Bohemian beauty and cultural diversity – discover Central Europe in all its glory

Head along the enchanting road through bohemian Europe on this 15-day Lonely Planet Experience from Germany to Italy. Travelling from historical landmarks and medieval squares to magical hilltop castles and romantic canals, this is a cultural crusade that’s teeming with local treasures. Wander beside murals on Berlin’s infamous wall, experience the underground vibes of Prague and Budapest’s bar scenes and stroll through classic Vienna in search of ornate palaces and manicured gardens. With the freedom to choose your own adventure in each city, you'll be captivated by the delightful towns and cities dotted through Central Europe – an adventure of fairytale proportions.


Start
Berlin, Germany
Finish
Venice, Italy
Destinations
Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
AMRB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Begin your adventure in Berlin, an exciting city with a complex history. Use your free time to see the remaining fragments of the infamous wall that once divided the city, but now unites it with murals and memorials.

  • Soak up the royal history of Krakow's Wawel Castle and step back in time with a leader-led stroll through the city’s medieval main square.

  • Immerse yourself in the bohemian vibes of the Czech Republic, soak up the smooth sounds of jazz at a low-lit bar in Prague and step right into a fairytale in Cesky Krumlov.

  • With plenty of free time in classic Vienna and vibrant Budapest, whether you end up eating sachertorte in a neighbourhood cafe or downing a couple of local brews in a ruin bar is totally up to you!

  • 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.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a Lonely Planet Experience powered by Intrepid, made for travellers who value their independence but also want the benefit of a local guide and a group of like-minded travellers. The itinerary has a mix of included activities and free time when your leader will offer suggestions. Please budget spending money for optional activities you want to take part in.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin or multishare (Cesky Krumlov), you will share a room with other travellers of the same gender. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart. Rooms can be small, especially compared to American or Australian standards, and in most cases bathroom facilities will be shared rather than ensuite. Please note that a single supplement is not available on this trip.

  • Summer temperatures can be very high 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 keep in mind that many European hotel rooms are not equipped with air-conditioning. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. 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, as well as some short distances to the hotel (no longer than 30 minutes), so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find details in the 'What to Take' section of the Essential Trip Information.

