An all-encompassing European escapade

Elaborate architecture and exceptional cuisine, legendary landscapes and local histories – Europe is so well worth its accolades. From the elegance of Madrid and the soft-hued sceneries of Avignon to the brash beer cultures of Brussels and Berlin, this 36-day Lonely Planet Experience takes in the greatest gloats of a region well-travelled. Check out the artistic charm of Barcelona, cycle along Amsterdam’s canals, discover Poland's quirky bar scene and get your outdoor nature fix in Bled. Striking the perfect balance of time for included activities and independent exploration, this is a great introduction to – or recapping of – some of the world's greatest cities.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Madrid, Spain
Finish
Venice, Italy
Destinations
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
ZMRWC
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

  • Discover 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.

  • 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!

  • Three days in Amsterdam gives you time to see the varied sides of the city, from the sidewalk cafe culture to the leafy parks and master-filled museums.

  • Taste the unforgettable flavours of Catalan dishes such as fideua (similar to seafood paella) and botifarra amb mongetes (haricot beans served with sausage) washed down with a glass of Rioja.

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 leader 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 partake in.

  • As this is a combination of three trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Barcelona and Berlin.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin or multishare, 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. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart. Rooms can be rather 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. Trains are a fast way to cross long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. They are comfortable and all have toilets, however can sometimes be quite busy. Please note that you will have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, and also up or down few flights of stairs as unfortunately some of the stations may not have lifts. It’s recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead, but please make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'Packing' section of the Essential Trip Information. 

  • In many locations we use different modes of local transport; trams, buses or metro; as this is often an adventure in itself, it may also bring some challenges – running up and down the stairs in metro stations or sharing a busy bus ride with local commuters. Please make sure you’ll prepare yourself for that!

