Best of Central Europe Trip Notes

Best of Central Europe

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 22 October 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016
Best of Central Europe
Trip code: AMSB
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 22 Oct 2016
Experience the best of this old-world region on a journey through enchanting Central Europe. Travel to Austria and be immersed in the country's superb musical heritage and step back in time in the castles of the Czech Republic. Experience Polish traditions while exploring the romantic Old Town of Krakow and get active in Slovakia's Tatra Mountains. Conclude this classical adventure by taking the road less travelled to Budapest. From 1st of January 2017 this trip will run at slightly improved itinerary. On Day 8, instead of staying in the town of Kudowa Zdroj in Poland, we will spent a day in small village within Gory Sowie region and will visit an underground military complex from the II Word War, learn about the history of the region and its dark secrets. This change comes in to effect as a result of past traveller’s feedback as well as the more convenient connections between new location and further destination – Krakow.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesFinish point description
ThemesMeals introductionFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?MealsEmergency contact
Why we love itTransportVisas
MapMoney mattersWhat to take
ItineraryGroup leaderClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyHealth
Physical ratingJoining pointTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Important notesAlternate joining pointResponsible Travel
Group sizeAlternate joining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersAlternate joining point instructionsFeedback
AccommodationFinish point
Is this trip right for you?
- Two sections of this trip will be travelled by train. The journey from the Tatra Mountains to Budapest will be especially long, taking approximately 10 hours and with at least 3 changes. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning, toilets, a snack bar (or vending machine) and power points. Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.
- On day 5 & 6 we will stay in private apartments in Prague. everal separate apartments are located in the city centre so you may be a short walk away from your other group members and your leader. Most of the apartments have fully equipped kitchens and you can choose to buy your own groceries and supplies for meals. Please note the apartments are not hotels, which means there's no reception, room service or daily cleaning service, no televisions or washing machines, but plenty of charm and the location is perfect.
- On day 12 we plan to go for a day’s hike in High Tatra Mountains. To fully enjoy the day, you should have a basix level of fitness. Please also make sure you bring appropriate clothing and footwear; rain coat and sturdy trainers or walking boots are a must.
- As there are potholes and cobblestones in many European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead.
- Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
- As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.
- This trip is designed to give you a fair amount of free time so you can explore each destination at your own pace. We will, however, take you on regular orientation walks, so you'll be on your feet quite a lot. While this may be tiring for some, it’s the best way to get your head around a place and to set yourself up for further discoveries.
Why we love it
- Soak up the royal history of Krakow's Wawel Castle and step back in time with a stroll through the city's medieval main square
- Immerse yourself in the history, architecture and bohemian vibes of the Czech Republic. Soak up the smooth sounds of jazz at a low-lit bar in Prague before stepping right into a fairytale in the World Heritage-listed town of Cesky Krumlov
- So much of what is great about Europe can be found in Vienna. Revel in the city's rich offerings of art, history and music and stroll along the eclectic Ringstrasse
- Enjoy a scenic walk along the banks of the River Danube in Budapest. Threaded with bridges and hemmed in by castles and historic city buildings, Europe’s second longest river is also one of its most beautiful
- Hike in the picturesque Tatra Mountains and traverse the steep slopes via funicular, gondola and electric steam train
- A sobering tour of Auschwitz concentration camp offers insight into one of the most tragic periods in human history

Day 1 Vienna
Welcome to Vienna, Austria. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please confirm with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception noticeboards. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Vienna is a beautiful city, so if you arrive early make sure you go for a walk. Perhaps even take a spin on the famous old Prater Ferris Wheel. Use the evening getting to know your fellow travellers over dinner.

Your base for two nights in Vienna is Magdas Hotel. It is unlike any other hotel you are likely to come across on your travels, a great social project supporting refugees. It 'brings together what belongs together’, staffed by people from over 14 different nations.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Vienna
Join your leader for a walk through the city's compact centre this morning (approximately 2 hours). Stop at the gothic looking St. Stephens Cathedral, wander past the neo-classical grandeur of the Graben and onwards to the Hofburg Palace. Finish your orientation of the city at the State Opera House, one of the world's most important opera houses and the heart of classical Viennese culture. Art lovers have a vast choice of museums, from the Albertina to those located in the Museum Quarter.

