HUNGARY – SLOVAKIA-POLAND-CZECH-GERMANY
DAY 1. BUDAPEST
- Arrival to Budapest
- pick up and complimentary transfer to a hotel in Budapest city center.
- After check in, meet with your guide to get acquainted with each other and the tour.
- Overnight stay in Budapest.
DAY 2. BUDAPEST
- After breakfast we start with the Budapest city tour.
- You will experience the magic of Budapest’s exceedingly scenic setting and architecture and enjoy Her Royal Highness Budapest – the queen of the Danube.
- We will take a walk through the downtown Pesta, walk along the famous Andrássy Avenue, visit the oldest underground (metro) system in Europe, walk across the Heroes’ Square and see St. Stephen’s Basilica. We will go along the Budapest Danube Corso (Dunakorzó) from where you will have a beautiful view of the Castle Hill in Buda. We shall visit the terminal of the Millennium Underground, bordered from the north by the huge and beautiful Gerbeaud-House, where there is the famous Café Gerbeaud, opened in 1858. There you can try the best of Hungarian pastry such as the Dobos-cake, Somló sponge cake and plum pie.
- Afterwards we go to the Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge over the Danube, built in 1849. We shall take a walk across the bridge and you will be able to capture the lovely view of both the river and the city and in no time find yourselves in Buda – the romantic upper town with many historical buildings and monuments. We shall walk the Trinity square where on its left side you will see the Old Town Hall of Buda and on its right side the dominating Mathias Church, surrounded by the turrets and walkways of the Fishermen’s Bastion -the structure that looks like it is straight out of a fairy-tale.
- The Fishermen’s Bastion was built in 19th century simultaneously with the last major renovation of the Matthias Church, in an unique architectural harmony. The bastion has seven towers – each one symbolizing one of the seven Magyar tribes that, in 9th century settled in the area now known as Hungary. Its foundation is a part of the former medieval fortified defensive wall and its location gave home to a huge fish and grocery market in the Middle Ages. In the Water Town, directly below the walls, most of the population made a living from fishing. Hence the name paying a tribute to the fishermen.
- Following the city tour we are going to have traditional Hungarian lunch. This is an exceptional experience and promises a lot of excitement for gastro-curious travelers. The mysterious Hungarian cuisine nowadays is a combination of ancient Asiatic components mixed with Germanic, Italian, and Slavic elements. It is considered a melting pot of the continent, with its own original cuisine from the Magyar people.
- Free evening at your leisure and overnight stay in Budapest.
DAY 3. BUDAPEST -BRATISLAVA
- Morning drive to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
- Upon arriving to Bratislava, we will have the city tour of this capital; a walking tour of the beautifully preserved old town. You will walk through the 13th-century Michalska Gate, discover the 15th-century Town Hall which is still in use today, visit the picturesque Main Square, before heading to the pink Primate Palace. We will then see the relic of Saint John the Merciful, dating from the 7th century, at the Gothic Cathedral of St Martin.
- At the end of the walking tour we will get back into the car and take in some majestic sites that are more spread out like Presidential Palace and the Bratislavan Castle, perched atop a cliff that overlooks the city and the Danube River. Finally we will head to the Slavin Monument. Dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who liberated Bratislava in 1945, this memorial monument also gives great views of the city.
- Free evening and overnight stay in Bratislava
DAY 4. BRATISLAVA – TATRAS NATIONAL PARK
- Morning drive towards Slovakia-Poland border line and their beautiful National park High Tatras situated in the north of Slovakia, shared partly with Poland. The only mountains of Alpine type in the whole Carpathian Mountain range are often called “the smallest alpine mountains in Europe”.
- on the way we shall have coffee break stop at Banska Bistrica and afterwards we continue to High Tatras
- High Tatras mean majestic peaks touching to the sky, dark turquoise mountain lakes of glacier origin, waterfalls, unique plants, rare animals like chamois (mountain goat) or marmot, exceptionally clean air and environment great for healing respiratory conditions.
- Possible hiking – the trails are ranging from gentle to highly demanding.
- overnight stay in Tatras
DAY 5. TATRAS – ZAKOPANE/POLAND
- Morning drive to Zakopane. We will enjoy a full day excursion to Zakopane, a capital of winter sports, beautifully sited at the foot of the Tatra Mountains National Park in the valley between Gubałówka and Giewont. It is the most popular resort in Poland and one of the most beautiful places in the country due to its picturesque location and spa architecture which blends in with the natural landscape and involves characteristic elements of the local building.
