Prices do not include optional tours, and gratuities for guides/tour managers. Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.
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Is This Trip Right for You?
This moderately active trip covers a lot of ground most days. Expect up to three to four hours walking every touring day, where you could encounter some uneven surfaces, cobbled streets, stairs, and steep slopes. Some hiking may be required to access some sites. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.
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13 Day Central Europe & Balkans Exploration
DAY 1, Sunday - Depart for Hungary Depart on your flight to Budapest, Hungary
DAY 2, Monday - Arrive in Budapest Arrive in Budapest, capital of Hungary and one of Europe's most enchanting cities. After transferring to your hotel, take time to settle in and adjust to your new surroundings before tonight’s orientation meeting with your Tour Manager at approximately 6 pm on the adventure that lies ahead. Afterwards, join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm or earlier, if possible
DAY 3, Tuesday - Cooking Lesson, Tour Budapest Begin the day with a walk through a local market with your guide. Here, shop like a native for ingredients needed to prepare a typical Hungarian meal. Then, travel to a nearby professional kitchen to learn how to cook traditional Hungarian dishes. After the cooking lesson, reward yourself with a 3-course lunch that you and your fellow travelers have created. In the afternoon, embark on a city tour that takes you to Pest with a chance to view the Parliament, Royal Palace and Heroes' Square. You will cross the Danube River on the Elizabeth Bridge into the Buda Hills. Arrive at Castle Hill and visit its 13th century Matthias Coronation Church, one of the most unique churches in Europe. From Fisherman's Bastion, enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Later, return to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 4, Wednesday - Kecskemet, Horse Show, Timisoara Historical Center A scenic drive to Kecskemet, situated in the heart of the southern Great Plain. Arrive at the farmhouse called “Csarda” with its equestrian park. Hungarian horsemen welcome you with a special bread cake and Palinka (a Hungarian fruit brandy). Later, take a carriage ride through the Puszta, a grassland biome on the Great Hungarian Plain. Attend an equestrian show exhibiting the art and skills of the local horsemen. Following lunch at the farmhouse, travel to Timisoara, the city where the Romanian revolution started in 1989. At Timisoara Historical Center, visit the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, an iconic sight of Timisoara, built in 1946 in Neo-Moldavian style. Walk to Piata Victoriei, the city's picturesque main square to view Huniade Castle, the oldest monument in Timisoara, built between 1443 and 1447. Later, view the Fabric district and the 19th century Fabric Synagogue, a Neologue synagogue with an eclectic mix of architectural styles. Conclude the tour with dinner at a local restaurant
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5, Thursday - Discover Novi Sad, Wine Tasting, Belgrade Today, cross the border to Serbia and visit the beautiful city of Novi Sad. During your walking tour, view the major attractions, including Liberty Square, the beautiful Cathedral in the heart of the city and the Serbian National Theater, the first theater in the country. Next, see the Petrovaradin Fortress, nicknamed “Gibraltar on the Danube” due to its strategic location and significance that the fortress had for the Hapsburg monarchy. It represents one of the best-preserved artillery bastions in Europe with more than 10 miles of underground ways and tunnels. Later, learn about the region's wine industry at a local wine cellar, where you sample regional wine specialties. Continue your journey to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Tonight, enjoy dinner with live music in a typical restaurant in Skadarlija, the Bohemian quarter of Belgrade
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 6, Friday - Tour Belgrade, Historic Topola The morning tour of Belgrade includes a visit to the imposing Kalemegdan Fortress, dramatically set at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, this fortress witnessed major defensive battles. View the Republic Square, bustling Knez Mihajlova Street, the imposing Saint Sava Temple, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world and Marshal Tito’s Memorial. In the afternoon travel to Topola, a small town south of Belgrade, that once was the residence of Karadjordje, founder of a royal dynasty and leader of the 1804 uprising against the Ottoman Empire. Head to the forested Oplenac hill - above the town of Topola, to visit St. George’s Church with its beautiful mosaics and the Mausoleum of the Serbian and Yugoslav Royal House of Karadordevic. After, return to the hotel. Tonight, opt to explore the exuberant nightlife of Belgrade
