Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers.
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Is This Trip Right for You?
This moderately active trip covers a fair amount of ground each day. Expect from three to four hours walking every touring day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.
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12 Day Heart of Central Europe: Slovakia & Czech Republic
DAY 1, Thursday - Depart for Austria Depart on your flight to Vienna, Austria
DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Vienna and Transfer to Bratislava Arrive in Vienna and transfer to your hotel in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, set on the Danube by the border of Austria and Hungary. The city has undergone a major revitalization and now flourishes as one of Europe's newest capitals. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Tonight at approximately 6 pm, meet your fellow travelers and Tour Manager at an orientation meeting about the delightful journey that lies ahead, followed by a Welcome Dinner at the hotel. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm on Day 2 of the itinerary, or earlier if possible Overnight: Bratislava Meals: Dinner
DAY 3, Saturday - Bratislava City Tour, Home Hosted Visit This morning's sightseeing will include a walking tour of Bratislava's historic Old Town, nestled between the steep Castle Hill and the Danube River. View the elegant pale pink and white Primatial Square, with its Renaissance fountain and the Old Town Hall, dating from the 15th century. Learn about Bratislava’s long and turbulent history, as you stroll along the Old Town. Continue to Franciscan Square, named after its 18th century Franciscan church and monastery. Pass by Mirbach Palace, a Rococo style residence dating from 1770 that houses permanent exhibitions of the Bratislava City Gallery. Afterward, visit the 15th century St Martin's Cathedral, Bratislava’s biggest church. During the Ottoman occupation of Budapest, the church served as the coronation site for Hungarian kings. In the afternoon, travel by public tram to a residential area for a home hosted visit. Sip coffee or tea with your hosts and experience a unique opportunity to learn about their values and traditions. Afterward, take a tour of the neighborhood to observe local life. Tonight, explore Bratislava's nightlife on your own and treat yourself to a delectable Slovak dinner Overnight: Bratislava Meals: Breakfast
DAY 4, Sunday - Medieval Banska Stiavnica After breakfast this morning, head east to the historic mining town of Banska Stiavnica in central Slovakia. The town was established in the 13th century, although evidence of mining dates back to the Neolithic period, making it the oldest mining town in Slovakia. Upon arrival, embark on a walking tour of the striking medieval town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. View the Holy Trinity Square, the Gothic style St. Catherine Church, and the impressive Holy Trinity Column, built as a gratitude for the retreat of the plague epidemic in the years 1710 – 1711. Learn more about the town’s fascinating history and discover its rich mining heritage. Afterward, check into the hotel and spend time at leisure before tonight's dinner at a local restaurant Overnight: Banska Stiavnica Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 5, Monday - Banska Bystrica, 'Krcma' Slovak Pub, Strbske Pleso Today, drive northeast towards Banska Bystrica, a copper mining town, that was part of the exclusive trio of the richest central Slovakian mining towns, nestled in the Low Tatras Mountain range. Explore the town's important historical, and cultural centre. View the central SNP square, the pride of Banska Bystrica, the slender Clock tower, that was built in 1552 as part of the town prison and St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. On the southern end of the square, admire the well preserved Thurzo’s House, a nobleman’s mansion, with an architectural mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style. Proceed to the Namestie Stefana Moyzesa square flanked by buildings that once formed the town castle, built in the 12th and 13th centuries. Later, meet with a local student and hear about the education system and life today in Slovakia. Continue the tour with a tasting of locally produced beer during your visit at a local 'Krcma' Slovak Pub, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Then, head to picturesque Strbske Pleso, a village located on the southern bank of a glacial lake of the same name in the High Tatra Mountains. After checking into your hotel, take an orientation walk of the village followed by dinner at the hotel Overnight: Strbske Pleso Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 6, Tuesday - Tatranska Lomnica, Cable Car Ride to Lomnicky Stit, Spis Castle, Levoca A spectacular drive this morning to Tatranska Lomnica, a recreational town, located in the heart of the High Tatras Mountains that form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. It is the tallest mountain range within the Carpathian Mountains with 25 peaks often called "the smallest alpine mountains in Europe". Ride a cable car all the way up to the second highest point in Slovakia - Lomnicky Stit at 8641 feet above sea level. Weather permitting, experience a unique panoramic view of the area. In the afternoon, journey to the charming 13th century town of Levoca, one of the best preserved medieval towns in Slovakia. En route, view Spis Castle, Slovakia's largest medieval fortress. The 12th century castle, a UNESCO's World Heritage Site is considered to be one of the most significant historical monuments of the Spis region. Upon arrival in Levoca, embark on a walking tour of the historic center. Stroll along the narrow cobbled streets, view the old city walls, the Renaissance Town Hall, and striking townhouses of the local nobility in the late Middle Ages. Visit the 14th century Roman Catholic Church of St. James. Its interior features the tallest wooden altar in the world standing at 61 feet high, carved by Master Paul of Levoca. Afterward, return to Strbske Pleso Overnight: Strbske Pleso Meals: Breakfast
