12259
Eastern Europe
The Best of Central Europe: Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague
Immerse yourself in the exquisite artistry of four of Europe’s great cities, gaining a comprehensive understanding of historical monuments, cultural treasures and world-class art.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 12259RJ
Length
18 days
Starts at
4,699
Flights start at
850
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18 days
17 nights
43 meals
16 B 15 L 12 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Welcome to Krakow, Orientation
Krakow
D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Activity note: Check-in available from 3:00 PM.

Afternoon: 5:00 PM Welcome to Krakow. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Krakow is the residence of Polish kings and is the first European city to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. For centuries Krakow flourished due to its political status, and as a leader in the development of commerce, craft, art and science. A cradle of Polish culture, Krakow is truly a romantic city with a labyrinth of charming restaurants, coffee-shops, and museums. Take an orientation walk through the Old Market Square, often called "Krakow's saloon."

Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program are typically a three-course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Wawel Castle and Cathedral, Collegium Maius
Krakow
B,L
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Activity note: Approx. 3.5 hours of standing and walking throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: The 16th century brought Krakow to a state of unprecedented splendor. Hear a lecture: "Krakow - City of Art and Culture." Then take an expert-led field trip of the Wawel Castle and Cathedral, a testament to the golden times in the "City of Kings," and the political and cultural center of Poland until the early 17th century. Explore the Royal Chambers featuring rare ancient treasures, period furniture and Polish and European paintings. Admire the collection of 16th century Flemish tapestries, some of which were designed by Michael van Coxcie, the "Flemish Raphael." The breathtaking interior of the Cathedral stands as a collective work of Italian genius including Georg Pench, Santi Gucci and Hermann Vischer, and Sigismund's Chapel, designed by Bartolomeo Berecci, has been hailed by art historians as the "most beautiful example of the Tuscan Renaissance north of the Alps."

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant. Unless otherwise noted, lunches on this program are typically a two-course set menu.

Afternoon: One of Krakow's gems is the Collegium Maius, one of Europe's first universities. The astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who revolutionized European science, remains the most illustrious of Krakow's graduates, along with Pope John Paul II. This museum boasts splendid historic rooms, a great collection of old European art, and unique science instruments. It is also a sort of cultural repository for Poland; famous Poles donate their awards to be displayed here. Continue on foot to the Old Market Square, one of the largest medieval Europe squares in existence. Its surroundings have remained unchanged for almost 700 years. Throughout the Middle Ages, many first-rate artists worked in Krakow and created what you see today. Visit the church of St. Mary's, home of the wooden altarpiece by Veit Stoss, the world's greatest Gothic sculptor; Stoss' work can be seen weaved throughout the entire city.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Auschwitz & Birkenau
Krakow
B,L,D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Activity note: Approx. 3.5 hours of standing and walking during scheduled activities.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Enjoy free time this morning before departing for Oswiecim. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Visit the Auschwitz & Birkenau Museum, the symbol of the holocaust. The site of the camp houses the museum, where documents concerning Nazi crimes are exhibited. A local expert will lead you through the camp and museum. Then return to Krakow.

Dinner: Dine in the Kazimierz District, the ancient heart of Jewish Krakow. Taste Jewish cooking delicacies and enjoy a nostalgic Klezmer music concert. On the way to the restaurant, do not miss the Jan Karski Memorial Bench. The monument was erected in honor of the legendary emissary of the Polish Underground, known for his efforts to alert the Western Allies of the Nazi genocide during WWII.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Icons of Polish Modernism and Avant Garde
Krakow
B,L,D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Activity note: Approx. 3 hours of standing and walking throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Today enjoy a field trip to the National Museum which holds the largest and most valuable collection of works by Stanislaw Wyspianski, Krakow's native son, and a great poet, painter, playwright, graphic designer and scenographer. Just as Gustav Klimt's life was linked to Vienna, Wyspianski's entire life was linked to Krakow; he designed innovative and monumental pieces for the city's churches and public utility buildings. See his drawings, scenographic and typographic designs and sculptures, and also explore an exquisite collection of portraits and landscapes, most of which are pastels which Wyspianski was an absolute master of. Also see a temporary exhibition of "Lady with an Ermine" by Leonardo da Vinci who epitomizes the genius of the Renaissance. Krakow is one of few places in the world that prides itself on having a painting by the old masters' Old Master.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Visit another pearl in Krakow, the Franciscan Basilica, with its gorgeous Art Nouveau interiors by Stanislaw Wyspianski. Besides covering the walls with sophisticated floral motifs, the artist also designed all of the stained glass windows, including the famed "God the Father." Then enjoy some free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Before dinner, attend an evening concert: “Frederic Chopin, a Poet of the Piano.” Chopin is the very symbol of Polish music. In the art of sound, the beauty of his music is an exceptional phenomenon - something bordering on the miraculous. The style, rich in lyricism, moods, emotions and their nuances, earned F. Chopin admiration all over the world.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Welcome to Budapest
Budapest
B,L,D
Hotel Museum Budapest

