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Magic of Eastern Europe

• Budapest • Vienna • Prague
On this outstanding leisurely tour we will visit historic cities, fairytale medieval villages, Gothic castles and  interesting monuments in three of Europe's oldest countries.
We begin in Budapest, the architecturally stunning and historic capital of Hungary. With well over 1000 years of documented history, Budapest today is perhaps the most exciting commercial, cultural and entertainment centre in Eastern Europe.  Majestic bridges span across the Danube river linking “Buda’s” medieval grandeur with “Pest’s” magnificent 19th century buildings, grandly designed boulevards and one the world’s most famous and beautiful Opera Houses. The city is abundant with lively pedestrian streets, squares and cafes, and boasts numerous museums, art galleries and spas. While in Budapest we will stay in a lovely spa hotel.

Our next stop is Vienna, one of Europe's most elegant and historic capital cities. Vienna boasts magnificent old buildings, museums full of treasures and the musical traditions of its famous opera, choirs and orchestras. Of course the elegant shops that line the great avenues add to the charm.

We finish off in the golden city of Prague - the ancient capital of Bohemia and now the capital city of the Czech Republic. The City of a Hundred Spires is built on seven hills and spans the River Vltava, yet is small enough for a good walker to see most of the major sights, including the soaring cathedrals and lavish palaces. Prague's lively squares and avenues give the city a festive air and its museums, concert halls, ballet and opera performances are world class.

 * Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Budapest, non-stop from Toronto.
We arrive in Budapest and transfer to our lovely spa hotel. Re-energize in the hotel’s thermal spa’s healing waters, or further explore their unique treatments, salt cave and more prior to our Welcome Dinner this evening.
Our city tour begins at the top of Gellert Hill with its magnificent view over the Danube River and the city. We visit the Castle District, where the Royal Palace housing the National Gallery is located, and then stroll to the Fisherman’s Bastion with a visit to the famous Mathias Church. We drive along the grand boulevards passing by the House of Parliament with a stop at Heroe’s Square. Included will be a coffee and Hungarian Pastry at the elegant 19th century Gerbeaud Coffee House - a mecca for pastry lovers. Then we stroll through the lively pedestrian streets of central Budapest. Afternoon at leisure. Tonight we enjoy a typical Hungarian dinner and folklore show.
We take an excursion to the historic part of the Danube Bend where the river and countryside are most alluring. We visit the artisan village of Szentendre, which retains its beautiful 18th century Baroque architecture and a cobbled main square designated a national historic monument. We’ll visit the Kovacs Margit Ceramics Museum, showing the lifework of the innovator of Hungarian ceramic art. There will be free time to explore the village’s hidden passages and streets rich with Hungarian specialty shops, before continuing to Visegrad. Our included lunch by the hilltop fortress offers a spectacular view of the Danube Bend. Look out for the tower where “Dracula” was imprisoned by the medieval Hungarian King Mathias!
At leisure. Perhaps enjoy the hotel’s thermal spa and services, attend one of the many musical events the city is famous for, or visit the world’s 2nd largest Synagogue. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to assist with suggestions. Tonight we enjoy a romantic Dinner Cruise on the Danube.
En route to Vienna we stop in two charming cities: the old Hungarian city of Gyor, known as the “City of Waters”, and the capital of Slovakia - Bratislava. We will have short walking tours of both cities, through their quaint pedestrian Old Town centres abundant with statues, old city squares and 18th century pastel-coloured buildings. Later we arrive in Vienna.
Our city tour of Vienna shows us the Opera House, Hofburg Palace and many other grand buildings and monuments built when Vienna was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire. We visit the Schonbrunn Palace with its 440 rooms and magnificent interiors. The Grand Gallery is where Mozart gave his first royal concert. This evening we will dine at the Palace followed by a concert performance of the works of Mozart and Strauss in the Palace Orangery.
Our tour of the lovely Vienna Woods includes visits of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey and the former Imperial hunting lodge at Mayerling. Before returning to Vienna we enjoy a special dinner with musical entertainment and wine at one of Vienna's famous wine villages.
A day of leisure to enjoy this Imperial city. The city planning of The Ring makes for easy exploring. Try the coffee and Austrian torte - a local tradition. Your Tour Manager will be on hand with suggestions or you might like an optional tour to the countryside or the Abbey of Melk.
We depart Vienna and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cesky Krumlov. This picture postcard, beautiful fortified medieval town is surrounded by unspoiled countryside. Our walking tour will take us through the historic centre of narrow cobblestone streets winding along romantic nooks abundant with lively shops, cafes, and museums. Lunch is included. After our tour we will proceed to Prague for a 4-night stay.
Our coach and walking tour will show us the stunning sights of the Hradcany Castle district, with a visit to the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral, the Loretto Chapel and “The Golden Lane” - named after the goldsmiths who lived here in the 17th century. Some of the alchemists attempted to turn metal into gold here!
We continue our guided walking tour with a stroll across the Charles Bridge to Lesser Town’s winding narrow streets, where we see the artisan houses, small 17th century palaces, the Jewish Ghetto and the famous astronomical clock. We will enjoy a 1-hour river cruise through the historic district, then an afternoon at leisure.
At leisure in the Golden City. Prague is a very pleasant and lively city in which to stroll, so you may want to revisit Little Town and some of the quaint shops (best buys are crystal and garnet jewelry). Enjoy a coffee (and people watching) in Old Town Square. After dinner, why not visit one of the local pubs to enjoy the famous dark ales brewed here. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home, direct non-stop to Toronto.
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