DAY 7, Saturday - Uzice, Drvengrad, Visegrad, Sarajevo Depart Belgrade this morning and travel towards Sarajevo, making a stop at Uzice, a city where Josip Broz Tito, the ruler of Yugoslavia, created an independent state, called the Republic of Uzice. Continue to Drvengrad (Wooden town), where famous director Emir Kusturica built the beautiful ethno village. Later, proceed to Visegrad with its historic Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic Bridge on the Drina River. The bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built at the end of the 16th century and represents a masterpiece of civil engineering. It's also one of the best remaining examples of Ottoman architecture. Following lunch at a local restaurant, journey to Sarajevo for overnight
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 8, Sunday - Picturesque Sarajevo Begin your morning tour of Sarajevo, the capital of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a visit to a local coffee shop, where the owner will explain how Bosnian coffee is made. Afterward, enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee before heading to the picturesque Turkish Bazaar (Bascarsija), an ancient trading place with artisan workshops. Later, visit the nearby Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, one of the world's finest examples of Ottoman architecture. View the stadium from the 1984 Winter Olympic Games and visit the Gavrilo Princip Museum, dedicated to Archduke Ferdinand. Stop for lunch, that includes Cevapi (Bosnian national dish, grilled minced meat, a type of kebab with bread on the side). In the afternoon visit Sarajevo War Museum also known as Tunnel of Rescue and Tunnel of Hope. It was an underground tunnel constructed between March and June 1993 during the Siege of Sarajevo in the midst of the Bosnian War. Enjoy your evening at leisure
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 9, Monday - Dervish House, Multicultural Mostar Enjoy a beautiful drive through the gorge of the Neretva River to the historic town of Mostar. Along the way, stop in Blagaj, where you visit the Dervish House. The picturesque monastery, is a national monument, that dates back to 1520 and is located at the base of a cliff next to the river Buna. Continue to Mostar with its blend of cultures and religions, regarded as where East meets West. Walk the cobbled lanes of the attractively restored Ottoman Quarter with its vibrant bazaars and Turkish style houses. Marvel at the iconic gravity-defying Stari Most (Old Bridge), the reconstructed 16th century arched bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight, gather together for dinner at a local restaurant
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 10, Tuesday - Historic Pocitelj, Capljina Carpet Center, Olive Oil Tasting, Dubrovnik The walled town of Pocitelj is revealed today. Located on the left bank of Neretva River, this historic hillside town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural gem, blending Ottoman and Mediterranean style architecture. Continue to Capljina, where you visit a carpet center and learn about the carpet weaving tradition. Admire the richness of colors, motifs and design of the beautifully handwoven carpets. Later, visit a family home in the charming village of Orasac. Learn from the owner how olive oil production is made the traditional way. Taste the olive oil and some homemade cheese before continuing to Dubrovnik, with its picturesque setting on the Adriatic Sea
DAY 11, Wednesday - Explore Dubrovnik Dubrovnik stands as one of Europe's most beautifully preserved medieval cities, surrounded by ramparts, watchtowers, and the azure Adriatic Sea. Within its walls, spend the morning exploring a treasure trove of rich history. Visit the Gothic-Renaissance Rector's Palace, that served as the seat of the elected Rector. The palace is now a Cultural History Museum. View the richly decorated offices and quarters of the Rector, plus a collection of artwork and costumes. Afterward, tour the Franciscan Monastery with its 30,000-volume library, and the 14th century pharmacy that is the oldest still in function pharmacy in Europe. Enjoy stunning views of the Old Town and the Adriatic when you walk along the city's fortress wall. This 1¼ -mile stroll around Dubrovnik's perimeter offers a breathtaking perspective of red-roofed stone buildings and ancient, narrow alleys. Later, visit a local artisan to learn about the traditional craftsmanship that still thrives today. Balance of the day is at leisure
DAY 12, Thursday - Morning Lecture, Cable Car Ride, Home Hosted Farewell Dinner Today, attend a morning lecture to learn more about this fascinating medieval city. Later, ascend by cable car to the top of Mount Srdj, located at an elevation of 2,550 feet above sea level. Marvel at the breathtaking views of Dubrovnik's Old City, the crystal clear Adriatic Sea, and the numerous islands. The afternoon is free for individual explorations. Tonight, join a local family in their home for a traditional home hosted dinner. Bid farewell to your Tour Manager and newfound friends on your last night in Croatia
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 13, Friday - Depart Croatia Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
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Prestige Hotel Budapest, Budapest
This first class hotel is located in the heart of the city centre.