DAY 7, Wednesday - Bojnice Castle Depart Strbske Pleso for the small spa town of Bojnice with its picturesque wooden cabins and paintings on the walls. Here, visit fairy-tale Bojnice Castle, perched on a travertine hill above the town. From the original 12th century fortification, only the foundations remain. A reconstruction during the early 20th century by the Palffy, a Hungarian noble family that drew inspiration from the castles of France’s Loire Valley, transformed Bojnice Castle to its present Neo-Baroque splendour. Light pink sandstone towers and crenellated turrets make this romantic castle the most visited in Slovakia. Currently the castle houses a museum of art and history. The exhibition contains the original furniture, various artifacts and paintings like the most valuable late Gothic alterpiece of Bojnice collection by Italian artist Nardo di Cione Ortagna from the mid-14th century. Afterward, spend time at leisure. Tonight, a unique and authentic experience awaits you. Take a short drive outside the town of Bojnice to a small village where you will meet and chat with locals during your barbecue dinner. Listen to local musicians perform traditional music Overnight: Bojnice Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 8, Thursday - Explore Brno Today’s journey takes you to Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, and former capital of Moravia, located on the eastern foothills of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. Discover the history, modern architecture and culture of Brno during your city tour. View Spilberk Castle, dominating the skyline of Brno, built on a hill directly above the city's historical centre in the mid 13th century as a seat for rulers of Moravia. In the heart of the city admire the imposing Neo-Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter & Paul, the Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock, an unusual clock that commemorates a historical victory over the Swedes. Continue to the Jewish Cemetery and the 364 foot tall AZ Tower, the tallest building in the Czech Republic. After, check into your hotel and spend time at leisure. Gather together for dinner tonight Overnight: Brno Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 9, Friday - Punkva Caves, Porta Coeli Convent, Pernstejn Castle Early in the morning depart Brno for a drive north to the Punkva Caves, one of the best-known of the Moravian Karst. Delve into the sprawling caves, a protected nature reserve with more than 1100 caves and gorges. Take the shuttle to reach the cave entrance. Journey inside the caves and board a boat to float down the underground Punkva River. Pass through narrow caverns that open into rock pools accented by rising stalagmite columns and hanging stalactite composed of limestone. After your boat ride, take a cable car and ascend to viewing platforms for a peek into the 450 foot deep gorge of the Macocha Abyss. After lunch, drive to Porta Coeli, or Gateway to Heaven Convent, a unique convent complex from the 13th century, where a community of Cistercian nuns still lives. View the richly decorated Gothic portal of the Basilica, the chapter hall, and cloister. Continue with a visit to the impressive Pernštejn Castle*, one of the best preserved castles in the Czech Republic, known as the marble castle because of the marble-like stone used to frame its doors and windows. It was founded in the 13th century and served as the seat of the powerful lords of Pernštejn. Return to Brno and spend your evening at leisure *For October departures, the visit to Pernstejn Castle is not available Overnight: Brno Meals:Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 10, Saturday - Prague City Tour, Cooking Lesson Travel through Southern Bohemia to the Czech capital, Prague - "The City of a Thousand Spires". Upon arrival, take a walking tour of Prague to the picturesque Lesser Town (Malá Strana) also known as the Little Quarter, with its ancient burgher houses and quaint side streets. Enjoy breathtaking views as you cross the 14th century Charles Bridge, with its 30 Baroque statues of various saints, one of Europe's oldest stone bridges, to the Old Town, the medieval center of Prague. Explore the cobbled streets around Old Town Square and stroll into the Jewish Quarter, once the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe. View the white stucco St. Nicholas Church, the world-famous Astronomical Clock, and the Town Hall. Tonight, participate in a culinary lesson led by a skilled chef. Follow a step-by-step preparation of your dinner and savor the delectable results together Overnight: Prague Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 11, Sunday - Terezin, Farewell Dinner Morning visit to the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Terezin, a place of suffering and inhumanity for over 150,000 prisoners. Upon arrival, walk to the camp’s ghettos where more than 35,000 Jews lost their lives and learn the history behind one of the largest camps in the Czech Republic. Afterward, pay homage to the thousands of the camp’s victims at the Terezin Memorial. Continue to the Ghetto Museum, which was originally built as school to view historical exhibitions that will enhance your understanding of the Holocaust. Share memories of your trip, during your Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant tonight and bid goodbye to your Tour Manager and newfound friends Overnight: Prague Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 12, Monday - Depart the Czech Republic Transfer to the airport for your departure flight Meals: Breakfast
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Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel, Bratislava
This first class hotel is set in an ideal location on Hviezdoslav Square.