Duration: 15 Days
Learn about Central Europe’s rich history and see its historical sites as you travel through the heart of Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.
One of the highlights of this Central Europe tour is a drive along Germany’s Romantic Road with its charming villages, cobblestone streets, walled cities, and scenic countryside. You’ll stop in two of them: Nördlingen, a walled medieval town that sits in the valley created by a meteor, and picturesque Rothenburg, a walled town that has retained its medieval character.
Another highlight is a visit to Jasna Góra, the monastery near Czestochowa, an important pilgrimage spot. Its Black Madonna, a painting of the Virgin Mary, is a symbol of the country and venerated as the "Queen of Poland." While in Poland, you’ll also stop in Auschwitz to visit what is left of the concentration camp, a chilling reminder of the Holocaust.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide—a local expert who knows the history, culture, and secrets of the city—is included in Berlin, Warsaw, Kraków, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. Sights you’ll see during your city tours include Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, dating to 1791; Budapest’s Heroes’ Square, representing 1,000 years of Hungarian history, Prague’s Charles Bridge, dating to 1357 and one of Europe’s oldest stone bridges, and the Astronomical Clock, built in 1410; and the Imperial city center of Vienna, the city of the Hapsburgs. . In Kraków, Poland’s most beautiful city and cultural capital, see the charming Market Square, and Wawel Cathedral, which houses the tombs of Poland’s royalty.
All of this, - plus stops in Weimar and Poznan and more - are included on this fabulous, value-minded Central Europe tour.
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers.
Our first stop today is in Weimar, one-time intellectual heart of Germany and host to such luminaries as Luther, Cranach, Bach, Liszt, Schiller, and, of course, Goethe himself. It was at one time rightly known as the "Athens of Germany." Continue through Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt all the way to Germany's capital city, Berlin. (B)
On this morning's included guided tour, learn how the city is no longer divided but every bit as fascinating. Once the city of contrasts with its West and East side separated into two different worlds by a wall, Berlin has developed into a harmonious blend of old and new. It has preserved the old buildings, such as the State Opera House and Brandenburg Gate; its neoclassic-style boulevards, such as the Kurfürstendamm and Unter den Linden; and it has created brand new buildings in the most daring, contemporary architectural styles. It is once again Germany's capital and one of Europe's most lively and interesting cities. (B)
Drive east to Poznan, one of Poland's oldest trading centres and admire its renaissance market square. Continue to Warsaw, capital of Poland. (B,D)
The included sightseeing tour is an excellent introduction to Warsaw, magnificently reconstructed after wartime destruction. Today, its wide avenues contrast strikingly with the narrow lanes of the old section. (B)
Two encounters with history on your southbound journey today. First, JASNA GÓRA near Czestochowa, the monastery that withstood the repeated onslaught of overwhelming Swedish forces during the religious wars of the 17th century. Since then, its Black Madonna is venerated as the "Queen of Poland" and has become the country's national symbol. In the afternoon, visit what is left of the AUSCHWITZ CONCENTRATION CAMP, a chilling reminder of the Holocaust. Evening arrival in Kraków. (B,D)
This is, they say, Poland's most beautiful city. For almost 500 years it was the country's capital; today, it is without a doubt its cultural capital. Join the included morning sightseeing in ancient Kraków, for centuries the residence of Polish kings. See the Market Square, the Jewish Quarter, St. Mary's Church, and visit WAWEL CATHEDRAL. Free time later to explore this interesting town at your own pace and mingle with the locals. (B)
Travel through three countries today. First, south to the Tatra Mountains of Poland, then through scenic Slovakia, and finally into Hungary. Your destination is Budapest, the most lively of Eastern European capitals. (B,D)
Budapest is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, from Gothic to Baroque, Neoclassical and Art Nouveau, but also full of history, a food capital and surprisingly rich in thermal waters. Discover all of this and more during the guided city tour. (B)
Head for the Austrian border to Vienna in time to enjoy the afternoon and evening in this lively capital. Enjoy the included sightseeing tour with a Local Guide: the State Opera, Parliament, and the Town Hall. Stop for a stroll in Heroes' Square to view the Hofburg Palace. (B)
Morning at leisure or join an optional excursion to Schönbrunn Palace. This afternoon, cross the Czech border into Moravia, then through the rich farmlands of Bohemia to Prague. (B,D)
The wealth of gothic and baroque architecture perhaps inspired Dvorak and Smetana, both Prague composers. The included guided sightseeing features landmarks such as the Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge, and the Old Town Square with the ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK. Your Tour Director may suggest an optional evening excursion with traditional Czech music and spectacular entertainment. (B)
Into the landscape of the Bohemian Forest before reaching the Czech-German border. Drive south, enjoying the Bavarian scenery, to Munich, Germany's "Secret Capital," where you will drive through the city and see the main highlights. (B)
The highlight today is undoubtedly the ROMANTIC ROAD, which runs north to south as far as the Alps. First, visit lovely medieval Nördlingen, built on a crater formed by a meteorite approximately 14.5 million years ago. Then onto Rothenburg with its ramparts and towers, cobblestone streets, and 16th-century houses, before heading towards the Frankfurt area. (B,D)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)