Why has Eastern Europe become such a popular travel destination? Perhaps it is the intriguing history of its ancient cities, the smiling faces of its humble people or the beauty of its many castles and exquisite architecture. And don't forget about the efficient tram systems, beautiful countryside train rides and numerous transportation museums. All are featured on our first-ever tour to this part of the world. Come find out for yourself why people are flocking here! Experience Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Krakow and Warsaw. Rail expert Werner Schorn of Germany will lead.
Day 1: Arrive Budapest. Upon arrival in Budapest, transfer to the Marriott Hotel on the Danube River. To start our tour, early this afternoon we'll walk across the Chain Bridge and take the funicular up Castle Hill for great views of the city. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers and tour guide, Werner Schorn, over a welcome dinner. Overnight: Marriott Hotel, Budapest. Meals included: (D).
Day 2: Budapest Tram tour - Hungarian Railway Museum. This morning we enjoy a tram tour of the city. Budapest's transportation system is convenient, well-organized and ever-expanding with buses, trams, metros and suburban trains. This afternoon we'll visit the Hungarian Railway Museum, an interactive park housing over 100 railway vehicles, as well as the nearby Museum of Transportation with its good collection of 1:5 scale locomotive models. Overnight: Marriott Hotel, Budapest. Meals included: (B), (L).
Day 3: Excursion to Szentendre - Great Plains of Southern Hungary. Today you may choose between two excursions. The first is a cruise up the Danube to the artists' village of Szentendre. Here you can visit galleries, small shops and a well-known ceramics museum before cruising back to Budapest. Alternatively, travel by train to the Great Plains of Southern Hungary. Stop in the city of Kecskemét and visit the city center's five churches and old town hall. Continue to Bugacpuszta and have a typical Hungarian meal in this area known for its gastronomic specialties. Overnight: Marriott Hotel, Budapest. Meals included:(B), (L).
Day 4: Budapest to Bratislava. Today we travel by train to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. Take in the city's sights including the Cathedral, Primates' Palace and Castle on our afternoon tram tour. Overnight: Radisson SAS, Bratislava. Meals included: (B, (L), (D).
Day 5: Day at leisure in Bratislava. Today is at your leisure in Bratislava. You may choose to visit the city's Museum of Transportation with Werner. Or explore the many beautiful churches, take in a museum or stroll through the pedestrian-only Old Town. If you prefer to take a day trip outside of the city, Werner can help with these plans. One suggestion: the nearby Strasshoff Railway Museum in Austria. Overnight: Radisson SAS, Bratislava. Meals included: (B).
Day 6: Bratislava to Prague - Prague Tram Museum. Admire the countryside of Slovakia and the Czech Republic today as we travel southwest to Prague, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, by first-class EuroCity train. This afternoon, we enjoy a walking tour of the city. Overnight: Hotel Ambassador Zlata Husa, Prague. Meals included: (B), (D).
Day 7: Prague Tram Tour. Our tram tour will feature Prague Castle and views of Charles Bridge and other historic and beautiful landmarks of this ancient city. This afternoon, visit the Prague Tram Museum and Technical Museum. The evening is at your leisure. Overnight: Hotel Ambassador Zlata Husa, Prague. Meals included: (B), (L).
Day 8: Railfan trip to the mountains of Northern Bohemia. Today we offer "the ultimate rail trip for real railfans" as described by our tour leader. Take a combination of trains east to the border of Poland and back, enjoying the spectacular scenery of the mountains and rural towns along the way. We'll ride a total of eight trains by our return to Prague. Werner will lead this tour. An optional alternative: a day-long excursion^ to the beautiful spa town of Karlovy Vary, founded in 1350 by Charles IV, the Roman Emperor. Enjoy a guided tour of the town and lunch at the Grand Hotel Pupp. There will be plenty of time for shopping and poking around this beautiful town before returning to Prague. An English-speaking guide will lead this excursion. Overnight: Hotel Ambassador Zlata Husa, Prague. Meals included: (B).
Day 9: Prague to Krakow. A different route east of Prague will take us to Krakow, medieval capital of Poland. We will enjoy much of the day on a comfortable EuroCity train as we travel through the countryside. Krakow is one of the few cities spared total devastation during World War II; the centuries-old architecture is a delight. City highlights and rail interests abound here. The Polish State Railways has a vast network. Krakow is the major junction for the whole of Europe, and international trains call here daily, along with hourly trains from Warsaw. Overnight: Radisson SAS, Krakow. Meals included: (B), (D).
Day 10: Krakow Tour. Enjoy a city tour this morning, including Old Town, Wawel Cathedral and the Royal Castle. Spend the afternoon at your leisure exploring this fascinating city. Overnight: Radisson SAS, Krakow. Meals included: (B).
Day 11: Krakow to Warsaw. Today we travel by InterCity train to Warsaw, capital city of Poland for four centuries. Bombed to rubble in World War II, its old quarter has been miraculously restored. Sites to see here are the Royal Castle, Old Town Market Square, St. John's Cathedral, Lazienki Park and the Chopin Monument and the Wilanow Palace, dubbed "The Versailles of Poland." Enjoy a tour of the city this afternoon. Overnight: Holiday Inn, Warsaw. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Day at leisure in Warsaw. Today is at your leisure to explore Warsaw in depth or to travel outside of the city. In Warsaw are two museums of note: Marie Curie's Birthplace/Museum and the Museum of Independence, showing the struggle for freedom until the fall of Communism in 1989. Werner can help you make arrangements for the day. Overnight: Holiday Inn, Warsaw. Meals included: (B).
Day 13: Railway Museum of Poland. Visit the Railway Museum of Poland together this morning. Later, we visit the Frederic Chopin birthplace and enjoy a summer concert. Our farewell dinner will be together at a local restaurant. Overnight: Holiday Inn, Warsaw. Meals included: (B), (D).
Day 14: Tour ends after breakfast this morning at the hotel. Meals included: (B).
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Europe Czech Republic Hungary Poland Local Culture Railway Trips Museum Tours