Arrival into Budapest, where you will find your driver and guide waiting for you outside baggage claim to transfer you to your deluxe hotel in the city center.
On the way to the hotel, your guide will point out sights of historical significance, including St. Stephen’s Basilica, a cross between Neo-Classical and Renaissance-style architecture completed in the late 19th century and one of Budapest’s noteworthy landmarks.
Over the centuries, Budapest flourished as a crossroads where East meets West in the heart of Europe. Ancient cultures such as the Magyars, the Mongols and the Turks, have all left an indelible mark on this magical city. Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube River, are characterized by an assortment of monuments, elegant streets, wine taverns, coffee houses and Turkish baths.
Upon arrival at your hotel, your guide will take your family on an overview walk of your hotel’s neighborhood. If you want to be able to explore on your own, your guide will be happy to introduce you to Budapest’s small metro system. If you simply need some sunshine and fresh air, hop in a taxi with your guide and head to City Park or grab tickets for the Budapest Eye Ferris Wheel, right near your hotel.
The remainder of your afternoon is at leisure.
Exeter Services: Transfer with Guide
Hotel: Aria Budapest
Today can explore the beauty of Central Pest with your guide. Prior to visiting the Jewish Quarter, your guide will take you to the Budapest Market Hall. Built in the 19th century, the covered market boasts soaring metal columns, high walkways and beautiful produce shops. More than being a place where one can purchase some handcrafted and typical Hungarian souvenirs, it’s a market where locals go to purchase their produce and meats – a meeting place for many and a place where you can enjoy authentic local flavor.
Today your guide will have selected her favorite spots to give you a taste of Hungary. You will be able to sample a variety of local meat, cheese and even pickles!
Next, your guide will take you to explore Budapest’s Jewish heritage. Since the 19th century, Budapest’s Jewish community was well integrated into Hungarian society. In 1944, a ghetto was created in Pest, which was later followed by the deportation of thousands of Jews. You can walk through part of the former Jewish neighborhood to see an old synagogue on Rumbach Street. From here, your guide will take you to the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe and impressive in its Byzantine and Moorish style architecture. You can also visit the Jewish Museum that is part of the synagogue, and afterwards, walk over to the Holocaust Memorial. The sculpture of a weeping willow was designed in memory of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who died under the Nazis in World War II.
Enjoy this afternoon at your leisure to explore independently. If the weather is nice, walk, taxi or metro to Margaret Island, one of Budapest’s most beautiful parks. The park is filled with gardens, monuments, and statues, even hotels that offer thermal baths from the natural springs. This is also the home of Palatinus Beach, one of the largest “beach” complexes in Budapest with several outdoor pools. There are a total of 11 pools here, including two for kids. Alternatively, you could taxi the short way (or use the tram and railway) to the Children’s Railway. This is about 20 minutes by taxi away from your hotel. This small narrow-gauge railway, located on the hills outside of town, is actually operated by children (with adult supervision). It’s generally around 40 minutes or so to ride the train.
Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours)
Hotel: Aria Budapest
This morning meet your driver and guide to explore the other side of the city – the hilly and green Buda side. First head up to Gellert Hill for sweeping views of the city. If you would like to take a peek into one of the art nouveau baths of the city, you can stop at the Gellert Hotel for a glimpse.
Afterwards, head to the castle district anchored by Buda’s historic Royal Palace, the former Hapsburg palace during the 19-century and rebuilt in the Neo-Classical style after it was destroyed during World War II. Today the castle hold’s Budapest’s National Gallery, featuring the best of Hungarian art. You can stop in if you like.
A stroll through the castle area, known as Varhegy, will take you to the Fisherman’s Bastion for the most impressive views over Pest, across the Danube. Here you’ll see the Matyas Church, a Neo-Gothic reconstruction dating from 1874 and in which many organ and choral concerts can be heard. The entire cobble- stoned area, lined with cafés and small shops, is perfect for spending the remaining afternoon.
This evening your guide will meet you for the walk along the Danube to the river port. Tonight you will see Budapest at its most beautiful – from the waters of the Danube with all the monuments lit in thousands of white lights. Enjoy all of this from a luxury private speedboat with your own skipper. Your 50 minute ride will also include soft drinks and water.
Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours); Evening Guide (2 Hours)
Hotel: Aria Budapest
This morning your driver will meet you at your hotel for the transfer to the station to meet the express train (2.5 hours) to Vienna. First class tickets are included. This route may also be covered via private car and driver with stops in the countryside at additional cost.
Early afternoon arrival into Vienna, where your private driver will welcome you and transfer you to the hotel in the very center of the city.
The remainder of the day will be at leisure. Vienna is a city whose history stretches back over 2,000 years. Once a stop for Crusaders on their way to the East, the Hapsburg dynasty took over the city starting in 1278 and ruled for over 600 years. The city was always a leading center of fine arts and today that is manifested in endless art museums, galleries and more. From Imperial palaces to contemporary architecture, Vienna truly has something for everyone.
Vienna is great for kids and much of what you can do can be explored independently using the clean and efficient metro and tram system. If the kids need some distinctly kid-time, take the metro to the Prater – Vienna’s oldest amusement park. It’s most known for its huge Ferris wheel, but the park offers nostalgic activities for kids of all ages.
Vienna is a city of music and 2020 is Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. You might want to take the children to the Haus der Musik. This is a modern and interactive museum located right in the historic city center. It has six floors dedicated to music and sound.
Note: In Vienna, children are really encouraged to participate in the arts. Many of the top museums have special children’s programs depending on the day of the week. of children’s activities.
Exeter Services: Station Transfers
Begin this morning by meeting your guide for an overview walking introduction to Vienna’s First District. During your walk this morning with your guide, you will see the soaring St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its unusual colored ceramic tile roof. Your guide will take you through the interior of the cathedral and, if you have the energy, you can climb to the top of the steeple for a spectacular view over central Vienna!
Later, you will see parts of the Hapsburgs’ Hofburg Palace complex and the rest of the “ring” that encircles historic Vienna. You may even want to ride the tram that runs the ring after you finish with your touring; this is the perfect way to take in most of the major sights of the city! Be sure not to miss the world-famous Vienna Opera House, the Town Hall, and other major sights on the ring.
While in the Hofburg Palace complex, today you have an appointment to see some of the morning training session of the Spanish Riding School. This Institute was founded in 1572 and its very name gives away the fact that the horses were of Spanish origin. The Lipizzaner is regarded as the oldest classic horse race in Europe. The superb arena – the Winter Riding School in the Vienna Hofburg (Imperial Palace) in which the Riders of the Spanish Riding School train the horses and where they perform was commissioned by Emperor Karl VI.
This morning you can step inside the royal box to see the morning training session that is going on. This is where the riders put the horses through their paces to music. You may see the horses performing some minor tricks as they work through their exercises. Your stable guide will give you insight into what you’re seeing, which tricks are being practiced and information about the riders and their horses. Afterward, your stable guide will give you an introduction to the school, its history and its riders. You will have a private tour of the arena, the stables and the equipment room.
Afterward, as time allows, your guide will show you some of the most famous coffeehouses of Vienna.
For sheer beauty of the adjacent gift shop, Demel is perhaps the best choice. For an opulent atmosphere, you could visit Café Central, former haunt of Freud, Trotsky, Tito, and more. Alternatively, for a truly local experience, head to Café Braunerhof instead. This old-fashioned café is located just behind the Spanish Riding School and was a famous haunt of writers from the 19th century. It has a more local than tourist clientele.
This afternoon is at your leisure. We’ll provide a list of all of our favorite kid-friendly spots for you to enjoy the afternoon, including our favorite shopping!
Note: All touring today is on foot in largely pedestrian only areas. Training sessions are seasonal.
Exeter Services: Guide (4 Hours)
This morning your local food insider will meet you in your hotel lobby. Today you will have a tour using public transport (and walking) of her favorite local markets and unique Vienna food producers. These aren’t big productions, but local family-run businesses. During the walk, you will not only taste samples of the food, you will learn more about Austrian every day life and food culture.
Later this afternoon, meet your driver and guide for a visit to the famous Schönbrunn Palace, the summer home of the Hapsburgs. The design of Schönbrunn is bound largely to the personality of Maria Theresa, one of the Hapsburg’s greatest Empresses. Originally designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer Von Erlach, Maria Theresa gave Nikolaus Pacassi the contract to expand the summer palace. The palace stands today as a combination of Austrian Rococo and Classic Baroque symmetry. Today you will focus on the highlights route, which features around 20 of the very best staterooms. Otherwise, this palace can be overwhelming for kids and adults alike!
