Bask in the splendor, history, and romance of Europe’s regal capital cities of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. Your journey starts in Prague, the noble capital of the Czech Republic. Take a bite of Czech cuisine while you enjoy a traditional folklore show. Your adventure continues in Vienna, where you’ll delight in the Baroque marvels of the Schönbrunn Palace, the summer retreat of the Habsburg dynasty for more than 200 years. Listen to the lineage of Vienna’s history and indulge in a performance featuring the works of Mozart and Strauss, two former Viennese residents. Take a cruise along the iconic Danube River, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Wachau Valley. In Budapest, visit a 14th-century Hungarian castle, where knights recreate the days of the past. Enjoy traditional entertainment, local cuisine, and a glimpse into this region’s eminent past.
- Itinerary Type : Standard
- Activity Level : 3
- Number of Days:11
- Number of Meals:14
- Hotels:Hotel Grandium (Prague), The Aquincum Hotel (Budapest), K+K Hotel Maria Theresia (Vienna)
- Experiences:Tour the majestic Prague Castle.
Enjoy a stop in the fairy-tale town of Cesky Krumlov.
Get a glimpse into Hungary’s communist past during an exclusive talk with a local.
- Must Sees:Visit the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, a summer retreat of the Habsburg dynasty.
Embark on a Danube River cruise through the historic Wachau Valley.
Stop in Melk for a visit to the famous Abbey.
- Culinaries:Enjoy traditional Czech culture and cuisine at a folklore show in Prague.
Join local residents for a community hosted lunch in Dunaalmas.
Savor a Renaissance-style dinner at a medieval castle restaurant near Budapest.
Itinerary (10 days)
Prague, Czech Republic - Tour Begins
Arrive in Prague, the "City of 100 Spires." Behold ancient landmarks and medieval architecture. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Feel the magic and wonder of Prague. Your introduction to this fairy-tale city begins with a panoramic tour. Explore the “Castle District,” including the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and the majestic Prague Castle. Next, take in the iconic, statue-lined Charles Bridge, a picturesque structure stretching over the Vltava River. This evening, perhaps you will take an optional tour and join a local expert to discover the city through its craft beer and food scene.
The day is yours to discover Prague on your own. With your free time, consider shopping for famous Bohemian crystal or visiting one of the city’s many outstanding museums, such as the Lapidarium, home to 11th-century stone sculptures. Stroll to the Old Town square, home to the famous Orloj which functions as a clock, calendar, and primitive planetarium. Perhaps you will join an optional excursion to Prague’s Old Jewish Quarter to see its historic Jewish Museum and Europe's oldest Jewish cemetery, founded in 1478. This evening, enjoy traditional Czech culture at a folklore show in one of Prague’s popular restaurants.
Prague - Cesky Krumlov - Vienna, Austria
Travel through the scenic countryside on your way to Vienna. En route, make a stop in the medieval town of Cesky Krumlov. Lined with towering Baroque architecture, explore the quaint preserved streets before continuing on to the grand city of Vienna.
This morning, join a local guide at the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, the summer retreat of the Habsburg dynasty for more than 200 years. Continue on to Vienna’s city center and behold the beautiful architecture, scenic parks, and gothic spires that fill the city. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure where perhaps you will partake in the city’s famous café culture as you walk the streets, watching locals take a moment out of their day for a hot coffee and bite of cake. Tonight, hear Vienna’s past come alive through music and experience a classical performance featuring the works of Mozart and Strauss.
Vienna - Danube River - Melk - Vienna
Immortalized by Strauss, the Danube serves as your passageway to the medieval town of Durnstein. Embark on a scenic Danube River cruise* through the historic Wachau Valley. Later, visit the 11th-century Melk Abbey, famous for its production and collection of manuscripts. This evening, relish in a chance to explore Vienna on your own.
Vienna - Bratislava, Slovakia - Budapest, Hungary
Say hello to Bratislava, the former Imperial capital of the Habsburg Empire. Get to know the city’s 4000-year-old history on a tour with a local expert. Continue to Budapest, the "Queen of the Danube," truly one of the world's most beautiful cities. Connect with the villagers of Dunaalmas and join local residents for a community hosted lunch. Learn how to make a traditional strudel, a favorite in this region. Arrive in Budapest, your home for the next three nights. This evening, sit with a local Hungarian and engage in a personal conversation, listening to captivating stories about his life in the former communist area. Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own.
Choose how you capture the spirit of Budapest because today, it’s your choice! Join a local expert for a panoramic tour of the city, where you’ll discover the incredible Neo-Gothic marvel of Matthias Church atop Buda Castle Hill, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the historic Old Buda and Gellert Hill, and the Parliament House -OR- hit the streets of the city with a local expert and see the iconic highlights from a different perspective on a walking tour, taking in the House of Parliament, the Imre Nagy statue, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and more. This afternoon, enjoy some free time to explore Budapest on your own. Perhaps you will head to the city’s famous thermal pools for an afternoon of relaxation.
Budapest - Visegrad - Budapest
After a morning at leisure, head out of the city to the former Renaissance capital of Visegrad for a magnificent view of the Danube Bend and the Borzsony Mountains. Step into the past at a 14th-century castle, where knights with authentic weaponry recreate the times of chivalry and kingdoms. Then, embrace the lifestyle yourself and enjoy an exclusive Renaissance-style dinner in the castle.
Budapest - Tour Ends
Say goodbye to these regal cities as your tour comes to a close today.
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and of the state of Bohemia, with a population of about 2 million in the metro area. Because it received very little damage in WWII, it is has many beautifully preserved sights from several eras and its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it was the site of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 when citizens peacefully took Czechoslovakia back from the Communists. It is known for music (composers Dvorak, Smetana and Mozart lived here), literature (Franz Kafka) and for having almost as many kinds of Pilsner beer as it has bars and restaurants.
Prague Castle is a complex of intrigue based in 9th century stone – an ancient symbol of the Czech State and one of the world’s most significant cultural landmarks. The largest castle complex in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle serves as the official home of the President of the Czech Republic, and the residence of princes and kings since the 10th century. This age-old, ageless landmark hides a different kind of stone, or stones – Prague Castle is home to the Bohemian Crown Jewels. The crown, the scepter, and the coronation cloak of St. Wenceslas is protected behind a chamber door, an iron safe, and seven locks – the keys to which only seven people possess.
This is a small city on the Vltava River south of Prague and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was once an important trade route through Bohemia, and is home to the Cesky Krumlov Castle, the second-largest in Czech Republic. The town was founded in the 13th century, and most of the old city buildings date from the 14th century. Cesky Krumlov is home to several important arts festivals every year, including candlelight operas in the 16th-century theater in the castle.
This is the capital city of Austria, located on the Danube, with a population of over 2 million in the metro area. It is known as the “City of Music” because of the numerous famous composers who have lived and worked here, such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms, and also as the “City of Dreams” as it was home to Sigmund Freud. Some of its primary sights are Schonbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, Opera House, Belvedere and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Vienna is also known for its coffee houses and restaurants.
This Vienna palace was a summer residence of the Holy Roman Emperors beginning in the 17th century, and is the most-visited site in Austria. Emperor Maximillian II bought the property for a hunting preserve, and it was remodeled by Empress Maria Theresa in the mid 18th century. On the grounds are an orangerie, a palm house, a French garden designed by a student of the designer of the gardens at Versailles in France, an English garden and a large park. Concerts are often held here with music of Mozart and others.
Classical Music Performance
At a classical music concert featuring masterpieces by Mozart and Strauss, enjoy the melodies in the regions where they were created. The delightful music is complimented by the elegant decor of the concert hall.
Danube River Cruise
A sensational day trip including a cruise along the mighty Danube through one of the most stunning geographical sections of the river, the Wachau Valley. The Wachau is an Austrian valley with a picturesque landscape formed by the Danube river. The river is the longest river in the entire European Union. It runs through or forms a part of the border for 10 countries, originating in Germany’s Black Forest and ending in the Ukraine. Your destination is Melk Abby, perhaps the largest repository of books in all of Europe.
This is the capital of Slovakia, and it is located on the Danube, close to the Hungarian and Austrian borders. It was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary when that country was part of the Hapsburg Empire, and became Slovakia’s capital when that country split from Czechoslovakia in 1993. Its most important attractions are the 13th-century Bratislava Castle, the Old Town, Michael’s Gate and St. Martin’s Cathedral.
Lunch with Locals
Join local residents for a community hosted lunch and connect with the villagers of Dunaalmas. Learn how to make a traditional strudel – a favorite in this region since the time of the Hapsburg Empire.
This city on the Danube is actually two cities: Buda and Pest, divided by the river. In its history, it has been Celtic, Roman, invaded by Mongols and Turks, second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and now the capital Hungary, with about 1.8 million people. Its varied architecture from so many cultures helped make Budapest a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is known for its coffee houses, traditional Hungarian restaurants and working Turkish baths from the 16th century.
Choice on Tour
Take a panoramic tour with a local expert and see sites such as the incredible Matthias Church atop Buda Castle Hill, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the historic Old Buda and Gellert Hill, and the Parliament House -OR- see the city from a different perspective on a walking tour with a local expert, taking in the House of Parliament, the Imre Nagy statue, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and more.
The original church was built in the early 11th century in the Buda section of Budapest near the Buda Castle. It was reconstructed in the 14th century in Gothic style and was named for King Matthias of Hungary. When the Ottoman Turks occupied Buda in the 16th century it became the main mosque of the city, and at that time many of the frescos inside were destroyed. Most were restored in the 19th century. It was used as a camp by Soviet and German soldiers during the Soviet occupation of Budapest in late WWII.
This is a terrace overlooking the Danube on the Buda side of the river near the Buda Castle and Matthias Church. It was built in the early 20th century and honors the fisherman’s guild which defended the city walls in this part of Buda. The towers represent the 7 Magyar (Hungarian) tribes who settled here and there is a statue of King Stephen I of Hungary between the Bastion and Matthias Church.
Board the coach for a trip outside Budapest to the Danube Bend town of Visegrad. Here you will experience life in medieval times while enjoying a traditional Hungarian country-style (medieval-themed) dinner of hearty delights. Next, stroll up a few stone steps to the well-preserved castle and ramparts of this ancient structure overlooking the mighty Danube. Watch ringside while knights perform archery, mace fighting, and axe throwing.