Visit Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy

Embark on a tour of Europe as you travel from Berlin to Rome visiting Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy. Discover some of the highlights of Europe from the remains of the Berlin Wall to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Unearth the secrets of Germany and Poland, live it up in the Czech Republic, eat cake in Austria, head outdoors in Hungary, see dramatic scenery in Slovenia and discover a wealth of antiquities in Italy. From the backstreets of Prague to the canals of Venice and beyond, this journey will be one to remember.

Start
Berlin, Germany
Finish
Rome, Italy
Countries
Austria,
Czech Republic,
Germany,
Hungary,
Italy,
Poland,
Slovenia
Themes
Explorer
Code
AMRRC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
354kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Now one of the world's most artistic and exciting cities, Berlin has a complex history. See remaining fragments of the famous wall that once divided the city in half
  • Soak up the royal history of Krakow's Wawel Castle and step back in time with a stroll through its 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
  • Escape city life on the peaceful shores of Lake Bled in Slovenia. Visit a church on the tiny island in the centre of the lake and treat yourself to a slice of Bled's famous cream cake
  • The floating city of Venice is one place you’ll be happy to get lost in. The city's maze of alleyways, canals and lagoon islands lead to over 130 churches, all with their own distinct character
  • Feast on mouth-watering seafood along Italy's coast, drink fine wine in Tuscany and indulge in the endless pasta dishes on offer in Rome
  • Walk along Cinque Terre's rocky coastal pathways, calling into the sleepy pastel villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore and Vernazza
  • Wander around Rome's famous landmarks including the Colosseum, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica and much more. This is a city where you'll be able to tick a lot off your bucket list

