3347
Czech Republic/Poland/Hungary
Grand Capitals of Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic
Immerse yourself in the wonders of Europe’s great cities as you undertake an exploration of history, culture and tradition from uniquely qualified local scholars.
Rating (4.82)
Program No. 3347RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
4,299
Special Offer
Flights start at
1,100
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17 days
16 nights
40 meals
15 B 13 L 12 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Explore Warsaw
Warsaw
D
Polonia Palace Hotel

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Afternoon: Warsaw is the city of many famous citizens; Frederic Chopin, a recognized composer regarded as The Poet of the Piano; Marie Sklodowska-Curie, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize; and Irena Sendler, a Holocaust Heroine who risked her life in WWII to save Jewish children. 4:00 PM Introduction to the program with light snacks. 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. Orientation excursion in Warsaw, where you will become acquainted with the city that rose from the ashes after WWII. Explore the streets of the Old Town, which was painstakingly restored after its destruction and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program are typically a 3-course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Palace on the Water, Chopin Music Concert
Warsaw
B,L
Polonia Palace Hotel

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: Lecture: "History of Poland in its European Context." After the lecture, enjoy a panoramic field trip of Warsaw by bus. See the monumental Memorial of the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Umschlagplatz, where Jews gathered for deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp. The names of hundreds of people from the ghetto who passed through Umschlagplatz are inscribed on the surface of the monument. Next, take a drive along the Royal Route to the Palace on the Water in the Lazienki Park for an excursion by bus and on foot. Poland's last king, King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski, designed some of its decor himself. Also see a plaque dedicated to the memory of Wladyslaw Szpilman, hung on the facade of what is known as his last hiding place.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant. Unless otherwise noted, lunches during this program are typically a 2-course set menu.

Afternoon: Free time to explore 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.

Evening: Chopin music concert. During a short intermission, a glass of sparkling wine will be served.

DAY
4
Lunch with a Local Family, Jasna Gora Monastery, Krakow
Krakow
B,L,D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Take in a lecture entitled "Catholicism, Communism, and Democracy - the unique Polish experience of the second half of the 20th century."

Lunch: We will be hosted by a young Polish family living in a wooden cottage at the base of Lowicz Castle ruins. A traditional Polish welcome with a loaf of bread and salt followed by typical dishes of Polish cuisine.

Afternoon: Depart for Krakow via Czestochowa where you will visit the Jasna Gora Monastery, considered a Polish national shrine to the Pope John Paul II and home of the Black Madonna painting, a religious and patriotic symbol for Poles. Many votive offerings have been given to the Black Madonna over the centuries, including swords, sceptors, rosaries made of dried bread in concentration camps, tear-gas cylinders used by the Communists against Solidarity protestors, and a pen donning a picture of John Paul II - the same pen Lech Walesa used to sign the Gdansk agreement in 1980. Lech Walesa himself never went without an image of the Black Madonna adorning his jacket's lapel. Arrive in Krakow, and check-in at the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine
Krakow
B,L,D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Activity note: Please note that generally, the standard excursion at the Wieliczka Salt Mine includes 200 stairs. If the standard excursion is not available due to technical reasons, the visit will include 400 stairs. This is uncommon, but we thought you should know. If you decide to opt out of the excursion, you may sit in the café at the top of the salt mine.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Krakow is the city of John Paul II, an inspiring pope and person in general. The city is also associated with Krzysztof Penderecki, Poland's greatest living composer and one of the most esteemed composers of our time. Some of his music has been adapted in the film soundtrack for "The Shining", and "The Exorcist." Attend a morning lecture: "Jewish Renaissance in Contemporary Poland." Then, take a walking excursion through Krakow, the first European city on the UNESCO World Heritage List of the most precious places in the world. Over the centuries, Krakow has not only bred outstanding painters and sculptors, but has also lured them in to settle within its walls. The world's greatest Gothic sculptor, Veit Stoss, lived and worked in Krakow for nearly 20 years. Admire the magnificent 42-foot high altarpiece he made in the Basilica of the Virgin Mary. Stroll through the Market Square, considered to be one of the largest town squares in Europe. The surroundings of the square have remained unchanged for almost 700 years. See the Cloth Hall and the burgher's houses, and explore the Collegium Maius, one of Europe's first universities where astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and Pope John Paul II are counted among its alumni. See the room Copernicus stayed in while attending school, with facsimiles of the Italian doctorate he earned and his enrollment records. This museum is a sort of cultural repository; famous Poles donate their awards to be displayed here. Also see the window where Pope John Paul II would appear to talk with Cracovians during his many pilgrimages to Poland.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Excursion to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a world class attraction. Over 700 years, many generations of Polish miners created the underground world with the rich interior decoration of the chapels, the original linings of the galleries, and the underground salt lakes. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is on the list of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Auschwitz & Birkenau Museum
Krakow
B,D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Free time to explore Krakow 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.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: This afternoon, drive to Oswiecim and the German Nazi concentration and death camp, the Auschwitz & Birkenau Museum. The site of the camp now houses the Oswiecim State Museum, which displays exhibits and documents concerning Nazi crimes. Return to Krakow.

