Marvel at the timeless beauty, charm and majesty of the capitals of Central Europe: Berlin, city of East and West; Vienna, renowned for its coffee houses; Budapest, situated on the Danube; Bratislava, the proud capital of Slovakia; and Prague, a gem of historic architecture. These jewels of the Old World are a rich blend of mystery, romance and history while also serving as centers of modern European culture.
Also visit the cities of Leipzig, with ties to both Richard Wagner and Johann Sebastian Bach; Dresden, a leading European center of art, culture and a military garrison; Krakow, where you will see sites such as the beautiful Market Square, Jagiellonian University and Wawel Castle; Nuremberg, with focus on the historic old town and the Documentation Center; and Wurzburg, one of the loveliest baroque cities in Germany and the starting point of the Romantic Road.
This 16-day tour includes 22 meals, escort, and motor coach transportation in Europe.
DAY 1 – Overnight Flight to Europe.
Refer to ‘Preparing for your Departure’ in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures. Take time to relax on your transatlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details.
DAY 2 – GERMANY . . Arrival at Frankfurt Airport – Eisenach.
Upon arrival, clear passport control and collect your luggage. Refer to your “Arrival Instructions” page in your Trip Documents for directions on where and when to meet your tour manager. Transfer to your hotel in Eisenach, situated in the Thuringian Forest. Eisenach is best known as the site of Wartburg Castle, where Martin Luther hid upon his return from the Diet of Worms in 1521 and completed his German translation of the New Testament. Adding to its renown, it is also the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach. The hotel hosts a “Welcome to Europe/Get-acquainted” dinner this evening. (Dinner)
DAY 3 – GERMANY . . Leipzig – Wittenberg – Berlin.
After breakfast at the hotel, travel to Leipzig, birthplace of Richard Wagner and the home of Johann Sebastian Bach from 1723 until his death in 1750. Following an introduction to the city by your tour manager, you may wish to visit the Thomaskirche, where J. S. Bach is buried. The New Town Hall, on the Burgplatz, is the site of the old citadel where Martin Luther delivered his momentous speech in 1519. After an independent lunch, board the motor coach for an afternoon visit to Wittenberg and the church where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door, beginning the Protestant Reformation. Continue to the vibrant German capital of Berlin, where you will arrive at your hotel in time for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 4 – GERMANY . . Berlin.
Start your day in Berlin with an informative sightseeing tour. The tour features such landmarks as the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate and the site of Checkpoint Charlie. The focal point of the city’s famous Kurfürstendamm avenue, affectionately called Ku’damm, is the bombed tower of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a reminder of WWII. The rest of the day is for free time, giving you the chance to visit some of Berlin’s outstanding museums. Dinner is independent tonight, providing the opportunity to enjoy Berlin’s world-class restaurants. (Breakfast)
DAY 5 – GERMANY . . Dresden & POLAND . . Legnica.
Depart Berlin for Dresden on the River Elbe. Upon arrival, the sightseeing tour will provide insight into the city’s history as a residence to royals, a leading European center of art and culture, and a military garrison. The city was nearly destroyed during bombing raids in February of 1945. Although large areas of the city were reconstructed in a socialist modern style, many important and historic buildings have been rebuilt in their original design, including the Semper Opera House, the Zwinger Palace and, as recently as 2005, the Dresden Frauenkirche. Depart Dresden in the late afternoon and continue into Poland for dinner at your hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 6 – POLAND . . Krakow.
A morning drive brings you to Krakow, known as the leading scientific, cultural and artistic center of Poland. You will arrive and check in to your Krakow hotel just after lunch, leaving the afternoon available to begin your visit with independent sightseeing and dinner. Or, for a unique experience, join the tour manager on the optional Krakow Salt Mines & Dinner excursion. (Breakfast)
DAY 7 – POLAND . . Krakow.
During an informative city tour this morning, a local guide will point out such sites as the beautiful Market Square, Jagiellonian University and Wawel Castle. Use the afternoon to explore the interesting museums, art galleries, churches, cafés and shops in Krakow’s Old Town. Another option for your afternoon is to accompany your tour manager on the optional Auschwitz-Birkenau excursion. Return to your Krakow hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 8 – SLOVAKIA . . Banská Bystrica & HUNGARY . . Budapest.
