Day 1, Fri: Prague Arrival & Folkloric Evening
Arrive at Prague Airport, proceed through immigration and pick up your baggage. You will then be met and transferred to your hotel. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day is at leisure. The 1,000-year-old capital, Prague, is Europe's best-preserved city. The River Vltava divides the city in two with the Castle Quarter and Little Quarter on the west and the Old Town and New Town on the east. Meet with your tour director to learn more about the delights that are in store for you on your tour. In the evening head to a local restaurant with your tour director and fellow travelers. Enjoy a typical dinner with a folkloric show to introduce you to the food and customs of the Czech Republic.
Day 2, Sat: Prague's Old Town
This morning take a leisurely walking tour to discover some of the lovely buildings in the old part of the city. Start at the Old Town Square to view the Old Town Hall with its intricate Astronomical Clock, which dates from 1410 and where a parade of apostles takes place on the hour. Walk through the Jewish Quarter to see the early Gothic Old-New Synagogue dating from 1270 and the Jewish town hall with an interesting 16th century clock. Pass St. Nicholas Church, one of the finest baroque buildings in Prague. Cross the Charles Bridge, which dates from 1357 and is decorated with 30 statues dating from the 18th century. This is a lively pedestrian area where people and musicians congregate. The afternoon is at leisure and you are free for dining. In the evening enjoy an opera performance.
Day 3, Sun: Hradcany Castle
Cross the Vltava River to take a half-day sightseeing tour of Hradcany Castle, home to Czech rulers for over 1,000 years. This is the largest castle complex in the world and full of buildings of many types and ages. See St. Vitus' Cathedral, which was started in 1344 and finally finished in 1929. This elaborate French Gothic building boasts wonderful stained-glass windows and countless chapels and monuments. Visit the Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica and Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower. At the end of your tour the balance of the day is free and you may like to explore the Hradcany area near the castle.
Day 4, Mon: Travel to Vienna
Travel by motor coach to Vienna, which will take you through the pleasant countryside of East Bohemia and South Moravia. See farms and villages as you travel along and there will be some stops for refreshments and lunch. Cross the border into Austria and on arrival in Vienna head to your hotel and settle in. Then you will have some free time so that you can explore a little on your own. Head to the Grinzing suburb in the hills above the city center to sample some local foods in a typical local Heurigen restaurant with entertainment.
Day 5, Tue: Vienna Highlights
On your morning sightseeing tour, visit the Hofburg Palace, Habsburg residence from the 13th century to 1914 when the city was the seat of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire. As you drive through Vienna's city center, see the most important and imposing buildings including the Belvedere Palace, Prater Amusement Park, the UN buildings and the world-famous Vienna State Opera House. See the awe-inspiring St. Stephen's Cathedral with its colorful ceramic roof tiles and walk through its interior. The afternoon is free when you may like to shop in Kärntnerstrasse or you may wish to visit the Sacher Café, where the famous Sachertorte was first created. In the evening enjoy a concert of Strauss' and Mozart's music.
Day 6, Wed: Vienna's Museum
Take a guided visit to view the highlights of the Kunsthistorische Museum this morning. This magnificent building was created to house the artistic treasures assembled by the Habsburgs under one roof. Opened in 1891 and located on the Vienna Ringstrasse, the Italian Renaissance building was conceived as a memorial to Habsburg patronage. The Museum's collections range from Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman Antiquities to collections of Medieval Art and splendid Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces that are amongst the most important and spectacular in the world. The balance of the day is free for independent sightseeing, shopping and dining.
Day 7, Thu: Budapest Arrival
Today travel eastwards by motor coach to Budapest, often called "Paris of the East." This journey will take you through the pleasant countryside of Hungary. After you settle in your hotel, the balance of the day is free to relax or explore on your own. The hilly city of Buda and the flat city of Pest were joined in 1873 by the building of the Chain Bridge, the first to cross the River Danube. Budapest bears the influence of many different cultures including Romans, Magyars and Turks and was part of the Habsburg Empire until 1914.
Day 8, Fri: Introduction to Budapest
Your morning sightseeing tour includes views of the decorative Parliament Building, seat of the National Assembly and located on the banks of the River Danube. Take a walk along Vaci utca, a pedestrianized street lined with fashionable shops and restaurants. Visit Heroes' Square to look at the Millennium Memorial, a 118-foot Corinthian column dedicated to the Roman Catholic Church, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore some of the other attractions in the city or stroll along the Danube Embankment.
Day 9, Sat: Buda Sightseeing
See some of the seven bridges, including the famous Chain and Elizabeth Bridges, which connect Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. Your sightseeing tour this morning focuses on the Castle Hill area on the Buda side of the city. Visit the 13th century Matthias Church, where Franz Liszt's Hungarian Coronation Mass was first played at the coronation of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth in 1867. Survey the Danube and Pest from the Fisherman's Bastion and see the majestic facades of the Royal Palace complex. The afternoon is free for last minute shopping or independent sightseeing. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with entertainment in a typical csarda restaurant.
Day 10, Sun: Depart Budapest
After breakfast, take a transfer to Budapest Airport for your departure flight. After check-in, you'll have time to shop at the duty-free stores before boarding your flight for the journey home.
BB: Buffet Breakfast; D: Dinner