You have the rest of today to explore Vienna and its surrounds. You might like to head out to Schoenbrunn for a guided audio tour of the summer palace, designed by Empress Maria Theresa. The Gloriette Monument has incredible views of Vienna and the palace gardens are free to all visitors, but there's a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. In the evening, perhaps head out for some Viennese cuisine.

Notes: Avoid long queues at Schoenbrunn Palace by pre-booking your tickets at: Also, the Spanish Riding School doesn't operate throughout the summer months. You will need to book tickets in advance to see the performance of the Lipizzaners. Phone: +43 (0)1 505 77 66 55 or e-mail to arrange tickets.
Included Activities
  • Vienna Orientation Walk
    Optional Activities
    • Belvedere Gallery - EUR13
    • Albertina Museum - EUR13
    • Sisi Museum - EUR12
    • Spanish Riding School practice - EUR28
    • St Stephen's Tower - EUR5
    • Schoenbrunn Palace - EUR14
    • Hofburg Palace and Sisi Museum - EUR12
    • Leopold Museum - EUR13
    • Prater Ferris Wheel - EUR10
    • Vienna Boys Choir - EUR70
      Hotel (1 nt)
      1 breakfast
      Day 3 Cesky Krumlov
      Depart Vienna by minivan in the morning and cross the border into the Czech Republic (approximately 3 hours). Our first stop is the southern Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov. This picturesque medieval town dates back to the 13th century and is straight out of a fairytale. Cesky Krumlov (pronounced 'Che-skee Krum-lov') means 'crooked meadow', which is befitting of a town that's nestled in a sharp bend of the Vltava River. Venture out on an included cycling trip in the afternoon, across rolling hills and through tiny hamlets (approximately 3 hours). If you have time, explore the city's castle and its fabulous masquerade hall, or climb the tower for aerial views of the town. For the active, there's the option to canoe or kayak down the river.

      Notes: During the cooler and winter months, cycling is often not possible. You'll take an extended walking tour of the town instead.
      Included Activities
      • Cycling trip (weather and season permitting)
        Hotel (1 nt)
        1 breakfast
        Day 4 Cesky Krumlov
        Today is a free for you to enjoy as you please. Perhaps take an optional guided walking tour of the town, which includes commentary of the mysteries that lie behind every shopfront and house on the crooked little streets. A visit to the Cesky Krumlov brewery, where tours are often conducted in English, will give you a glimpse of the brewing tradition that has existed in this town for hundreds of years. For those who want a bit more culture, and time permitting, visit the Egon Schiele Art Centrum and browse the gallery that's dedicated to the Austrian painter. If you are an adventurous spirit, jump in to a canoe and discover the town from a perspective of Vltava River.
        Optional Activities
        • Brewery tour - CZK130
        • Guided walking tour - CZK300
        • Egon Schiele Art Centrum - CZK160
        • Raft/canoe trip - CZK1400
        • Guided castle tour - CZK250
          Hotel (1 nt)
          1 breakfast
          Day 5 Prague
          Farewell this southern bohemian town and travel by bus to Prague (approximately 4 hours). During your stay in Prague, you'll have your own private apartment. Several separate apartments are located in the city centre so you may be a short walk away from your other group members and your leader. Staying in the city centre allows easy access to all the sights and the restaurants and bars. Each apartment has two to three rooms with one or two shared bathrooms. Most of the apartments have fully equipped kitchens and you can choose to buy your own groceries and supplies for meals. On arrival into Prague, the rest of your afternoon is free to do as you wish.

