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Don't let the glass and steel skyscrapers deceive you. At its heart, Frankfurt's high-powered business hub communes with a warm medieval centre where half-timbered buildings and tiny taverns line cobbled lanes and the aroma of apple cider lingers around every turn. Here 'Mainhatten' meets medieval charm. After checking in, your Travel Director will lead an orientation tour around the city's dynamic financial centre and medieval Römerberg. See the Römer, which has served as Frankfurt's city hall since the 15th century and admire the medieval architecture that has been lovingly restored after World War II.
Leaving the high-rises behind, you'll journey across the northern plains of Germany to the dynamic and energetic capital that is Berlin. This bold capital wears its grittiness for all to see - edgy street art adorns the city's ever-evolving façades and street food markets reveal a cosmopolitan line-up of cultures and cuisines that make Berlin an exhilaratingly diverse city to explore. You'll have time to explore this UNESCO 'City of Design' your way or consider joining an Optional Experience with good food, wine, beer and music followed by a Berlin-by-night tour of the illuminated capital
There's never a dull moment in Berlin. This city has endured more over the past century than most and yet you can almost feel its characteristic philosophy of 'let the good times roll'. Kickstart your Berlin adventure this morning with your Local Specialist, who will bring the city's history to life as you see the Reichstag Building, German State Opera House, Tiergarten, Unter den Linden Boulevard and Brandenburg Gate, the iconic 18th-century military monument. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city your way or join an Optional Experience to uncover the secrets of the city's World War II and Cold War past. You could even choose to venture beyond the city for a dinner of German specialties in the countryside.
Close the curtain on your spirited encounter with Berlin and head east into Poland. Stop first in Poznań, the charming historical capital of Poland and birthplace of the Polish nation. View its colourful market square and town hall where a curious battle between two iron goats to mark noon has taken centre stage above its clock for over five centuries. Then head to Poland's modern metropolis of Warsaw which has risen with all the invigorating spirit of a phoenix after a recent tragic past.
You'll dive into Warsaw's turbulent past with a Local Specialist this morning. Your sightseeing tour across this historic capital will reveal how the resilient Poles rebuilt their city after the destruction of World War II. You'll see St. John's Cathedral and the Royal Palace in the Old Town, then visit the site of the Warsaw Ghetto which confined over 400,000 near-starving Jews during World War II. With the rest of the afternoon free to explore your way, why not head out on an optional visit to the 17th-century Baroque Wilanów Palace, once the summer home of King Jan Sobieski III. Or embark on an exploration of the Praga-Północ district, one of Europe's coolest neighbourhoods, including a visit to Poland's first vodka museum.
Travelling south to Kraków today, your first stop will be in Poland's pilgrimage city of Częstochowa.You'll see the Paulite Monastery at Jasna Góra, with its shrine to the Virgin Mary and the famous Black Madonna of Częstochowa. Then stop at the former concentration camp at Auschwitz for a poignant reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust. Arrive in Kraków later, Poland's cultural and intellectual heart, and make a beeline for the Rynek Główny market square, where much of the magic happens. Every hour, on the hour, you'll hear the sound of the medieval St. Mary's Trumpet Call, cut short to honour the death of the trumpeter who saved Kraków from a Tatar invasion centuries ago.
Today is all about uncovering the legendary history of this beautiful city. Be sure to keep a keen eye out for the thirsty dragon whose legendary demise, thanks to the clever thinking of a humble shoemaker, led to the birth of Kraków. You'll kick things off with a sightseeing tour with your Local Specialist who will share the thrilling tale of the city's origins as you trace its medieval walls and see Wawel Castle where the dragon once roamed in its dungeons. You'll have the rest of the day to yourself and perhaps you'd like to spend the afternoon wandering the UNESCO-listed Old Town, or choose an optional experience that would see you exploring the UNESCO-listed Wieliczka Salt Mines, often referred to as the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland. This evening, why not enjoy a night out with an optional farmhouse dinner and Polka party where you'll swing around the dance floor after a meal of Polish specialties.
