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Central Europe Discovered: Prague, Bratislava and Budapest

Program Number: 15596RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/8/2014 - 10/23/2014; 4/22/2015 - 5/7/2015; 5/20/2015 - 6/4/2015; 6/3/2015 - 6/18/2015; 9/2/2015 - 9/17/2015; 10/7/2015 - 10/22/2015; 10/14/2015 - 10/29/2015;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Czech Republic/Slovakia/Hungary
Price starting at: $3,435.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 41; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Home to Europe's oldest Jewish ghetto, one of its youngest national capitals and the world’s largest medieval castle, these Central European nations have more to offer than mere superlatives. Trace the history, culture, economics, art and architecture that define and unite these nations, and learn about the amiable split between the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the continuing evolution of all three countries.




Highlights

• Informal meetings with local residents offer personal insight into daily life in Central Europe.
• Enjoy lunch at the Benedictine Wine Cellar of the Brevnov Monastery.
• An excursion to the Great Plain, a most typical Hungarian landscape, introduces the traditional village of Ócsa.



Activity Particulars

Walking on cobblestone streets.




Date Specific Information

10-8-2014

This program date is an Activity Level EASY. This program will involve less walking and additional coaching. Participants must be able to handle their own luggage, climb a few stairs, stand for up to an hour, get on and off a motor coach easily and walk a few blocks indoors or out. Aslo, the itinerary for 2014 dates is as follows: Arrival Prague (Czech Republic), 6 nights; coach to Bratislava (Slovakia), 2 nights; river cruise to Devin; coach to Budapest (Hungary), 6 nights; departure. Please see detailed itinerary for specifics.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



4-22-2015

This April departure in 2015 is operated as a small group departure.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



5-20-2015, 6-3-2015, 9-2-2015, 10-14-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



10-7-2015

This program date is an Activity Level EASY. This program will involve less walking and additional coaching, and some walking-intensive activities have been replaced with suitable alternatives. Participants must be able to handle their own luggage, climb a few stairs, stand for up to an hour, get on and off a motor coach easily and walk a few blocks indoors or out.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Prague (Czech Republic), 5 nights; coach to Bratislava (Slovakia), 3 nights; river cruise to Devin; coach to Budapest (Hungary), 6 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Prague (Czech Republic)
5 nights

In the Golden City, Dr. Zdenek Barta and other scholars lead an inquiry into the many facets of the city’s past and present. See the Charles Bridge, adorned with 30 Baroque statues, and hear about the Czech Republic’s history and geography. Discussions on Prague architecture highlight city excursions to the Prague Castle, Lesser Town and Old Town Square. In the village of Kutna Hora, learn about its historic silversmithing and its cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a classical concert at one of Prague's many famous music venues.



Coach to Bratislava (Slovakia)
3 nights

Prior to 1919, Bratislava was known as Pressburg, though the Slovak capital has been a mixing pot of various nations for centuries. Visit Old Town for a taste of the capital's elegance and charm, as well as Devin Castle, founded in the 13th century, for a panoramic view of the town. Spend a day in Vienna for a guided excursion of the Schönnbrunn Castle, residence of the Habsburg family.



Coach to Budapest (Hungary)
6 nights

University professors discuss the arrival of tribes in the Carpathian Basin and present-day Hungary, including health care, education and culture. Explore the Castle District of Buda, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the small town of Ócsa, whose 13th -century church and village center reflect traditional rural life. Learn about Jewish heritage in Budapest and hear what some residents really think about the nation’s conversion from communism to capitalism. Sample dishes made with the mild paprika pepper.