          Notes: The apartments are not hotels, which means there's no reception, room service or daily cleaning service, no televisions or washing machines, but plenty of charm and the location is perfect. Please also note that individual rooms are allocated on a same gender twin share basis, however the apartments itself are allocated on a mixed gender basis.
          Optional Activities
          • Urban Adventure - Prague Discovery - EUR64
          • Urban Adventure - Prague Beer and Czech Tapas Tour - EUR63
          • Urban Adventure - Bohemian State of Mind - EUR58
            Private apartment (1 nt)
            1 breakfast
            Day 6 Prague
            Today is free to explore Prague. The city offers many possibilities, so perhaps take a walk around the Jewish Quarter and pay respects at the Gothic looking Old Jewish Cemetery. This is Europe's oldest surviving Jewish cemetery, with 12,000 tombstones and 100,000 graves. Visiting The Museum of Communism can shade some light on this part of dark history shared by most of central European’s countries which somehow isn’t yet well known to the broader audience. Visiting town hall Clock Tower is a great way to finish off a busy day, before heading out for a dinner, and perhaps discovering another great side of Prague: the longest-standing and respected jazz scenes in Europe. If you should find yourself out until the early hours in an atmospheric jazz club, have a wander along Charles Bridge or Old Town Square as the sun rises for magical photo opportunities.
            Optional Activities
            • Jewish Quarter - CZK480
            • Kafka Museum - CZK200
            • Day Trip to Kutna Hora - CZK250
            • Mucha Museum - CZK240
            • Museum of Communism - CZK190
            • Prague Castle - CZK350
            • Sedlec Ossuary - CZK90
            • Church of St Barbara - CZK60
            • Town Hall Clock Tower - CZK105
            • Bike tour - CZK490
            • The Dancing House - Free
            • John Lennon Wall - Free
              Private apartment (1 nt)
              Day 7 Prague
              Spend some time this morning at Prague Castle, the biggest castle in the Czech Republic, where you'll find the famous St. Vitus Cathedral and colourful alleyway of the Golden Lane. A bike tour through the city is a great way to see a lot of the city's sights and attractions in a short period of time. If you can make time, take a day trip to region of Bohemia and visit Kutna Hora. The Bone Church (Sedlec Ossuary) is a particularly unique experience. Perhaps use your evening to head out for dinner with the group.
              Private apartment (1 nt)
              Day 8 Kudowa Zdroj
              Heading north by train, arrive in the small town of Nachod where you'll cross the Czech–Polish border. From here you'll be transferred in a private vehicle to the nearby town of Kudowa Zdroj; with today's travel taking around four hours in total. On arrival, the rest of your day is free to explore. As Europe's oldest spa city, take a thermal bath in the historic spa and sample some of the local mineral water that's believed to have health and therapeutic benefits. You might like to shake things up with a hike in Table Mountain National Park, which is home to some bizarre-looking rocks, lovely walking trails and beautiful woodlands.

              PLEASE NOTE that on certain departures (please check the list in Important Notes section), this day will be organised in a slightly different way. After arrival in Nachod, the group will take a private transfer to Nowa Ruda, small town further inland from the Czech border. Our accommodation for the night will be in Dwor Gorny Hotel, an original, castle-like building dating back to 1598. The castle has its own winery, restaurant and offers a range of massages and health treatments. It’s focused on free range food production and eco-friendly accommodation and this is one of the main reasons why we believe this place would fall in to Intrepid style of travel perfectly.
              In the afternoon, the walk to the nearby look out point will be organised and possibility to visit Kudowa Zdroj in the evening will be offered. Nowa Ruda itself has a range of interesting places to see; old train station dating back to 1878, former evangelic church or impressive train viaduct to list few. Range of restaurants where you could enjoy a delicious polish cuisine is also available.
              Included Activities
              • Kudowa Zdroj Nature Reserve entrance
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 9 Krakow
                Continue east today by private bus and journey to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) (approximately 4 hours). On arrival, learn more about the history of World War II at the former Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, with a guided tour of the Auschwitz Museum and Birkenau (approximately 2.5 hours). After this sobering day trip, carry on driving to Krakow (approximately 1.5 hours). Possibly the best known of all Poland's cities, Krakow was the residence of Polish kings from the 11th to the 17th centuries, and its Old Town is a World Heritage-listed site. In the evening, perhaps head out for some good Polish grub.

                Notes: For the departure starting on 16 July 2016, different arrangements on this day due to factors outside of our control. For more information, see at the 'Important Notes' section.
                Included Activities
                • Guided visit to State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
                  Optional Activities
                  • Urban Adventure - Communist Krakow Adventure - EUR37
                  • Urban Adventure - Polish Krakow Adventure - EUR37
                  • Jewish Krakow Adventure - EUR39
                  • Urban Adventure - Home Cooked Krakow - EUR38
                    Pension (1 nt)
                    Day 10 Krakow
                    Today, explore the city in your own time. Discover Wawel Royal Castle, which sits atop a hill next to the Vistula River. Check out the 13th-century town square of Rynek Glowny and get a glimpse inside St Mary's Basilica which features an extraordinary wood-carved Gothic altarpiece. There's also the lovely neo-Gothic St Francis' Basilica, which has some of Poland's best Art Nouveau. In Krakow, you will also find a second oldest university in Central Europe (the oldest is in Prague). Jagiellonian Univeristy counts Copernicus and Pope John Paul II among its alumni.

