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Meeting Point of Borders, Cultures and Religions – Poland, Ukraine, Hungary

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Day 1: Kraków

After arriving in Kraków, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, we would like to show you the Old Town, whose medieval layout has been listed as a class “O” historic monument. Ensconced in the very heart of the city there is the Market Square, the biggest medieval square in Europe, which is the heart of Kraków cultural, social and trading life, as it has been for centuries. In the middle of the Market Square there is the yellow Sukiennice cloth hall where you will find stalls just as you would have in the 13th century. Nowadays, souvenirs, including works of folk art and amber jewellery are sold there. In the gothic St. Mary’s Church, you will see the biggest and one of the most beautiful medieval altars in Europe, the work of Veit Stoss. In the vicinity of the Old Town there is the UNESCO-listed Wawel Royal Castle – the erstwhile seat of Polish rulers and kings. It stands on the top of a hill overlooking the Vistula. It has been altered on many occasions over the centuries, thereby creating a medley of styles: Romance, Gothic and Renaissance; it boasts one of the most priceless collections of ornamental Arras tapestries in the world – the great Renaissance Gobelin tapestries.

At the end of the day, after taking in all these sites and colours, we will invite you to a dinner of regional specialities spiced up with a folk group performance.

Overnight stay in Kraków.

Day 2: Kraków

In the morning we suggest a trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine, which dates back to the Middle Ages. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, the mine is an astonishing labyrinth of underground galleries and chambers that are almost 300 km long. The public can visit a 3.5 kilometre section lying at a depth of between 64 m and 135 m which winds through numerous chambers, lakes and chapels featuring salt-sculpted figurines, bas reliefs and chandeliers. The Chapel of St. Kinga is really beautiful, and, thanks to its dimensions, it deserves to be called an underground salt church.

You also have an option of visiting the only concentration camp on the UNESCO Heritage List, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Camp, which was gradually expanded during World War II to function as the main centre of mass extermination for around a million Jews from all over Europe as well as many Poles, Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war and representatives of other nations.

In the afternoon we invite you for a walking tour of Kraków’s famous Jewish district – Kazimierz. The district offers one of the biggest and most valuable collections of old Jewish monuments and buildings in the world, including many synagogues such as Old, Isaac, Kupa and Remuh, a 16th century cemetery and many other places with historical connections with the district’s former Jewish community, e.g. the “Pod Orłem” (“Eagle”) Pharmacy. Founded in 1335 by King Casimir III the Great and named after him, the town became in subsequent centuries a major centre of Jewish culture in Poland and the world. Its booming Jewish community met a tragic end in the Second World War.

At the end of the day we invite you for a Jewish supper to the accompaniment of Klezmer music.

Overnight stay in Kraków.

Day 3: Kraków – Łańcut – Lviv (352 km)

You will leave Kraków and travel to the Polish-Ukrainian border. On the way you will visit the imposing 17th century Castle of the Lubomirski and Potocki Families in Łańcut, one of the most important aristocratic residences in all of Europe and famous for the exquisite interiors of its living quarters and fascinating collection of horse-drawn carriages. The palace complex is set in a scenic old English style park where you can enjoy a brief rest before you carry on with the journey to Lviv.

Overnight stay in Lviv.

Day 4: Lviv

After breakfast you will begin an exciting tour of Lviv, a city unusually blessed with historic monuments and buildings, and, like Rome, built on seven hills. Your tour of Lviv with its multinational heritage linking together the cultures of the Latin West and the Byzantine East, begins with the enchanting Old Town. Here you will admire, among other sites, the gothic Latin Cathedral and its richly adorned chapels of the Boims and Kampians, the Armenian Cathedral, the Renaissance Orthodox Church of the Virgin’s Dormition, the Baroque Dominican Church, the Bernardine Monastery and St. George’s Cathedral. Important attractions on Lviv’s Market Square include the classical Town Hall, splendidly decorated Renaissance town houses and the 18th century building housing the Pharmacy Museum which combines the functions of a working pharmacy with a display of artifacts of historical interest. In the evening we suggest a walk along the High Castle, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of Lviv. At the end of the day we invite you for a performance at the historic Lviv Opera House

Overnight stay in Lviv.

Day 5: Lviv – Tarnopol – Chernivtsi (293 km)

In the afternoon you will have a chance to see the oldest necropolis in Lviv – the Lychakivskiy Cemetery, labelled the ‘Pere-Lachaise of Lviv’. Lying on scenic hills among a specially designed old tree stand it is the final resting place for a large number of eminent and outstanding Polish cultural figures, academics, scientists and politicians and includes many ancient gravestones and chapels of high artistic quality.

In the afternoon you will travel via Tarnopol to Chernivtsi, known as the "Little Vienna of the East", which lies on the banks of the River Prut in the delightful Carpathian foothills.

In the evening we suggest a walk through the enchanting streets of the Old Town.

Overnight stay in Chernivtsi.

