Central Europe Odyssey

Poland – Czech Republic – Austria – Hungary – Croatia – Slovenia

Intro image

Taste the diversity of Central Europe. Learn more about dark side of the history of this region in Warsaw and Auschwitz, admire the beauty of Old Town of Franz Kafka’s Prague, travel along Danube river to see two capitals of Habsburg Empire – Vienna and Budapest. Let yourself get amused by charming waterfalls in Plitvice lakes and have a gondola ride on ‚Alpine pearl‘ lake Bled.

 

You will arrive in Warsaw before noon and check in to the hotel, freshen up and have some lunch. In the afternoon, we will visit Wilanow Palace, a wonderful Baroque royal residence. Later on, we will walk through Lazienki Park with its Royal Garden, Romantic Garden, Modernist Garden and Chinese Garden. Do not miss the famous Palace on the Isle, a dominating piece of architecture of this former royal summer residence.

After breakfast you will visit The Holy Cross Church where Chopin’s heart is kept in a pillar. Have a stop at the Parliament, take a short walk to the Chopin Statue, a large bronze statue of Frédéric Chopin standing in the upper part of Warsaw's popular Lazienki Park and visit Belvedere Palace near the park. In the afternoon explore the ghetto where the Jews of Warsaw lived during World War II, and old Warsaw town. Later in the afternoon you will proceed to Krakow, where you will stay overnight.

After breakfast you will take a city tour that includes Renaissance Square, the Jewish district of Kazimierz (the centre of Jewish life in Krakow for over 500 years and re-discovered by Steven Spielberg in his blockbuster Schindler’s List). The tour will take you also to the Wawel hill where you will visit Wawel Cathedral, the most precious church in Poland, and Wawel Castle. You will also have a chance to explore The old town with its market square, historic cloth hall, St. Mary’s Church and Florianska Gate.

After lunch you will visit Auschwitz-Birkenau; the biggest Nazi concentration and death camp in World War 2. It is a very touching place reminding us of some of the darkest memories not only of Poland, but of the whole of Europe. You will return to the hotel in the evening and stay in Krakow overnight.

Today, you have a rather long tour ahead from Krakow to Prague, taking most of the day. To make it more pleasant, you will stop in Ostrava. This former industrial and heavy engineering city is currently being renovated and visiting the Vitkovice mining area located right in the heart of Ostrava will offer you a fantastic panorama comparable to a Hollywood blockbuster’s space-age vision of towns of the future. The view of this labyrinth of iron towers, pipes and conduits creates bizarre forms and leaves a weird and wonderful impression on most who see it. You will have lunch and short rest there before hitting the road to Prague again. You arrive in Prague in the evening, have some dinner and then take a short walk through Old Town.

After breakfast you will start exploring the city at Prague Castle, the biggest castle in the Czech Republic, where you'll find the famous St. Vitus Cathedral and the colourful alleyway of Golden Lane. Then you will traverse the Vltava River across Charles Bridge, an old stone bridge dating back to the 14th century and proceed to Old Town with the Town Hall and famous Astronomical Clock. Walk across Old Town Square and have a look at Tyn Church nearby. It is definitely worth visiting the Gothic-looking Old Jewish Cemetery – Europe's oldest surviving Jewish cemetery, with 12,000 tombstones and 100,000 graves. You will conclude the day with cruise ride on the River Vltava to enjoy evening panoramas of the old city of Prague.

You start the morning with your journey from Prague to Vienna, the capital of Austria. After about three hours you will stop to pause and discover the medieval and well-preserved town of Cesky Krumlov. You can visit the Castle fortress, one of Europe's best-preserved, and still have some time to explore this photogenic old town with cobbled lanes. After a late lunch you will continue on your way to Vienna.

Enjoy a walk through the city's compact centre in the morning. Stop at the Gothic-looking St. Stephen's Cathedral, wander past the neo-classical grandeur of the Graben and onwards to the Hofburg Palace. You might like to head out to Schoenbrunn for a guided audio tour of the Summer Palace, designed by Empress Maria Theresa. Afternoon, State Opera House, one of the world's most important opera houses and the heart of classical Viennese culture is ‘a must see’. Later in the afternoon you will travel to Budapest, where you will arrive in the evening.

Today you start your day with a city tour, including the palace in Buda Castle, the chain bridge connecting the cities of  Buda and Pest, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Statue of St. Stephen on horseback and Heroes Square with the Millennium Memorial column. In the afternoon you can have a walk along the River Danube to admire Margaret Bridge, the magnificent Parliament House and the panorama of Royal Castle. Or perhaps you might enjoy soaking in Budapest's hot thermal baths. The pools vary in temperature, and some even feature whirlpools or seats where you can enjoy a game of chess.

Today you will travel to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. Upon arrival you will visit St. Mary's Church with its multi-coloured tile floor, the baroque St. Catherine's Church, St. Stephen's Cathedral and Parliament with the Government Palace. In the afternoon you can visit Dolac Market, the most visited and the best known farmers' market in Zagreb. Later in the afternoon do not miss the 19th-century National Theatre, Museum of Arts & Crafts, and the oldest and most beautiful park in Zagreb – Maksimir Park.

After an early breakfast you will proceed to the wonder of Croatia – Plitvice lakes. They are in a 295 sq. km national park in central Croatia. It's known for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls that extend into a limestone canyon. You can use walkways and hiking trails around and across the water or an electric boat linking the 12 upper and 4 lower lakes. Do not miss Veliki Slap, a 78m-high waterfall. Later in the afternoon you will proceed to Zadar. In the evening you will have a chance to see and listen to the Sea Organ – an architectural sound art object and an experimental musical instrument, which plays music by way of sea waves.

In the morning you will leave Zadar and travel to Ljubljana. Upon arrival in Ljubljana, you will have a tour including the most attractive places of the city: the university, Preseren Square (the main square in Ljubljana and the hub of the city), a group of bridges across the River Ljubljanica known as Triple Bridge. You can have a rest and lunch in Open Market, a open–air food market where you can experience the delights of freshly cooked food prepared by different Slovenian chefs right there in front of you on the market stalls. In the afternoon you can visit the Baroque Town Hall, St. Nicholas' Cathedral and Dragon Bridge and do not forget to take a funicular ride to the medieval Ljubljana Castle.

In the morning you will head to Bled. Bled is also called the ‘Alpine Pearl’ and you will soon realise why. Visit Bled Castle, a medieval fortress with towers, ramparts, moats and a terrace offering magnificent views, perched atop a steep cliff more than 100m above the lake. Or take a boat ride or gondola ride to visit St. Mary's Church or the Church of the Assumption in the middle of the lake. Later in the afternoon you will visit Lake Bohinj, go up the mountain by cable car and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. You will return to Ljubljana in the evening.

Breakfast is provided, but there are no activities today. It's a breeze to reach Ljubljana's airport by bus or taxi. You'll have easy connections back home.

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