Highlights of Eastern Europe

Alps, Central & Eastern Europe

Regional Journey

Highlights of Eastern Europe end Budapest (Summer 2019)

Duration: 14 days Visiting: Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria

Prices from US${{lowPrice | number:0}}

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Delve behind the former ‘Iron Curtain’ to explore these stunning cities of the east. Flourishes from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a mélange of medieval charm are juxtaposed against more sombre reminders of WWII.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Budapest.

    On arrival at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, there are complimentary transfers to your hotel at 10:00, 13:00 & 15:30. Join your Travel Director at 18:00 and travel to the famous and elegant Gundel Restaurant. Your Welcome Dinner is a treat of mouthwatering Hungarian specialties, accompanied by specially selected Hungarian wine.

  2. Day 2 - Relaxed Start

    Delve into Budapest.

    Stroll through the alleys of the Old Town of Buda with a Local Expert. Admire the facade of Matthias Church and take in the view from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Enjoy a short drive following the Danube and arrive at Gellért Hill. From the top, appreciate astounding panoramic views presided over by the Liberty Statue. Across the river, back in Pest, visit Heroes’ Square. The rest of the day is yours to browse the boutiques of Vaci Street. In the evening, perhaps choose an Optional Experience to see this fairy-tale city as you cruise along the Danube and enjoy a meal of Hungarian specialties, served with drinks?

  3. Day 3

    The Mountains to Kraków.

    Take a gentle drive into Slovakia and through the breathtaking Low Tatra Mountains, where villagers still live in traditional wooden houses. Stop at scenic Donovaly. Continue north to see the picturesque Oravský Hrad Castle before crossing into Poland and continuing to historic Kraków.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    The Damsels and Dragons of Kraków.

    Perhaps visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine in the morning? Later, join your Local Expert to explore Kraków, for centuries the seat of Poland’s kings. Ascend Wawel Hill to visit the cathedral. Walk past the former residence of Pope John Paul II through the Old Town, to Europe’s largest and most beautiful town square. See the medieval Sukiennice Cloth Hall and visit the 14th century St. Mary’s Basilica, the most important church in the city, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the trumpeter in the tower. Then enjoy free time to explore. Maybe visit the Renaissance Trading Hall, host to many merchant stalls, with the Gallery of the National Museum upstairs?

  5. Day 5

    Auschwitz and Częstochowa.

    Join a Local Expert at Oświęcim, better known throughout the world by its German name, Auschwitz, infamous for its role during the Holocaust. Spend reflective moments amid the remains of the concentration camp and the memorials to those who died. Travel north to Częstochowa to visit the 14th century Monastery of Jasna Góra, famous for the Black Madonna, said to have been painted by St. Luke. Continue across the Polish plains to the country’s capital, Warsaw for the night. Dumplings are an Eastern European tradition, so in the evening enjoy a dumpling demonstration and degustation at Halka restaurant in the Old Town. Once this culinary high art has been mastered, enjoy a delicious Highlight Dinner featuring succulent local dishes.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    The Polish Capital of Warsaw.

    Join a Local Expert in the morning to see the Old Town, Royal Castle, Palace of Culture. Visit the Chopin Memorial in the Łazienki Park. Pay your respects at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and then enjoy a free afternoon to explore at your own pace. Perhaps attend a Chopin recital or delve into Warsaw's communist past?

  7. Day 7

    Wielkopolska to Berlin.

    Your route leads westward, across the rolling farmlands of the central plains, past Poznań known as the ‘cradle of the Polish State’ and continue over the Oder River to enter Germany. Your destination is the vibrant capital of Berlin where you can try traditional Berliner cuisine.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    The Spirit of Berlin.

    Prepare to embrace the rejuvenated spirit of Berlin. Join a Local Expert for a drive along the Ku’Damm, past the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Continue through the leafy Tiergarten to the refurbished Reichstag building and see the Brandenburg Gate. On the eastern side, take the Unter den Linden past the State Opera House to Museum Island. Spend the afternoon at leisure, shopping in Friedrichstraße or exploring the new, vibrant Potsdamer Platz.

  9. Day 9

    Dresden and Golden Prague.

    Journey south to Dresden. Almost totally destroyed by horrific air raids in 1945, Dresden has now risen again from the ashes in a blend of old and new. See the reconstructed Frauenkirche and walk past the colossal ‘Procession of the Dukes’ on the wall of the Royal Palace. Venture around the Catholic cathedral to view the tiered facades of the opera house, Semperoper, and the Baroque Zwinger Palace. After free time for lunch, head for the Czech border, high in the Ore Mountains and continue to the capital city of Prague.

  10. Day 10

    Prague, City of a Hundred Spires.