Day 6: Chernivtsi – Kamieniec Podolski – Chernivtsi (150 km)

After breakfast you will take a tour of what is the capital of the Bukovina region. Thank to its scenic mountain landscapes and peculiar wooden architecture, Chernivtsi is known as the “Switzerland of the East”. Chernivitsi owes its allure to its former multi-national character which is evident among other things, in the multitude of old places of worship representing different faiths.  Palace of the Metropolitans of Bukovina (nowadays a university) and its sumptuous interiors, the 19th century Town Hall, the Theatre building (built in 1905), Secessionist town houses and the monumental Romania National Palace are also worth particular attention.

In the afternoon we will take you on a trip through the hypnotic landscape of Podolia, dotted with the romantic ruins of borderland castles and numerous reminders of the region’s turbulent past, including the ruins of Khotyn Fortress. You will also see the largest fortress in the Borderlands of the old Polish Commonwealth – Kamenets-Podolskyi, known as the ‘pearl on the rock’. Built on a limestone hill and surrounded by vertical rocks towering above the beautiful gorge of the River Smrotych, Kamienets-Podolskyi was in its heyday (from the 15th to the 17th centuries) called the “key to Europe” and “the bulwark of Christendom”. The town stood on the border between the Christian and Islamic worlds and thus became one of the most important bastions of the Polish Kingdom in its struggle against the Tartars. It also functioned as an intermediary in trade between Europe and Asia.

Overnight stay in Chernivtsi.

Day 7: Chernivtsi – Kolomyia – Yaremche (126 km)

After breakfast you will visit Yaremche, one of Ukraine major tourist centres. Along the way we suggest a stop-over in Kolomyia, where you can visit the only Painted Egg Museum in the world.

After you arrive in Yaremche, the capital of the Hutsul region and the Pearl of the Carpathians, you can take a relaxing stroll through the town and its pre-war villas. You can also visit the fair by the waterfall on the River Prut, were you can buy Hutsul folk handicrafts. 

For those eager for a closer look at the customs of the Carpathian Highlanders we will organise a trip to the heart of the Hutsul region where you can learn about the lifestyle, customs and material heritage of the Hutsuls.

Overnight stay in Yaremche.

Day 8: Yaremche – Tokay (316 km)

After breakfast you will head for the Ukrainian-Hungarian border where a little further on the other side asmall town of Tokay is located at the foot of Kopasz-Hegy (“Bald” Mountain), sprawling on both sides of which are the world famous Tokay vineyards. Thank to its natural, architectural and cultural riches as well as its local winemaking traditions UNESCO has included the Tokay region and regional capital on its World Heritage List. The town’s main historic gems are the impressive Rákóczi-Dessewffy Palace and the Town Hall, both are the examples of Baroque architecture. However, the main attraction are the old wine cellars gouged into the rock where you can taste Tokay wine, ‘the king of wines and the wine of kings’ whose 500-year history is documented in the local museum.

In the evening we invite you for a supper with wine and Hungarian music.

Overnight stay in Tokay.

Day 9: Tokay – Miskolc – Eger (148 km)

After breakfast we will take you to Miskolc, which is nestled at the foot of the Bükk mountains. In the city’s spa district you can enjoy a relaxing bath in thermal springs in karst caves. They are the only thermal baths of its kind in Europe with natural power showers and radioactive water which has many healing properties.

You will then travel to one of Hungarian prettiest towns – historic Eger, famed both for its thermal swimming baths and excellent wines (the best known being Egri Bikavér – Bull’s Blood). The main attraction of the city is the Castle, whose walls include the Gothic ruins of the Medieval cathedral, the renovated episcopal palace and the Castle Museum. Hungary’s second largest neo-classical basilica, Baroque churches, the Baroque-Roccoco Lyceum building of Karol Eszterhazy together with its astronomical observatory and the minaret, the most northerly monument of Ottoman Turkey, are also worth attention.

At the end of the day we invite you to a special dinner with wine tasting and gypsy music.

Overnight stay in Eger.

Day 10: Eger – Budapest (142 km)

In the morning you will set off for Hungary’s capital, Budapest, which until the 19th century had been composed of three separate towns: Buda, Óbuda and Pest.

You will begin your tour of the city with Buda, where the most important points are Castle Hill and the Old Town. Interesting sites include Holy Trinity Square, featuring Matthias Church – the coronation place of the Kings of Hungary, the Fishermen's Bastions (Halászbástya) and the pride of Budapest – the 13th century Royal Castle. We then suggest a walk along Gellert Hill with its huge Monumentof Freedom and mighty 19th century Citadel. Here you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city stretching below. After taking in all the sights and sounds of the city we suggest a relaxing time on St. Margaret Island, one of the city’s most popular recreational areas.

In the evening we offer a dinner with folk dancing and traditional Magyar songs.

Overnight stay in Budapest.

Day 11: Budapest

In the morning you can take a tour of Pest, where you will see St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in the Hungarian capital, and a number of secessionist and neoclassical public edifices, headed by the imposing Parliament building. You can then take a walk in the city park to admire the Vajdahunyad castle complex, which dates from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Centuries.

In the afternoon you have free time to relax, do some shopping or explore the city on your own.

In the evening you can take a boat trip on the Danube with dinner on board.

Overnight stay in Budapest.

Day 12: Budapest

Farewell to Budapest.