Come with us for an introduction to some of the most stunning capitals of Europe: Prague in the Czech Republic, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary, and Vienna in Austria.
Price: USD 2,840 per person in double room
We begin our journey in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and city of a hundred spires. Prague is rightly recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Home to a wide variety of architectural styles, Prague’s streets make up their own outdoor art museum.
Start your day by exploring Old Town Square, the historical heart of the city, taking notice of the famous Astronomical Clock and feeling the awe of the powerful double spires of Tyn Church. Wander through the maze of cobblestone streets, lined with endless shops and sidewalk cafes. Your first day in Prague is the perfect time on your Eastern European Discovery to get adventurous about trying new meats of all kinds . . . and all things doughy! Need something to wash it down? Czechs are proud of their beer, and rightly so. Be sure to order a Pilsner Urquell, and get ready – it comes in a really big glass! Sleep (well) in Prague.
Today begins with a stroll across the elegant Charles Bridge, which dates back to 1357. Take time to enjoy the musicians and the arts and crafts that line the bridge. Next we will make our way to Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city. Visit the towering Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, and the tiny colorful story-book houses lining Golden Lane (one of which housed existentialist writer Franz Kafka).
Venturing south of Old Town, you will find the captivating Mucha Museum, dedicated to the works of Czech Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. Continue on toward New Town along Prague’s main Boulevard, named Wenceslas Square, to experience the bustling shopping and commercial district in Prague, a great spot to take in some Czech nightlife.
Czechs are famous for their contributions to classical music, and this evening we’ll discover why. We’ll attend a concert at one of Prague’s well-known concert halls. Sleep in Prague.
Today we will travel beyond the city and take a day trip to the enchanting Karlštejn Castle, originally built to house and protect royal jewels and holy relics. We’ll arrive in style, taking a carriage ride up to the castle, and enjoy the amazing panoramic views from the top. Pause to check out the castle’s unique water well and, time allowing, the interesting nearby monastery named Svatý Jan Pod Skalou (“St. John under the rock”), which includes a “holy cave” built to hold a crypt and saintly relics. Perhaps you’re feeling a little disappointed that you couldn’t take home royal jewels from the castle. Don’t fret. We’ll do our best to soothe the pain by giving you a first hand look at how Bohemia’s crystal is made, and by giving you a chance to bring home some sparkly treasures of your own. We will venture to a nearby crystal factory and get an up-close look at all the steps in the process of production. Sleep in Prague.
As we head toward Vienna, capital of Austria, we will stop to explore the small town of Český Krumlov, about two hours south of Prague. The town presents an idyllic setting, with its Renaissance style castle perched on the bend of the Vltava river, and a peaceful history that has preserved an authentic picture of a European town as it developed through the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Our next stop is Vienna, famous for its artistic and intellectual history due to residents like Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. To make your first acquaintance with the city, you will visit the terrace atop the Danube Tower, where you can enjoy a marvelous view of the city. You will then finish the evening in a traditional tavern with music, wine and an unforgettable Viennese atmosphere. Sleep in Vienna.
Today you will explore Vienna on foot, strolling through the city’s most beautiful streets. You will take a peek at the 650-year-old residence of the Habsburgs as well as St. Stephen's Cathedral, the landmark of Vienna. You will learn about the marriage of Princess Sisi to Franz Joseph of Habsburg and end your exploration in a world famous coffee house where you can sample the amazing Sachertorte, arguably the most famous chocolate cake in the world. Sleep in Vienna.
Today we’ll enjoy our own mini-cruise, as we take a day-trip on the Danube to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, which is only about 60 km from Vienna. Catch sight of the Bratislava Castle as you pull into town. Check out the unique Art Nouveau architecture of the Blue Church, the medieval St. Michael’s Gate, and Bratislava’s largest church that once served as a coronation site for Hungary -- St. Martin’s Cathedral. Stroll through Old Town to the main square, where you can sip coffee in an outdoor café, while taking in the heart of the city. Sleep in Vienna.
Today we say goodbye to Vienna and head toward Budapest, capital of Hungary, and “Paris of the East.” Budapest is divided into two parts – Buda and Pest, connected by the Chain Bridge. (Aha, it all makes sense now!) Beginning on the Buda side, we begin with a visit to the unforgettable Castle Hill District, which houses three architectural wonders that define the city’s unique skyline – the green-domed Buda Castle (a.k.a. Royal Palace), the dreamy towered Fisherman’s Bastion, right out of a fairy-tale, and the colorful-tiled Matthias Church. Sleep in Budapest.
Today we’ll spend our day on the Pest side of Budapest. We’ll visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, inside of which you can see the sacred relic of the right hand of St. Stephen, and the enormous Parliament Building, which houses the Hungarian crown jewels.
To get a sense of why Budapest is called the “Paris of the East,” take some time to stroll down Andrássy Avenue, pausing at the State Opera House, which boasts some of the best acoustics in the world. Take your time as you peek in designer shops and sidewalk cafes. If you’ve still got more shopping energy left in you, also try out Váci street, ranked one of the top pedestrian shopping streets in the world.
Finally, you can’t go home without having a little spa time. Budapest is home of world famous thermal baths, and there is a wide variety to choose from. Unwind in the “healing waters” as a farewell, authentic Hungarian experience. Sleep in Budapest.