                    If you can tear yourself away from Krakow, head out to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a network of tunnels and chambers some 135 metres below the ground. This is a salt mine that has been in operation for over 700 year and is listed as the UNESCO world heritage site. The mine has a labyrinth of tunnels, pits, and chambers, all hewn by hand from solid salt, with beautifully adorned chapels and underground lakes. Don't miss a look at the elaborate salt chandeliers and carvings in the Blessed Kinga Chapel.

                    Krakow has many cellar restaurants and pubs. Perhaps end the day indulging in a few drinks and a plate of pierogis in one of the city's cheerful establishments.
                    Optional Activities
                    • History Museum - PLN8
                    • Galicia Jewish Museum - PLN15
                    • Schindler's Tour - PLN65
                    • Wawel Royal Castle - PLN25
                    • Walking tour - PLN30
                    • St. Mary's Basilica - PLN10
                    • Wieliczka Salt Mines - PLN84
                    • Cloth Hall 'Sukiennice' Krakow - Free
                    • Rynek Underground Museum - PLN19
                      Pension (1 nt)
                      1 breakfast
                      Day 11 Tatra Mountains
                      Say farewell to Krakow today and travel by local buses through southern Poland (approximately 5 hours). The trip may be long and a little slow, but the scenery of rolling hills and tiny villages is soothing. Tatranska Lomnica is your destination in Slovakia. It's a small alpine resort at the base of the Vysoke Tatry (High Tatra) Mountains. From your base, the group will head out on a variety of transport in the mountain region, including a gondola, StareSmoke electric train and a Smokovec funicular. The evening is free for you to enjoy as you please. Perhaps the best way to do it is to sit back, kick your feet up and soak in the atmosphere of this beautiful mountainous region.
                      Included Activities
                      • Gondola, Tatranska Lomnica
                      • StareSmoke Electric train
                      • Smokovec Funicular
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 12 Tatra Mountains
                        Between the months of April and October, the group will go on an included hike in the Vysoke Tatry mountains. The Tatras, the highest range of the Carpathians, stretch for about 60 kilometres across the Polish-Slovakian border and are a trekker's dream. There are many hiking options to choose from, depending on your energy and enthusiasm levels. You may notice that some parts of the forest have been destroyed. This was the result of a tornado-like storm in 2004 that decimated approximately 10,000 hectares of timberland. In the afternoon, head back to the accommodation and enjoy the balance of the day in that beautiful location.

                        Notes: There may be still be considerable snow in April and May, which may prevent us from choosing the usual hiking route. Please ensure you bring extra warm clothes and waterproof boots in April. Having said that, the crisp, clear atmosphere and fewer tourists make this a fantastic time to visit.
                        Included Activities
                        • Hiking in the Vysoke Tatry mountains (not between Nov and Mar)
                          Optional Activities
                          • Summer Luge - EUR3
                          • Bike rental- Tatranska Lomnica - EUR10
                          • Spa treatment in Grand Hotel Praha (starting from price) - EUR20
                          • Ski Museum - EUR3
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 13 Budapest
                            You have an early start today for the train journey to Budapest (approximately 10 hours). You'll have to change trains a few times on this journey. As there won't be too much free time to explore on arrival, perhaps check in to the accommodation and then go for a brief walk around the city to get your bearings. The grand architecture and boulevards evoke a bygone era, while glamorous stores and glitzy restaurants make this one of the truly great cities of Europe. Take the evening as an opportunity to relax after a long day of travelling. Visiting one of Budapest's many restaurants or bars is a great way to do it.
                            Optional Activities
                            • Bike Ride - HUF6000
                            • Great Synagogue - HUF3500
                            • House of Terror - HUF2000
                            • Hungarian National Museum - HUF1600
                            • Hungarian State Opera House Tour - HUF2900
                            • Parliament Tour - HUF5200
                            • Pub Crawl - HUF5000
                            • Transport and Entry to Statue Park - HUF5000
                            • Thermal Bath - HUF4500
                            • Urban Adventures - Budapest Custom Tour - EUR35
                            • Urban Adventures - Buda Castle Explorer - EUR44
                            • Urban Adventures - Bites & Sights - EUR63
                            • Urban Adventures - Happy Hour Budapest - EUR55
                            • Budapest Central Market - Free
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 14 Budapest
                              Today you have a full free day to explore Budapest. Known as 'The Pearl of the Danube', Budapest is a great city to enjoy from the water. Perhaps take a boat trip along the river or catch a funicular up to the castle for spectacular views of the Parliament Building. If you're an art buff, visit the Museum of Fine Arts at Hero's Square, which offers free English tours of the permanent collections from Tuesday to Saturday. Perhaps head to Statue Park to see the communist monuments that were removed from the city after the fall of the Iron Curtain. One unmissable activity is a soak in Budapest's hot thermal baths. The pools vary in temperature, and some even feature whirlpools or seats where you can enjoy a game of chess. You might like to take part in one of our Urban Adventure day tours, such as the Budapest Custom Tour or Bites and Sights. See more at