Itinerary

Guten Tag! Welcome to Germany. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. There are no activities planned until this important meeting, so feel free to arrive at any time during the day. There are many significant memorials and historical sites dotted around Berlin including the Jewish Memorial, the empty shelves of Bebelplatz and the confronting Topography of Terror – some of which you may like to visit this afternoon. Tonight, after your welcome meeting, why not join your newfound travel pals for dinner. Berlin’s food is a mix of classic German with Bavarian, Italian and Middle Eastern influences. But who can go past a traditional currywurst, schnitzel or pretzel together with a stein of beer?
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Berlin - Storyline of Berlin Urban Adventure - EUR61
  • Berlin - Food and Art in Funky Kreuzberg Urban Adventure - EUR78
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning and early afternoon are yours to explore Berlin at your leisure, so perhaps wander through the Brandenburg Gate or walk past the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that once divided the city. Checkpoint Charlie and its museum overlook the former border checkpoint between East and West, explaining how the city came to be split. If you’re feeling energetic, maybe you'd like to cycle the city, visiting the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag building and the sobering Holocaust Memorial. There is also some great street art in Berlin, notably on sections of the Berlin Wall and around the neighbourhoods of Mitte, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. In the late afternoon, board an overnight train for Krakow, Poland. Be sure to check in with your group leader about train times and where to meet your group.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Berlin - Museum Pass (3 Day Ticket) - EUR29
  • Berlin - Bike Tour - EUR28
  • Berlin - Jewish Museum - EUR8
  • Berlin - National History Museum - EUR8
  • Berlin - Pergamon Museum - EUR19
  • Berlin - Spree River Cruise - EUR25
  • Berlin - Berliner Dom Cathedral - EUR7
  • Berlin - TV Tower - EUR16
  • Berlin - Checkpoint Charlie Museum - EUR14
  • Berlin - German History Museum - EUR8
  • Berlin - Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz - EUR8
  • Berlin - Reichstag (time slot must be booked online in advance) - Free
  • Berlin - Schloss Charlottenburg - EUR21
  • Berlin - Topography of Terror - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that check-out at the hostel today is at 12 pm (noon). You can store your luggage at reception until our departure tonight. Overnight trains in Europe are a comfortable way to travel from one city to another without losing valuable time to explore the destinations. Compartments usually consist of four berths (two bottom bunks and two top bunks) with lockable doors, communal bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage, and plenty of space for luggage. You’ll depart in the evening from Berlin, and will arrive very early in the morning (approximately 4 am) in Krakow.
Arrive in Krakow, your base for the next two nights. Upon arrival, store your luggage and follow your leader on an orientation walk. Step back in time as you wander the World Heritage-listed Old Town, perhaps stopping to shop for amber jewellery or local crafts in the stores. 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 of the impressive St Mary's Basilica. Another beautiful church is the Neo-Gothic St Francis' Basilica, which boasts some of Poland's best Art Nouveau interiors. This city is also home to the second-oldest university in Central Europe, Jagiellonian University. Among many (many) others, it counts Copernicus and Pope John Paul II among its alumni.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Krakow - Home Cooked Krakow Urban Adventure - EUR65
  • Krakow - Markets and Flavors of Krakow Urban Adventure - EUR77
  • Krakow - Food by Foot Urban Adventure - EUR73
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you would like to learn more about the history of World War II at the former Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, today or tomorrow are your best options to do so. Please note that tickets for the mandatory guided tour sell out well in advance so need to be pre-booked as early as possible. To do so, please visit the official museum website. You can also ask your leader to help you at the beginning of the trip, but there’s no guarantee that tickets will be available then. Transfers to and from Auschwitz can be booked at shorter notice.
If you can tear yourself away from Krakow on your free day, why not 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 years. 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. Alternatively, you might like to take a sobering day trip out to Auschwitz and Birkenau, the sites of some of the Holocaust's worst atrocities. Perhaps end the day in one of Krakow's many cellar restaurants for a plate of pierogi and a drink.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Krakow - Bike Tour (Day or Night) - PLN60
  • Krakow - Galicia Jewish Museum - PLN17
  • Krakow - History Museum - PLN8
  • Krakow - St Mary's Basilica - PLN10
  • Krakow - Wawel Royal Castle - PLN25
  • Wieliczka - Salt Mines - PLN145
  • Oswiecim - State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau - PLN155
  • Krakow - Walking Tour - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a minivan to the town of Ostrava (approximately 2.5 hours), then board the train to Prague (approximately 3 hours). After arrival and check-in at your hotel, you’ll see the highlights of this beautiful city on a leader-led orientation walk. Prague's architecture can be traced from the Middle Ages through to the avant-garde of the Gehry-designed Dancing Building (also called the Fred and Ginger Building). Spend your free afternoon at Prague Castle – the biggest in the Czech Republic – where you'll find the famous St Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane. Continue on to wander through the old Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the city's formerly significant Jewish community.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Prague - Prague Discovery Urban Adventure - EUR74
