Warsaw – Jasna Gora – Auschwitz – Krakow – Wadowice
Budapest – Bratislava – Vienna – Cesky Krumlov
Prague – Karlory Vary – Dresden – Berlin
Tour 1: Aug 04 – Aug 18, 2018 Price: $4,495 + Tax
Tour 2: Oct 16 – Oct 30, 2018 Price: $4,495 + Tax
Check in at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) or an airport at your convenience. Depart for Warsaw, Poland.
Arrive in Warsaw in the late afternoon. After hotel check-in and dinner, we’ll explore Warsaw night time with perhaps some walking in the Old Town, dropping by a sidewalk cafe and listening to street artists playing some classical music, of which Frederic Chopin was a master composer. Poland is also the birthplace of Pope John Paul II, Marie Curie, and the Solidarity trade union. The mermaid (“syrenka” in Polish) is Warsaw’s symbol and can be found on statues throughout the city. There is one Mermaid Statue in the center of Old Town Square. Legend has it that Triton, a Greek god of the sea, had two daughters. They both set out on a journey through the oceans. One of them reached the Vistula River and rested on the beach of Warszawa village, where fishermen would come to admire her beauty and singing. A greedy merchant also heard her songs. He followed the fishermen and captured the mermaid. Since then, the mermaid has remained Warsaw’s symbol. (D)
Visit Lazienki Krolewskie Museum, a Palace-Garden complex which includes a park (76 hectares of nature, right in the city center) and numerous historical objects. In the 18th century, it became the most beautiful gardens in Warsaw and one of the most beautiful in Europe. You will be able to see the Chopin Monument at the entrance of the museum. For 50 years, at the foot of this monument, on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer, free piano concerts have been held, gathering crowds of tourists and music lovers from all over the world.
Our guide will take you to the Barbican, a wall built in 1548 to protect the city. The Barbican was destroyed in a World War II bombing and rebuilt afterward. Some of the must-dos while you’re in Warsaw is visiting the Marie Curie Museum and Chopin’s House, and let your soul uplifted with beautiful melodies. (B/D)
Transfer to Krakow, one of the most culturally and politically significant cities in Poland. With our guide, you will get to visit the Jasna Gora Monastery. It is a famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and one of the country’s places of Catholic pilgrimage. It also houses the image of the Black Madonna, which has been recognized by the Vatican as a precious treasure, along with Lourdes (France) and Fatima (Portugal).
Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO heritage. It resembles an underground palace of magnificent beauty, and also reflects a noble tale of a Hungarian princess and a Polish prince. In the 10th century, the mine was already seen as a giant underground maze. The Wieliczka Salt Mine reaches a depth of 327 meters and is over 287 kilometers (178 mi) long. The rock salt is naturally grey in various shades, resembling unpolished granite. There is a luxurious chapel and a reception room that is used for private functions, including weddings.
Krakow Old Town is the historic central district of Krakow, Poland. It is one of the most famous old districts in Poland today and was the center of Poland’s political life from 1038 until 1596, when the function was given to Warsaw. The entire medieval old town is among the first sites chosen for the UNESCO’s original World Heritage List. Krakow Old Town is the central historic district of Krakow and remains the heart of the city. Krakow is one of the most fascinating medieval cities in Europe and one of the few that escaped destruction in World War II. Today, it’s famed for its soaring Gothic church spires and cobblestone streets, while its Old Town heart is attested by UNESCO and known for having one of the liveliest after dark scenes on the continent. Krakow was also the place where Pope Saint John Paul II was head of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005. (B/D)
Visit the Krakow Old Town with The Wawel Castle built in the Middle Ages before moving on to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, also known as Nazi death camp. This was where almost 2 million Jewish were killed under the Nazi’s rule. In 1979, Auschwitz was recognized as a UNESCO Heritage remember the horror of the Holocaust. Auschwitz is synonymous with the Holocaust; it has become an overarching symbol of the horror committed by the Nazi regime during the Second World War. From the moment they arrived at the concentration camp, Jews and other Holocaust victims were treated like animals, and only a lucky group survived the experience.
A sobering day in the camp will offer you insight into one of the most tragic periods in human history. (B/D)
Visit Wadowice and the family home and birthplace of Pope John Paul II. Transfer and arrive in Budapest, Hungary in the late afternoon.
Welcome to Budapest. At dinner, we will have a special treat for you with fisherman’s soup or halászlé, which is made with fresh-water fish and generous amounts of paprika (both sweet and hot). The fisherman’s soup is one particular quintessentially Hungarian dish which cannot be absent from the table of any Hungarian family. (B/D)
Today you have a full free day to explore Budapest. We’ll visit Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, St. Stephen’s Basilica. With cobblestone streets, charming castles, and historic churches, Hungary is all class. But what might surprise you is that Hungary is also a burgeoning wine-producing region. Your dinner tonight will feature a traditional dance-music performance. Be sure to give their premium quality wine a taste.