                              Note: Many museums throughout Europe are closed on Mondays. If you are interested in a particular museum, you may want to check the opening times and plan your arrival into Budapest accordingly.
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 15 Budapest
                              Your adventure ends after breakfast today. There are no activities planned and you're free to depart the accommodation at any time.
                              1 breakfast
                              Itinerary disclaimer
                              ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

                              BOOKING MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS IN ADVANCE: To avoid disappointment we have outlined (where applicable) some important information on some of the major museums and attractions in Europe. Some of our groups have experienced long lines of up to four hours to visit some of the major sights, while some sights are so popular they are booked out completely months in advance, making it impossible for you or your leader to arrange a visit while you are on the trip. Please note that many museums and attractions in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where possible. If applicable we've given you information in the day-to-day itinerary which outlines which day of the trip is a suitable time to make your reservations, as well as any other information that may help with planning your visit.
                              Physical rating

                              Included activities
                              Vienna Orientation Walk
                              Cycling trip (weather and season permitting)
                              Kudowa Zdroj Nature Reserve entrance
                              Guided visit to State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
                              Gondola, Tatranska Lomnica
                              StareSmoke Electric train
                              Smokovec Funicular
                              Hiking in the Vysoke Tatry mountains (not between Nov and Mar)
                              Important notes
                              A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
                              Single supplement is available with the exception of the following nights:
                              Day 3-4 Cesky Krumlov

                              Please note that following departures will be organised in a slightly different way on Day 8 Kudowa Zdroj. AMSB160423, AMSB160521, AMSB160618, AMSB160622, AMSB160625, AMSB160706, AMSB160709, AMSB160716, AMSB160723, AMSB160730, AMSB160806, AMSB160813, AMSB160820. Please check Day 8 description for more details.

                              Group size
                              Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
                              Your fellow travellers
                              GROUP TRAVEL
                              As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                              SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                              Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                              Hotel (9 nights), Pension (2 nights), Private apartment (3 nights)
                              We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Europe may be different to the standards you are used to. Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges and in particular destinations, rooms may be rather small.

                              The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                              TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                              Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite (even when you book single room supplement!) and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                              CHECK-IN TIME
                              Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                              PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
                              If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
                              Meals introduction
                              While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                              Food in Europe is varied and differs significantly between countries and regions. Expect to sample delicious local meals in almost every location you’ll visit on this trip. However, if you do not feel like having a local delicacy, world type food is also widely available, especially in bigger cities. European diet is mostly meat based; vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and choices may be limited to soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets will find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

                              European breakfasts are often basic and may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.)
                              10 breakfasts
                              Bicycle, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train

                              TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
                              Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.
                              Money matters
                              The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. The safest option is to bring cash in either Euro or US dollars. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.

                              You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%. Taking all that in to account, we do not advise bringing traveller’s cheques to Europe.

                              For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.

                              The local currency in the Czech Republic is the Koruna (CZK).

                              The local currency in Poland is the Polish Zloty (PLN).

                              The local currency in Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (HUF)

                              SPENDING MONEY
                              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
                              If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
                              EMERGENCY FUNDS
                              We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

                              Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest EUR 450.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
                              Group leader
                              All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                              Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                              Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
                              We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
                              Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
                              For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                              Common scams operating in Europe include ploys to get you fined on the metro without a validated ticket. Ensure that you always travel with a validated ticket (have your ticket stamped). Another common scam is used by children who distract you with a map or a newspaper and while you are attending to them, steal your valuables. You may also come across players offering you to participate in the so-called "shell game". This is a scam and you will most certainly lose your money.