  • Prague - Beer and Czech Tapas Tour Urban Adventure - EUR75
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Another day in Prague and so many possibilities. Perhaps learn how the Bohemian artists, writers, dissidents, and the Bohemian mentality shaped the nation. Don’t forget to sample some of the best Czech beers and traditional and modern Czech snacks along the way. If you feel like going for a day trip out of the city, ask your leader to help you organise a trip to Kutna Hora. See the Church of Santa Barbara and Sedlec ossuary or The Church of Bones – a small Roman Catholic chapel that contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people. At night, Prague’s Old Town comes alive with many great restaurants and pubs, some in old vaulted cellars. The nightlife in Prague is some of the best in Central Europe. Whether you're after dance clubs, beer-halls, jazz clubs or underground absinthe bars, there's something for everyone.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Prague - Bike Tour - CZK490
  • Prague - Jewish Quarter - CZK500
  • Prague - Kafka Museum - CZK260
  • Kutna Hora - Day Trip (by public transport) - CZK250
  • Prague - Mucha Museum - CZK300
  • Prague - Museum of Communism - CZK380
  • Prague - National Museum - CZK120
  • Prague - Castle Visit - CZK350
  • Kutna Hora - Sedlec Ossuary & Bone Church - CZK90
  • Kutna Hora - Church of St Barbara - CZK120
  • Prague - Town Hall Clock Tower - CZK250
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Prague and travel by bus to Cesky Krumlov (approximately 4 hours). This picturesque medieval town dates back to the 13th century and appears to be plucked straight out of a fairytale. Wander the cobbled alleyways of the Old Town and admire the buildings. A great way to discover the town is to join a tour guided by a local – you will learn about the architectural symbolism and Old Town mysteries from an expert. Climb up to the castle perched on a hill and check out its fabulous Masquerade Hall and admire the sensational views that can be seen from the tower. Weather and time permitting, your group may take a relaxing two-to-three-hour rafting or canoeing trip along the river which runs right through town.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cesky Krumlov - Brewery Tour - CZK130
  • Cesky Krumlov - Canoe Trip - CZK700
  • Cesky Krumlov - Guided walking tour - CZK300
  • Cesky Krumlov - Egon Schiele Art Centrum - CZK200
  • Cesky Krumlov - Rafting or Canoe Trip (per person) - CZK1200
  • Cesky Krumlov - Guided Castle Tour - CZK300
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Today’s accommodation is multishare. In the atmospheric hostel in Cesky Krumlov, we use quadruple, triple and some twin rooms as well as small apartment-like lodgings.
Take another public bus to the cosmopolitan city of Vienna. After arrival, your leader will help you get your bearings by showing you the city centre on foot, and then you’ll have a free afternoon to explore the city. Art lovers will be delighted by the vast array of museums on offer, 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 painting 'The Kiss'. Check out the colourful Hundertwasserhaus or admire the dome of the Secession building. Perhaps visit Hofburg Palace – once the imposing winter retreat of Habsburg royals and now the official residence of the Austrian president. No visit to Vienna is complete without attending an opera or concert. Check out well in advance what Vienna State Opera House has on offer and immerse yourself in the city’s musical pedigree.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Today's travel will be by public bus. Please note that at the Czech–Austrian border officials will sometimes thoroughly check all passenger's luggage which may take some time and can result in delays. Please be patient during the border crossing procedures.
A free day in Vienna will give you more time to visit places you didn’t manage to get to yesterday. Climb the tower of St Stephen's Cathedral, take a spin on the Prater Ferris Wheel or catch a dressage show at the Spanish Riding School. Head to the elegant Schoenbrunn Palace, which was designed by the empress Maria Theresa. Today’s also the perfect opportunity to check your Lonely Planet app for a stack of recommendations to fill your time in the Austrian capital. After all this sightseeing, you might like to indulge in a traditional Viennese coffee and sachertorte this afternoon – a pastime fit for the most sophisticated of travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Vienna - Albertina Museum - EUR18
  • Vienna - Belvedere Gallery (Lower Gallery) - EUR14
  • Vienna - Hofburg Palace and Sisi Museum - EUR15
  • Vienna - Leopold Museum - EUR14
  • Vienna - Prater Ferris Wheel - EUR12
  • Vienna - Schoenbrunn Palace - EUR16
  • Vienna - Spanish Riding School Practice - EUR28
  • Vienna - St Stephen's Tower - EUR5
  • Vienna - Vienna Boys Choir Concert - EUR70
  • Vienna - Food, Coffee and Market Tour Urban Adventure - EUR98
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you wish to visit the Schoenbrunn Palace today, be aware that the gardens are free to all visitors but there is a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. Avoid long queues by pre-booking your tickets at schoenbrunn.at.