Itinerary

Welcome to Madrid, the sassy central capital of Spain known for its elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 or 7 pm, depending on common area availability. After the welcome meeting, perhaps get into the mind of a Madrileno with some tapas and Rioja.
Accommodation
  • Hostal (1 night)
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 exactly where and when the meeting will take place.
Today is free for you to discover Madrid. Perhaps begin in the heart of Old Madrid with a stroll along the portico-lined Plaza Mayor. After that maybe take a break in the Real Jardin Botanico, a garden wonderland dating from the 18th century, or by sitting with a coffee in one of the atmospheric streets and squares around the famous Plaza Mayor. If you’re after something a little more structured, you could join a locally-guided Urban Adventure to get a deeper insight into the city through its tapas. At night, maybe follow the crowds to Chueca, Plaza Dos de Mayo or Plaza Santa Ana, where the pulse of the city will lead you from bar to bar.
Accommodation
  • Hostal (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Madrid - Real Jardín Botánico - EUR6
  • Madrid - Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Madrid - Museo Reina Sofia - EUR10
  • Madrid - Museo del Prado - EUR15
  • Madrid - Royal Palace - EUR11
  • Madrid - Tapas Urban Adventure - EUR82
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today travel by train to charming Cuenca (approximately 3 hours), located on the edge of deep gorges created by two rivers: Jucar and Huecar. On arrival, venture out on an orientation walk around this historic World Heritage-listed fortress city. The Old Town of this city is an outstanding medieval development built on steep mountainsides, with many casa colgadas (hanging houses) that are literally on the cliff edge. After the orientation walk, use your free time getting to know the city. Perhaps visit the impressive 12th-century gothic cathedral. Evening is a great opportunity to gather together with the group and enjoy a dinner and see the Old City beautifully brushed with light from a series of high-powered lamps suspended half-way up the rock.
Accommodation
  • Posada (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cuenca - Fundacion Antonio Perez - EUR2
  • Cuenca - Cathedral - EUR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Board a train east to the coastal town of Valencia (approximately 4 hours). It's known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, with a big port, beautiful beaches, restaurants and a beach promenade along the waterfront. On arrival you are free to begin exploring at your own pace. Perhaps head to the Old Town, where you will find beautiful monuments and historical buildings, or (if weather permits) soak up some sun on the beach. The colourful stalls of the Mercado Central are a great place to grab some fresh produce to snack on during the day while you explore.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy another free day in Valencia. History buffs might want to check out the 13th-century Valencia Cathedral, which houses what legend says is the Holy Grail. Or maybe climb the 207 steps of the Miguelete tower for the best views of the city. After something different? The Museum of the Fallas contains a history of the Valencia Fire Festival in the form of giant papier mache figures (and entry is inexpensive, which is a bonus). To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (made with rabbit and chicken), ask your leader to point you towards the Las Arenas area for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch. Cycle paths and cheap bike hire make for another great way to explore, so active types might consider biking the park (a former river) that runs through the centre of the city.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Valencia - Valencian Institute of Modern Art - EUR6
  • Valencia - Gonzalez Marti Museum - EUR3
  • Valencia - City Cycling Tour - EUR6
  • Valencia - Miguelete Tower - EUR2
  • Valencia - The Silk Exchange - EUR2
  • Valencia - Fallas Museum - EUR2
  • Valencia - Principe Filipe Science Museum - EUR8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take the train up the coast to Barcelona (approximately 4 hours), a quirky city with a ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife. Arrive in the afternoon. Maybe wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. There are plenty of museums to choose from, so perhaps spend some time in the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself on being a gastronomic centre, so tonight make sure to follow your leaders advice on where to get a taste of the culinary action.  
Accommodation
  • Hostal (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You’re free today to partake in some of the optional activities on offer or relax. In the morning perhaps head to the stalls of Santa Catarina Market, a huge trove of local produce beneath a colourful, undulating roof. The city is famous for its architecture designed in the unique Catalan Modernista style. The master of this movement was Antonio Gaudi, whose eccentric creations are dotted all over the city. A visit to Gaudi's masterpiece, the modern basilica of La Sagrada Familia, is a must, even if it's just to see the outside. Gaudi worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death and it remains under constant construction. For more insight into the artist, head to Parc Guell, a surreal landscaped area also designed by the artist.
Accommodation
  • Hostal (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Barcelona - Tapas Tour in El Raval Urban Adventure - EUR70
  • Barcelona - Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • Barcelona - National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
  • Barcelona - Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Barcelona - Casa Batllo - EUR24
  • Barcelona - Museum of City History - EUR7