Afterward, as time allows, you can explore more of the castle complex. For younger children, there is quite a bit to do here for children, so when your guide and driver’s time is up, if you want to stay on your own (and metro back to your hotel) simply let them know. There is a small children’s museum in the castle and the gardens and labyrinth are also popular.
There are several restaurants on site and the court bakery shows how the famous apple strudel is made several times per day (with samples, of course!)
Exeter Services: Food Insider (3 Hours); Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours)
This morning your driver will meet you for your transfer to the station to meet your express train to Prague (five hours). First class tickets are included. This route may also be covered via private car and driver with stops in the countryside at additional cost.
Late afternoon arrival into Prague, where you will be met by your driver for your transfer to your hotel in the city center.
Perhaps more than any other city in Europe, Prague has kept its pre-modern charm. Spared the destruction of the Second World War, the ancient structures of the city still exist in their original state. Prague is a walking city as it was designed over many centuries for the pedestrian and the horse. The inner city lacks major avenues as found in Paris or Rome, giving the city its unique character.
One of the best things to do with kids in Prague is walk. Your hotel is in the center of all the activity, but kids love water. We recommend a walk to the Vltava River and across the pedestrian-only Charles Bridge. If the weather is nice, there are also a variety of river boats doing cruises along the river. An early evening cruise to see all the monuments, including the imposing Prague Castle, all lit, is a beautiful experience.
Exeter Services: Station Transfers
This morning your guide and driver will meet you for an overview drive of some of Prague’s top sites. Drive by the famous Dancing House and through the historical area of Vysehrad, with its 10th century fort. You will also observe modern local Czech life with a drive through the bustling residential area of Vinohrady, once covered by vineyards. You will then head towards the Castle District and Hradčany.
Today you have a VIP visit to the Strahov Monastery. Here, you will be invited into the two main halls of the library (the Philosophical Hall and the Theological Hall). These two halls are always viewed by the public through the narrow doorways at the end of each room, but you will be allowed to enter the rooms to walk alone among the ancient books and artifacts.
Included today will also be a visit to the Prague Castle complex. This castle, designed with courtyards inside of courtyards, is a fascinating view into the lives of the Czech monarchy. You might want to step into the towering and wonderfully Neo-Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral inside the complex. As a side note, the castle complex and the cathedral are often very crowded with lines. Once in the castle territory, if the line is daunting, skip the cathedral. Y ou can then visit Lobkowicz Palace.
We love a visit to the Lobkowicz Palace. The audio guide that you will use is recorded by Mr. William Lobkowicz himself, an American who reclaimed his lost family property. The tour will give you an insight into their life and their collection of paintings, decorative art, music scores (one with Mozart’s own handwritten notes), arms and armors. Don’t miss the original score of Beethoven’s Eroica!
Your day will end in the Malá Strana or Little Quarter, which is best known for the Wallenstein Palace and Church of St. Nicholas. Also, it is here in the Malá Strana that you will find many charming restaurants and unique shops full of Bohemian glass and the marionettes that are so famous in Prague.
The remainder of your day is at leisure.
If the weather is nice, you might want to continue to the Petrin Tower, also located in Mala Strana. This small version of the Eiffel Tower was built in 1891 and gives guests a wonderful overview of the city. You will take a funicular up the hill, then climb over 200 steps for a glimpse this extraordinary panorama. This area also has a mirror maze that will be fun for the kids to explore.
If you’re interested in astronomy, the Stefanik Observatory is generally open for stargazing.
Note: All touring today is on foot in largely pedestrian only areas.
Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (3 Hours); Guide (6 Hours)
This morning meet your driver for a journey outside the city.
Today your destination is a family farm outside of Prague to experience local Czech life. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to get back to the land and raise their children in a more natural environment. Today you will explore their farmstead, both with traditional farm animals and even the odd llama!
During your visit today, your family will enjoy a homemade organic lunch and learn a traditional handicraft while having time to interact with this special family. English is spoken by everyone in the family.
Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (3-5 Hours)
Today your driver will meet you in your hotel lobby for your transfer to the airport to meet your departing flight.
Exeter Services: Transfer only