    Prague has blossomed since the Velvet Revolution, but its unique character remains unchanged. A Local Expert will show you the amazing St. Vitus’ Cathedral inside the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle. Cross the Vltava River to explore the vast cobblestoned expanse of the Old Town Square and see its famous Astronomical Clock. As night falls, why not head for a local restaurant to sample tasty Czech cuisine, as well as the famous local beer?

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Bohemian Český Krumlov.

    A journey through the green Bohemian countryside will bring you to České Budějovice. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of a local brewery to sample the beer and discover the secrets of how this golden vintage is made. Continue on to Český Krumlov, a picturesque medieval town nestled on the banks of the Vltava. Walk the narrow cobbled streets and arch-covered footpaths, past colourful townhouses and centuries-old inns. With a Local Expert, visit the fairy-tale, red-roofed castle, considered by many to be the finest in the land. Your hotel is one of the most charming in the Czech Republic, set in a former 16th century Jesuit dormitory in the historic town centre. When all the day trippers have left, soak up the unique atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site on your Dine-Around Evening. You will be offered a selection of restaurants amid the tangle of streets, high-gabled houses and old squares.

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    Stately Vienna.

    Cross the border into Austria and enjoy a delightful journey to Vienna. The afternoon is free for you to explore this stately capital and later why not enjoy a delightful Austrian meal with the option to dine at a country mansion?

  13. Day 13

    The Habsburgs of Vienna.

    Vienna owes much of its present-day charm to the long reign of the Habsburgs. Join your Local Expert for a private visit of Maria Theresa’s Schönbrunn Palace and its formal gardens. Then, take some great photos on a circuit of the famous Ring Road. This grand boulevard, built along the lines of the old city walls, showcases many of the capital’s architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House, magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence, Austrian Parliament Building and Karlskirche. As night falls, experience an extraordinary concert of Viennese classical music combined with a delicious meal of traditional Austrian fare, with drinks included.

  14. Day 14

    Depart Budapest.

    A transfer arrives at Budapest airport in the early afternoon. For those extending their stay, a stop is also made at the Corinthia Hotel Budapest.

Highlights

 

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Budapest: With a Local Expert, see Matthias Church and gaze out over the Danube to the Hungarian Parliament Building from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Atop Gellért Hill see the Liberty Statue presiding over the city.
  • Kraków: The medieval heart of Kraków is rich in legend, a kind of Polish Camelot. Join your Local Expert for an in-depth exploration of this historic Holy Grail. Walk past Jagiellonian University, through the Old Town to the town square and see the medieval Sukiennice Cloth Hall.
  • Kraków: Visit the cathedral atop Wawel Hill, see the castle and look for the iconic dragon, accompanied by your Local Expert.
  • Kraków: Visit the 14th century St. Mary’s Basilica, the most important church in the city.
  • Auschwitz: Join a Holocaust historian and experience a powerful and moving visit to the memorial and museum of Auschwitz and a stop at Birkenau, which bears witness to the terrible atrocities of the Holocaust.
  • Częstochowa: Visit the 14th century Monastery of Jasna Góra, famous for the Black Madonna supposedly to have been painted by St. Luke.
  • Warsaw: Your Local Expert will show you the city's highlights. See the Old Town, Royal Castle, Palace of Culture and visit the Chopin Memorial in the Łazienki Park before paying your respects at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes.
  • Berlin: You Local Expert provides a tour of this vibrant city. Drive along the Ku'Damm, passing the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and through Tiergarten to the Reichstag building. See the Brandenburg Gate, State Opera House and visit Alexanderplatz.
  • Dresden: During your orientation with your Travel Director, take a moment to admire the 'Procession of the Dukes' mosaic on the Saxon wall of the castle. You'll also see Frauenkirche, Zwinger Palace and the opera house, Semperoper.
  • Prague: Bewitched by the gargoyles of St. Vitus Cathedral and ghosts of Bohemian Kings, experience a private tour with your Local Expert through the atmospheric courtyards of Prague Castle.
  • Prague: Led by your Local Expert, explore the delightful Old Town Square and see the detailed Astronomical Clock that delights onlookers each hour.
  • Český Krumlov: Your Travel Director will lead you an orientation of the city.
  • Český Krumlov: Let a Local Expert lead you through a medieval labyrinth of private chambers, courtyards, kitchens and dungeons of the castle, so rich in history. Visit the fairytale castle considered to be the finest in the land.
  • Vienna: A private tour with a Local Expert showcases the sheer opulence of Schönbrunn Palace, rich in Rococo and glittering gold, and its spectacular formal gardens.
  • Vienna: Sightseeing with your Local Expert continues as you travel along the Ring Road to see the Hofburg Imperial Residence, Opera House, Parliament Building and Karlskirche.
  • Scenic Drives: Your journey travels through Donovaly, the country's most famous winter resort you'll see Oravský Hrad Castle and some of Slovakia’s traditional wooden houses as you pass through the Low Tatra Mountains. Continue across the Polish plains, through the Ore Mountains and Bohemia.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Budapest: Your Welcome Dinner is a treat of mouthwatering Hungarian specialties, accompanied by specially-selected Hungarian wine, as you dine at the famous and elegant Gundel Restaurant.
  • Warsaw: Enjoy a demonstration of the traditional techniques of dumpling-making with an expert chef. Then enjoy a hearty Polish Highlight Dinner with a variety of local delicacies and drinks.
  • České Budějovice: Tour a local brewery to discover the secrets of how the golden vintage of beer is made, followed by a sampling.
  • Český Krumlov: For your Dine-Around Evening, choose your own style of ambience and cuisine from a fine selection of restaurants in the atmospheric centre.
  • Vienna: Your Imperial Viennese Celebration Dinner is regal splendour on a plate. Enjoy a delicious three-course dinner with wine and a concert of classical music that pays homage to the genius of Strauss and Mozart.
  • Dining Summary: 13 Breakfasts (B) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Budapest: Corinthia Hotel Budapest blends classic hotel opulence with the finest five-star luxury. Located in the heart of the city, its refurbished Royal Spa is simply stunning.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Danube Cruise Dinner & Drinks