- Once a small mountain village Zakopane became at the beginning of the 20th century a fashionable and popular resort for artists, writers and musicians. You will see many beautiful wooden churches, each with its own history. Our tour of Zakopane starts at the top of Mt. Gubałówka, which we climb with a funicular, to see the most beautiful view of the Tatra Mountains. After a short walk on the top of the mountain we go down to visit the oldest part of Zakopane with the houses and churches form the typical local wooden architecture that is so-called Zakopane style, originally created by Witkacy, the remarkable Polish architect.
- Apart from the interesting architecture, magnificent colorful folk costumes and jewelry have also survived throughout history. To see it and to feel a local atmosphere we shall walk along the local marketlocated in between the very foot of the hill and Krupówki street. We shall find local souvenirs (woodware, leatherware, woolware, etc.) there together with leather jackets and fur coats, clothes, shoes, fruit, vegetables, and a whole alley of local OSCYPEK sheep cheese sellers – all in different shapes and sizes.
- Our last stop in Zakopane is the visit to Chochołów, a lovely old genuine wooden village that represents the most complete survival of an old gorale village. The majority of the houses here were built during the nineteenth century, and it was from buildings such as these that Witkacy took his inspiration for the ‘Zakopane Style’.
- Overnight stay in Zakopane.
DAY 6. ZAKOPANE – UNESCO Wieliczka Salt Mine – KRAKOW
- Morning drive to Wieliczka- famous for one of the oldest salt mines in Europe, which has been in operation for at least 700 years. The oldest part of the mine is opened to the public as a museum. Our route in the mine leads you through galleries, chambers and chapels on three levels. All altarpieces, figures and monuments carved there are from salt. The highlight will be the most beautiful and incredible richly ornamented Chapel of St. Kinga. The Wieliczka Salt Mine was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in 1978.
- After this unique experience we will go to beautiful Krakow for free evening and overnight.
- Overnight stay in Krakow.
DAY 7. KRAKOW
- Full day Krakow sightseeing incl. St. Mary Church, Wawel Cathedral, Wawel Castle. Lunch at local restaurant during sightseeing.
- A guided sightseeing tour of the ancient capital of Poland, a royal city on the Vistula lying at the foot of Wawel – a limestone hill on whose peak rise a splendid royal palace and the cathedral church of St. Waclaw and bishop Stanislaus. You will start with the Royal Castle and Cathedral on the Wawel Hill which were remodeled according to the new Renaissance taste in the beginning of the 16th century. It is the place where Polish kings were crowned and buried. Afterwards, drive to the Old Town with the Main Market 3 Square with magnificent houses and palaces. In the middle of the square there is the Cloth Hall built before 1349, but altered in 16th century with many shopping stalls inside. Kazimierz – historical center of Krakow’s Jewish religious and social life, was incorporated into Cracow in the 18thcentury. The tour of this district takes you to the most important monuments in this area. First you see the sites, which Steven Spielberg used for his location shots of the Oscar winning “Schindler’s List”.
- Overnight stay in Krakow.
DAY 8. KRAKOW – OSWIECIM (Auschwitz) – PRAGUE/CZECH REPUBLIC
- Morning drive towards Prague with a stop at Oswiecim or as we know it -Auschwitz the town best known as the hope of the World War II concentration camp, and its close proximity to Auschwitz-Birkenau, an extermination and forced labor camp.
- The first record of the town dates to the 10th century. Originally, Germans and Poles inhabited the town. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Jewish population of Oświęcim began to grow and in a relatively short time they were in the majority.
- visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau
- Afterwards we continue towards Prague and expect to arrive in the evening
- Overnight stay in Prague
DAY 9. PRAGUE
- After breakfast we are off to a city tour of Prague. The city that is equal of Paris in terms of beauty. Its history goes back a millennium and has the best beer in Europe.
- The thing that will take your breath away is the spectacle of a 14th-century stone bridge, a hilltop castle and a lovely, lazy river – the Vltava – that inspired one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of 19th-century classical music, Smetana’s Moldau.
- you will enjoy Prague’s maze of cobbled lanes and hidden courtyards. Just few blocks from the Old Town Square you can stumble across ancient chapels, unexpected gardens, cute cafes and old-fashioned bars with locals to meet.