  • Barcelona - Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Barcelona - Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Barcelona - Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you would like to visit La Sagrada Familia, it’s best to pre book your tickets before the tour. To do so, please check tickets.sagradafamilia.org for updated information on availability and times of the visit. On this tour, the best time to visit is today, your free day in Barcelona.
Today is free for you to enjoy as you please. Set out to discover more of Barcelona in detail. With great restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on offer, Barcelona is a world-class city exuding confidence and style through every pore. You might want to consult your Lonely Planet app to see what it suggests to do here!
Accommodation
  • Hostal (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Today is free for you to explore at your own pace. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from. Perhaps take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of the harbour or visit Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia Basilica – possibly the most iconic landmark in Barcelona. Speak to your leader if you’re having trouble deciding where to spend your time today.
Accommodation
  • Hostal (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Barcelona - National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
  • Barcelona - Museum of City History - EUR7
  • Barcelona - Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
  • Barcelona - Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Barcelona - Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Barcelona - Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Barcelona - Contemporary Art Museum - EUR10
  • Barcelona - Cable car to Montjuic (one way) - EUR8
  • Barcelona - Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • Barcelona - La Sagrada Familia (must be prebooked in advance) - EUR15
  • Barcelona - Casa Batllo - EUR24
  • Barcelona - Cathedral - EUR7
  • Barcelona - Tapas Tour in El Raval Urban Adventure - EUR70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you wish to tour La Sagrada Familia during your Lonely Planet Experience, the best time to visit is today. It’s best to pre-book your tickets before the tour. Check tickets.sagradafamilia.org for updated information on availability.
Take the train to Avignon in southwest France (approximately 5–6 hours). This journey is quite spectacular, so make sure you’re ready for photos and try to nab a window seat. With mountain hideaways and emerald vineyards, the Mediterranean coastline folds into table-top mountains where fields of lavender and wildflower cover the landscape. On arrival into Avignon, check in to your hotel and then take a walk around a walled city that was once home to French popes for more than a century.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no scheduled activities today, so you can explore the local sites at your own pace with help from the optional activities list. Maybe comb the city's impressive collection of art, visit the grand Palais des Papes (Pope's Palace) or cross the iconic bridge of Pont St-Benezet. You could even hire a bike to see more of this picturesque valley and head to one of the city's amazing bakeries. There are also are many small local bistros that serve up great regional cuisine – why not get some of your travel pals together for a French-inspired feast.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Avignon - Bike Hire - EUR15
  • Avignon - Palais des Papes - EUR15
  • Avignon - Wine Museum - Free
  • Avignon - Lavender Museum - EUR7
  • Avignon - Musée des Arômes et du Parfum - EUR6
  • Avignon - Roure Palace - EUR5
  • Avignon - Pont d'Avignon (Bridge of Avignon) - EUR5
  • Avignon - Museum of the Petit Palace - EUR6
  • Avignon - Museum Calvet - EUR6
  • Avignon - Collection Lambert Museum - EUR10
  • Avignon - Museum Lapidaire - EUR2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel north on a train to France’s cosmopolitan capital Paris (around 3–4 hours). Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and delicious food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and things to do. On arrival into the city, check in to the hotel and then explore at your leisure. Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter, or bohemian Montmartre will give you a good feel for the city. There is so much to do in Paris that it might be a good idea to make a plan before you arrive, so you can get to see all you want!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy another free day to discover the pleasures of Paris at your own pace. The Tuileries, Plantes and Jardin du Luxembourg are all excellent places to enjoy a simple baguette with cheese. Or perhaps explore the world-famous Louvre, where you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Maybe climb the Eiffel Tower – or take the lift – for some impressive aerial views of Paris. When night falls, Marais is a great district for trendy bars and eateries, while Bastille is well-known for its clubs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Paris - Louvre Museum - EUR15
  • Paris - Eiffel Tower - EUR19
  • Paris - Palace of Versailles & Gardens (from) - Free
  • Paris - Napoleon's Tomb & Les Invalides Army Museum - EUR11
  • Paris - Musee d'Orsay - EUR14
  • Paris - Picasso Museum - EUR12
  • Paris - Da Vinci Code Walking Tour - EUR25
  • Paris - Paradis Latin Cabaret Show - EUR65
  • Paris - Rodin Museum - EUR10
  • Paris - Arc de Triomphe - EUR12
  • Paris - Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR15
  • Paris - Centre Pompidou - EUR14
  • Paris - Catacombs - EUR13
  • Paris - Fragonard Perfume Museum - Free
  • Paris - Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology - EUR7
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
