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Poland, Austria & the Czech Republic
Krakow ... Budapest ... Vienna ... Prague
Day One – US Departure
Day Two – Krakow: On arrival in Krakow we will be met by our tour manager and directed to our waiting motor coach. After check-in at the hotel, the rest of the day will be at leisure to begin to relax and unwind before dinner at the hotel.
Day Three - Krakow: For five hundred years Krakow was the seat of the Polish kings and remains proud of its royal heritage. Miraculously unscathed during World War II and now on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, it is certainly one of Europe's most charming cities. This morning's walking tour will visit the area of Wawel Castle and its Cathedral, before walking down into the old town to see the old University, Market Square, Cloth Hall and St. Mary's Church, with its magnificent high altar by Veit Stoss. The afternoon and evening are free for individual sightseeing.
Day Four - Krakow / Wieliczka / Auschwitz / Krakow: Today we will travel the short distance from Krakow to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Salt Mines are a unique phenomenon, once described as being 'as remarkable as the Pyramids, but more useful' - incredible to imagine that the gnomes, the chandeliers, the altars are all carved from salt. We will also visit Auschwitz, site of the notorious Nazi concentration camp. After a haunting visit to the death camp, we will return to Krakow for our overnight.
Day Five - Krakow / Budapest: Today’s journey takes us through the spectacular alpine scenery of the High Tatra Mountains and into Slovakia. After time for lunch in one of the high mountain resorts, we will continue on to the Hungarian border, reaching Budapest, Queen of the Danube, in the early evening for dinner and overnight.
Day Six - Budapest: This morning’s city tour will reveal the two parts of this city divided and yet united by the Danube - Buda is the historic capital with its Royal Palace, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion; Pest has the equally famous landmarks of the Parliament and Heroes’ Square. The afternoon and evening will be free for individual sightseeing and shopping.
Day Seven - Budapest / Bratislava / Vienna: Following breakfast this morning we will depart Budapest to the Slovak capital of Bratislava. Transformed in recent years into one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, its historic heart has been lovingly restored to rank as one of the most authentic in Central Europe - a true reflection of its Hungarian, Austrian and Slovakian past. We will continue to Vienna in the afternoon. Following check-in at our hotel, we will enjoy an evening with dinner and music in one of the wine taverns of Neustift an der Walde, the wine growing village on the edge of the city.
Day Eight – Vienna (Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens): Following breakfast we will drive to the outskirts of the modern city to visit the summer residence of the Habsburg Emperors. Vienna's answer to Versailles, Schönbrunn is at once the elaborate and luxurious showpiece of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, but at the same time family home of the Habsburgs. We will take the Grand Tour of 40 rooms of the palace and there will be time to explore the extensive gardens with the 'beautiful fountain' from which the palace takes its name, the Coach Museum and labyrinth. The afternoon and evening are free for sightseeing and shopping.
Day Nine – Vienna: This morning’s city tour will reveal the splendor of a bygone era, when Vienna was at the heart of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire. Highlights will include our panoramic tour of the Ringstrasse, with the Parliament, City Hall, Hofburg Palace and State Opera House. We will visit the Zentralfriedhof, the main cemetery of the city where all the famous composers and musicians who lived and worked in Vienna are buried - Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and the Strauss Family. Our tour will finish with a walk through the old town to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The afternoon and evening are free to continue exploring this elegant city.
Day Ten – Vienna / Telc / Prague: Departing Vienna this morning, en route to Prague we will stop in the delightful town of Telc, where time has apparently stood still for 300 years. Following time for lunch, we continue to the Czech capital - known as the Golden City, the city of one hundred-towers and the Jerusalem of Europe, Prague is one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Following check-in at our hotel the evening is free to begin exploring this delightful city.
Day Eleven – Prague: Today's walking tour will take in all the highlights of this breath-taking city – the castle area of Hradcany with St. Vitus Cathedral, the Lesser Quarter, Charles' Bridge and the Old Town Square. There will be time in the afternoon for individual exploration and shopping – perhaps visit the extensive Jewish quarter or enjoy the bustle of Wenceslas Square. The afternoon is free before we enjoy our farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day Twelve – Prague / USA: This morning we will be transferred to the airport to begin our journey home.