Travel from Vienna to Budapest by train (approximately 3 hours). Budapest's grand architecture and boulevards evoke a bygone era, and your leader will introduce you to the stunning city by taking you on an orientation walk. With so much to see and do in your free time, why not head out to Statue Park to get an insight into the city’s past or take a soak in one of the many thermal bath complexes around town. The baths feature pools of varying temperatures, and some even have whirlpools or built-in seats where you can relax or play a game of chess. Tonight, get a group of friends together for a Hungarian feast – a hearty bowl of goulash or a decadent pizza-like langos is waiting. Afterwards, why not stroll to the Jewish quarter and check out some ruin bars: unique nightlife hubs that are great for groups and feature a whole heap of weird and wonderful decor.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Budapest - Market Visit and Picnic
Optional Activities
  • Budapest - Buda Castle Explorer Urban Adventure - EUR55
  • Budapest - Bites & Sights Food Tour Urban Adventure - EUR79
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day in the self-proclaimed Pearl of the Danube. Perhaps explore the historical Buda Castle and palace complex. Forget about the bustling city and lose yourself in the history of the winding streets of the Castle District, which dates back to the 13th century. In the afternoon, you could take a slow cruise along the Danube for some pretty epic views of the riverside Parliament Building, the Castle District and the bridges linking Buda to Pest. The spectacle is particularly beautiful, especially at sunset and at night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Budapest - Bike Ride - HUF6000
  • Budapest - Great Synagogue - HUF4850
  • Budapest - House of Terror - HUF3000
  • Budapest - Hungarian National Museum - HUF2600
  • Budapest - Hungarian State Opera House Tour - HUF3000
  • Budapest - Parliament Tour - HUF6400
  • Budapest - Pub Crawl (starting from) - HUF5000
  • Budapest - Szechenyi Thermal Baths (starting from) - HUF4500
  • Budapest - Transport and Entry to Statue Park - HUF5000
  • Budapest - Central Market - Free
  • Budapest - Buda Castle Explorer Urban Adventure - EUR55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Buckle up for a solid day of travel into Slovenia. Take a train (approximately 8 hours) to Ljubljana, followed by a connecting bus to the town of Bled, situated at the edge of the Julian Alps. Arrive in the late afternoon and follow your leader to the shore of beautiful Lake Bled, from which many of the town’s attractions can be seen and explored. For a taste of the local cuisine, some Bled cake made of vanilla, custard, cream and pastry is essential. After settling into your accommodation tonight, why not get together with your group for dinner, feasting on local specialities.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There’s no better places to get active than in Bled! Today you have a free day to go for a walk along the lake in the morning, and perhaps enjoy a full-day adventure around Triglav Massive. There are many outdoor activities available here to get the blood pumping, such as rafting, caving, canoeing and swimming. Why not hire a bike and head four kilometres out of town to Vintgar Gorge, where you can take a walk through a beautiful natural canyon. Perhaps explore Bled Castle, perched atop the cliff overlooking the lake, or catch a pletna (small wooden boat) over to the island in the middle of the lake to ring the wishing bell. Your group leader will have all the options, so be sure to chat with them for their recommendations and how to book any optional activities. If you’d prefer to have a relaxing day and just enjoy the beauty of Lake Bled, find a quiet spot near the lake and spend the day reading a book.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bled - Mountain Bike Hire - EUR20
  • Bled - Pletna Boat Trip - EUR14
  • Bled - Canyoning - EUR65
  • Bled - Castle - EUR13
  • Bled - River Rafting - EUR55
  • Bled - Bus and Cable Car Trip to Mt Vogel - EUR25
  • Bled - Emerald River Adventure (full day) - EUR110
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by train through stunning scenery to one of the world's most unique cities, Venice (approximately 5.5 hours). A city of canals, Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. On arrival, head out for an orientation walk with your tour leader – the best way to see Venice is by foot – passing by the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Palace of the Doge, Piazza San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs. Wander the cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing bridges and stopping for a gelato on your way, if you’d like. There are shops, markets, galleries and churches around every corner. After a pretty jam-packed few days, why not gather with your travel pals and celebrate being in Italy with a meal?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Venice - Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs - EUR25
  • Venice - Guggenheim Museum - EUR15
  • Venice - St Mark's Campanile - EUR8
  • Venice - St Mark's Basilica Treasury - EUR5
  • Venice - Accademia Gallery - EUR16
  • Venice - Venezia Ca' d'Oro - EUR14
  • Venice - Gondola Ride - EUR80
  • Venice - Chicchetti & Wine Tour of Venice Urban Adventure - EUR90
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave your accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policy. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! Italy’s city of canals is an extraordinary place to see on foot, and if you’d like to spend an extra day or two exploring, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

3 breakfasts

Transport

Train, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Public bus, Metro, Taxi

Accommodation

Guesthouse (2 nights), Hostel (5 nights), Hotel (5 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night), pension (1 night)

Included activities

  • Budapest - Market Visit and Picnic

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is not available on this trip.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

View Essential Trip Information

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