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Imperial Cities In Central Europe

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Day 1: Prague


Overnight stay in Prague.

Day 2: Prague

Today you will take you for a full-day sightseeing tour of Prague, one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Central Europe. Your walking tour will include a visit to Wensceslas Square, the medieval Charles Bridge adorned with its many Baroque figures, St. Nicholas’ Church and Prague Castle, which was built in the 9th century. On entering the castle you will see St. Vitus’ Cathedral and the 16th century Golden Lane. This was once the merchant’s quarter, consisting of small town houses built into the castle walls. It was here, at No. 22, that Franz Kafka lived and worked on his masterpieces.

In the afternoon you will have a chance to try some beer in a local brewery or take a boat trip on the River Vltava.

Overnight stay in Prague.

Day 3: Prague – Karlstein – Vienna (341 km)

Today you will visit Karlstein where you can see one of the most amazing castles in the Czech Republic. The castle was built between 1348 and 1368 by King Charles IV as a place to hide valuable relics and the crown jewels in times of danger. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is the heart of the castle. Its walls are covered with gleaming precious stones and 127 Gothic panel paintings of saints made by Master Theodoric. It is one of the most beautiful collections of panel paintings in the world.

You will then head for Vienna – the capital of Austria.

For centuries Vienna was an imperial city, and although the Hapsburg Empire collapsed, it still has retained the traits of a metropolis: the Ringstrasse, built by Emperor Franz Joseph and once the showcase of the Monarchy, the “Hofburg” Imperial Palace with its art collection and state rooms, the State Opera House, the Parliament, The National Theatre and many more historic sites that you must see while you are in Vienna. The city also offers many traditional inns serving “schnitzels”, as well as cafes, bars and wine cellars. It boasts on unrivalled musical heritage too.

Overnight stay in Vienna.

Day 4: Vienna

Today we will take you on a tour of the Austrian capital. Enjoy a panoramic city tour covering Vienna’s most important sites. The Ringstrasse, which includes the State Opera House, Parliament, City Hall, Burgtheater and the Hofburg, will provide you with a glimpse of Imperial Vienna. On the way back to your hotel you will stop off briefly at Belvedere Palace, which affords a wonderful view of the city.

In the afternoon you can take either a tour of Schönbrunn Palace or spend your free time discovering the city on your own.

By virtue of its long and colourful history Schönbrunn Palace, together with its ancillary buildings and extensive park, is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Classified as a listed monument, the whole ensemble, including the palace, the park with its numerous architectural elements, fountains and statues, and not least the zoo – the oldest of its kind in the world – was placed in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1997. In the possession of the Habsburg dynasty from Maximilian II onwards, the palace became the property of the Republic of Austria at the end of the monarchy in 1918 and was subsequently administered by the Schlosshauptmannschaft Schönbrunn.

Overnight stay in Vienna.

Day 5: Vienna – Bratislava – Budapest (279 km)

Today you will travel to Budapest, and on the way we suggest passing through Bratislava, which stands on the banks of the Danube and is just 60 km from Vienna. Your time in Slovakia’s capital city will take in Bratislava Castle, dating from the 14th-15th centuries and situated on a granite hill, the ruins of Devin castle and the gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, which for 300 years served as the place of coronation for the Kings of Hungary. You will also be able to admire the gothic Franciscan Church, the gothic town hall with its 16th century Roland’s fountain, and Grassalkovich Palace – the current seat of the President of Slovakia.

Overnight stay in Budapest.

Day 6: Budapest

Today we offer you a full-day sightseeing tour of Budapest.

The Danube River divides the city in two: old Buda with its Castle Hill on one side, and cosmopolitan Pest with its grand boulevards and fine shops on the other. Both parts reflect a rich and varied past closely intertwined with the Hapsburg Empire. However the natural spirit of the Magyar tribe which settled in the area over a thousand years ago developed a unique culture, as the heart and soul of the country resides in its people. During your walking tour you will visit Castle Hill and the Old Town, Matthias Church and the Royal Castle. Also worth seeing are Gellert Hill with its Freedom Monumentand 19th Century citadel, the Hungarian Parliament and the Vajdahunyad castle complex. In the afternoon you will have an opportunity to take a ship cruise on the Danube.

Overnight stay in Budapest.

Day 7: Budapest – Zakopane (290 km)

Today you will travel from Hungary, via Slovakia, to Poland.

During your journey you will have a chance to admire the beautiful nature and mountain peaks of the Tatras. You will stop for lunch in Slovakia.

Overnight stay in Zakopane.

Day 8: Zakopane – Wieliczka – Kraków (100 km)

Today your schedule includes a visit to Zakopane. It is one of Poland’s prime tourist destinations and retains a traditional charm which also attracts thousands of foreign visitors today. The town and its stunning scenic surroundings, which form part of the Tatra National Park, offer numerous walking and hiking opportunities in the surrounding valleys and peaks. Zakopane is also well known for its unique wooden architecture, decorative style and tasty regional dishes.In the afternoon you will set off for Kraków, on the way stopping off for a visit to Wieliczka Salt Mine. This unique attraction was once described as being as remarkable as the Pyramids and more useful. A local guided tour through this historic cultural site, which is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, will begin 65 m under the earth and lead through rooms, corridors, and chambers to the depth of 135 m. During this fascinating tour you will see underground lakes that change into a   variety of colours, wonderful chapels, including famous chapel of St. Kinga, original tools and equipment. Well-preserved traces of the past allow you to imagine the working conditions of the people who worked in the mine and their struggle to overcome the elements.

Overnight stay in Kraków.

Day 9: Kraków

Today we offer you a full-day sightseeing tour of Kraków.

Your visit will begin with a stroll around the Market Square, where you will see St. Mary’s Church and the Sukiennice Cloth Hall. You will then walk along Floriańska Street, which leads to the only remaining gate in the city and the Barbakan. You will then head for Wawel Castle, where you will visit theCathedral, the Royal Tombs, the Sigismund Bell and the Royal Chambers.

Overnight stay in Kraków.

Day 10: Kraków – Auschwitz – Wrocław (271 km)

Today you will move onto Wrocław. On the way you will visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp museum. It provides one of the most memorable lessons in Modern European History. The visit includes a film showing the camp’s liberation, the flower-strewn Death Wall, national memorials, the railway line and ramp, the remains of hundreds of barracks and details of the numbers of lives lost here, all of which are a moving testimony to the Nazi atrocities committed throughout occupied Europe.

Overnight stay in Wrocław.

Day 11: Wrocław – Prague or Berlin (282 km)

In the morning we offer you a tour of Wrocław. The city is located on 12 islands, boasts more than 100 bridges, and is often called  Polish Venice.

Our tour will begin in the oldest part of the town, i.e. the Ostrów Tumski island, the site of the city’s 13thcentury cathedral. You will also visit the Baroque university building whose Aula Leopoldina is a decorative masterpiece.  After the tour you will begin the long journey to Prague where you will have time to explore the city on your own.

Overnight stay in Prague / Berlin.

Day 12: Prague/Berlin