Today’s drive is filled with scenic beauty. Soon after crossing into Slovakia, you will be in the High Tatras, one of the world’s smallest mountain ranges. Your afternoon stop is in Banská Bystrica, one of seven towns founded by German settlers who mined copper and silver from the nearby hills. Directly beyond the Slovak/Hungarian border, follow the Danube Bend to Hungary’s sprawling capital city of Budapest, which claims both banks of the river. Dinner is served at your hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 9 – HUNGARY . . Budapest.
The day begins with sightseeing of both Buda on the Danube’s west bank and Pest on its east bank. In Buda, your local guide introduces you to the Castle Hill, with its much-photographed Fisherman’s Bastion. In Belvaros, the inner city of Pest, your guide points out the Vigadó (romantic concert hall) and the Gresham Palace (a splendid example of Art Nouveau architecture). After the city tour, you may choose to join the optional Parliament Visit excursion, or use this time to explore Budapest on your own. Your tour manager will offer an optional Danube Dinner Cruise excursion this evening. (Breakfast)
DAY 10 – AUSTRIA . . Vienna.
A morning departure from Budapest brings you into Austria and the beautiful city of Vienna. A local guide will provide an introduction of Vienna highlighting St. Stephen’s Cathedral. You will also see the Opera House, one of Vienna’s most beloved buildings. For your independent dinner, sample the local Austrian cuisine at a café near the hotel or join the optional Schönbrunn Palace & Dinner excursion. (Breakfast)
DAY 11 – AUSTRIA . . Vienna.
A full day in Vienna provides the chance to see more of the fascinating landmarks this city has to offer. Take a leisurely stroll along the Ringstrasse to see some of the city’s magnificent edifices, or venture into one of the museums in the new, highly-touted Museumsquartier (MQ). For exploration of Vienna’s surroundings, come along on the full-day optional Melk Abbey excursion. An independent dinner allows the flexibility to plan your evening according to your personal interests. (Breakfast)
DAY 12 – SLOVAKIA . . Bratislava & CZECH REPUBLIC . . Brno – Prague.
From Vienna, it is a short drive to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Your independent time in Bratislava can be spent exploring the old town (Staré Mesto) or visiting Bratislava’s hilltop castle. Continue into the Czech Republic, where you will stop in Brno for an independent lunch. The main square, Námesti Svobody or “Freedom Square,” is the city’s focal point and is a great place to dine and shop. Arrive in Prague by the late afternoon, to check in and enjoy dinner at your hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 13 – CZECH REPUBLIC . . Prague.
This morning, meet your local guide for a sightseeing tour of Prague, including beautiful Staromestské námesti (probably the most photographed square in the city), the Old Town Hall and the Church of St. Nicholas in the Little Quarter (Malá Strana). Following the city tour, consider taking a stroll along the Vltava River (also referred to as the Moldau River) and to the spectacular Charles Bridge. From higher banks across the river, the enormous Prague Castle overlooks the city, contributing to the mysterious atmosphere that is inescapable in Prague. Dinner tonight is on your own or join your tour manager for the Traditional Czech Evening excursion offering dinner and entertainment. (Breakfast)
DAY 14 – GERMANY . . Nuremberg.
Today’s destination is Nuremberg, where a mid-day arrival provides time to visit the historic old town and the Documentation Center at the sight of Hitler’s Nazi Party Rally Grounds (entrance is included). Transfer to your hotel this evening for an authentic German dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 15 – GERMANY . . Würzburg – Rüdesheim.
Board the motor coach this morning for Würzburg, one of the loveliest baroque cities in Germany and the starting point of the Romantic Road. Following a visit to Würzburg, continue to the wine village of Rüdesheim. Known for its festive atmosphere, this is a fitting location for tonight’s “Farewell Dinner.” (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 16 – Daytime flight back to U.S.A. Transfer to the Frankfurt Airport for the return flight home. (Breakfast)