During our trip, we’ll also visit Journalist Hoang Linh, who has lived in Budapest for almost 30 years. He will tell you stories of the history of Hungary and Budapest, just for you to fall in love more with what is called a “Paris of Eastern Europe.”
Known as ‘The Pearl of the Danube’, Budapest is a great city to enjoy from the water. We’ll take a boat trip along the river for spectacular views of the city at night. Now, let the melody of The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II echo in your mind. With our guide, you’ll also get to know about the all-time famous song Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes), composed by Josef Kozma, a Hungarian. (B/D)
Transfer to Bratislava, the capitala city of Slovakia, and a former Czechoslovakia affiliation. Visit Bratislava Castle, built in the 16th century.
Continue on to Vienna, Austria, the place that witnessed a golden era of the Habsburg family, of which Queen Maria Theresa was the only female ruler and the last of the dynasty. She was a reformer and fierce ruler who paved the way for compulsory education in Austria.
Your dinner tonight will be served at a Vietnamese restaurant in Vienna. Its authentic food is comparable with that in Southern California restaurants. (B/D)
Today you have a full day to explore Vienna and its surroundings. One unmissable landmark is the Schoenbrunn Palace, a former imperial summer residence of Queen Maria Theresa. The Schoenbrunn Palace also hosted Napoleon on his way to conquering Russia. We’ll also stop by Hofburg Palace (now served as the residence of the President of Austria), Austria’s House of Parliament, and the Opera House. Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the City Hall, where classical concerts are held throughout the summer. Vienna houses around 300 theaters and the most famous is the Vienna National Theater, one of the most important German language theatres in the world.
In the afternoon, make a stop at Zentralfriedhof (Vienna’s main cemetery) and pay tribute to some of the greatest composers of all time such as W.A. Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Straus, Brams. (B/D)
On our way to Prague, we’ll stop by Cesky Krumlov, a small city in the South of the Czech Republic. Cesky Krumlov is listed as a UNESCO Heritage and known as a “Venice of the Czech Republic” for its romantic beauty. Admire its cobblestone streets and charming Roman architecture and you will feel lost in a time warp. Be sure to have your camera handy as you capture picturesque surroundings and understand why Cesky Krumlov is listed as one of the 1,000 places to visit before you die. With its simple beauty and wonderfully medieval feel, Cesky Krumlov is the quaint, small-town Europe that many people dream of experiencing.
Our trip in the Czech Republic continues as we move on to Prague. After hotel check-in and dinner, if time allows, your guide will take you out to explore Prague’s made-for-strolling Old Town with Gothic buildings curve and the winding streets. Another must-do while you’re in Prague is experiencing beer, because this city brews some of the best beer in Europe. (B/D)
Another day in Prague. With our guide, you’ll get to know the Hradcany Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge – the oldest stone bridge in Europe, and the Wenceslas Square where the Prague Spring (1968) and the Velvet Revolution (1989) broke out. Prague – the only Central European capital to escape the large-scale bombing of wars – is one of Europe’s best-preserved cities. (B/D)
Journey to Karlovy Vary, a spa town of the Czech Republic. Its numerous thermal springs have made it a popular resort since the 19th century. Karlovy Vary, meaning “Charles’ Bath”, was named after Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, who founded the city in 1370. It is famous for its hot springs and its colorful and whimsical architecture. Its stunning beauty has made itself a filming location for so many well-known movies such as Skyfall 007, Casino, Ludwig Van Beethoven, James Bond… (B/D)
On our way to Berlin, stop by Dresden to explore the Old Town, also a UNESCO Heritage. Don’t forget to treat yourself with some German sausages that come out hot and tasty from the oven.
Welcome to Berlin, the historic city most famous for its Berlin Wall that separated the East and the West of Germany during the Cold War. As we arrive in Berlin in the afternoon, our guide will take you downtown for some shopping. Chocolate, which Germany has a great reputation for, should not be missed on your shopping list. (B/D)
Our stay in Berlin begins with visiting the Berlin Wall (also known as The Wall of Shame), the Brandenburg Gate, the House of Parliament, Charlie Point – used to be the crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin and a hot spot of tension.
Enjoy the farewell dinner with German-style smoked pork chops and some black beer – representative of the German cuisine and the upcoming Oktoberfest. (B/D)
Fly back to the United States. (B)