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Get ready to bask in the beauty of the Balkans. This Eastern Europe tour winds through countless famous landscapes, cities and landmarks. Walk along the ancient walls of Dubrovnik and cross the Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana. Explore Budapest and Vienna with passionate local guides, and drink in the beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Choose a Montenegro day trip or Danube evening cruise to add to your experience. Perhaps you want to go sea kayaking at sunset, or enjoy Czech folk music evening? The choice is yours. Eastern Europe awaits...
We use a variety of hotels in each destination, so you may stay in a hotel different to that listed here. Hotels are selected closer to departure date; you will receive a confirmed list one week prior to your departure date.
The first day of the tour is an arrivals day. Meet your fellow travellers, and depending on what time you arrive, head into Munich and see the sights ahead of the start of your tour. A city that exhibits both prosperity and a certain amount of comfort and cosiness, Munich’s apparent contradictions will delight the avid explorer. Along with modern high-powered industry, designer shopping districts and sleek BMWs, you’ll find a wealth of cultural hotspots in Munich. Even with all its smart sophistication, Munich has a certain charm that visitors find irresistible. Tonight, meet your fellow explorers and get to know them over a beer as we take you to a traditional German beer hall for dinner and to get a taste of German culture. Prost!
Heading for the Slovenian capital, we stop at Salzburg on the way for a comfort stop. Featuring gorgeous architecture, a formidable cliff-top fortress and imposing cliffs in the distance, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in a fairy tale. This was also Mozart’s home-town – see if a little of the genius rubs off! We also stop at Lake Bled for a photo stop. The lake is situated in the Julian Alps and surrounds Bled Island in the middle of the lake, and is overlooked by the medieval Bled Castle on the north shore. On arrival in Ljubljana, we’ll have a walking tour of this little gem of a city. Despite its small size, you’re sure to be entranced by the beauty of this city, which features a wealth of cultures, activities and sights. Ljubljana Castle overlooks the city, and dates back to the 16th Century.
Today, you will be treated to some of the most picturesque natural landscapes in the whole of Europe as we’re off to Croatia, visiting the world-famous Plitvice Lakes National Park. Stroll along the boardwalks and marvel at the incredible natural scenery of Croatia’s largest national park. Filled with waterfalls, lush vegetation and countless lakes, this is one of the most beautiful stops on the tour, so keep your cameras handy! Once we’ve got an eyeful, and a full camera-load of shots, we'll head to our hotel in a beach resort near Split, for an included dinner and relaxing evening.
As we make our way to Dubrovnik we'll stop off for a visit to Split, where you'll have time to stroll around this historic town, including the sprawling Diocletian’s Palace complex. Once we reach Dubrovnik, your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour of the old town. You will be acquainted with this stunning walled city, with a maritime history dating back to the Middle Ages. The city is a tapestry of spectacular architecture - including churches, monasteries, fountains and museums. Learn about the city’s history, stroll the marble streets, take a walk along the ancient city walls or try one of the many charming restaurants. You have plenty of time to explore, so don’t rush - you have a full free day tomorrow.
Take the time to explore the city further - with most of the main attractions located within the city walls in the ‘old town’, it is very easy to plan your day and navigate the streets. Want the best views of the ‘old town’ and islands? Catch the cable car to the top of Mount Srdj and enjoy! It is highly recommended for a scenic sunset photo or two. For those who really want to explore further afield, you can choose our optional excursion to Montenegro! Take a full day to experience one of Europe’s lesser-visited gems. Discover the natural beauty and rich history as we drive through charming countryside to the UNESCO Heritage listed town of Kotor. The old port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period, and is a picturesque Mediterranean landscape. This day trip also includes photo stops at Verige and Perast, and a stop at the picturesque coastal town of Budva.
Leaving Dubrovnik behind, we travel on to Sarajevo, stopping on the way in the enchanting Balkan town of Mostar. Mostar is an enchanting and historical place, which offers a splattering of numerous religious buildings and churches, and a vast collection of Roman, Greek, Croatian and Ottoman influences. Sarajevo is the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has returned from the brink of destruction in the 90s, becoming famed for its East-meets-West atmosphere. Learn all about the city’s troubled past in a walking tour of this fascinating city.
