The Best of Central Europe

Czech Republic - Slovakia - Austria - Hungary

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Experience the best of this old-world region on a journey through enchanting Central Europe. See largest castle complex in the World - Prague Castle and get amazed in Sedlec ossuary artistically decorated with skeletons from over 40.000 people. Spend wonderful active time in The High Tatras, enjoying some easy hikes to its lakes and waterfalls. Admire the beautiful cities on Danube River in the other half of your trip. First, Bratislava with its lively cafés, then Vienna with its numerous memorials of imperial age and conclude your tour in Budapest, where you can get refreshed in hot thermal baths before heading back.

 

Welcome to Prague, Czechia. You will first go to your hotel, have some rest, and in the evening have your first walk in this beautiful city.

A free day to explore Prague. The city offers many possibilities, so perhaps take a walk around the Jewish Quarter and pay your respects to the Gothic-looking Old Jewish Cemetery. This is Europe's oldest surviving Jewish cemetery, with 12,000 tombstones and 100,000 graves. Spend some time 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. Visiting The Museum of Communism can shed some light on this part of dark history shared by most central European countries, which somehow isn’t yet well known to the broader audience. Visiting the town hall Clock Tower is a great way to finish off a busy day, before heading out for dinner, and perhaps discovering another great side of Prague: the longest-standing and respected jazz scene in Europe. If you should find yourself out until the early hours in an atmospheric jazz club, have a wander across Charles Bridge or Old Town Square as the sun rises for magical photo opportunities.

A day trip out of Prague. Visit the beautiful St. Barbara's Church - a Roman Catholic church sometimes referred to as the Cathedral of St. Barbara. It is one of the most famous Gothic churches in central Europe and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Also worth a visit is also the Sedlec Ossuary - a small Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have, in many cases, been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. The ossuary is among the most visited tourist attractions in the Czech Republic, attracting over 200,000 visitors annually.

Early in the morning you will arrive in the town of Poprad – gateway to the High Tatras National Park, from where you will be transferred to Strbske Pleso (elev. 1,346 m), which with its large glacial mountain lake is the most favourite tourist, health and ski resort in the High Tatras. It is also the starting point for a dozen popular hikes and walks.

The Tatras, the highest range of the Carpathians, stretch for about 60 kilometres across the Polish-Slovak border and are a trekker's dream. In the afternoon you can enjoy a walk around the lake or boating or you can take an easy walk (cca 1.5h one way) to the wonderful Popradske Pleso (glacial mountain lake, elev. 1,494m), which is one of the most visited spots in the High Tatras. Near the lake is the Symbolic Cemetery with carved wooden crosses, built in memory of the victims of mountaineering. In the evening you can just sit back, kick your feet up and soak in the atmosphere of this beautiful mountainous region.

We recommend an easy hike to the group of the cascaded Cold Creek Waterfalls (Vodopady Studenaho potoka). These waterfalls are among the most beautiful and frequently visited in the Tatras. From Strbske Pleso you will take an electric train to the picturesque mountain settlement of Stary Smokovec (approx. 20 min. journey) and then the scenic funicular railway to the trekking start point Hrebienok (approx. 10 min. journey). A red-marked path leads from Hrebienok. The hike is for approx. 1h one way and you can extend it depending on your energy and enthusiasm.

Waterfalls form a complex system of multi-terraced cascades. The upper one, called  The Giant Waterfall, is well visible from the bridge on the main tourist path (magistrála) in the Tatras. The white-foamed water tumbles down the trough passing between two rocks into a 20-metre-deep profusion. The name of the lower waterfall, Trojity vodopad, in English is rather poetic - "The Waterfall of Artists". It is hidden deep in the forest hence seldom visited.

Thre will be an early start for the journey to the capital of Slovakia, where we will arrive around noon. Bratislava is set on the River Danube by the borders with Austria and Hungary. It’s surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian Mountains, crisscrossed with forested hiking and cycling trails. Bratislava doesn’t provoke admiring swoons; it intrigues. In the midst of Slovakia’s capital, a flying saucer hovers above forest-fringed riverbanks. Bratislava feels like a frenetic mix of wild and urban, classic and contemporary.

Bratislava Castle presides over a pastel-hued old town with the traffic-free "korzo" zone which is crammed with lively cafés and bars serving excellent local food and beer, coffee and cakes.

Bratislava’s three-nave Gothic St Martin´s Cathedral is built just below Castle Hill. Between 1563 and 1830 St Martin’s served as the coronation church for Hungarian kings and their consorts, marked to this day by a 300-kg gilded replica of the Hungarian royal crown perched on the top of the cathedral’s 85-metre-tall neo-Gothic tower. Ten kings, one queen and seven royal wives from the Habsburg Dynasty were crowned in St. Martin’s Cathedral.

Once upon a time a tram travelled from Bratislava to the twin city of Vienna. Now it is a boat – either a high-speed boat, hydrofoil or catamaran. Experience a morning ride down the River Danube to Vienna on one of those boats. You will definitely enjoy the scenery on the river - many fishing camps and weekend houseboats line the banks of the Danube; you will pass other river traffic and also the huge ruins of Devin Fort on the confluence of the rivers Danube and Morava.

You have the rest of the day to explore Vienna and its surroundings. You might like to head out to Schoenbrunn for a guided audio tour of the summer palace, designed by Empress Maria Theresa. The Gloriette Monument has incredible views of Vienna and the palace gardens are free to all visitors, but there's a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. In the evening, perhaps head out for some fine Viennese cuisine.
 

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 Hofburg Palace. Finish your orientation of the city at the State Opera House, one of the world's most important opera houses and the heart of classical Viennese culture. Art lovers have a vast choice of museums, from the Albertina to those located in the Museum Quarter.

You will take a morning train to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The grand architecture and boulevards evoke a bygone era, while glamorous stores and glitzy restaurants make this one of the truly great cities of Europe. Take the evening as an opportunity to relax after a long day of travelling. Visiting one of Budapest's many restaurants or bars is a great way to do it.

A full free day to explore Budapest. Known as 'The Pearl of the Danube', Budapest is a great city to enjoy from the water. Perhaps take a boat trip along the river or catch the funicular up to the castle for spectacular views of the Parliament Building. Or head to Statue Park to see the communist monuments that were removed from the city after the fall of the Iron Curtain. One unmissable activity is a soak 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.

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

Things to do

Bratislava Castle

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