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We travel by coach from Krakow to Budapest. We will see magnificent views as we cross the Carpathian Mountains. Travel through southern Poland and eastern Slovakia, entering Hungary from the north.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arrive in Budapest. Transfer to hotel for check-in and get settled. We will gather for a general information meeting, and then take an orientation walk in the neighborhood of the hotel to get acquainted with the area.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant where you can taste some traditional Hungarian specialties.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Heroes' Square, Andrassy Avenue, Pest
Budapest
B,L,D
Hotel Museum Budapest

Activity note: Approx. 3 hours of standing and walking throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We will start our exploration at Heroes' Square, where we will get an overview of 1000 years of Hungarian history in a nutshell. Take a stroll around the Vajdahunyard Castle and explore the City Park. Then discover Andrassy Avenue, the most beautiful avenue of Budapest. Receive insight into the golden age of Budapest with an expert-led visit to the former apartment of world-famous composer Ferenc Liszt, at the Old Music Academy.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue by bus to discover the neighborhood of the National Theater and the Palace of the Arts, an award-winning piece of modern Hungarian architecture. Take an orientation excursion of the city by bus.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in the Jewish quarter. During our walk to the restaurant, we will see the Great Synagogue on Dohany Street, the second largest synagogue in the world. During dinner, local guests will join us for open discussion. On the way home, you may wish to stop at one of the first ruin pubs for a drink.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Castle District, Royal Palace
Budapest
B,L
Hotel Museum Budapest

Activity note: Approx. 3.5 hours of standing and walking throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Begin the day with a panel discussion by two acclaimed local speakers. Then depart to the Castle District, beginning with an expert-led field trip to the Hungarian National Gallery, located within the Royal Palace. Its collections cover Hungarian art in all genres, including works of many 19th and 20th century Hungarian artists.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue with an expert-led walk in the Civilian Town, the northern part of the district, including a visit to the Fisherman's Bastion and the Matthias Church. During your walk, learn about the medieval history of the city.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: This evening you may wish to attend an optional concert. Your Group Leader will give additional information during the program.

DAY
9
Szabó Ervin Library, Downtown Pest
Budapest
B,L,D
Hotel Museum Budapest

Activity note: Approx. 3 hours of standing and walking throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: After breakfast we will walk through the Palace District; visit the most beautiful palace, built for Count Frigyes Wenckheim, today the Metropolitan Szabó Library. During an expert-led visit we will learn about the history of the building and the library, and have a private view of some precious items of the Budapest collection from the 15-18th century. Then take the tram to Kossuth Square to explore the monuments around Hungarian Parliament, and walk through the Liberty Square, which has several monuments connected to our recent history. Learn about the Hungarian Art Nouveau movement by viewing the magnificent roof of the National Bank in Hungary.

Lunch: In downtown Budapest.

Afternoon: After lunch visit St. Stephen's Basilica, the largest church in Budapest. From here, you can take the subway back to the hotel or enjoy some free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Boat trip on the Danube with a farewell buffet dinner.

Evening: Spend the evening relaxing and enjoying the city view from the water during your boat trip on the Danube. Then say goodbye to Budapest with a magnificent view from the top of Gellért Hill.

DAY
10
Welcome to Vienna
Vienna
B,L,D
Austria Trend Hotel Ananas

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We travel by coach from Budapest to Vienna. Late morning arrival in Vienna, the capital of Austria. Check in at the hotel.

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: We convene for a general orientation meeting, followed by a first acquaintance with the Inner City. Expert-led excursion by bus along the Vienna Ring Boulevard. It was back in the 19th century when Emperor Franz Joseph decreed the demolition of Vienna's medieval fortifications and ramparts to make room for the city's expansion. This 'Boulevard of Splendor' is lined with many of the most important political and cultural institutions such as Parliament and Town Hall, Royal Palace, the prestigious State Opera and Burgtheater, University and - of course - the Museum Quarter.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Cultural Vienna
Vienna
B,L,D
Austria Trend Hotel Ananas

Activity note: Approx. 4 hours of standing and walking throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: A morning lecture gives us an introduction to Cultural Vienna and its historical background. This cosmopolitan center, which incorporates Eastern European, Oriental and Western modes of thinking, has been a melting pot for cultural identities throughout the centuries. The Habsburg dynasty created Vienna's major cultural institutions. One of them is the Kunsthistorisches Museum - Museum of Fine Art, which we will visit this afternoon. We will then explore the winding streets and spacious squares of the old town around St. Stephen's Cathedral, the ancient core of Vienna - from the medieval lanes and alleys to the steel and glass Haas House in front of the Cathedral that dates back to the 13th century. Also visit inside the Cathedral.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy an expert-led visit to the Museum of Fine Art, which houses one of the greatest art collections in the world revealing the royal taste of the Habsburg rulers. Over the centuries they brought together the most precious and important paintings of the celebrated Old Masters.

Dinner: Hotel dining room. Please note that the group will depart for this evening's concert at 6:30 PM.