Itinerary

Guten Tag! Welcome to Germany.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 7:00pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. 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). 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.
Berlin is a vivacious city where fast-paced modern development is overlaid on a history familiar to everyone. Surviving pre-World War I attractions include the Schloss Charlottenburg, the Prussian Queen's Summer Palace, and the Prussian Victory Column. The Tiergarten, Berlin's largest green space with 23 kilometres of pathways, is also home to the world famous Berlin Zoo.
Board an overnight train for Krakow.
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.
Explore Wawel Royal Castle, which sits atop a hill next to the Vistula River. It provides a magnificent backdrop to Rynek Glowny, the town square. Dating back to the 13th century, the square is surrounded by grand buildings, with the Cloth Hall as the centrepiece.
There will be time to explore the city, so visit St Mary's Church, shop for amber or crafts and be transported back in time by the well-preserved old town.
If you can tear yourself away from the charms of Krakow, visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a deep underground network of tunnels and chambers some 135 m below the surface. The Blessed Kinga Chapel is a highlight not to be missed, with its elaborate salt chandeliers and carvings.
You may want to take a day trip to learn more about the history of World War II at Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Birkenau, sites where some of the worst atrocities were perpetrated.
Krakow has many cellar restaurants and pubs and a thriving cultural scene. You may want to end your day embracing Polish social traditions over a few drinks in one of these cheerful establishments.
Travel by train to Prague (approx 7 hrs).
Having served as the residence of rulers and archbishops for over a thousand years, Prague has been left with a unique gallery of historic buildings. The 'City of a Hundred Spires' is an architecture-lover's dream - you can trace the history of design from the Middle Ages all the way through to the avant-gardism of the most controversial building in the city, the Gehry-designed Dancing Building (also called the Fred and Ginger Building) on the banks of the Vltava.
Spend time at Prague Castle, the biggest in the Czech Republic, where you'll find the famous St Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane.
Wander through the Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the traditions and culture of Prague's formerly large Jewish community.
The Old Town at night is truly special. In addition to the sights, there are many great restaurants and pubs, some in old vaulted cellars. The nightlife in Prague is some of the best in Central Europe. Whether dance clubs, traditional beer-halls or underground absinthe bars are your speed, there is something for just about everyone in this cosmopolitan city. The city has one of 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.
In Prague we stay in our own private apartments. We have several separate apartments 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 - it's all an easy stroll from your front door. This is your chance to look behind those facades. Each apartment has 2-3 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. Our apartments are not hotels, there's no reception, room service or daily cleaning service, no televisions or washing machines, but plenty of charm and you just can't beat the location.
Depart Prague and travel by bus to the southern Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov (approx 4 hrs).
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 as the town is nestled in a sharp bend of the Vltava River. It also comes complete with a castle on a hill towering over the quaint old town, which boasts a collection of beautiful old buildings and a confusion of cobbled alleyways.
Explore the castle and its fabulous Masquerade Hall, or climb the tower for aerial views of the town.
Weather and time permitting, take a relaxing 2-3 hour raft/canoe trip on the river that winds right through the centre of Cesky Krumlov, a favourite summer pastime.
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.
Once the centre of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna is today a cosmopolitan city with music in the air and the grandeur of a golden past.
Art lovers will be delighted by the vast array of museums available including the Albertina, the Leopold, Kunsthalle Wien and the Museum of Modern Art. Those with an interest in 19th and 20th century Austrian art should visit the Belvedere Palace, home to Gustav Klimt's famous painting 'The Kiss', check out Hundertwasserhaus or discover the Secession building with its gold laurel-leaf dome.
Visit Hofburg Palace, the imposing winter retreat of Habsburg royals and now the official residence of the Austrian president.
You might like to head out to Schoenbrunn for a guided audio tour of the summer palace designed by Empress Maria Theresa herself. The Gloriette Monument has incredible views of Vienna. The palace gardens are free to all visitors but there is a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. Avoid long queues for this by pre-booking your tickets at www.schoenbrunn.at.
Climb the 343 steps to the top of the tower of St Stephen's Cathedral.
Take a spin on the famous Prater Ferris Wheel.
After all this sightseeing, indulge in the great Viennese institution of coffee and Sacher torte, before capping off the evening with some excellent Mozart, Bach or Schubert at the opera.
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 info@viennaticketoffice.com to arrange tickets.
Travelling from Vienna by train (approx 3 hrs), arrive in Budapest with time to explore the Pearl of the Danube.
Since the collapse of Communism, Budapest has experienced something of a renaissance. The grand architecture and boulevards evoke a time gone by, while glamorous stores and glitzy restaurants make this one of the truly great cities of Europe.
With so much to see and do, hire a bicycle for a great way to move between the city sights.
Budapest is the perfect city to enjoy from the water. From here you'll be able to see the magnificent buildings that line the banks of the Danube River and the bridges linking Buda to Pest. Take one of the tourist boat trips to see the sights or cross the Chain Bridge for a spectacular view of the Parliament Building and the Castle District. Be sure to head down to the river after dark to enjoy the floodlit spectacle.
Head out to Statue Park to see all the communist monuments that were removed from the city streets after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
One unmissable activity is a soak in the hot thermal baths. There are several around the city centre ranging from the sumptuous and elegant to simple outdoor types. There are pools of varying degrees - some with whirlpools, chess boards and seats where you can enjoy it all while recuperating in the therapeutic waters.
Travel by bus to the lakeside town of Bled (approx 8 hrs).
Situated on the stunning Lake Bled at the edge of the Julian Alps in Slovenia, there are many outdoor activities to get the blood pumping in Bled: rafting, caving, canoeing, swimming, to name a few.
If feeling active, why not hire a bike and head out to Vintgar Gorge (4 km) and walk through the natural canyon.
Explore Bled Castle, perched atop the 100-metre cliff overlooking the lake.
Catch a pletna (small wooden boat) over to the island in the middle of the lake to ring the wishing bell.
Take a day trip to Lake Bohinj, situated within a glaciated valley in the Julian Alps. There, you can ascend Mt Vogel by cable car for awesome views of the ranges. If the weather is clear you may even see Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia. Please note that the weather conditions on top of Mt Vogel vary greatly (it's a ski resort in the winter).

For a sample of Bled cuisine, you must try Bled cake - a vanilla, custard, cream and pastry delight.
Travel by train through stunning scenery to one of the world's most unique cities - Venice (approx 5.5 hrs).
A grand city of canals, Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. Still rich with artistic masterpieces, modern Venice combines history with contemporary life through food, performance, art and architecture.
Use your free time to explore Venice. The best way to do that is by foot, taking in all the famous sights - the Grand Canal, the old-world shops of the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the Piazza San Marco and its golden Basilica, and the evocative Bridge of Sighs. Wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas and cross the hundreds of tiny bridges. There are shops, markets, galleries, churches and stunning buildings around every corner - don't miss the opportunity to take a gondola trip through the romantic canals!
Be sure not to miss trying the popular dessert tiramisu - sponge cakes soaked in coffee and arranged in layers with mascarpone cheese - which is the speciality of this region.
Travel on a series of trains to the Liguria region, home to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre (approx 5 hrs).
A medieval port town whose name is derived from its historic importance in the spice trade, La Spezia is our base for exploring the nearby (approx. 30mins by train) stunning stretch of coast known as the Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre ('Five Lands') is an area famed for the beauty of its coastline and its picturesque villages. Before the advent of the railway, its ancient systems of hillside footpaths were the villages' only link to the outside world.
Walk along the famous path of the Cinque Terre. Olive groves and vineyards cover the mountains that plunge into the sea - the vistas here are breathtaking.

