Antarctica & Arctic
Few places in the world can rival the sheer diversity of cultural and natural heritage of Central Europe which you will discover on this spectacular journey.
a Destinations d > Austria > Highlights of Central Europe
13 nights accommodation, all breakfasts, all transport and listed activities and Exodus tour leader throughout.
Sundays - 08, 29 May, 10 Jul, 07 Aug & 04 Sep 2016.
Culture & Heritage
From the hugely significant sites on the UNESCO list to small fairytale villages, this trip will show just what makes this region so special, including historic capitals and cities of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Poland. The landscape is equally varied, with the dramatic Tatra Mountains and the beautiful parks and scenery of Moravia. These act as an impressive backdrop to the towns, castles and villages we visit on this absorbing journey.
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Scenic landscape in Moravia and in the Tatra Mountains.
Europe's historic capitals and cities- Prague, Bratislava,Vienna, Budapest and Krakow.
Optional activities such as a Danube boat cruise, or a visit to Auschwitz.
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Start Prague, where we stay overnight.
A full day to explore the wealth of attractions Prague has to offer, with some guided sightseeing in the morning and some free time. We will explore the Old Town, with the famous Wenceslas Square, and Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world. Clients will pay their own entrance fees. Overnight in Prague.
We transfer to the historic town of Cesky Krumlov, with its small squares, narrow cobbled streets and beautfiul chateau that overlooks the town. The early evening and morning are particularly good times to see this town, as the light reflects off the red roofs and the surrounding hills. Overnight Cesky Krumlov.
Telc is a great example of Renaissance architecture and has changed little over the past century. The town square, flanked by traditional houses and buildings, many of which proudly display coats of arms will immerse you in a bygone era. The next stop is Znojmo, a town with a number of fascinating places to visit. The castle perched on a rocky cliff offers wonderful views of the surrounding countryside, and of particular interest is the Znojemska Rotunda Chape. We end our day in the wine-growing town of Mikulov, where we stay for two nights.
We tour the mediaeval old town; Mikulov has a varied history, influenced much by its location on the border with Austria, including 300 years under the Liechtenstein family. The town has also been influenced by the large Jewish community that began following their expulsion from Lower Austria in 1421. Today it is at the centre of the wine-growing production in Moravia. Leaving Mikulov we transfer to Lednice-Valtice where we have the opportunity to visit the most romantic castle in the Czech Republic, a true highlight of the region including the beautifully landscaped garden and park. At the end of the day we return to Mikulov for our second night.
Bratislava may be one of the youngest of Europe's capitals but it has a long and rich history. It has been the coronation town of the Hapsburgs, and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary. There are two castles here, Devin Castle, destroyed by Napoleon's troops in 1809 and Bratislava Castle with its distinctive four towers and wonderful views over the Danube. After lunch we visit the old town, the picturesque streets and Baroque buildings, including the Grassalkovichov Palace, the presidential residence. In the evening we transfer to Vienna.
Full day's sightseeing in the wonderful city of Vienna, including guided sightseeing and free time to visit impressive sites like the grand Schonbrunn Palace and St. Stephen's Cathedral and an optional visit to the Mozart Museum (entrances payable locally). There will also be an optional visit to an evening concert (this will need to be pre-booked and so will be explained by your leader on Day 1)
Today we drive to the town of Sopron in Hungary where Franz List had his residence and which has the second largest concentration of romantic style buildings in the country, where we take a walk in the historic part. In the afternoon we visit the charming riverside town of Szentendre, traditionally an artists' colony, full of pretty houses painted in pastel shades and many small galleries. We end the day with a drive to Budapest, our base for the next two nights.
The mighty Danube literally splits this great city into two halves, Buda, dominated by the Castle Hill Palace complex high above the river, and Pest, the bustling and more cosmopolitan centre of trade. The morning is spent visiting the Castle Hill area, perched above the Danube and inner city area. In the evening there is an optional boat cruise on the Danube, offering close-up views of the spectacular Neo-Gothic Parliament building on the waterfront.
Leaving Hungary behind we journey to the imperious Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Stopping en route in Banska Stiavnica, now on the UNESCO World Heritage list thanks to its rich history thanks to its once prolific mines. The mediaeval town is spread across a steep valley, that in the Middle Ages was the main supplier of gold and silver to the Kingdom of Hungary. It boasts a number of beautifully preserved buildings such as the 14th century chateau and the Church of St Catherine, and the numerous small picturesque squares. We then proceed to Vlkolinec in the Velka Fatra Mountains. Vlkolinec is something akin to a 'living museum' with 45 wooden vernacular buildings dating back to 1372, set in a remarkable natural environment. The village has permanent residents, however remains untouched and is today a Folk Architecture Monument Reserve. We continue to the highest settlement in the Tatras, Strbske Pleso lake (1346m) a popular spot for summer and winter sports enthusiasts and a great place to sample high-mountain atmosphere. In the evening we transfer to our nearby accommodation in Smokovec.
The High Tatras National Park is among the best in Europe, with glacial valleys, mountain lakes and waterfalls and populated by brown bears, chamois, marmots and wolves. There are many activities and attractions to choose from on your free day here; the leader will be on hand to advise. In the evening we transfer to Krakow, where we spend our final two nights.
We take a short tour on foot of the main sights of the old city, in company of a local guide, including the Mariacki church, Old Market Square, the Jewish quarter and Wawel Hill. Wawel Castle is renowned as the best example of a Renaissance style castle on the north side of Alps. The afternoon is free to explore, or an optional visit to the impressive and labyrinthine Wieliczka Salt Mine. This vast network of tunnels and rooms now covers 9 levels to a depth of 327m and was described by an eighteenth-century visitor as being 'as remarkable as the Pyramids and more useful'. This huge mediaeval underground salt mine contains chambers, chapels and even concert halls all excavated from salt by hand.
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