Four Seasons Prague Fishermans Bastion Budapest

Essential Central Europe

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

There are few places in the world that travelers find as enchantingly historical as central Europe.  Its old-world feel and history, wonderfully friendly people, and mouth-watering food makes it a bucket list location for many.   Spend a few days in Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary getting to know each, behind the scenes and through the eyes of locals with our expert guides.  

Highlights

  • Private Danube Cruise in Budapest
  • VIP Tour of the Strahov Monastary
  • Food Insider Experience in Vienna

The following is just a suggested daily touring schedule. You will have complete control over your daily schedule and may change your plans at any time by simply telling your guide. Your time in Europe is yours to enjoy as you like!

For custom luxury travel and tours to Central Europe, please contact one of our travel experts.

Download Central Europe PDF

Download PDF itinerary here.

ITINERARY

PRICING FROM

$6,550 per person, based on two guests traveling together.  Please contact Exeter International for specific pricing and availability. 

Day 1
Arrival | Budapest St Stephens, Night, Budapest

Upon arrival into Budapest, your Exeter International driver will be waiting for you outside of customs and baggage claim. Please note that no airfare is included in your trip cost.

You will be transferred to the historic and perfectly located hotel, in the center of Pest. On the way to the hotel, you will see sights of historical significance, including St. Stephen’s Basilica, a cross between Neo- Classical and Renaissance-style architecture completed in the late 19th century.

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, enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.

Exeter Services: Airport transfer

Hotel: Aria Hotel, Budapest

Day 2
Budapest | Budapest Budapest Parliament

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’re interested in the mineral baths, you can make a quick stop at the Gellert Hotel here to see their gorgeous art nouveau baths.

Afterwards, head to the castle district anchored by Buda’s historic Royal Palace, the former Hapsburg palace during the 19th century and rebuilt in the Neo-Classical style after it was destroyed during World War II. There are some parts of the castle that are open to the public, as they contain museums and galleries. We recommend a brief stop today in the Hungarian National Gallery. You will find works of Hungarian artists, but also European masters from 1800 to the present, including works be Cezanne, Pissarro, Monet and more.

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. If you like, your guide and driver can leave you here to explore a bit on your own, or to enjoy the beautiful shops and cafes.

Evening

This evening meet your guide for an evening exploration. All of this evening will be on foot so plan for comfort when walking. Tonight you will have an introduction to a uniquely Budapest scene – Ruin Bars. The history- filled Jewish Quarter is where this all began and that’s where you will walk. Hidden inside unrestored (ruined) buildings are popular bars, restaurants and clubs that appeal to people of all ages and interests. These became what is today known as Ruin Bars. Each has its own theme and some are more elegant, some more rustic and some simply crazy!

Have drinks at perhaps the most famous ruin bar of all – Szimpla Kert. This spot opened in 2002 in a converted factory and today it has evolved into bars, a restaurant and, on weekends, even a farmer’s market! Then visit Anker’t – a completely different vibe as it’s got a large open-air section. It has a more minimalist design but extends even further inside to include bars, a dance hall, food stalls and more.

Your visits will include a ruin bar that’s become a great Mediterranean restaurant, Mazel Tov. It’s a more upscale evolution of the ruin bar scene, except with very high quality food and drinks. Dinner tonight includes three courses along with local wines, beer, coffee, tea, soft drinks and water.

After this, stroll with your guide back to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of your evening at leisure.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours); Evening Guide (3 Hours)

Hotel: Aria Hotel, Budapest

Day 3
Budapest | Budapest Heroes Square, 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 by Eiffel 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.

Next, your guide will take you to the Great Budapest Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, and the Holocaust Memorial. Since the 19th century, Budapest’s Jewish community became well integrated into Hungarian society and three synagogues were built. 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 of the three previously mentioned 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.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

This evening your driver will meet you for the short journey 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 boat with your own skipper.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours); Evening Transfer

Hotel: Aria Hotel, Budapest

Day 4
Budapest-Vienna | Budapest-Vienna Sans Souci Vienna

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.

Your documents from Exeter International come with a voucher for a Vienna Pass. You can redeem this next to the State Opera and have complimentary admission to over 60 sites in and around Vienna – many with line- skipping privileges.

The remainder of the day will be at leisure.

Vienna is a city whose history stretches back over 2,000 years. Over 600 years of Vienna’s history was intrinsically tied to the Hapsburg Empire. The landscape of much of the city today can be contributed to the rule of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Joseph. Today Vienna is a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning architecture. Guests can enjoy a multitude of museums and galleries and endless options for classical music and opera. From its world class shopping to its cozy coffee houses and wine taverns, Vienna has something for everyone!

Exeter Services: Station Transfers with Assistance

Hotel: Sans Souci

Day 5
Vienna | Vienna Spanish Riding School - Vienna, Austria

This morning your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby. Today you will explore Vienna’s First District with your guide. This is the very heart of the city center and all of the touring is on foot. During your walk this with your guide, you will see the soaring St. Stephens Cathedral with its iconic 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!

Before visiting the Hofburg Palace complex, you’ll have a quick visit of the Hapsburg Imperial Crypt in the Capuchin Church. You’ll have a quick introduction to the entire Hapsburg ruling family before continuing.