If you're feeling energetic, walking the entire path (12 km, approx 5 hrs) will give you the best taste of the villages and countryside. However, you can jump on a train between any of the villages or to get back to our base whenever you want. Please note that some sections of the Cinque Terre path can be quite difficult with challenging uphill stretches, narrow paths, steep cliffs and foot bridges. Appropriate footwear (trainers or light hiking shoes) are required for this day.

Cinque Terre path sections:
- Riomaggiore to Manarola is easy and takes 25 minutes on a paved path.
- Manarola to Corniglia is easy and takes about 50 minutes on a partly paved and partly rocky path.
- Corniglia to Vernazza is medium level difficulty and takes about 1.5 hours on a rocky path.
- Vernazza to Monterosso is more challenging and takes about 2 hours on a rocky path.

After working up an appetite, you'll appreciate indulging in the foods of the Liguria region, which take advantage of the products of the Mediterranean. Pesto is a speciality, and is often served with pasta, green beans and potato, or dolloped into a classic minestrone soup. Focaccia is also a speciality, and makes a great start to lunch - team it up with some cheese and ham and you have a simple yet delicious picnic.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent landslides in the area it is currently not possible to walk the full extent of the Via dell'Amore and the coastal section between Manarola and Corniglia. There are alternative inland routes, however these are of a higher physical rating and involve steep ups and downs. It is possible to take the train for these sections.
Board a train today and head to Florence, which should take around three and half hours. As you'll arrive in the late afternoon, there may not be too much time to explore the city. On arrival, check in to the hotel and go for a brief walk around the immediate to area to get your bearings. Food is a major part of the city's identity, so use your evening wisely and maybe head out for dinner with the group. Regional specialities are noted for their simplicity and fine flavour, and the use of high-quality olive oil, cannellini beans and fresh herbs. Meat lovers should try the bistecca alla fiorentina, a huge T-bone steak that's usually shared between two people, or ribollita - a thick delicious vegetable soup with bread, beans and greens.

After breakfast on day 20, head out into Florence. Perhaps visit the Uffizi, one of the world's oldest art galleries, or see Michelangelo's famous statue of David in the Galleria dell'Accademia. Walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is set on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River. There are plenty of sights to see during your free time in Florence.

Note: Florentine State Museums (Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti Palace, Medici Chapels, Bargello, Archaeological Museum, Davanzati) can all be booked in advance. Reserve tickets by phone on (+39) 055 294883 from Monday to Friday 8.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 8.30am-12.30pm. You can also book online at www.weekendafirenze.com. We suggest that you book in advance (your leader can be of assistance), especially for the Uffizi as this museum experiences enormous queues (up to 5 hours) all year round. The individual museums have slightly different opening times and closing days between them but the website - www.firenzemusei.it - has everything you need to know about all of them. Make your reservations for these museums for any time on Day 20 of this itinerary.
Crowded with ancient ruins and religious monuments, Rome still pulses to the beat of modern life and is packed with designer shops, restaurants, cafes and exciting nightlife.
See some of the world-famous sights such as the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and the Forum (the centre of ancient Rome).
No visit would be complete without a trip to Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica. Entry to the Basilica is free, and there's a small charge to climb the dome for the ultimate breathtaking panorama over bella Roma.

Also make the time to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museum is closed on some days, including most Sundays. On the last Sunday of the month, it's open and free (but expect large crowds). Check the Vatican website for these dates: www.vatican.va

Tickets for the Vatican Museum can be booked online at http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do Alternatively, the Galleria Borghese can be booked online at http://www.galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/einfo.htm
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
1 breakfast
Transport
Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train
Accommodation
Guesthouse (4 nights), Hostel (5 nights), Hotel (4 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included activities
  • Vienna Orientation Walk
  • Venice - City Orienation Walking Tour

Dates

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Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Berlin to Rome , September 2015

Berlin to Rome , July 2015

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