The foothills of the Tatras loom large on the horizon as you head south through Poland, then slice through the pastoral heart of Slovakia bound for Hungary. Your final destination is Budapest, which sits straddled on either side of the beautiful Danube - two halves shaped by a captivating mix of Magyar, German, Slav, Jewish, Gypsy and Turkish settlers that have made Budapest into the cultural capital it is today. Begin your exploration of this 'Pearl of the Danube' on the water with an optional scenic cruise on a private boat along the Danube. Against an enchanting illuminated backdrop, you'll enjoy a dinner of Hungarian specialties while you sail underneath the famous Chain Bridge and past Budapest's majestic Parliament buildings.
Like all great capitals, Budapest's story begins with a legend, and your Local Specialist will share all the exciting tales as you view the city's sights including Fisherman's Bastion, Heroes' Square and the Church of St. Matthias. Take a trip up Gellért Hill, to see the Statue of Liberty, the towering symbol of Budapest you can see from almost anywhere in the city. Then there's time to explore the 1000-year history of Budapest on your own or perhaps join an optional tour, including a goulash cooking demonstration, to the medieval town of Szentendre, set on the banks of the Danube.
All that glitters certainly is gold in Budapest. You'll see this first-hand during an optional visit to the Hungarian Parliament, followed by pancakes at Gundels, whose original recipe features rum, raisins and chocolate - a truly decadent way to start the day. The highlights of Bohemia just keep on coming as we continue our trip across the hilly landscapes of Transdanubia to Györ, a charming city which sits at the crossroads of Central Europe, midway between Budapest and Vienna. Wander the historic streets then continue across the Austrian border arriving in Vienna later today, a city where music literally surrounds you. But this city can carry more than a tune as you'll come to discover when you join an optional dinner in a favourite Viennese restaurant including musical entertainment.
With a free morning in Vienna, it's entirely up to you how to explore this musical capital of the world. You could spend hours wandering the streets when you visit Vienna, or perhaps take a guided trip to Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburgs, one of the most influential royal families of Europe. Later today, meet your Local Specialist, who will reveal all the secrets and stories of this imperial city. See the Parliament, the Vienna Opera House, the Hofburg and the City Hall, before heading out on your own. You'll need no excuse to embrace the locals' love of the good life as you indulge in the city's Kafee culture with a heavenly slice of Sachertorte to tame your chocoholic tendencies. This evening, the melodies of a musical Vienna are the order of the day if you join an optional dinner followed by a concert of Strauss and Mozart masterpieces.
Today we'll say goodbye to Vienna's enchanting symphony and travel north to the Czech Republic on your Bohemia value tour. First stop is the medieval town of Brno and we'll pass through gorgeous green and gold landscapes, before arriving in Prague later today. The 'Golden City of a Hundred Spires' shines even brighter at night, so it's only fitting to join an evening introduction to this fairy-tale city. Hit the town and crack open a cold one to quench your thirst, discovering the dry-hopped goodness for which Prague is renowned.
While the rest of Europe's capitals smouldered, the enduring beauty of Prague saved it from a similar fate during World War II. You'll see why when you head out on a sightseeing tour with your Local Specialist, with stops to see highlights including Prague Castle, the Cathedral of St. Vitus and the Old Town Square. You'll delve into its thousand-year history before exploring the city your way. Walk along the 14th-century Charles Bridge lined with Baroque statues of saints or take a relaxing lunch cruise on the Vltava - an Optional Experience that will reveal the legends, myths, culture and hidden secrets of this enchanting city.
Take a step back in time during your stop in Rothenburg ob der Tauber along Bavaria's Romantic Road this morning. Your orientation tour will reveal an exquisite medieval centre encircled by a fortified town wall that was built in the 13th century. Continue to Frankfurt, where there's time for some last-minute souvenir shopping and a farewell dinner to reminisce over an epic journey across the Bohemian countryside and capital cities.
Great empires created the enchanting land which you've explored over the past 15 days. You've encountered legends, tales of bravery and unforgettable masterpieces that span the centuries. All that's left is to bid your new friends a fond farewell as you prepare to close the curtain on an exhilarating encounter with Bohemia. Find out more about your free airport transfer at costsavertour.com/freetransfers.
Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.
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