Last Modified: 16 Dec 2012
Trip code: AMRV
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
This exciting new trip reads like a who’s who of Europe - Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Munich, Prague to name just a few. Beginning in free-spirited Amsterdam, the tour heads down to the Cote d’Azur via Paris, through the marbled piazzas of Italy, up into the Austrian alps and across the Czech Republic before winding up in Germany. If you are short on time and want the big guns of Europe served up on a platter – this is the holiday for you.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
- The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Day 1 Amsterdam
Hallo! Welcome to the Netherlands.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of 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.
A city famous for its wealth of culture, Amsterdam is very pretty - you'll emerge from the grand Central Station into a city of canals and bridges, parks and cafes.
One of the best ways to explore Amsterdam is by bicycle, so consider a half day tour of the city on two wheels.
Amsterdam is spoilt for museums. One of its best is the Rijksmuseum, whose most famous resident is Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch'.
Anne Frank's House, the former hiding place of Anne Frank and seven others during World War II, and the place where she wrote her now-famous diary, is today preserved as a museum. A visit here not only allows you to climb to the attic and learn the history of those who hid here and those who helped them, but also challenges you to examine your views by posing modern ethical questions.
Visit the Van Gogh Museum, which comprises nearly every painting, sketch, print, etching, and piece of correspondence that Vincent van Gogh ever produced including, of course, 'Sunflowers'. After seeing the painted variety, treat your eyes again with a wander through the real thing at the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market).
- Canal tour - EUR8
- Cycling tour - EUR20
- Royal Palace - EUR8
- Anne Frank's House - EUR9
- Heineken Museum - EUR17
- Rijksmuseum - EUR14
- Van Gogh Museum - EUR14
Hostel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Paris
Hop aboard the train to Paris, passing through Belgium and northern France (approx 3.5 hrs).
Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and fabulous food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and hidden treasures to discover.
Explore the world-famous Louvre, where you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
To avoid queuing at the ticket windows, you can buy your ticket in advance, but pre-sold tickets can't be collected at the Louvre. The ticket is valid every day except Tuesday (when the museum is closed) and certain bank holidays. Book on this website: www.louvre.fr.
Join the Thinker in his eternal contemplation at the Rodin Museum.
Visit the Musee d'Orsay, home to some of the most famous Impressionist paintings.
Climb the Eiffel Tower (or take the lift) for some impressive aerial views of Paris.
See the Notre Dame Cathedral with its vast Rose Window and menacing gargoyles.
Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian Montmartre will give you a good feel for the city. The Tuileries, Plantes and Luxembourg gardens are all excellent places to enjoy a simple baguette with cheese on summer days, or head to a cafe to have a coffee - the French drink it black - and watch the world go by.
- Arc de Triomphe - EUR10
- Catacombs - EUR8
- Centre Pompidou - EUR13
- Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR20
- Eiffel Tower - EUR14
- Fat Tires bike tour - EUR28
- Louvre Museum - EUR10
- Musee d'Orsay - EUR9
- Napoleon's tomb - EUR9
- Notre Dame towers - EUR8
- Palace of Versailles - EUR15
- Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR60
- Rodin Museum - EUR9
- Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR8
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Nice
Take the train to Provence and arrive at Nice on the Cote d'Azur (approx 6.5 hrs).
The star of the Riviera and a great base from which to explore the rest of the Cote d'Azur, Nice boasts both public and private beaches and many watersports are available. Don't miss the flower and evening markets on Place Saleya.
Visit Grasse, the capital of perfume. Test out your nose with a tour of the perfumeries and make a visit to the Perfumery Museum.
Visit the cliff-top village of Eze, known as 'The Eagles Nest'. Just 10 minutes from Nice this medieval town is a true gem. Vaulted, narrow streets are filled with art galleries, workshops and gastronomic restaurants. At the top is a ruined medieval castle commanding one of the most beautiful panoramas on the Cote d'Azur.