Accommodations
Prague: Three-star hotel in heart of the Old Town and five-minute walk to Wenceslas Square. Bratislava: Four-star hotel in city center and just a 10-minute walk from Bratislava Castle. Budapest: Boutique hotel in center of city and close to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Synagogue and the Danube River.
Meals and Lodgings
   Ibis Praha Mala Strana
  Prague, Czech Republic 6 nights
   Mercure Bratislava Centrum
  Bratislava, Slovakia 2 nights
   Danubius Hotel Astoria
  Budapest, Hungary 6 nights
 Ibis Praha Mala Strana
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Ibis Praha Mala Strana is just a few minutes from the heart of the city, where you can find the Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, cozy restaurants and bars. It is also conveniently located next to one of the biggest shopping centers in Prague.
  Contact info: Plzenska 14
Praha 5,  150 00 Czech Republic
phone: +420 222865777
web: www.hotelibis.cz
  Room amenities: Each room has a flat screen television, telephone, WIFI Internet access, air conditioning and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lobby bar with free WIFI Internet access and computer corner, laundry services (for a fee), and air conditioning.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Mercure Bratislava Centrum
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: This new 4-star hotel features 175 uniquely designed contemporary rooms. The hotel is located in the city center just a 10-minute walk from the Bratislava castle and the downtown pedestrian shopping area.
  Contact info: Zabotova 2
Bratislava,  811 04 Slovakia
phone: +421 259292111
web: www.mercure.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, telephone, radio, coffee and tea making facilities, WIFI Internet access (for a fee), mini bar, safe box, hair dryer and air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, lounge, air conditioning, WIFI Internet access (for a fee), fitness room, safe box, and dry cleaning.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Danubius Hotel Astoria
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The newly renovated Danubius Hotel Astoria was built on the site of Budapest's medieval town walls and is one of the most charming old-style hotels of Hungary's capital. It was opened in 1914 after the world famous Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The hotel is centrally located and is home to the popular Mirror Cafe & Restaurant.
  Contact info: Kossuth Lajos utca 19-21
Budapest,  H-1053 Hungary
phone: +36 18896000
web: www.danubiushotels.com/astoria
  Room amenities: Each room has a telephone, television, soundproof windows, minibar, room safe, wireless Internet access (for a fee), and a hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, cafe, air conditioning, Internet access (for a fee), business services (for a fee), porterage, souvenir shop, room service, laundry services (for a fee), and an airport shuttle (for a fee).
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Prague, Czech Republic. 5:00 PM in hotel lobby. You will be staying at Ibis Praha Mala Strana that night.
  End of Program:
Budapest, Hungary. Following breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Danubius Hotel Astoria the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains and buses available to Prague.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Prague
  Nearest highway: D1 (Bratislava)
  Nearest airport:  Ruzyne
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. It costs approx. 600-650 CZK.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Budapest
  Nearest city or town:  In city center
  Nearest highway: Multiple highways in all directions.
  Nearest airport:  Budapest Liszt Ferenc
  Transportation from site: Take the airport shuttle bus. It costs 3200 HUF/person (approx. 15 USD). Or take a taxi, which costs approx. 7500-8000 HUF/cab for 3 people (approx. 35 USD). It takes about 30-45 minutes to get from the hotel to the airport, depending on traffic.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit
(Wednesday, October 8)
   
 In Transit: International overnight flight to Prague.

Day 2: Welcome to Prague / Introduction
(Thursday, October 9)
   
 Morning: Arrive at Prague airport (PRG) and transfer to the hotel.
 Afternoon: Arrive at hotel and settle in. Meet at 5:00 PM for a general meeting and introduction to the program.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Free time to rest and get over jetlag, or explore the area on your own.
   
Accommodations: Ibis Praha Mala Strana
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Prague City Excursion / Dinner Cruise
(Friday, October 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: The program begins with an introduction to Prague and the Czech Republic. Then attend a discussion and lecture on the history and geography of the Czech Republic. Follow the Czech Republic's timeline from communism to freedom and democracy as we learn about Czech princes and kings, Habsburg emperors and Czech presidents. Special attention will be given to Czech / Slovak relations.
 Lunch: Lunch in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Guided bus excursion of Prague with several short stops.
 Dinner: Enjoy your dinner on a boat excursion down the Vltava River.
   