- Local beer break
- Free evening to enjoy and explore the city
- Overnight stay in Prague
DAY 10. PRAGUE – KARLOVY VARY
- Morning departure to famous Karlovy Vary. We will drive through the picturesque West Bohemian countryside to the world-famous spa town of Karlovy Vary. Better known by its German name, Karlsbad (or Carlsbad), this spa town is situated in a beautiful forested valley known for its 12 thermal springs.
- Karlovy Vary is the most famous Bohemian spa, and was named for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles (Karl) IV. The emperor allegedly found the springs in 1358 during a hunting expedition. In the 19th century, many famous people came here from all over Europe for treatment, including Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, Chopin and Karl Marx.
- Upon your arrival in Karlovy Vary, we will visit a glass exhibition at the Moser glass factory offering a unique look at the history of the glassworks. The modern exposition offers an absorbing display, which maps over 150 years of the glassworks’ history. The exhibit presents famous owners of luxury Moser crystal products, together with pieces ranging from the oldest examples of glass work to contemporary collections. After Museum factor, as you stroll through the town along the spa colonnades, you will have a chance to sip the water from the mineral springs, taste delicious local wafers and the traditional herbal Becherovka liqueur.
- One cannot visit without admiring the grand 19th-century spa architecture and to stroll the impressive colonnades, sipping on allegedly health-restoring sulphuric compounds from ceramic, spouted drinking cups.
- At the end we will visit Jan Becher Museum to see the exhibition dedicated to Becherovka – the most famous Czech liqueur. During the tour of the original factory cellars you will learn about the history of Becherovka, its manufacturing and storage. And of course there will be some Becherovka tasting included as well.
- Free evening and overnight stay in Karlovy Vary
DAY 11. KARLOVY VARY – DRESDEN/GERMANY
- Morning departure towards Dresden, the capital of the German federal state of Saxony, located on the Elbe River, known worldwide for Bruehl’s Terrace and its historic landmarks in the Old Town (Altstadt) which celebrated its 800th birthday in 2006.
- It was home to many Saxon princes and kings. Dresden’s cultural glory came under the 18th-century reign of Augustus the Strong (August der Starke) and his son Augustus III, who produced many of Dresden’s iconic buildings, including the Zwinger and the Frauenkirche. While 75% of the historical center of Dresden was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945. which left deep scars on the city and still remembered each year with processions and ceremonies, most of these treasures and their contents were safely removed before the bombings and now take pride of place in Dresden’s rebuilt museums.
- The city was in the former German Democratic Republic so the GDR architecture is still very visible in the city. You will see that In the city center The “Prager Straße” and the “Kulturpalast” are examples for classical GDR architecture. If you leave the center you will find a lot of apartment blocks, called “Plattenbau” as they are typical in Eastern Europe and Russia. Nevertheless traces of World War II are not visible in the city anymore.
- After the city tour you will have free time to enjoy Dresden
- overnight stay in Dresden
DAY 12. DRESDEN – BERLIN
- Morning departure towards Berlin – a big multicultural metropolis that maintains the unpretentious charm of an international village with a laid-back lifestyle.
- You will enjoy Berlin’s combo of glamour and grit and explore its vibrant culture, cutting-edge architecture, fabulous food, intense parties and tangible history.
- The city that is high on history, where Bismarck and Marx, Einstein and Hitler, JFK and Bowie, shaped – and been shaped by – Berlin, whose rich history stares you in the face at every corner. This is a city that staged a revolution, was headquartered by Nazis, bombed to bits, divided in two and finally reunited – and that was just in the 20th century! You will walk along remnants of the Berlin Wall, admire at the magnificence of a Prussian palace, see the fabulous Brandenburg Gate visit Checkpoint Charlie and stand in the very room where the Holocaust was planned. Unbelievable city where past is very much present wherever you go.
- After the city tour we will have a well deserved refreshment and try one of the iconic Berliner food – the Doner or Currywurst
- Free evening and overnight stay in Berlin
DAY 13. END OF THE TOUR
- Hotel accommodation based on 1/2 occupancy in 4* hotels, breakfast included.
- 13 days/12 nights
- 3 traditional local lunches,
- comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
- Professional guidance – knowledgeable English speaking private guide/driver throughout the program
- city tours as per itinerary
- entrance fees (Budapest Metro and funicular, Bratislava castle, Tatras National Park, Gubalowka Cable Car, Wieliczka Salt Mine, St. Mary Church, Wawel Cathedral, Wawel Castle, Auschwitz, Jan Becher Museum, Moser glass factory, Dresden Cathedral, Parliament in Berlin
- Pick up transfer