Eastern Europe Explorer - 17 Days
Discover some of Eastern Europe's most beautiful countries from the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania before heading into Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria to end in the spa town of Budapest.
Upon arrival at Tallinn airport you will be met and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Tallinn. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.
The capital of Estonia, Tallinn, is a picturesque town located on the Gulf of Finland. It is famous for its enchanting historic centre, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roam the cobbled streets and explore scenic ruins or climb the hill of Toompea, which is filled with medieval buildings, 14th century churches, turrets, spires and enticing alleyways.
Tallinn also offers alluring boutique shopping similar to that found in Swiss cities. The city was the European Capital of Culture in 2011, and the city is full of artists and artisans so you may also find wonderfully made glass, weaving and pottery here. The café scene is thriving and you can find everything from sunlit street cafés to Art Deco style bakeries. Within the walls of the Old Town there are lots of excellent restaurants to enjoy and a thriving nightlife, with clubs open until the wee hours. Estonians are true beer lovers so you might like to try an authentic local brew.
Tallinn - Riga. This morning we travel by bus to Riga. Riga is more than 800 years old and its clever blend of medieval centre and modern city infrastructure will enchant you. The UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town has its own particular charm, while the city is also famous for its fascinating Art Nouveau architectural heritage which you can discover as you wander the streets of this ‘Paris of the East'. A must-do is a visit to Riga's most famous Gothic church, St Peter's, thought to be about 800 years old. Its famous spire has been rebuilt three times in the same form since 1667, with its latest rebuild completed in 1973. Climb the spire and enjoy spectacular views over the city.
Overnight: Riga | Breakfast x 2
Riga - Vilnius. Today we depart Latvia and head for our third country of the tour - Lithuania. The capital Vilnius boasts an attractive baroque Old Town that is the largest in Eastern Europe and is praised as the 'New Prague'. Located on the edge of the Neris River, with its pine covered hills, friendly people, and blend of old and new, this is a picturesque city well worth exploring. You will have time to explore the main sights of the city including Gediminas Castle on the top of Gediminas Hill and Cathedral Square at the base of the hill, which is dominated by Vilnius Cathedral and its 57 metre-tall belfry.
On day 5 we visit the KGB Museum in the city centre. Later on while you’re exploring the square between the cathedral and the tower you should hunt for the secret stebuklas (miracle) tile. The tile marks the southern end of the 2 million person, 650 kilometre long human chain between Tallinn and Vilnius, which was formed in protest against Soviet occupation in 1989. Local legend has it that if you find the pretty mosaic-covered tile you should stand on it and turn around three times clockwise while making a wish, which shall then be granted.
Overnight: Vilnius | Breakfast x 2
Vilnius - Warsaw. Departing Lithuania we travel across to neighbouring Poland. Warsaw, Poland's capital, has been revitalised as a tourist destination. The city was almost entirely destroyed in World War II but a lot of effort has gone into its rebuilding. Since the fall of communism many old buildings have given way to modern sky scrapers, the dilapidated old town has been brightened up, and entertainment and services transformed to match that of other western capitals.
Home to various palaces, castles and citadels, Warsaw is noted for the Soviet-era Palace of Culture and Science, as well as the marketplace at the 10th Anniversary Stadium, a converted festival site where you can buy all sorts of interesting items. Also recommended is a visit to the Old Town, which was rebuilt between 1949 and 1963 after being destroyed in World War II in the Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque styles of architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can visit the Historical Museum of Warsaw and Royal Castle at nearby Old Town Square.
We arrive in the evening of day 6 in time to enjoy some of the city's buzzing nightlife. Day 7 is free to explore the city independently.
Overnight: Warsaw | Breakfast x 2
Warsaw - Krakow. Departing the capital we head to Poland’s more famous and cultural city Kraków by train. Krakow has managed to preserve centuries of amazing architecture and artistic traditions as most of the historic buildings and monuments emerged unscathed from World War II. Kraków was the royal capital for 500 years so a must-see is the royal Wawel Castle, a beautiful renaissance palace which now houses a museum. During the evening the cosmopolitan city offers a wild nightlife, with plenty of restaurants, music clubs and bars to explore.