Accommodations: Ibis Praha Mala Strana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Prague Old Town
(Saturday, October 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Guided field trip to Old Town. Bus transfer to Paris Street, the elegant Art Nouveau boulevard. Leisure walk past the area of the former Jewish Ghetto to the Old Town Square, the center of all events since the early Middle Ages. The stone houses, churches, palaces and monasteries in combination with the twisty narrow streets and alleys create a very special atmosphere.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Expert-led visit to the backstage of the Estates Theatre, where Mozart conducted the premiere of Don Giovanni. Short walk to Wenceslas Square to meet the coach for the transfer back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Free evening to attend a cultural event on your own if you wish. The program staff will provide ticket and transfer information.
   
Accommodations: Ibis Praha Mala Strana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Hradcany Castle
(Sunday, October 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Discussion and lecture on Prague's architecture. Learn about the important architectural styles found throughout Prague, such as; Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Classicism, Neo-styles, Art Nouveau and Cubism.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Depart via mini vans in small groups to Hradcany Castle for a short expert-led walk followed by a coffee break in the garden.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant next to the hotel. Presentation of Czech cuisine.
   
Accommodations: Ibis Praha Mala Strana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Brevnov Monastery / Cultural Event
(Monday, October 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We depart for an excursion to the Brevnov Monastery, the oldest monastery in Bohemia. Here, we listen to a lecture on the history of the religious situation in the Czech Republic. Learn how radical changes in religion have affected the Czech Republic from the past to the present.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served in the Benedictine Wine Cellar of the Brevnov Monastery.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore on your own. Shuttle assistance will be available.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy a cultural event. Your program staff will give additional information on the event during the program.
   
Accommodations: Ibis Praha Mala Strana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Czech Economic Lecture / Historical Tramway Excursion
(Tuesday, October 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Discussion and lecture on the privatization and transformation of the Czech economy. Learn about the different economic stages of the Czech Republic, from state and collective ownership to a free market. We will also compare Czech to Slovak ways of integration into the European Union.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a guided excursion of Prague by historical tramway, passing the embankments of the Vltava River, Charles Bridge, National Theatre, Lesser Town and Wencelas Square. (Transfer to/from tramway by coach.)
 Dinner: Farewell dinner with piano music at the beautiful Municipal House, the Pearl of Art Nouveau.
   
Accommodations: Ibis Praha Mala Strana
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Bratislava
(Wednesday, October 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Departure for Bratislava.
 Lunch: Lunch in Hustopece.
 Afternoon: Welcome to Bratislava. Arrive at hotel and settle in. We set out on a guided coach excursion to become familiar with one of the youngest capitals in Europe, the city of Bratislava, situated on the banks of the Danube River. Bratislava has been a mixing pot of various nations and nationalities who lived together in peace and harmony. During our excursion through the Old Town we will feel the atmosphere of the capital's elegance and charm.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Bratislava Centrum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Bratislava Castle
(Thursday, October 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Our lecture will discuss the history and politics of the Slovak Republic. We will also hear from “the other side” about the split of Czechoslovakia. We will consider what joins and what divides two Slavonic nations that are so geographically and historically close, and in what ways they choose to maintain their identities. In the Bratislava Castle, founded in the 11th century, we will have an opportunity to admire a panoramic view of the town. The Cathedral of St. Martin, where Maria Theresa was crowned Queen of Hungary, stood witness to a golden era in Pressburg (Bratislava's former name) when the city served as capital of the Kingdom of Hungary over the course of 300 years.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Leisurely walk in the Old Town with a coffee break in one of the elegant cafes from the times of the Austrian monarchy. Free time to rest and pack for the next day.
 Dinner: Our stay in the former Czechoslovakia concludes with a farewell dinner.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Bratislava Centrum
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Danube cruise
(Friday, October 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We cruise on the Danube River to Devin Castle. Short walk around the castle. Continue to Gyor.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Gyor.
 Afternoon: Short sightseeing in Gyor. Continue to Budapest by coach. Arrive at the hotel in Budapest where we will gather for a general information meeting and an illustrated introduction to the country.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Danubius Hotel Astoria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Budapest City Excursion
(Saturday, October 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Listen to a lecture on the history of Hungary. Follow 1100 years of Hungarian history, beginning in 896 when the Hungarian tribes arrived at the Carpathian basin through modern day.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a guided sightseeing excursion as we travel by bus to Buda and Pest, the former separate towns of the now united Budapest. Admire the castle in the district of Buda, a World Heritage Site, as we venture over bridges and avenues to learn about different architectural styles and everyday life in this cosmopolitan city.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Danubius Hotel Astoria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Great Plain / Ócsa
(Sunday, October 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: A guided excursion to the Great Plain, the most typical Hungarian landscape. Enjoy the beauty of the small town of Ócsa, whose 13th-century church, village museum and village center reflect traditional rural life. Hear a lecture on rural architecture, arts and crafts.
 Lunch: Lunch at a typical countryside restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit one of the 200 underground wine cellars (a national monument) and participate in a wine tasting.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Danubius Hotel Astoria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Jewish History Excursion / Meeting Local People
(Monday, October 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We will be presented with a sociology lesson to inform us about how people live in Hungary today. Topics to be covered will include work, education, housing, health, society, politics and other important factors.
 Lunch: Lunch at a nearby local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Budapest has the largest Jewish community in Central Europe and our hotel is close to the former Jewish district. On our afternoon field trip we will visit the beautiful main synagogue (the second largest in the world) and learn about the Jewish community past and present.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Putting the theory of our morning lecture into practice, we will embark on a journey through different homes in Budapest to talk informally with family members and see how they live.
   