The most leisurely way to discover this fairy-tale city is a private cruise on the Danube with a glass of fine Hungarian wine in hand. See Margaret Island, the Houses of Parliament, Castle Hill with its Fisherman’s Bastion, the Royal Palace, the Citadel and the University. While cruising, enjoy a lavish, gourmet buffet meal of Hungarian specialties and drinks.

Adult Price: EUR 65.00

Code: BUD0001

Revolution Walk & St Stephens

Take a trip back in time to learn of the incredible journey Budapest has taken to once again become the Queen of the Danube. With our local expert, we’ll begin with the moving memorial; “Shoes on the Danube Bank” before discovering Kossuth Lajos Square, situated next to the jaw-dropping Parliament building. We’ll visit the 1956 Underground Museum to hear about the local populace facing off against the might of the Soviet Union during the famous uprising of that year. From darker days to the golden age, we’ll stop in one of the city's many cafes before completing our historic stroll with a visit to the Basilica of St Stephen, whose treasures include the most important relic in Hungary, the miraculous Holy Right Hand of the country’s first King, St Stephen.

Adult Price: EUR 38.00

Code: BUD0015

Salt Mines Excursion

A visit to the 600 year old salt mines on the outskirts of Krakow, where we view an underground world of chambers filled with absolutely unique salt sculptures, sculpted by the miners themselves (placed by UNESCO on the World Heritage list).

Adult Price: EUR 55.00

Code: KRA0001

Polish Karczma Dinner & Polka Party

Enjoy a generous selection of traditional Polish cuisine and drinks in the countryside outside Krakow. A local, beautifully-dressed folk group and live band will entertain you with songs and dances and you might even get to join them for a polka or two! Don't miss this enjoyable evening.

Adult Price: EUR 59.00

Code: KRA0004

Chopin Concert

The spirit of Warsaw and the music of Chopin go hand in hand. In a concert venue located in the centre of Warsaw, enjoy an exclusive private recital of his music performed by a celebrated Polish pianist. Champagne is served during the intermission.

Adult Price: EUR 46.00

Code: WAR0002

Uprising Walk with Vodka Museum and Tasting

The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 was one of the most heroic episodes, and greatest tragedies, of history. The failed attempt at self-liberation from Nazi occupation led to the total destruction of the elegant Polish capital, once regarded the ‘Paris of the North’. Join your local expert on a walk to visit some of the memorials & sites associated with the uprising. Then, we'll cross the Vistula river to visit the Polish Vodka Museum. Vodka is a crucial element of Polish culture and has been served during celebrations for centuries. We'll earn about the ingredients and production of vodka throughout the ages and enjoy a tasting of some of the best!

Adult Price: EUR 37.00

Code: WAR0004

Berliner Dinner & Entertainment

Berlin's eating establishments have enjoyed legendary status ever since the "Golden Twenties". This evening you are treated to traditional Berliner cuisine in a lively local restaurant with live music and drinks. Guten Appetit!

Adult Price: EUR 56.00

Code: BER0004

Bridge of Spies, Sanssouci & Dinner

Our evening takes us to Potsdam, the summer home and royal residence to the Kings of Prussia. Here we'll see the ‘Sanssouci’ palace of the most celebrated Prussian king, Frederick the Great. We'll enjoy time for photos in the gardens and then continue to the Glienicke Bridge, the famous 'Bridge of Spies'. The bridge was used for spy exchanges between East & West during the Cold War. We'll cross the bridge on foot before continuing to historic Wirsthaus Moorlake, nestled on the banks of the Havel river, for an evening of traditional German fare. n.b. This optional experience may be offered without dinner for €48.

Adult Price: EUR 63.00

Code: BER0008

Highlights of Former East Berlin - E958 ONLY

Explore the shadows of the past with our local expert. Visit the staggering Holocaust Memorial. Stop for a photo at the famous ‘East side gallery’, the longest section of the Berlin Wall still in existence. Then a real highlight as we visit the Berlin Wall Memorial. The memorial contains the last section of the Wall with a guard tower and preserved grounds and is thus able to convey an impression of how the border fortifications developed until the end of the 1980s. Learn about this focal point of 20th-century history and of the fate of those who attempted to cross it.

Adult Price: EUR 32.00

Code: BER0013

Magical Prague

Discover the hidden world of Prague's Malá Strana district on foot, accompanied by our expert local. Continue to the famous Charles Bridge, built in 1357, before enjoying a private cruise on the Vlatava. Enjoy a drink as you glide past the magical sights of Prague.

Adult Price: EUR 42.00

Code: PRA0005

Traditional Dinner & Folklore Entertainment

Hearty and delicious, Czech cuisine borrows heavily from its Central European neighbours, but also boasts a few unique twists of its own. In a local restaurant, enjoy a traditional Czech meal accompanied by the planet's most perfect pilsner. During dinner, lively musicians in traditional dress set the mood with songs and dances from Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia.

Adult Price: EUR 59.00

Code: PRA0003

Dinner In A Country Mansion

Cross the Danube, passing the famous Prater Park en route to one of Austria's most famous restaurants. Former patrons include Napoleon, the Emperor Franz Joseph, Liz Taylor and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once through the door of this historic country mansion you're transported to a different world! Old memorabilia, autographed photos and other paraphernalia cover the ceilings, walls and even the rest rooms. Choose from traditional Austrian fare, enjoy unlimited drinks and be serenaded by musicians at your table. A fun-filled experience never to be forgotten!

Adult Price: EUR 63.00

Code: VIE0003

Hidden Treasures Of Old Vienna Walk

A leisurely walk with an expert historian unveils the hidden squares and tucked-away corners of the old city. See the Hofburg Palace, which was the official residence of the Habsburg Empire for more then 600 years. Admire the beautiful baroque Church of St. Peter's and the Column of the Holy Trinity. See the most important House of Mozart, where "Marriage of Figaro" was composed. Finally, visit St. Stephen's Cathedral where your local expert explains its importance to Austrian culture and history.

Adult Price: EUR 30.00

Code: VIE0004

Accommodation

 

Corinthia Hotel Budapest

Budapest (Heritage) - Hungary

Located in the heart of the city, the Corinthia Hotel Budapest blends classic hotel opulence with the finest five-star luxury. Its refurbished Royal Spa is simply stunning!

Mercure Kraków Stare Miasto.

Kraków (Contemporary) - Poland

The stylish Mercure Kraków Stare Miasto is conveniently located at the heart of the city, just a 15 minute walk from the city's Old Town Square. Its trendy interiors are a reflection of how this historic city is evolving in modern times. Rooms are tastefully designed with a splash of colour, the perfect retreat after a day of exploring.

The Westin Warsaw.

Warsaw (Traditional) - Poland

Hotel NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie.

Berlin (Contemporary) - Germany

Hotel NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie places  you at the heart of the fascinating and historic city of Berlin. Within a short walk you'll discover trendy shopping areas and key sights like Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie. Having been recently renovated, rooms are comfortable, and designed in a modern, minimalist style.

Lindner Hotel Prague Castle

Prague (Traditional) - Czech Republic

Stay in the quiet and breathtakingly beautiful Castle district near the aristocrats and Heads of State. Next to the famous Strahov Monastry, the Linder Hotel Prague Castle is set in a historic building dating back to the 16th century.

Hotel Old Inn, Český Krumlov.

Český Krumlov (Historic) - Czech Republic

In the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Český Krumlov, you'll find the traditionally-styled Hotel Old Inn, nestled beside the city's main square.

Hilton Vienna

Vienna (Contemporary) - Austria

Set in the heart of Vienna and featuring contemporary decor, the award-winning Hilton Vienna hotel is one of Austria's premier hotels.

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*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.