Dinner: At a local restaurant located in the Kazimierz district, the former Jewish quarter of Krakow. Enjoy a Klezmer music concert - a highlight of the evening!

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Travel to Budapest
Budapest
B,L,D
Hotel Museum Budapest

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for 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: Picnic en route.

Afternoon: Continue on to Budapest. Arrive at hotel, check in and get settled. We will gather for a general information meeting, before taking an orientation walk in the neighborhood of the hotel to get acquainted with the area.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Hero’s Square, Castle District
Budapest
B,L,D
Hotel Museum Budapest

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Lecture on 20th century history of Hungary. After the lecture our sightseeing excursion starts. We will travel by bus to the Hero's Square, one of the most emblematic places of Budapest. We will enjoy a leisurely stroll in the City Park including a visit to Hero's Square, Vajdahunyard Castle, and the famous Szechenyi Spa. Learn about the new Museum District which will be developed in the City Park.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Our city excursion continues with the Castle District. During our bus ride, we will get acquainted with the structure of the city; the Grand Boulevard, the important avenues and the large parks. Then explore the Castle District on foot including the Fisherman's Bastion and the Matthias Church. We will crown our day with a picturesque view from the top of the Gellért Hill.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Jewish History Walk
Budapest
B,L
Hotel Museum Budapest

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Optional visit to the Great Market Hall. The sheer size and splendor of the over 100-years-old hall makes it one of Budapest's top attractions. In the three-story building are restaurants, cafés and buffets, along with crafts and famous Hungarian paprika available for purchase. From the market hall we will take the tram to reach the Jewish quarter. Those who enjoyed some free time instead of the morning stroll can join us at the Dohany Street Synagogue, a 3-minute walk from the hotel. A local expert will guide us through the largest synagogue in Europe, followed by a visit in the Jewish Museum of Budapest, situated on the place of the former birth house of Theodore Herzl, one of the fathers of Zionism. Then take short walk in the one time ghetto.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in the Jewish Quarter.

Afternoon: Take in a lecture on Hungary today (sociology, politics).

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: 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. Or perhaps you would like to spend the evening attending a concert or opera.

DAY
10
Danube Bend, Szentendre
Budapest
B,L,D
Hotel Museum Budapest

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: All day excursion to the Danube Bend by bus. Explore Szentendre on foot, a small, picturesque Baroque-Rococo style town in the center of the Danube Bend. It is the Episcopal seat of the Eastern Church in Hungary. Szentendre is famous for its museums and art galleries. Visit the collection of a 20th century ceramic artist, Margit Kovács, with a local expert.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Visegrád. Visegrád, a former royal seat, is a small village today with about 2000 inhabitants.

