Highlights of Eastern Europe
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.
13 nights from £2706pp
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Highlights of Eastern Europe Itinerary
Day 1 Welcome to Budapest.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. 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) Meals: Dinner with Wine Locations: Budapest
Day 2 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) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Budapest
Day 3 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) Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine Locations: Budapest, Krakow
Day 4 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) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Krakow
Day 5 Auschwitz and Czestochowa.
Join a Local Expert at Oswiecim, 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 Czestochowa 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) Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine Locations: Krakow, Warsaw
Day 6 The Polish Capital of Warsaw.
Join a Local Expert in the morning to see the Old Town, Royal Castle and Palace of Culture. Visit the Chopin Memorial in the Lazienki 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) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Warsaw
Day 7 Wielkopolska to Berlin.
Your route leads westward, across the rolling farmlands of the central plains, past Poznan 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) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Warsaw, Berlin
Day 8 The Spirit of Berlin.
Prepare to embrace the rejuvenated spirit of Berlin. Join a Local Expert for a drive 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 Friedrichstraße or exploring the new, vibrant Potsdamer Platz.(Breakfast) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Berlin
Day 9 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. Explore around the Catholic cathedral to view the tiered facades of the opera house 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) Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine Locations: Berlin, Dresden, Prague
Day 10 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) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Prague
Day 11 Bohemian Ceský Krumlov.
A journey through the green Bohemian countryside will bring you to Ceské Budejovice. 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 Ceský 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. 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) Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine Locations: Prague
Day 12 Stately Vienna.
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) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Vienna
Day 13 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) Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine Locations: Vienna
Day 14 Depart Budapest.
A transfer arrives at Budapest airport in the early afternoon. For those extending their stay, a stop is also made at the Corinthia Hotel Budapest. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.(Breakfast) Meals: Breakfast Locations: Vienna, Budapest
- Budapest: Your Welcome Dinner is a treat of mouthwatering Hungarian specialties, accompanied by specially-selected Hungarian wine, as you dine at the famous and elegant Gundel Restaurant.
- Warsaw: Enjoy a demonstration of the traditional techniques of dumpling-making with an expert chef. Then enjoy a hearty Polish Highlight Dinner with a variety of local delicacies and drinks.
- Ceské Budejovice: Tour a local brewery to discover the secrets of how the golden vintage of beer is made, followed by a sampling.
- Ceský Krumlov: For your Dine-Around Evening, choose your own style of ambience and cuisine from a fine selection of restaurants in the atmospheric centre.
- Vienna: Your Imperial Viennese Celebration Dinner is regal splendour on a plate. Enjoy a delicious three-course dinner with wine and a concert of classical music that pays homage to the genius of Strauss and Mozart.
- Dining Summary: 13 Breakfasts (B) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.
Top Rated Highlights
- Budapest: With a Local Expert, see Matthias Church and gaze out over the Danube to the Hungarian Parliament Building from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Atop Gellért Hill see the Liberty Statue presiding over the city.
- Kraków: The medieval heart of Kraków is rich in legend, a kind of Polish Camelot. Join your Local Expert for an in-depth exploration of this historic Holy Grail. Walk past Jagiellonian University, through the Old Town to the town square and see the medieval Sukiennice Cloth Hall.
- Kraków: Visit the cathedral atop Wawel Hill, see the castle and look for the iconic dragon, accompanied by your Local Expert.
- Kraków: Visit the 14th century St. Mary’s Basilica, the most important church in the city.
- Auschwitz: Join a Holocaust historian and experience a powerful and moving visit to the memorial and museum of Auschwitz and a stop at Birkenau, which bears witness to the terrible atrocities of the Holocaust.
- Czestochowa: Visit the 14th century Monastery of Jasna Góra, famous for the Black Madonna supposedly to have been painted by St. Luke.
- Warsaw: Your Local Expert will show you the city's highlights. See the Old Town, Royal Castle, Palace of Culture and visit the Chopin Memorial in the Lazienki Park before paying your respects at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes.
- Berlin: You Local Expert provides a tour of this vibrant city. Drive along the Ku'Damm, passing the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and through Tiergarten to the Reichstag building. See the Brandenburg Gate, State Opera House and visit Alexanderplatz.
- Dresden: During your orientation with your Travel Director, take a moment to admire the 'Procession of the Dukes' mosaic on the Saxon wall of the castle. You'll also see Frauenkirche, Zwinger Palace and the opera house, Semperoper.
- Prague: Bewitched by the gargoyles of St. Vitus Cathedral and ghosts of Bohemian Kings, experience a private tour with your Local Expert through the atmospheric courtyards of Prague Castle.
- Prague: Led by your Local Expert, explore the delightful Old Town Square and see the detailed Astronomical Clock that delights onlookers each hour.
- Ceský Krumlov: Your Travel Director will lead you an orientation of the city.
- Ceský Krumlov: Let a Local Expert lead you through a medieval labyrinth of private chambers, courtyards, kitchens and dungeons of the castle, so rich in history. Visit the fairytale castle considered to be the finest in the land.
- Vienna: A private tour with a Local Expert showcases the sheer opulence of Schönbrunn Palace, rich in Rococo and glittering gold, and its spectacular formal gardens.
- Vienna: Sightseeing with your Local Expert continues as you travel along the Ring Road to see the Hofburg Imperial Residence, Opera House, Parliament Building and Karlskirche.
- Scenic Drives: Your journey travels through Donovaly, the country's most famous winter resort you'll see Oravský Hrad Castle and some of Slovakia’s traditional wooden houses as you pass through the Low Tatra Mountains. Continue across the Polish plains, through the Ore Mountains and Bohemia.
Included Insight Services
- Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
- Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
- Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
- We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
- Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
- Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
- From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
- If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.