Accommodations: Danubius Hotel Astoria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Hungarian Music
(Tuesday, October 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Meet for a tea party to share experiences from the previous night's home visits. Learn about Hungarian music.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Budapest on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Meet local musicians and enjoy a concert.
   
Accommodations: Danubius Hotel Astoria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Group Discussion / Free Time
(Wednesday, October 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Informal group discussion with local experts.
 Lunch: Light lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Free time to enjoy at your leisure. Perhaps you would like to go to the spa, or visit a museum.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner on a river cruise on the Danube.
   
Accommodations: Danubius Hotel Astoria
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Departures
(Thursday, October 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfers to the Budapest Liszt Ferenc airport (BUD) for departures.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Bratislava Primatial Palace
The Primatial Palace, regarded as the most beautiful Classicist building in Bratislava, was built in 1778. Entry to the palace offers visitors the chance to see its famous Hall of Mirrors, the scene of many historic events, most notably the signing of the Peace of Bratislava following Napoleon's victory over Austria-Hungary at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. For additional information, visit www.gmb.sk
  Prague Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia
The Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia is a wonderful exhibition of medieval art in Bohemia and Central Europe, spanning from 1200 to 1550 AD. For additional information, visit www.ngprague.cz
  Sternberg Palace
The value of European art from the Classical Era to the close of Baroque is seen on permanent display, at the Sternberg Palace. For additional information, visit www.ngprague.cz
  Trade Fair Palace
The Trade Fair Palace holds magnificent art from the 20th and 21st centuries. An English audio-guide is available, and a glass panoramic elevator enhances your view of this art all the way to the 5th floor. For additional information, visit www.ngprague.cz
  Budapest Great Market Hall
The covered Great Market Hall was built more than 100 years ago. The sheer size and splendor of the 3-story hall makes it one of Budapest's top attractions. There are restaurants, cafes and buffets, along with crafts and famous Hungarian paprika available to purchase.
  Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts, one of the major art galleries of Central Europe, has more than 100,000 artifacts. They are divided up amongst six collections: Egyptian Art, Classical Antiquities, Old Master Paintings, Sculpture, Prints and Drawings, and Art after 1800. It is the main collection in Hungary of non-Hungarian works of art. For additional information, visit www.szepmuveszeti.hu
  Szechenyi Baths, Spa, Swimming Pool
The Szechenyi Baths, Spa, and Swimming Pool is the largest wellness complex in Central Europe. It uses curing thermal water, and is located both outdoors and in historic buildings.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


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Lonely Planet Czech Phrasebook


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Lonely Planet Hungary


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The Book of Fathers


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The Coasts of Bohemia, A Czech History


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The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian, 50 Facts and Facets of Nationhood


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The Good Master


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The Great Escape, Nine Jews who fled Hitler and Changed the World


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The Haunted Land, Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism


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The Magic Lantern, The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague


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