Evening: Attend an evening concert of the Mozart Ensemble in the Sala Terrena. Works by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven. The "Sala Terrena" is the oldest concert hall in Vienna, where Mozart himself performed many concerts. It is decorated with beautiful frescos in the style of the late Venetian Renaissance. It is also the perfect setting for performances of Viennese classic chamber music of the 18th century.

DAY
12
Imperial Vienna
Vienna
B,L
Austria Trend Hotel Ananas

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Enjoy an expert-led field trip to Schönbrunn Palace, glamorous summer residence of the Habsburg family. Schönbrunn Palace together with its ancillary buildings and extensive park is by virtue of its long and colorful history one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Scheduled as a listed monument, the whole ensemble, including the palace, the park with its numerous architectural features, fountains and statues and not least the zoo - the oldest of its kind in the world - was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to discover Vienna on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own in one of the many Viennese cafés.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Great Musicians of the Vienna Classic, Vienna 1900
Vienna
B,L,D
Austria Trend Hotel Ananas

Activity note: Approx. 3 hours of standing and walking throughout the day. There are many stairs up to Steinhof Church.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Explore the very diverse lives of three of Vienna's most famous composers during this morning's lecture. While Mozart initially enjoyed great success as a freelance composer and then struggled, Franz Schubert led a rather introverted life, only known for his renowned "Lieder" to his contemporaries. Johann Strauß, however, was one of the first global superstars of music. All three composers were contributors to the most Viennese of musical forms - the Viennese waltz. Listen to a delightful selection of works by these composers. Later in the morning, you will have an expert-led bus excursion of the Jugendstil landmarks of Vienna. The turn of the 20th century was a period of intellectual ferment; it was the time of Freud, writer Arthur Schnitzler, of Secession and Jugendstil with such artists as Gustav Klimt and architects as Adolf Loos and Otto Wagner. They created revolutionary new styles. We will leave the city center and drive to the Vienna suburb Penzing, where Otto Wagner created a jewel of Vienna Jugendstil Art Nouveau; the astonishing Steinhof Church which occupies a fantastic site on the Baumgartner heights.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: A short introduction to the famous artists of Vienna 1900, such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Otto Wagner, will prepare you for an expert-led field trip to the Leopold Museum. Later in the afternoon, you may have some time to explore the museum or the city on your own.

Dinner: We will enjoy our final dinner in Vienna at one of the traditional restaurants in the old town.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Welcome to Prague
Prague
B,L,D
Angelo Hotel Prague

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We transfer from Vienna to Prague by coach. En route, we take an excursion to Trebon - a charming and perfectly preserved South Bohemian historical town with a rich history that goes back to the 12th century. Enjoy its old town and the picturesque houses and medieval atmosphere of its square, Masarykovo Namesti.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Arrive in Prague. Check in at hotel and settle in. There will be a general information meeting.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Music in the Czech Republic
Prague
B,L
Angelo Hotel Prague

Activity note: Approx. 3 hours of standing and walking throughout the day. Terrain in the Old Town and Jewish Ghetto includes cobblestone, city streets, and uneven ground.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Take a field trip to the Old Town and Jewish Ghetto. Experience the very special atmosphere of Prague’s twisty narrow streets and alleys, first stone houses, churches, palaces and monasteries. The former Jewish Ghetto is a noteworthy quarter of Prague that boasts worldwide significance.

Lunch: At a local restaurant near the Charles Bridge. The Charles Bridge is named for our old friend King Charles IV. It was the only connection between the Lesser Town on the left bank of the Vltava River and the Old Town on the right for centuries.

Afternoon: Excursion to the Museum of Czech Music with a lecture focusing on such artists as Smetana, Dvorak, Martinu, Janacek, Mahler and others.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Architecture of Prague, Lesser Town
Prague
B,L,D
Angelo Hotel Prague

Activity note: New safety rules and regulations for entry into Prague Castle require that we show a copy of your passport before entering. Please bring a copy of your passport with you on your program. Approx. 2-3 hours of standing and walking throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: A morning discussion and lecture on the architecture and fine arts of Prague, featuring all important Prague styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Classicism, Neo-styles, and particularly concentrating on architecture of the 20th century – Art Nouveau, Cubism, Functionalism. Orientation excursion by private coach.

Lunch: At a local restaurant near Prague Castle.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will explore some of Prague's breathtaking architectural treasures, including Prague Castle. Prague Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site, reputed to be the most extensive ancient castle in the world. The large-scale palace complex comprises royal residences, churches, a monastery, and gardens. Continue to explore the Lesser Town. Malá Strana (literally “little side” translated as Lesser Town), was founded as a royal town in 1258, and is one of the most historic and beautiful places in all of Prague.

Dinner: Boat excursion with dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
Strahov Monastery
Prague
B,L,D
Angelo Hotel Prague

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Excursion to the Strahov Monastery, a place where the knowledge of the Czech nation has been concentrated since 1140. We enjoy a private concert.

Lunch: Light lunch after the concert.

Afternoon: Free time to explore the area on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell gourmet dinner in the pearl of Art Nouveau, the Municipal House of Prague.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
18
Departures
Prague
B

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to the Prague Ruzyne International airport (PRG) for departures. This concludes our program. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.






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