                              FIRE PRECAUTIONS
                              Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                              Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                              PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY
                              While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
                              Joining point
                              Magdas Hotel
                              Laufbergergasse 12
                              Phone: +43 017200288
                              Joining point instructions
                              To arrive at the joining point in Vienna, a taxi from the airport will cost approximately EUR35. Alternatively, you can catch the CAT from the airport to Landstrasse - Wien Mitte. The service runs from 06:06 to 23:30 daily and takes just 16 minutes. A Single Ticket costs EUR11. Tickets can be purchased in the baggage collection hall at Vienna Airport or in the station.

                              For Hotel Magdas, once you arrive at Landstrasse - Wien Mitte it is a 15-20 minute walk. From the corner of Invalidenstrasse and Marxergasse head north on Markthallenbrucke towards Obere Viaduktgasse. Continue straight ahead onto Hintere Zollamtsstrasse for 300 mts. Turn right onto Radetzkystrasse, continue left on Radetzkystrasse until you have crossed over the Canal. Turn right onto Schuttelstrasse and then left onto Laufbergergasse. The hotel is at the end of the street (200 mts) on the right.

                              If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer, your driver will be holding a board with the Intrepid logo or your name at the arrivals hall.
                              In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you're unable to locate the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +43 699 1386 2065
                              Alternate joining point
                              For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
                              28 Sep 2016 (AMSB160928)
                              Hotel Geblergasse
                              Geblergasse 19-21, 17. Hernals
                              Phone: +43 14063366
                              Alternate joining point description
                              Alternate joining point instructions
                              If you arrive to Vienna by air, best way to reach the hotel is to catch the airport bus from outside the arrival hall. Vienna Airport Lines (Postbus) connect airport with Westbanhof station. At the station change to U6 metro line and travel to Ubahn stop called Alser Strasse. Hotel is located 300 metres away from the station.
                              Finish point
                              Star Inn Hotel
                              Dessewffy Utca 36
                              Phone: +36 147 220 21
                              Finish point description
                              Star Inn Hotel is a new property located in the heart of Budapest, near the famous opera house. With 24 hour reception, a bar and breakfast area, the rooms include private bathrooms, TV, internet access and hairdryer.
                              Finishing point instructions
                              A taxi to the airport will cost approximately HUF7000. Alternatively ask your trip leader or hotel for assistance booking an airport shuttle or using public transport. Journey times will vary between 20 minutes and 1 hour.

                              Pre booked departure transfer to the airport: You will be collected at your accommodation 2,5 hours before your flight departure time. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +36302801219.
                              Emergency contact
                              While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                              We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                              You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
                              For general contact details please use the following page:

                              In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on the number listed below:

                              Peak Marrakech: +49 86779186657
                              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                              Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, US and British citizens currently do not require a visa to enter countries visited on this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassy or consulate in their home country for up to date visa information.

                              Passports have to be carried, but normally you do not need to show them. Stamps are no longer issued at border crossings.
                              What to take
                              On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.

                              TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
                              It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
                              LUGGAGE STORAGE
                              Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage during included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
                              WATER BOTTLE
                              Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
                              On some of our trips in Europe it is possible to purchase responsibly sourced reusable water bottles. Thirty per cent of the cost of each bottle is donated to the Intrepid Foundation, specifically to the Support to Life project, which offers humanitarian assistance to Syrian Refugees in Turkey. Please ask your leader for further information regarding this initiative and the availability of the bottles.
                              Climate and seasonal information
                              Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

                              Due to a World Youth Days from 20 to 28.07.2016 and from 1 to 3.08.2016 the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum will be closed for the visitors. This will affect AMSB160716 & AMSNC160716 departures. Instead, the group will take part in organized visit to ‘Jewish Krakow’ (Jewish Krakow Adventure) and Schindler's Tour.
                              All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                              You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. Pharmacies are well equipped in Europe and widely available, however, we recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained in some of the rural locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
                              Travel insurance
                              Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                              When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                              If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                              A couple of rules
                              Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                              Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                              Responsible Travel
                              We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                              DRESS CODE
                              In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

                              The Intrepid Foundation
                              Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                              The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                              Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation on this trip include:

                              * Fond Ohrozenych Deti (Fund for Children in Need) assists children in need who are unable to get effective help from the government. This includes asylum houses for disadvantaged single parents and their children, free advice, holiday camps and tutoring for young adults to help them start independent lives. They also provide financial help for foster families, which allows siblings to stay together.

                              After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. Below link will take you to the feedback site: