Day 1: Join trip in Budapest, Hungary; orientation walk of the city
In and around BudapestOur adventure begins in the Hungary’s capital city, Budapest, where we spend the night. Situated on a beautiful stretch of the Danube River, the city consists of two parts: Buda and Pest. Buda is the older, more graceful part, with cobbled streets and medieval buildings, whilst the latter is the modern business centre. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 4:30pm for the welcome meeting and, utilising local transport, they will to take us on an orientation walking tour of the main sights of this impressive city. We’ll see the Basilica of Saint Stephen and the Parliament buildings before crossing the Chain Bridge to the Castle District and Watertown. Here lie Buda’s most ancient gems – Castle Hill with the Old Town, Fisherman’s Bastion and the Royal Palace. After the tour for those that wish there will be the chance to go for dinner. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you’ll need to arrive into Budapest Airport (BUD). There is a lot to see and do in Budapest; if you can spare the time, we suggest arriving a day early to make the most of this fascinating city. Alternatively, you could consider combining this holiday with the Krakow to Budapest Adventure (explore.co.uk/CZ) to make a two-week holiday. Please note that if you wish to join the orientation tour today, you must arrive at the hotel by 4.30pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport. It’s around 45 minutes’ drive from the airport to the hotel, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 2.30pm. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will leave you information giving the meeting time for the next day in the hotel reception and will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Day 2: Drive to Bratislava, Slovakia with a walking tour on arrival
In and around BratislavaAfter the journey from Budapest we will spend a nice leisurely afternoon in historical Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. It used to be the capital of the former Hungarian Kingdom and was known as ‘Pressburg’ and went through tough times at war with the Ottoman Empire. We will walk through the Old Town’s maze of pretty Medieval streets and squares surrounded by numerous cafes and trendy bistros. We pass by Michael’s Gate which is the only remaining old entrance to the city, the pretty Main Square, Neoclassical Primate’s Palace and Cathedral of Saint Martin. After the walk you can continue your discovery by visiting one of the oldest castles in Slovakia or by enjoying a birds eye view from city’s most famous landmark, the so-called UFO bridge, which affords views over the ‘panelaky’ typical communist era blocks of flats and various other fairly radical urban projects.
Day 3: Train to Vienna, Austria; chance to travel back by boat
In and around ViennaThis morning we take a short train ride (about 1 hour) to Austria’s capital, Vienna, where we enjoy a walking tour of the Old City with a local guide. This should offer a good initial overview of the history and the structure of the city. Sights during the walk will include the Karlsplatz, Heroes Square, Hofburg (Imperial Palace Complex), Imperial Treasury, National Library, Spanish Riding School, Vienna’s ancient housing estates, Saint Stephens Church and the Opera. We won’t have time to enter any of these places on our tour but afterwards you will be free to return to visit any that you wish. You can choose to return to Bratislava by train at your leisure (we will provide a return ticket) or you may prefer to book a boat trip back along the Danube River (taking approximately 2 hours).
Day 4: Visit to Lednice-Valtice and wine tasting in Mikulov, Czech Republic
In and around Valtice, Lednice, MikulovWe start our day with a train trip (taking around 1 hour), followed by a short bus journey to the beautiful town of Mikulov. Filled with history embodied in architectural monuments, this small town offers something for everyone. Situated in the very heart of the wine region, it has plenty of walking paths with local and family run wine cellars or wine tasting centres along the way. En route to Mikulov we stop at Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the largest artificial landscapes in Europe and here we will take a walk around the castle park of Chateau Lednice. In the afternoon we visit the Jewish Cemetery in Mikulov with centuries old tombs and it is the final resting place of many prominent rabbis. Following our visit we’ll enjoy a wine tasting of Mikulov’s local produce.
Day 5: Train to Prague and explore on foot
In and around PragueA train journey takes us to our final destination of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. Our train travel today will involve a change of trains and take approximately 4.5 hours in total. Twelve centuries have adorned it with a labyrinth of old streets and wonderful palaces and bridges. We enjoy a guided city tour, which will take in some of the main highlights including the Old Town Square and City Hall, set amid antique houses and arcades. Other sites include the Astronomical Clock, Powder Tower and Prague Ghetto, which includes the Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues. We also see Charles Bridge, the most handsome bridge over the Vltava River and the area of Hradcany which contains the castle of the Bohemian Kings.
Day 6: Free day in Prague with the option to visit Konopiste Castle
On our second day in Prague you are free to enjoy the city at your leisure. You may wish to head by local train to the 700 year old Konopiste Castle. The castle was once owned by Archduke Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered the start of World War I. A boat trip on the Vltava River is another possibility. There are also many classical music concerts to be found. If the timing is right, you may be lucky to see a performance in one of the old atmospheric churches. There the option of visiting the Bunker Museum, where a range of Cold War relics are on display from an age when paranoia and spying was at an all-time high, which is housed in a former communist bunker underneath the city.
Day 7: Trip ends in Prague
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Prague. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Prague at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Prague Airport (PRG).