- Matisse Museum - Free
- Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - Free
- St. Nicolas Cathedral - EUR3
- Grasse perfume tour - Free
- Monaco return train transport - EUR10
- Exotic Garden - EUR7
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Florence
Jump on a train to Florence.
Florence, the cultural heart of Tuscany, bursts with religious treasures and Renaissance masterpieces. It's been said that during the second millennium, a third of Europe's most important artists lived in Florence. The minds and talents of the Medicis, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Donatello and Michelangelo all flourished here.
The principal sights of this beautiful 'outdoor museum' are easily discovered on foot - the Pitti Palace, the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno River front, the many statues and monuments of the Piazza della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio, the 13th-century Duomo, Baptistry and Belltower and the Santa Croce Church.
See Michelangelo's famous statue of David in the Galleria dell'Accademia.
Visit the Uffizi, one of the world's oldest art galleries and a work of art itself.
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 at least two months in advance 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.
There's plenty of opportunity to explore the romance of Florence and then enjoy a variety of excellent restaurants, pavement cafes, bars and other nightlife. While in Florence you'll be able to sample foods from the much-loved Tuscany region. 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 is usually shared between two people, or ribollita, a thick delicious vegetable soup with bread, beans and greens. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy panforte, a rich fruitcake.
- Accademia - EUR6
- Uffizi Gallery - EUR6
- Baptistry - EUR5
- Duomo & Campanile climb - EUR6
- Medici Chapels - EUR6
- Museo dell'Opera di S.Maria del Fiore - EUR6
- Museum Bargello - EUR4
- Palazzo Vecchio - EUR6
- Pitti Palace - EUR8
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Rome
Travel by train to Rome (approx 2 hrs).
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.
Enjoy some free time in Rome or, if you wish, your group leader will be available for an orientation walk taking in some of the best-known sights of 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
See some of the world-famous sights such as the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and the Forum (the centre of ancient Rome).
Rome is a gastronomer's delight, with many restaurants and trattorias catering to any taste and budget. Local specialities tend to be quite heavy, and include pastas carbonara (egg, cheese and bacon) and amatriciana (tomato, bacon and chilli). Antipasto dishes are also very popular in Rome. Eating in trattorias will give you a chance to sample some Italian wines - house wines are usually very good and affordable. After dinner, a grappa, amaretto or sambucca is a great digestif.
- St Peter's dome climb - EUR6
- St Peter's dome elevator - EUR7
- Vatican museums - EUR15
- Galleria Borghese - EUR11
- Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - EUR12
- Pantheon - Free
- Venezia Palace - EUR4
- Castel Sant'Angelo - EUR8
- Christian catacombs - EUR8
- Imperial Fora - EUR9
- Keats-Shelley Memorial House - EUR4
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 10 Venice
Transverse the Italian countryside on your way to Venice (approx 6 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.
There are only two ways to explore Venice - by boat or on foot. Some of the more popular sights include the Grand Canal, the shops of the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the Piazza and Basilica di San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs. Take the time to wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas and cross the hundreds of tiny bridges, where shops, markets, galleries, churches and stunning buildings lie around every corner.
You can't leave Venice without going on a classic Venetian gondola. It's a common way for visitors to see the major canal routes from a fascinating perspective.
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.
- Gondola ride - EUR80
- St Mark's Basilica Treasury - EUR3
- St Mark's Campanile - EUR8
- Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs - EUR16
- Ca' Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth Century Art - EUR8
- Scuola Grande di San Rocco - EUR11
- Glass Museum Murano - EUR8
- Guggenheim Museum - EUR12
- Accademia Gallery - EUR11
- Venezia Ca' d'Oro - EUR8
- Concerto - EUR30
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 11-12 Innsbruck
Take a train from picturesque sea to Innsbruck, in the postcard-perfect Tirol (approx 5.5 hrs).
Occupying a valley along the main north-south route through the Alps since Roman times, Innsbruck is framed by mighty peaks offering a bounty of activities for outdoor thrill-seekers. With a long history as a former emperor's residence, a medieval state capital and a university town, Innsbruck remains an important cultural and sporting centre.
Escape from the mountains in the warren of streets and covered walkways that make up the city's medieval old town. Start with the magnificent gilded-copper tiles of the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) built in the 16th century by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
Pay your respects at the Hofkirche, a memorial to Emperor Maximilian and the site of his (empty) sarcophagus. Lining the cenotaph is a procession of giant bronze statues depicting Hapsburg ancestors, relatives and heroes, which have been polished by over the years by inquisitive hands.
Those looking for distraction on higher ground are spoilt for choice. As a two-time Winter Olympics host, Innsbruck is the gateway to kilometres of runs and trails. Ski and snowboard year-round at the Stubai Glacier, or put your walking boots on for a satisfying alpine hike. Wherever you go, a panoramic view is never far away.
If dizzy heights without the wilderness aspect appeals, then take yourself up to Bergisel tower and satisfy any urge you may have to know what ski-jumping feels like. The futuristic tower, built in 2003 by celebrity architect Zaha Hadid, overlooks Innsbruck and contains a coffee shop where you can play out your ski-jump fantasies.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 13-14 Munich
Go north through the Alps and make tracks into Germany, heading for Munich (approx 2.5 hrs).
Say Munich and most people think of swilling beer while wearing lederhosen, eating sausages and listening to oompah bands. But this cosmopolitan metropolis houses an extraordinary array of sights for travellers more interested in art, architecture, history and music. Of course, if it's your wish to clink steins and make merry, it is also the home of Oktoberfest and enough beer halls to fill anyone's cup.
Founded in the 12th century, Munich has had its share of medieval and modern history. Home to Wittelsbach dukes, princes and kings for hundreds of years, the city has been decimated by the Black Plague, was the scene of Hitler's failed 1923 coup, rose from the devastating bombings of World War II with extensive rebuilding and threw the Israel-Palestine conflict in to sharp relief during the 1972 Olympics, when 11 athletes were murdered by terrorists. Now a publishing and technology powerhouse, Munich is amongst the most liveable of the world's cities.
Promenade through Marianplatz, checking in at the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) and its Glockenspiel, which brings crowds to a halt as it peals out over the square. For a taste of old Munich, make a circuit of the three medieval city gates still standing: Karlstor, Sendlinger Tor and Isartor.
Stretching from the city centre to the northern outskirts is the sweeping Englischer Garten, one of the largest urban parks in the world. A wonderland in winter and a nude-sunbather's paradise in the summer, the park is perfect year-round for a stroll or a drink in the beer garden. You may even catch surfers on the standing wave at Eisbach, an artificial brook.
Be astounded by over 500 years of architectural history at the larger-than-life Residenz, formerly the home of the Wittelsbach rulers of Bavaria and now the place to see hundreds of luxurious household items, jewels, crowns and golden ornaments.
A trio of galleries will cover any art-lover's hankerings for culture. The Alte Pinakothek satisfies cravings for 14th to 18th-century European master works, the Neue Pinakothek is for 19th-century art appreciators while the Pinakothek der Moderne houses a collection of modern art from other galleries and museums around the city.
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 15-16 Prague
Travel to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic (approx 6 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.
- Prague Castle - CZK350
- Jewish Quarter - CZK480
- Bike tour - CZK490
- Return train transport to Kutna Hora - CZK150
- Mucha Museum - CZK180
- Museum of Communism - CZK190
- Town Hall Clock Tower - CZK105
Private apartment (2 nts)
Days 17-18 Berlin
Travel back into Germany to its capital, Berlin.
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.
There are countless unique memorials and sites holding significance in Berlin's more recent history, all designed to provoke thought as well as commemorate, such as the Jewish Memorial, the empty shelves of Bebelplatz or the confronting Topography of Terror. The Reichstag holds a special and symbolic meaning, outside its role once again as the home of Parliament, and the great glass dome that today crowns the building offers sweeping views over Berlin. At the very heart of Berlin stands the Brandenburg Gate, once a symbol of a divided city, and the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that can still be seen.
Visit Checkpoint Charlie. This unique museum overlooks the former border checkpoint dividing East and West and explains how the city came to be divided overnight, as well as describing attempts to escape from behind the Iron Curtain.
For lovers of antiquity, the Pergamon Museum is a highlight. Named after the reconstruction of the full-size Pergamon Altar it houses, the museum's collection of antiquities, Middle Eastern and Islamic art makes it the most-visited museum in Germany. Don't miss the Ishtar Gate, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Aleppo Room.
Don't miss out on Berlin's up-beat nightlife. Consider spending an evening celebrating life as the locals do - at a bar, lounge, nightclub or embracing some live music.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
- Schloss Charlottenburg - EUR15
- Reichstag - Free
- Jewish Museum - EUR5
- Checkpoint Charlie Museum - EUR12
- Pergamon Museum - EUR13
- Topography of Terror - Free
- Museum pass, 3 day ticket - EUR19
- National History Museum - EUR6
- Bike tour - EUR20
- River sightseeing tour - EUR16
- Walking tour - EUR30
- Berlin Zoo and Aquarium - EUR20
- Berliner Dom - EUR7
- Berlin TV Tower - EUR12
- German History Museum - EUR8
- Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz - EUR8
- Story of Berlin - EUR10
Hotel (1 nt)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Berlin to Rome (AMRRC)
- Berlin to Venice (AMRB)
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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
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.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Please be aware this is trip designed for travellers who want to experience as much of Europe as they can in a short time, without being on a larger coach tour. The itinerary does move at a faster pace than some of our other European trips. There will be some long travel days, which are part of the adventure and often a great chance to relax and take in the landscape. To get the most out of your time in each destination it is worth thinking about which sights and activities you would like to do before arrival in the town. Of course your group leader will be always available to discuss and assist before arrival in the next destination.
There are no activities included in this itinerary. For a list of optional activities available, please refer to the day-to-day itinerary.
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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
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.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money 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.
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%.
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).
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
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. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR3 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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Maximum of 14 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
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 room (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 (10 nts), Hostel (5 nts), Private apartment (2 nts)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
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 and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
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.
As this is a Basix trip, accommodation is often on a multishare basis with shared bathrooms. Multishare includes triple and quad rooms or even dorm rooms. Couples may be required to share with other couples and you may be sharing with group members of the opposite sex. Couples or people travelling together may be separated due to rooming configurations.
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges. On occasion, additional beds may be fold-away or portable beds.
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. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. 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.
Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables and salads. Vegans will find it even more challenging. Vegetarians might choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home, e.g. protein bars, dried fruits and so on.
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
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.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Hotel & Hostel Friedrichshain
Warschauer Str. 57 D-12043
Finish point description
Hotel and Hostel Friedrichshain is situated around a peaceful courtyard, all rooms have private bathrooms & tv.
Finish point instructions
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Passports have to be carried, but normally you generally do not need to show them. Stamps are no longer issued at border crossings.
Issues on your trip
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.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we 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. 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 to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. 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. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for 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.
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
Cold tap water in countries we visit on this trip is generally safe and good to drink so you can avoid the purchase of bottled water by refilling from the tap or public water fountains. A cautionary warning will often be posted In areas where water is not ideal straight from the tap (for example 'NON POTATBLE' in Italy). In the Czech Republic, it's not recommended to drink straight from the tap.
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 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 and anti-malarial requirements before departure. 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 at the 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.
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. 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 group 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 group 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:
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.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Other 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.
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
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 group 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.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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:
In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
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.
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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.