Bask in the splendor and romance with 3-night stays in each of Europe’s Imperial Cities – Prague, Vienna and Budapest. In Prague, walk the Golden Lane, a delightful neighborhood of tiny, medieval houses; then visit a private castle for a tour, lunch and a concert. You choose your dining experience: dinner with a folklore show including a chance to meet the dancers and have a lesson, or dinner and a tour at one of Prague’s most famous brewery restaurants. Delight in the Baroque marvels of Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Palace, the summer retreat of the Habsburg dynasty for more than 200 years. Indulge in an unforgettable Classical music performance in Vienna. Visit a 14th-century Hungarian castle where knights recreate the days of chivalry. Soak up the culture of the region with included guided city excursions and through your own explorations on your days at leisure. Cruise the Danube River through the beautiful scenery of the Wachau Valley to the famous Abbey at Melk.
- Itinerary Type : Standard
- Activity Level : 3
- Number of Days:11
- Number of Meals:15
- Hotels:K+K Hotel Fenix (Prague), NH Budapest (Budapest), Grand Hotel Wien (Vienna)
- Experiences:Enjoy a stop in the fairy-tale town of Cesky Krumlov.
Tour majestic Prague Castle.
Get to know Bratislava’s history on a city tour with a local expert.
- Must Sees:Visit Lobkowicz Palace, home to the largest and finest art collections in the Czech Republic spanning over 600 years of family history.
Embark on a Danube River cruise through the historic Wachau Valley.
Stop in Melk for a visit to the famous Abbey.
- Culinaries:Enjoy dinner and sample regional wine in the picturesque Grinzing region.
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.
Feel the magic. 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, visit Lobkowicz Palace, the only privately owned building in the sprawling Prague Castle complex, and home to the largest and finest art collection in the Czech Republic spanning over 600 years of family history. A masterpiece of 16th century Baroque architecture, the aristocratic Lobkowicz family lost it under Communist occupation following World War II and regained control only in 2002. The priceless collection also encompasses one of Central Europe’s finest libraries of rare books and a musical archive that includes scores by Mozart, Beethoven and Gluck. After a delightful lunch, gather in the palace’s elegant Baroque concert hall for a mid-day Classical music concert featuring the likes of Mozart, Bach, Dvorák and Smetana. Later, proceed to the lovely statue-lined Charles Bridge.
The day is yours to discover Prague on your own. Shop for famous Bohemian crystal or visit 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 surviving Jewish cemetery, founded in 1478. This evening, it’s your choice! Enjoy traditional Czech culture at one of Prague’s popular restaurants -OR- tip a pint while dining at one of Eastern Europe’s oldest breweries and take a tour to see how this famous beer has been brewed for 500 years.
Prague - Cesky Krumlov - Vienna, Austria
Take a scenic ride through the countryside as we travel from Prague to Vienna. En route, make a stop in the fairy-tale town of Cesky Krumlov. Explore the well-preserved streets lined with Baroque architecture before continuing on to the grand city of Vienna where your arrival leads to a free evening to enjoy the city.
This morning, join a local resident for a visit to magnificent Schoenbrunn Palace, the summer retreat of the Hapsburg dynasty for more than 200 years. Continue on to Vienna’s center. Behold the beautiful architecture, scenic parks and gothic spires that fill the city. Tonight, enjoy an evening full of Viennese charm with a special orchestral event including excellent musicians, opera singers and magical ballet dancers.
Vienna - Danube River - Melk - Vienna
Travel along the banks of the Danube, immortalized by Strauss, 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. Tonight’s dinner is a real treat: a meal showcasing regional wine and the impressive local cuisine of the Grinzing region.
Vienna - Bratislava, Slovakia - Budapest, Hungary
This morning we journey to Bratislava, former Imperial capital of the Hapsburg 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. Upon arrival we drive through this majestic capital on our way to the hotel. Take some time to relax or explore before gathering for tonight’s dinner in the city.
Capture the true spirit of Budapest. Join a local expert and discover the incredible Neo-Gothic marvel of Matthias Church atop Buda Castle Hill. Next, be enamored by the Fisherman’s Bastion with its white walls, towers and arcades for spectacular views. Continue to historic Old Buda and Gellert Hill, followed by the Parliament. At Heroes Square, admire the imposing Millennium Monument which memorializes the 1000th anniversary of Hungarian dominion. You then venture to Budapest’s Central Market Hall and learn about some Hungarian specialties as your local guide takes you to their favorite stands. Enjoy a taste or two before exploring on your own.
Budapest - Visegrad - Budapest
This morning is at leisure for you to explore Budapest. In the afternoon, venture outside the city to the former Renaissance capital of Visegrad for a magnificent view of the Danube Bend and the Borzsony Mountains. Travel back in time with a visit to a 14th-century castle where knights with colorful costumes and authentic weaponry recreate the days of chivalry. Then, enjoy a special Renaissance-style dinner at the castle restaurant and re-enact the days of medieval times. Revel in this evening of wine and music.
Budapest - Tour Ends
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.
The only privately owned building in the sprawling Prague Castle complex and home to the largest and finest art collections in the Czech Republic spanning over 600 years of family history. A masterpiece of 16th-century Baroque architecture, the aristocratic Lobkowicz family lost it under Communist occupation following World War II and regained control only in 2002. The priceless collection also encompasses one of Central Europe’s finest libraries of rare books and a musical archive that includes scores by Mozart, Beethoven and Gluck.
Choice on Tour
Enjoy traditional Czech cuisine at one of Prague’s popular restaurants. Or, tip a pint while dining at one of Eastern Europe’s oldest breweries and take a tour to see how this famous beer has been brewed for 500 years.
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.
Grinzing began as a separate village near Vienna, but was incorporated into the city in the 19th century. It is known for its hills, part of the Vienna Woods (Wienerwald), and for wine production, mostly white wines. The traditional cafes (Heurigen) serve local wines and also “must”, or grape juice. Composer Gustav Mahler is buried in the Grinzing Cemetery.
Classical Music Performances at Lobkowicz Palace and Schoenbrunn Palace Orangeri
Enjoy the melodies of some of the greatest composers of all time in the regions where they were created. You’ll take a seat at classical music concerts featuring musical masterpieces by composers such as Mozart, Bach, Dvorák and Smetana. The delightful music is complimented by the elegant decor of the palace halls setting the stage for captivating experiences.
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.
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.
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.