Tune into the enchanting musical heritage of Vienna, your launch pad to a grand adventure through the highlights of Eastern Europe. After checking in, join a 'Local Specialist' for a sightseeing walking tour of Old Town Vienna, revealing insights into the Habsburg dynasty, once one of the most influential royal houses of Europe. Admire the Hofburg Palace, Imperial Boulevards and the beloved St. Stephen's Cathedral, with its colourful tiled roof. This evening, we join our Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception to kick off our exciting holiday.
We cross the Loibl Pass in the Karawanken Mountains and into the lush green hills of Slovenia. Arrive later at Lake Bled, an exquisite natural retreat set against the backdrop of forests and mountains. During your free time, you could consider taking a boat trip on its crystal clear waters to admire the castle, which clings dramatically to a cliff rising up from the lake's edge. This evening, we dine at our hotel.
Spend the day at your leisure, up the romantic atmosphere of this Alpine lake setting. Perhaps take a boat ride along the lake's tranquil waters, or consider joining an Optional Experience to the extensive maze of underground caves at Postojna.
We leave the emerald waters of Bled behind and arrive in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, where we will join a 'Local Specialist' for a sightseeing tour to see its Opera House, Cathedral, National Museum, Three Bridges Square and Castle. We cross into Croatia and travel to its capital, Zagreb - our home for the next two nights. You'll have a free evening to spend as you wish. Consider heading to Tkalčićeva Street to indulge in the flavours of traditional fruit brandy.
Explore a tale of two hilltop settlements and Zagreb's scenic cityscape, to this day lit by gas lamps in the Upper Town. Join a 'Local Specialist' who will share the landmarks of the city's Lower and Upper Town, including the Gothic Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace, the Opera House and St. Mark's Church, with its exquisitely coloured roof. Spend the rest of the day on your own, paying homage to the patron saint of Zagreb at its Stone Gate, or enjoying the city views from Strossmartre.
Crossing the border into Hungary, we enjoy a photo stop on the shores of Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe and affectionately known by locals as the 'Hungarian Sea'. We continue to the romantic capital of Budapest - our home for the next two nights. Perhaps, sail along the Danube on a scenic river cruise, enjoy an evening of Hungarian wine tasting or relax in the healing waters of the Szecheyni Spa Bath as the sun sets.
Today, we join a 'Local Specialist' for a walking tour of the Castle district to admire picture-perfect views of the Danube and Fisherman's Bastion with its towers representing the seven Magyar tribes who formed the Hungarian nation. See the imposing Parliament and the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe. Later we meet the Schieszl family and 'Connect With Locals' over a 'Be My Guest' dinner.
The exquisite natural landscape of Slovakia provides a scenic backdrop for our journey to Poland, past the foothills of the Tatra Mountains. We arrive in the enchanting city of Kraków. Consider an evening of lively Polish entertainment with dinner, or perhaps visit a traditional Polish Wódka Bar.
A leisurely walk through the beautiful streets of Kraków this morning with our 'Local Specialist' will include such highlights as the Royal Castle and Cathedral on Wawel Hill, recognised as the most historically and culturally significant site in Poland. We continue through the Old Town with a visit to the Mariacki Church and view of the Cloth Hall. Spend the afternoon exploring the city on your own or consider visiting a traditional milk bar. Enjoy a slice of Polish Sernik Babci in the Old Town Square or join an Optional Experience to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, where underground chambers are hewn out of rock salt. This evening, we dine at our hotel.
Our journey this morning takes us to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, a poignant reminder of the horrors perpetrated during the Holocaust. Travelling to Jasna Góra Monastery, we 'Dive Into Culture' and rub shoulders with Catholic pilgrims, who have journeyed to the famous shrine for centuries to see the iconic Black Madonna of Częstochowa. This evening, we arrive in the elegant Polish capital of Warsaw, where we will dine tonight at our hotel.
Connect with the youthful energy of Warsaw, a city that has triumphed over the tragedy of war and the shackles of communism. This morning, we join a 'Local Specialist' visiting the Old Town, which the Nazis destroyed to retaliate against the Warsaw Uprising. You'll also see the site of the Warsaw Ghetto, immortalised in the Roman Polanski film - The Pianist. Spend the rest of the day exploring the sights on your own, or celebrate the talents of Chopin during a private recital of Chopin's works.
Journey across Poland's patchwork countryside along the Autostrada Wolnośki (Motorway of Freedom) which was first initiated by Nazi Germany to connect Berlin with Poland and left unfinished for decades after World War II. Continue west into Germany and arrive in Berlin, a capital city with an enviable youthful verve and charisma. Here you'll enjoy an evening at leisure to explore the city your way.
Ascend an icon of reunification this morning as you witness spectacular panoramic views of the city from the Berlin TV Tower. Then join a 'Local Specialist' for a sightseeing tour through the city's great landmarks, including the Neoclassical Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden Boulevard and the Reichstag Building, lovingly restored after it fell into disuse after World War II. Spend the afternoon people-watching on Friederichstrasse with an Fassbrause or join an Optional Experience to discover Berlin's turbulent past.
Travel through the Spreewald Forest to Dresden - its iconic domes and spires almost entirely rebuilt after the Allied Forces left their deep scars on the city during World War II. Hear about its restoration during your orientation tour as you stroll through its streets to see the Semper Opera, Zwinger Palace and fully reconstructed Frauenkirche. We leave Germany behind and travel to the Czech Republic, arriving later in glorious Prague, straddling the mighty Vltava. Spend your evening savouring hearty Czech flavours during a Regional Dinner at a local restaurant.
Explore exquisite Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque façades as you ramble through the ancient streets of Prague with your 'Local Specialist' who will share insights into the city's centuries-old history. Marvel at Prague Castle, the 14th-century Charles Bridge and Old Town Square, with its Astronomical Clock and hourly Walk of the Apostles. Visit the Cathedral of St. Vitus, then enjoy the rest of the day free to explore or relax. Perhaps indulge with some delicious sweet pastry Trdelník in the Old Town Square, admire the view from Petrin Hill or consider a relaxing cruise on the Vltava.
Journey through the lush green and golden landscapes of southern Bohemia, stopping in Tábor, once a Hussite stronghold. Later, we travel to the imperial city of Vienna, where we'll enjoy a final Farewell Dinner together with our fellow travellers and Travel Director.
Say a fond farewell to your newfound friends and an epic adventure together through eastern Europe. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.