Saying goodbye to Sarajevo, we make our way to the Serbian capital of Belgrade. We will enjoy a tour of the city with a local guide, who will introduce us to the city's highlights, including Republic Square, Bohemian Quarter (Skadarlija), Kalemegdan park and Belgrade fortress. A fascinating place, Belgrade radiates gritty exuberance in its many architectural contrasts with socialist blocks set amongst more grandiose buildings. After the walking tour we'll enjoy an included dinner, before some free time to explore the city.
Leaving Serbia behind we head for Hungary, making a stop at a farm in the traditional homeland of the Hungarian horse lords. Watch a traditional horse show where the locals demonstrate their equestrian skills. You will have the opportunity to try the world’s best Hungarian goulash, a rich and hearty beef stew, at an optional lunch hosted by the farm. We then travel onward to Budapest. With a great mix of natural beauty and art nouveau architecture, this is a city to behold. Embark on an evening driving tour to get an overview of the city. Travel across the mighty Danube and make a stop at the Fisherman’s Bastion for spectacular views across the river to the Parliament Building and St Stephen’s basilica. Take note of all the spots to revisit tomorrow on your free day!
With traces of the past evident in the interesting and unusual details, this is your chance to get up close and personal with Budapest. Look out for remnants of the conflicts of WWII and the uprising of 1956, try Hungarian cuisine (so much more to it than just goulash), sample world-renowned wines, and soak your weary rambler’s bones in one of the city’s bath-houses – something Budapest has been known for since the Roman times, with some 123 thermal and 400 mineral springs from 14 different sources. Then, maybe catch the sunset with an evening stroll along the Danube.
Leaving Budapest behind, we head for the grandeur of Vienna. Along the way we'll stop off in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour to see some of the main sights, including a photostop at Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the city. On arrival in Vienna we’ll take a driving tour of the city. Few cities can show off such cultural and historical splendour and maintain a profile as an exciting, modern city, but Vienna does it well. Along with a musical past that includes luminaries like Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms, and artworks by masters like Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka, Vienna has a buzzing modern culinary scene, cheerful, bustling pubs and bars, and a host of clubs and music venues in which to dance the night away.
On the way to Prague today, we will be visiting Mauthausen concentration camp, where we’ll learn about a darker chapter in Europe’s history. A labour camp during the Second World War, this was where hundreds of thousands of political prisoners lost their lives. We’ll also take a comfort stop in Český Krumlov. Blessed with a spectacular castle and a wealth of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, Český Krumlov is often thought of as a sort of mini-Prague. On arrival in Prague, we’ll take a walking tour of this incredible city, which since freeing itself from communism has joined other European jewels like Paris, Rome and Amsterdam to take its place as one of Europe’s most fascinating destinations. Famous for its art, architecture, cobbled lanes and ancient chapels, this is also home to some of Europe’s finest beer. Your local tour guide will proudly escort you through the historic streets, pointing out the features of the ‘Old Town’, Primatial Palace, Slovak National Theatre and the Main Square. For dinner, experience authentic Czech cuisine at our local restaurant on your first night in Prague.
Today, take the time to explore, perhaps revisiting some of the sights you saw on your walking tour. Sample the local cuisine (including the much-lauded and hugely varied beers), visit art galleries, admire the weird and witty sculpture that adorns the city’s public spaces, and marvel at the soaring gothic and baroque architecture. Highlights of the day might include the majestic Prague Castle, the famous Charles Bridge, the ‘Old Town’ and the Jewish Quarter. For those who wish to put your stamp on the city, visit legendary Lennon wall - a tribute to John Lennon and words of peace, which is added to on a daily basis by the thousands of visitors to the city.
On our way back to Munich, we take a comfort stop in Nuremberg. Bavaria’s second-largest city, you’ll find incredible architecture here, painstakingly restored using original stone after the bombings of the Second World War. Your last night of the tour sees you back in Munich for you to enjoy as you see fit. Relax in your hotel, get together with your new-found friends from the tour for a farewell dinner, or maybe revisit one of the beer halls that welcomed you so warmly at the beginning of your adventure.
The tour concludes today after breakfast. Don’t forget to swap details with your fellow travellers before your onward journey home!
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