Kraków is our base to visit the UNESCO listed Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp on day 9, a sobering tribute to the people that perished there during the Holocaust. Situated close to the Polish town of Oświęcim, the camp was originally designed for Polish political prisoners but became the most notorious camp of World War II because an estimated 1.6 million people of 27 nationalities, including 1.1 million Jews, 150,000 Poles and 23,000 Roma were killed by the Nazis.
Overnight: Krakow | Breakfast x 2
Krakow - High Tatras. Leaving Krakow we head by bus and private transfer in Slovakia and the High Tatras. Constituting of a large mountain range which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland and is the highest mountain range of the Carpathians. The tallest mountain is Gerlach at 2,655 metres, located in Slovakia just north of Poprad.
After making our way to Starý Smokovec (Nový Smokovec) we have time to relax and unwind. For the energetic there is an opportunity to go to the nearby mountains for some hiking. There are various paths ranging from gentle to highly demanding, winding among spectacular peaks and rock walls. Alternatively, there are many attractions to amuse you for the next two days such as the glacial lake of Strebske Pleso, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins of Spissky Hrad and the Renaissance buildings of fortified Levoca.
Overnight: Novy Smokovec | Breakfast
High Tatras - Prague. Today we enjoy the last of the crisp mountain air before we take the short ride by electric train from Novy Smokovec to Poprad where we transfer to the overnight train to the Czech capital of Prague.
We arrive into Prague in the morning. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and you will have plenty of free time to visit the stunning City of 1,000 Spires, including the bustling Old Town Square where you can find a beautiful astronomical clock, the enchanting Charles Bridge where you can watch artists and buskers at work and Wenceslas Square. There is also time to wander the lofty heights of Hradčany Castle and St Vitus Cathedral for magical views over the city.
Prague is a town that loves to party so you may also want to experience the nightlife as there are many great bars and restaurants and plenty of pulsating night clubs to enjoy. Czechs have been brewing beer since the 9th century and invented the world’s first Pilsner, so Prague offers a great opportunity to sample some of the world’s finest beers.
Overnight: Prague | Breakfast x 1
Prague - Vienna. Departing the Czech capital we take the train to Vienna. Welcome to Austria! Birthplace of some of the greatest classical musical compositions, Vienna charms with its cultural history and opulent beauty. Known as the “city of music” many composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss were born or worked here and you can learn all about their works in places such as Haus der Musik and Mozarthaus, Mozart’s main apartment in Vienna which holds an insight into his celebrated life.
Perhaps you would like to catch a jaw-dropping orchestra performance at the Vienna Philharmonic, or watch a ballet or opera performance at the Wiener Staatsoper? You may also choose to visit the Schloss Schönbrunn, the palace of the Habsburg family, and discover the Baroque grandeur of the Austrian dynasty. Once you have delighted in the culture and beauty of Vienna, there are a host of a lively restaurants, cafes and bars to soak up as you watch the world go by in this vibrant city.
Overnight: Vienna | Breakfast x 2
Vienna - Budapest. Today we head to our final destination - Budapest, by train. Budapest, Hungary’s stylish capital is known as the ‘City of Spas’ for its abundance of natural thermal springs.
Straddling the Danube River, the city is comprised of two very different historic cities, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. Highlights here include Castle Hill, Matthius Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Liberation Monument, the fabulous St Stephen’s Basilica and the much photographed Parliament Building.
Sample some Hungarian cuisine in a local restaurant. Goulash is the most popular Hungarian meat dish. It is a delicious stew made from meat and vegetables with Hungarian paprika powder as the main spice.
Overnight: Budapest | Breakfast
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies to travellers who would like the comfort of their own room (on all or many of the tour nights) and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.