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The Grand Tour of Central Europe Krakow - Budapest - Vienna - Prague

Day 1

Arrival in Krakow, transfer to the hotel and accommodation procedure. During the welcome dinnerin a local restaurant you will meet your tour supervisor to describe the itinerary.

Day 2

Guided sightseeing of Krakow. The city of history, tradition and magic will reveal its beauty. Without doubt you will delight in walking along the Royal Tract that leads from the medieval defensive walls with the unique stone and brick building called "The Barbican", the Main Market Square (Rynek), St. Mary's church with medieval masterpiece of woodcarving – the main altar, the Cloth Hall with its decorative attic and intriguing mascarones, the University District with the most famous Collegium Maius where Copernicus studied in the 15th century. Soon after the visit to the Old Town, you will walk up the Wawel Hill. The two predominant buildings are the Cathedral and the Royal Castle with chambers housing collection of Flemish tapestries woven in the 16th century. Before we continue the tour you will need lunch or at least a snack as now we take you to the former Jewish Quarter – Kazimierz. The vivid but also painful atmosphere is created by the spirit of the Old Synagogue, the Old Cemetery and Schindler's List landmarks (the Ghetto Main Square, Pankiewicz's Pharmacy, Schindler's Factory of Enameled Pots and Pans). The day will end in Szeroka Street – the former main square of Oppidum Judaeorum (Jewish Town) in a picturesque restaurant serving traditional cuisine. The dinner will be accompanied by traditional Klezmer music.

Day 3

A trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau, the WWII Nazi concentration camps, the painful evidence of human extermination, grief and sorrow of millions of people. In the afternoon you will visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine and its underground tourist route. It is a miraculous realm of salty caverns, chambers and chapels with stunning decorations – all carved out of rock salt. Return to Krakow where you will have enough time for individual exploration of the city.

Day 4

A whole day excursion to the Polish mountains to go on a raft trip down the Dunajec river Gorge through the Pieniny range. Wooden rafts steered by highlanders dressed traditionally take approximately 10 people. The current takes them gently down the river. On the way to Zakopane – the capital of the Tatra Mountains we will stop in Niedzica to show you the perfectly preserved medieval castle, the former Hungarian bordering fortress. It is situated scenically on the lake and near a dam. Another en route attraction is the 15th century wooden church in Debno with original wall-paintings and interior decorations. Finally Zakopane – the town famous for its unique highlander's style of art and architecture known as the "Style of Zakopane". Characteristics of huts, cottages, villas, churches and chapels consist of framework constructions, large timber beams, roofs covered with shingle, decorative patterns. A funicular trip to Gubałowka peak to admire panoramas of the Tatra Mountains. Dinner will be organized in a traditional wooden inn and accompanied by highlanders' string music concert.

Day 5

Transfer to Budapest, en route stops in Slovakia and Hungary. Arrival in Budapest about 6 p.m. Accommodation and dinner.

Day 6

Sightseeing of Budapest with its most interesting monuments situated on both sides of the Danube. The Castle Hill with Royal Castle, Fisherman's Bastion and its panoramic view of the whole city centre, St. Matthias Church which dominates the whole area and the Gellert Hill with the Statue of Liberty. You will certainly have a lunch break during the sightseeing. Next you will see the House of Parliament, Heroes Square, New Royal Palace, Synagogue. Return to the hotel.

Day 7

Further sightseeing of Budapest concerning the subject of music: Opera House Tour, Liszt Music Academy, Music History Museum. Additionally Margaret Island (including free time to explore). A coach trip to Szentendre (some 20 miles from Budapest) – a picturesque town attracting scores of artists. It offers numerous cultural events, tiny romantic wine shops and cafes. Sightseeing and time to explore on your own and sample wine. Return to Budapest for an overnight stay.

Day 8

Transfer to Vienna. Arrival in the afternoon (about 3 p.m.). Accommodation and lunch.

Day 9

Guided sightseeing of Vienna will start with monuments along the so called "Ring" – an elegant boulevard created after demolition of medieval defensive walls. You are going to see the historical buildings of the Town Hall, the Theatre and National Opera. You will admire the building of the Parliament where in 1918 the Republic of Austria was established. Next you will visit St. Stephen's Cathedral – the symbol of the city, the landmark to be noticed for a few miles from the city. In the afternoon you are going to visit Hoffburg – the former Habsburg residence inhabited since the 13th century until the collapse of Austria – Hungary Monarchy in 1918.

Day 10

Further sightseeing of the city will start with Schoenbrunn Palace – the former residence of the emperor situated in a magnificent baroque park. Lunch in Danube Tower Restaurant. In the afternoon Spanish Riding School and time to explore the city centre individually as well as do the final souvenir-shopping in Vienna.

Day 11

Trip to Salzburg. Visiting Mozart's birthplace – Getreidegasse no. 9, is where the Mozarts lived from 1747 to 1773. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born here on January 27, 1756. Today the rooms once occupied by the composer's family house a museum. The next venue you will visit is the Residenz – medieval seat of bishops. Its magnificent early Baroque appearance was shaped at the end of the 16th century. State Rooms of the Residenz, as well as the Gallery with its fabulous collection of paintings by European artists of the 16th - 19th centuries is open to the public. Later that day we will show you the Holy Trinity Church which is the most significant ecclesiastical building on the right bank of the Old Town and the first church designed by the great Baroque architect Fischer von Erlach. Significant elements such as the dominant dome, sweeping façade, twin towers and palace-type wings are definitely the eye-catcher on the Market Square. Really worth sightseeing is the Hohensalzburg Fortress, built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard. It is the largest, fully-preserved fortress in central Europe. Overnight accommodation in Salzburg.

Day 12

Transfer to Prague. Arrival in the afternoon. Accommodation, lunch.

Day 13

A historical walk through Prague. It starts on the Republic Square with its beautiful Art-Nouveau Municipal praga House. Through the adjacent Powder Tower, a remnant of the medieval town fortification, you will walk down the "Royal Route" to the Old Town Square (UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites). There you will be impressed by the unique complex of old buildings dominated by the world-famous Old Town Hall with its Astronomical Clock and apostles. The monument to the preacher Jan Hus, the church of St. Nicholas, the Týn Church and a number of palaces. Through one of the typical narrow Old-Town streets, full of ancient houses and palaces, cafés, shops, and galleries, you will walk towards the Charles Bridge. Here you will enjoy the unforgettable view of the beautiful panorama of the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Relishing the walk along the bridge, crossing the Vltava river, you will reach the Lesser Town, situated below the Prague Castle complex. We will pass the Lesser Town Square with its representative buildings and the church of St. Nicholas, a historical building from the 18th century. Then you will walk up the famous Nerudova street all the way to the Prague Castle. At the Castle, which is surrounded by royal gardens, you will find the Old Royal Palace with the Vladislav Hall, the with picturesque houses from the 16th century, St. Vitus Cathedral from the 14th century, and the ancient royal stairway. Dinner. Evening performance at Krizikova Fountains (water, mysterious illuminations, all combined with music).

Day 14

In Southern Bohemia, on the Vltava river, you can enjoy the "Pearl of Renaissance" – Český Krumlov. In this town, there is the second largest castle in Bohemia after the Prague Castle. Among other things, there is a gallery of Egon Schiele, a revolving theater from the baroque era, and a castle garden. Not far from Český Krumlov and České Budějovice (the town of beer), there is a Southern-Bohemian village of Holašovice in the style of peasant baroque. The spirit of the old Bohemian countryside is preserved here. Return to Prague and time for some individual exploration. Farewell dinner.

Day 15

Transfer to the airport.