fast-Moving Cultural Tour

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A very difficult question since there was so much that was inspirational. The architecture and artistic cultures were repeatedly impressive throughout the two weeks of the trip. The fact that the complexity and creativeness of most of these had been hidden or difficult to access for decades during the 'iron curtain' era simply increased the revelation .
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    As previous reviewers have reported the leader, Peter Gbur, proved to be knowledgeable, thoughtful, and helpful to all group members. He supported the group over and above that required by the itinerary. His command of English was good, but there were sometimes problems with communicating the plan for the day or being heard by some group members when out on tour. Group members would have found it helpful to have the day's plans at breakfast, or failing that a notice at the hotel reception desk. When out touring it would be helpful for Peter to gather the group in front of him when explaining some historical or architectural point, rather than talking from the middle. An innovation Peter advised was the use of 24 or 48 hour transport tickets for use on either trams or metros which simplified movement around cities. This cost-effective solution saved time and effort with only one ticket purchase per day, and, given the frequency of both trains and trams, no real need to consult timetables.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a fast moving tour with no stop longer than two nights, Essentially, it requires living out of a suitcase for two weeks. The itinerary necessitates repeated changes of currencies, but group members had no difficulty accessing ATMs when required and the costs of living are low by western standards except in capital cities. Make sure you have change for use in public toilets which all require payment. Although the local custom is to make lunch the principal meal of the day there are plenty of restaurants serving dinner. It would probably be sensible to make lunch a snack given the short time available for sight-seeing, etc. Peter Gbur appeared to have a great repertoire of restaurants to book in and was always happy to make a reservation. He generally accompanied the group to evening meals.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The accommodation was usually 3-star hotels with a couple of 4-star establishments thrown in. The 3-star hotels tended to be quite plain, but all were comfortable. Those in cities were sometimes noisy. There were no instances of crime during our tour, but it would be wise to take precautions against pick-pockets in the major towns. All of the cities visited were as clean as equivalent British cities, and in many cases cleaner. Is this trip for you? If you have an interest in the history, culture and natural features of the region but no prior knowledge of it, then I would book without hesitation. If you are more interested in bars, nightlife, etc then there will be other trips that will suit your needs better.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Fast-Tracking Central Europe

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I suppose sailing down the Danube and later in the day listening to "Blue Danube" and in Vienna was probably the most inspirational moment!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Apart from being a group leader, Peter Gbur also happens to be a ski instructor and a keen photographer. Being a Slovak and from the Tatra Mountain region, he was enthusiastic about his country. Although he could have left us to our own devices on the free afternoons, he always organised somethings for us and also accompanied the majority sub-group. Most of us were very grateful to him for this as it was beyond his remit, particularly because different people had different ideas. He always had his meals with us explaining the menu and sorting out difficulties with our bills caused by our ignorance! He was very considerate about the weaker members of the group and tolerant of the boisterous!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to walk for a long time on the walking tours of the cities. In the Tatra Mountains, although it is a leisurely walk, it is best to wear suitable footwear. If you have the time and the money, do book extra nights at the start and at the end of the trip.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As mentioned before, some of the walking tours in some cities (Prague) was strenuous. Knowing this, our leader Peter suggested that we buy 24 hr Metro tickets. That helped us a lot.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

HIGHLIGHTS OF CENTRAL EUROPE

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My favourite stop was Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, where  the view from our room was breath taking. Seeing the peaks and lakes and walking in the Tatra mountains was exhilarating.   This trip is for people who enjoy visiting historical cities with revitalising breaks along the way.  Visit to the wine tasting was fun..
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Peter was a charming guide, well informed and so pleased to pass on all the information about his country.He was very enthusiastic over all the activities  whether in cities, towns, or mountains. He catered for different interests  while making the entire group gel.  Peter spent all his time with the whole group and could not have been more helpful.  He always found traditional restaurants for the whole group  so that we could sample the local delicacies and at a cheaper price than in the main tourist areas.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it!  
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

      Holasovic and Znojemska for me  are quite frankly, not worth it. More time could have been spent in Cesky Krumlov, allowing a walk along the river.The small town and mountain breaks contrasted with the walks through the cities, with the local guides giving us a potted history on our walking tours., Prague and Budapest were beautiful and could be revisited. ,Just a taster for Vienna and Krakow. .This trip is for people who enjoy visiting historical cities with revitalising breaks along the way. There is not much time for browsing or shopping on this trip Expanded trip notes with some city guides, details of the small stopping places and a road map of the bus journey would have been interesting to browse on the bus, perhaps from the day before . A sketch of the town showing the location of the most important buildings + other highlights + good cafes would have been useful: Peter gave us a map,marked with the hotel when we arrived but it would have been nice to have had it earlier although it was impressive to just stroll, I would have preferred to have seen a map when doing so (e.g. Cesky Krumlov, Sopron, Mikulov). I also enjoyed 2 days in Prague before the trip began, the highlight being Ivan Lendl's poster collection of Mucha and attending a Prague chamber orchestra recital both in the Municipal House, an Art Nouveau building. 

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Highlights of Central Europe

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard question, but I would say the time we spent Vienna. The history ,as we all know, is amazing and it was great to see firsthand thus very beautiful city.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    I found Peter to be excellent. He tried very hard to make our holiday as memorable as possible. Being a native to Slovakia, his knowledge of the history of the countries we visited was first rate. He was most helpful to everybody in this tour.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a fast past tour covering some of the highlights of 5 Central European countries. This tour will provide you with a broad brush look and knowledge of these countries . In my case it has given me a reason for visiting some of the cities again to get a greater look at what they have to offer.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

highlights of central europe

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The tour leader, Peter, plying and explaining the flute.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Very pleasant knowledgeable man, with a good sense of humour.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No, everything was as expected. In my case Not a critiscm but a personal choice. I like to make early morning tea, only 2 hotels had a kettle and 2 had coffee machines in the rooms, so a kettle could be handy.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The tour ran Saturday to Sunday, I think an extra day would be useful, possibly in Vienna or a small place not easily accesible by 'weekend flights'

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
May 10, 2020
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$2,799.00
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May 31, 2020
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July 5, 2020
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