Afternoon: Visit the city of Esztergom. Esztergom was the capital of the Medieval Hungarian State for centuries. It has also been the Hungarian center of the Roman Catholic Church and today it is the residence of the Archbishop of Hungary. We will visit the Picture Gallery of the Christian Museum and the largest Roman Catholic church in the country.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Q&A Info Session w/ Local Experts, Cruise on the Danube
Budapest
B,L,D
Hotel Museum Budapest

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Take part in a fascinating question and answer session with our local experts. Then hop on the underground and get out at Parliament. Take a walk in the administrative district of Budapest, learn about the monuments around Kossuth and Szabadság Square, take a look at the magnificent rooftop of an Art Nouveau building of the Hungarian National Bank, and visit St. Stephen's Basilica where you can see the mummified holy right hand of our first king.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to explore and visit museums. Free time optional program: Visit one of the traditional thermal baths, where you can try the indoor and outdoor pools, the steam bath, sauna, etc. (If you plan to take this option, please bring a bathing suit along with you.)

Dinner: River cruise on the Danube with buffet dinner.

Evening: River cruise on the Danube. As it gets dark we will enjoy the view of the illuminated city as we see its most important sites along the Danube; Parliament, Castle Hill, the New National Theatre, etc.

DAY
12
Transfer to Prague
Prague
B,L,D
Angelo Hotel Prague

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Departure for Prague.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Continue to Prague. Arrive at hotel, check in and get settled. General information meeting.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Jewish Ghetto, Municipal House
Prague
B,L,D
Angelo Hotel Prague

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: This morning we explore the Jewish Ghetto on foot, with its many historical landmarks. See the Pinkas and Klausen Synagogues, among others, and discover the Old Jewish Cemetery, Europe's oldest Jewish burial ground. Dating back to the 15th century, this cemetery gives account to generations of Jews who lived in the ghetto of Prague.

Lunch: Hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Discussion and lecture on modern history, economy, and life from the Iron Curtain to the European Union.

Dinner: Enjoy the charm and elegance of Art Nouveau in the Municipal House Café for a gourmet dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Nizbor, Old Town, Charles Bridge, Boat Excursion
Prague
B,L,D
Angelo Hotel Prague

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Half-day excursion to Nizbor where we will see the glassworks at a Bohemian glass factory.

Lunch: At a local country restaurant.

Afternoon: Explore the Old Town on foot, a unique part of Prague, where we find the impressive 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. We will also see the Charles Bridge, one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe, adorned on both sides with a total of thirty Baroque statues.

Dinner: This evening dine on the river during a boat excursion.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Brevnov Monastery, Prague Castle
Prague
B,L
Angelo Hotel Prague

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: 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.

Lunch: At the Brevnov Monastery.

Afternoon: Enjoy a visit to the magnificent Prague Castle complex, home of Bohemian kings and a textbook of Prague architecture itself! Standing tall amidst the magnificent Hradcany District, or Castle District, it is said to be the biggest castle in the world. Let generations of Prague architecture unfold before you as you explore the complex.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Museum of Communism, Concert
Prague
B,L,D
Angelo Hotel Prague

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Explore the Museum of Communism, focusing mainly on Prague, and on Czechoslovakia in general. Learn about a variety of fields, including daily life, politics, history, sports, economics, education, the arts, media propaganda, the Peoples' Militias, the secret police, judiciary and coercive institutions including the Stalinist show-trials, and political labor camps. It is the first and only museum in Prague since the Velvet Revolution that is exclusively devoted to a system established in the sphere of the former Soviet Union.

Lunch: Light lunch and coffee at the Grand Café Orient on the first floor of the House at the Black Madonna. This building symbolizes the unique Czech contribution to the cubist movement.

Afternoon: After a light lunch, have some free time. You may want to visit the newly-opened exhibition of Czech Cubism, which is in the House at the Black Madonna. Later in the afternoon, we will enjoy a classical church concert in the St. Salvator Church near Charles Bridge.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
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.