Play & Pause: Intro to Central & Eastern Europe (Winter)
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Berlin, Germany
Thermal undies packed? You’re gonna need them when you touch down in Berlin. First: say guten tag to the small bunch of trip mates sharing the ride. Then: get pumped for the adventure at our first included group dinner. Ready for one frost-filled, snowball-sized intro to wintertime Europe? You’re in exactly the right place.
Day 2 - Berlin
You’ve got 24 hrs here. Make the most of it. Our advice? Opt in for a historic walking tour that’s actually interesting. You’ll get a local insight into what the city was like under Nazi rule and tick off the likes of the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and Brandenburg Gate. Plus, all the insider tips on how to spend the rest of your free day. Or put those elastic waistbands to the ultimate test on a locally led food tour. We’re talking kebabs, pastries, more currywurst and local Pilsner beers (of course). This evening, show off your best Bambi impression at one of the city’s ice rinks. Or grab some chill time back at the hotel. Choice is yours.
Day 3 - Berlin to Kraków, Poland
Legend has it a dragon had to be defeated in order for this place to be built. Game of Thrones, eat your heart out. Welcome to Kraków! Get acquainted with this gem of a city and the largest medieval town square in Europe (size isn’t everything, Kraków) on today’s walking tour. Then: the arvo’s yours. Need tips? *Grabs foam finger and points at Trip Leader* – they’ve got it covered. Top up your history knowledge at Wawel Castle. Explore the quirky cafes and boutiques in the Jewish Quarter. Head to Schindler's Museum (be prepared to queue). Or find a local haunt and tuck into a heart-and-soul-warming bowl of rosól.
Day 4 - Kraków
Today = you do you. Need some suggestions? Head to Hamsa in the heart of the Jewish Quarter for some 'Hummus and Happiness'. Shop for amber in the UNESCO-listed Cloth Hall. Or do as the locals do and drop into Okraglak for some drool-worthy street food – Zapiekanki is a must! Then: it's vodka time. On an optional tasting tour, wander the cobblestone streets with a local guide – learning the history behind Polish vodka and sampling a few flavoured varieties as you go. This stuff is not for mixing with cranberry juice. Trust us. Feeling buzzed? Przypiecek is a pierogi place with your name on it.
Day 5 - Kraków to Budapest, Hungary
Up next? The twin cities of Buda and Pest. See why they call this place the City of Bridges as we roll past the Chain Bridge, Castle District, Gellert Hotel, Heroes’ Square and House of Terror on a driving tour. SD cards full and tummies grumbling, we’re gonna take it up a level with a dinner cruise down the Danube. Grab your coat and sit on the upper deck – Buda Castle and House of Parliament look even better lit up like Christmas. Trust us.
Day 6 - Budapest
You wanted freedom to explore – here it is. Check out the Central Market Hall. Explore the Jewish Quarter. Play pinball at the Flippermúzeum. Get a harrowing education at the House of Terrors. Hunt down the Anonymous Statue. Soak in the warm therapeutic waters of the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Or head to Buda Castle and check out all the views from Fisherman’s Bastion. Tonight, get stuck into some local fare: goulash, chicken paprikash, langos, dobos cake. Hope you like paprika, they’re kinda obsessed with it here. Or hang with the hipsters at one of the original ruin bars. Our suggestion? Try pálinka (traditional fruit brandy) – it’s like a warm hug for your insides.
Day 7 - Budapest to Vienna, Austria
Viszlát (bye) Hungary, hallo (erm, hello) Austria! Ten points if you can guess what Vienna is famous for. Musicians. Grand coffee houses. And strudel (duh!). Prepare to have your heart captured as we drive by the likes of the Opera House, Hofburg Palace, Museum Quarter and Ringstrasse. Then: the afternoon is yours. Poke around Princess Sissi’s extravagant rooms at Schönbrunn Palace. Explore the Museum Quarter in depth. Head to Cafe Central for the most boujee afternoon tea you’ve ever had. Or enjoy the sweet sounds of Mozart and Bach played by the Viennese Chamber Orchestra at an optional concert. Culture mode = activated.
Day 8 - Vienna to Prague, Czech Republic, via Mauthausen
After another included brekkie, it’s onwards to the spire-filled skyline and mysterious streets of Prague! But first: a visit to former concentration camp Mauthausen for a lesson in the resilience of humanity. Dump your bag at the hotel, before embarking on a walking tour to get better acquainted with this picture-perfect city – complete with a 600-year-old Astronomical Clock. Your expert Trip Leader will point out all the must-dos for tomorrow as we go. Tonight, hit the town to try some local Czech beer. Or kick back and unwind in the privacy of your accom. This is your trip, after all.
Day 9 - Prague
That’s right folks – it’s your day, your way. So, make like Dora and get exploring. Check out the John Lennon wall. Soak up some history at the Communist Museum. Take the funicular up Petrin Hill for all the views. Stroll the fairytale halls of the Klementinum. Or grab a delish roast pork roll at one of the street vendors lining Old Town Square. Fancy yourself as a bit of a hops connoisseur? Don’t miss the beer tasting optional this afternoon. Or satisfy your sweet tooth (so, every tooth) with a sugar-filled serving of trdelník. Think: fire-roasted pastry coated in cinnamon sugar – add Nutella and you’ve got the stuff of dessert dreams *wipes drool from chin*. Whatever you get up to, make sure you’re back in time to toast our winter adventure at tonight’s included dinner.
Day 10 - Prague to Berlin, Germany, via Dresden
Today we’re swapping one beer capital for the next. But first, get acquainted with 800-year-old Dresden – a city virtually destroyed in WWII and then rebuilt – before we make tracks to Berlin. Prep yourself for currywurst and more hipsters per capita than anywhere else. This eve, it’s time to say auf wiedersehen to your trip mates (no crying). Swap those digits and get that summer reunion trip locked in.
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