Day 1 :
Departure from North America
- Flight to Budapest:
Enjoy full meal service on your scheduled wide-bodied flight to Budapest.
Day 2 :
Welcome to Budapest
- Arrive in Budapest:
You will be met at the airport by your tour manager/guide to board our private coach and transfer to our hotel in the Budapest.
- Boat Tour:
Upon arrival, we will take a boat tour on the Danube River, a relaxing and scenic introduction to Budapest. Highlights of the trip will include Elizabeth Bridge, Chain Bridge, St. Annes Church, St. Elizabeths Church, the Centenary Monument, Margaret Bridge, and the spectacular Houses of Parliament.
- St. Stephens Basilica:
Our afternoon begins with a visit to St. Stephens Basilica, the largest church in the country, whichtook over 50 years to build. The bust above the main entrance is of King Stephen, Hungary's first Christian king. Inside the church, in the Chapel of the Holy Right, you can see Hungarian Catholicism's most cherishedand bizarre holy relic, Stephen's preserved right hand.
Day 3 :
- Walking Tour through the Old Town:
This morning we explore the hill town of Buda, which grew up around its castle; today this area is known as the Castle District. We begin with a walking tour through the Old Town, exploring the cobbled streets and squares. Highlights will include the State Archives, Lords Street, Mihaly Tancsics Street, and Holy Trinity Square.
- Matthias Church:
We continue with a visit to Matthias Church. Officially named the Church of Our Lady, it is the symbol of Buda's Castle District. The last two Hungarian kings (Habsburgs) were crowned in the church: Franz Joseph in 1867 and Charles IV in 1916. The church interior is decorated with works of two outstanding 19th centuryHungarian painters, Kroly Lotz and Bertalan Szkely.
- Fishermans Bastion:
We continue our morning with a visit to nearby Fishermans Bastion, where we will view the Grand Equestrian Monument of King Stephen.
- Heroes Square:
Our afternoon commences in Heroes Square, where we will view the Millennium Monument, built in 1896 to commemorate the 1,000-year anniversary of Hungarys history.
- First Concert Performance:
Your first concert performance will be today.
Day 4 :
Venture to Krakow
- Hotel check-in:
Today we make our way to Krakow, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland and all of Europe. We will stay in a centrally located hotel in Krakow for the next two evenings.
- Krakows Old Quarter:
After making our way to Krakow today and checking into our hotel, our sightseeing will begin in the Old Quarter, focusing on the huge market square filled with cafes, shops, antique dealers, and restaurants. On the square we will view City Hall Tower, Cloth Halla beautiful Renaissance building that is part of the National Museumand the Churches of St. Barbara and St. Wojciech.
- Church of St. Mary :
Next, we will visit the Church of St. Mary, an imposing church that was built by the citizens of Krakow to rival the Cathedral on the Wawel. It is highlighted by the Hejnal Tower, the Crucifix, the Altar of the Virgin, and the Ciborium.
Day 5 :
- Wawel Hill:
Our sightseeing begins as we explore Wawel Hill, which has been at the heart of Polands history since 1,000 ADwhen the bishopric of Krakow was established.
- Royal Castle:
We start the day with a visit to the Royal Castle, the seat of Poland's kings from the 11th to the early 17th century. Our visit will include the Royal Chambers, the Crown Treasury and Armory, the Lost Wawel Exhibit, and the Dragon's Den.
- Wawel Cathedral,:
Time permitting, we continue with a visit to the Gothic Wawel Cathedral, one of the most important churchesin Poland and the burial place of almost all of Polands monarchs.
- Second Concert Performance:
Your second concert performance will be today.
Day 6 :
- Auschwitz and Birkenau:
This morning we will take a tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau, the largest and most efficient of the Nazi death camps. Our tour will include the Museum and a documentary film, followed by a short shuttle to Birkenau, where we will view the remains of the death camp and the moving memorial to all those who died in the Auschwitz system.
- Travel to Brno:
We continue to our hotel in the Brno area, just over the border into the Czech Republic.
Day 7 :
Travel to Prague
- Head to Prague:
This morning we travel to Prague, the magnificent and historic capital city of the Czech Republic.
- Visit the Little Quarter:
Our afternoon commences in the Little Quarter, where we begin with a visit to the Church of St. Nicholas, an 18th century Baroque masterpiece featuring statues, frescoes, and paintings by the leading artists of the day.
- Charles Bridge:
Our morning continues as we stroll across Charles Bridge on our way to the winding alleys of Old Town. Charles Bridge, Pragues most familiar monument, is a haven for crafts and trinket stalls and features spectacular statues of the Saints lining each side. Our tour of the Bridge concludes with a visit to Old Town Bridge Tower, wherewe can ascend to the viewing gallery for magnificent views of Prague Castle and the Little Quarter.
- Old Town Square:
In the Old Town Square, we will congregate in front of Old Town Hall's Astronomical Clock to watch the glockenspiel spectacle. In addition, we will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower for a panoramic view of the city.
Day 8 :
- Prague Castle:
Our morning begins as we explore the huge hilltop complex known collectively as Prague Castle; it encompasses dozens of houses, towers, churches, courtyards, and monuments.
- St. Vitus Cathedral,:
We begin with a visit to St. Vitus Cathedral, the dominant and the most historically important section of the castle complex. The massive Gothic cathedral features 21 chapels, with St. Wenceslas Chapel being the most important. During our walk through the complex, we will stroll along the Golden Lane, a picturesque street of tiny 16th century houses built into the castle fortifications, and view Powder Tower, White Tower, Lobkowitz Palace, and St. Georges Convent.
- Royal Palace:
We will visit the Royal Palace where, for more than 700 years, beginning in the 9th century, Bohemian kings and princes resided. Our visit will include the Vaulted Vladislav Hall where coronations were hosted and Vclav Havel was inaugurated president. The adjacent Diet was where kings and queens met with their advisers and where the supreme court was held. From a window in the Ludwig Wing, where the Bohemia Chancellery met, the Second Defenestration took place.
- Final Concert Performance:
Your third and final concert performance will be today
Day 9 :
- Departure from Prague:
Our enjoyable and rewarding trip will come to an end as our guide accompanies us to the airport for the return flight home.