Afterwards, you can continue on your walking tour of the Hofburg Palace complex. Today the focus is on the Hofburg T reasury . This is, arguably , the most important treasury of the world. It’ s home to two priceless imperial crowns. You will also find Burgundian treasure from the 15th century as well as the treasure from the Order of the Golden Fleece. Two items are legendary – what was once believed to be the horn of a unicorn, actually a narwhal tooth, and what was once believed to be the Holy Grail, a late antiquity agate bowl.

When you exit the Hofburg, as time allows, your guide will show you some of the most famous coffeehouses of Vienna. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to explore on your own.

Note: If you have a fascination for royal history, you might want to venture back to the Hofburg on your own to see the private living quarters of Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) and Emperor Franz Joseph. These24roomsshow the lifestyle of the monarchy at the turn of the century, including Sisi’s exercise room. Sisi herself is almost a cult figure in Vienna and you will find her likeness, generally featuring the famous diamond stars in her hair, all over town. An exhibition dedicated to her life and untimely death by assassination is part of the Hofburg Palace ticket. Alternatively, your guide can take you here instead of the Treasury. It’s your choice!

Exeter Services: Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Sans Souci

Day 6
Vienna | Vienna Museum Quarter - Vienna, Austria

Option 1: Belvedere Palace & Klimt
Today, meet your guide and board the local tram with your guide to head to the nearby Belvedere Palace and Gardens. This palace, built as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, is situated on a gently sloping hill. Thetwomainpalaces(upperandlower)arelinkedbyformalFrenchgardensandbothnowhousewonderful art collections. Today you will focus on the Upper Belvedere, which holds a wonderful collection of 19th and 20th century art, including the best Klimt collection in the world.

Afterward, you might want to hop on the Ring Tram with your guide to take the short journey around the historic Ring that encircles Vienna. You’ll see all the most important buildings and monuments of the city in this one journey.

Option 2: Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens
This morning meet your guide and hop on the efficient metro for a visit to the famous Schönbrunn Palace, the summer home of the Hapsburgs. This is possibly the busiest site in all of Vienna and admission is via timed entry with your guide. The design of Schönbrunn is bound largely with the personality of Maria Theresa, one of the Hapsburgs’ greatest Empresses. The palace stands today as a combination of Austrian Rococo and Classic Baroque symmetry. Today you will see the highlight rooms of the palace. Afterward, you may want to stroll the grounds a bit before departing.

This afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy some of the city’s museums, shops and cafes on your own.

Exeter Services: Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Sans Souci

Day 7
Vienna-Prague | Vienna-Prague Aria Prague - Mozart Suite

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.

Exeter Services: Station Transfers with Assitance

Hotel: Aria Hotel, Prague

Day 8
Prague | Prague Prague, Czech Republic

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.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience 

Today you have a VIP visit to the Strahov Monastery. Here, you will be invited into the two main halls of the library(thePhilosophicalHallandtheTheologicalHall). Thesetwohallsarealwaysviewedbythepublicthrough 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.

IncludedtodaywillalsobeavisittothePragueCastlecomplex. Thiscastle,designedwithcourtyardsinsideof 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.

Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (3 Hours); Guide (6 Hours)

Hotel: Aria Hotel, Prague

Day 9
Prague | Prague Prague, Czech Republic

Today your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and will and take you through Prague’s famous Jewish Quarter and the Old Town. Visit the historic synagogues, including the ancient Old-New Synagogue, which was built in the late 13th century, making it the oldest synagogue still in use in Europe. A personal favorite is the Pinkas Synagogue, which is now a memorial to the nearly 80,000 victims of the Holocaust from Bohemia. Especially moving is the exhibition of children’s drawings from Terezín. While in the Jewish Quarter, you may decide to visit the Old Jewish Cemetery, founded in the late 15th century and still corresponding to its original medieval size. Over the centuries, more than 100,000 people are believed to have been buried here.

After your tour of the Jewish Quarter , your guide will take you through Prague’ s storybook Old T own. Y ou’ll want to see the beautiful expanse of the Charles Bridge but it’s a more magical experience to visit it very late or very early on your own, when it’s free of the souvenir stands and tourists. Your guide will give you a quick lesson of Prague’s history, evident in every building and small passage way of this 800 year old city. Be sure not to miss the fairytale-like Old Town Hall Tower (1364) that stands above Old Town Square- you can even go to the top of the tower for a splendid view over the district.

Finally, you will enter New Town- which is new because it was only founded in 1348! Here you can visit Wenceslas Square, were over the many centuries demonstrations of civil discontent have taken place. At the top of the square you will see the imposing building of the National Museum and the Monument to St Wenceslas, the patron of the Czech lands, by sculptor Josef Myslbek.

As you stroll, our guide will point out some of the interesting sculptures in Prague. There are several thought provoking and somewhat controversial sculptures around the city. You get little slices of Czech history and, in some cases, some interesting political commentary, too!

Exeter Services: Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Aria Hotel, Prague

Day 10
Departure | Prague Prague, Czech Republic

This morning, after check-out, your driver will meet you in the lobby of your hotel for your transfer to the airport to catch your onward flight.

Exeter Services: Departure Transfer

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