To avoid queuing at the ticket windows of the Louvre you can buy your ticket in advance. For more information go to louvre.fr.
Another free day in Paris? Oui oui! There is still plenty to discover, including the ‘other’ museums like the Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology. Or maybe hit the streets for the best graffiti-viewing at Canal St Martin in the tenth arrondissement – an eclectic neighbourhood full of wonderful restaurants and artistic shops. In the evening, you could visit the quai along the left bank of Port St Bernard, which comes alive with people strolling, picnicking and dancing.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Paris - Beer vs. Wine: Bastille Bites Tour Urban Adventure - EUR79
  • Paris - Gourmet Marais Urban Adventure - EUR78
  • Paris - Hidden Montmartre Urban Adventure - EUR35
  • Paris - Secret Paris: Cheese, Art, and Local Life Urban Adventure - EUR59
  • Paris - Experience Bohemian Paris Urban Adventure - EUR59
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take the train from Paris to Luxembourg City (approximately 2 hours). One of the smallest countries in the EU, Luxembourg is full of historical charm and natural beauty. Check in to the hotel on arrival and then head out into the city's World Heritage-listed Old Town, which is perched high above the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Petrusse rivers. Stroll along the promenade of Chemin de la Corniche – said to be 'Europe's most beautiful balcony'. The rest of your day is free for you do to whatever you want. Perhaps take a guided tour of the 16th-century turreted Palais Grand-Ducal, which is home to the Grand Duke.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Luxembourg - Palais Grand-Ducal - EUR10
  • Luxembourg - Musée d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg - EUR5
  • Luxembourg - MNHA (Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art) - EUR7
  • Luxembourg - Bike Hire - EUR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Luxembourg behind and jump on a train to Brussels (around 3.5 hours), where you can explore at your own pace on arrival. Maybe wander down to the Manneken Pis (Little Peeing Man) – an iconic symbol of Belgium. If you’re interested in music, a must-see place is The Musical Instrument Museum. Three floors of musical instruments coming from every corner of the world and hundreds of years of musical history in one place. If you feel like a night out, Ilot Sacre is a great place to find good food and fun bars.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Brussels - Grand Place - Free
  • Brussels - Manneken Pis - Free
  • Brussels - Magritte Museum - EUR8
  • Brussels - Mini Europe Attraction Park - EUR15
  • Brussels - Cantillon Brewery Visit - EUR7
  • Brussels - Museum of the Musical Instruments - EUR8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy another free day in Brussels. Perhaps visit the iconic Atomium – a silver structure built in 1958 for Brussels World’s Fair. If you want to explore further afield, you could choose to take a day trip to Antwerp or Bruges. As always, chat to your leader for advice – it’s why they’re here!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bruges - Day Trip by Train - EUR30
  • Antwerp - Day Trip by Train - EUR16
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
New day, new country! Cross another border as you travel by bus to the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam (approximately 3 hours). The best way to get your head around this city is to do as locals do – cycle. Amsterdam is a network of canals, bridges and parks perfect for exploring on a bike. If you’re an art-lover, Amsterdam is home to plenty of museums. One of its best is the Rijksmuseum, which houses one of Rembrandt’s most famous works – 'The Night Watch'. Alternatively, head to the Van Gogh Museum, which comprises nearly every painting, sketch, print, etching and piece of correspondence that Vincent van Gogh ever produced, including 'Sunflowers'.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy another day to explore at your own pace in Amsterdam. You could visit Anne Frank's House – the former hiding place of the famous child diarist and seven others during WWII has been preserved as a museum. Or perhaps visit the De Waag, a 15th-century building on Nieuwmarkt square first constructed as a gate for the city’s fortified walls.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Amsterdam - Heineken Museum - EUR18
  • Amsterdam - Royal Palace - EUR10
  • Amsterdam - Bike Hire - EUR10
  • Amsterdam - Oude Kerk - EUR10
  • Amsterdam - Bike Tour - EUR30
  • Amsterdam - Canal Cruise (1 hour) - EUR14
  • Amsterdam - Rijksmuseum - EUR18
  • Amsterdam - Anne Frank's House - EUR9
  • Amsterdam - Van Gogh Museum - EUR17
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With yet another free day, why not get to know the secrets of its food and drink? For a snack, pannekoeken will go down a treat – sometimes sweet, sometimes savoury, but always delicious! You could order some salty fries, taste some of the rich cheeses on offer, or discover their café culture. A popular activity is to bask in the glory of liquid sunshine – visit the best bars, breweries and beer halls of this brew-loving city. From a place where nuns used to brew ales, to the mothership of Dutch beer brewing – the original Heineken building – get out to see and taste the Netherlands’ strong beer history.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Amsterdam - Food by Foot Urban Adventure - EUR50
  • Amsterdam - The Original Amsterdam Beer Tour Urban Adventure - EUR53
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Learn more about Urban Adventures in Amsterdam at urbanadventures.com/destination/Amsterdam-tours or through an Intrepid booking agent.
Take the train to Berlin (approximately 6.5 hours). Berlin is huge, with plenty of impressive sites and a great bar scene. There’s the Brandenburg Gate, remnants of the Berlin Wall, the dominating Reichstag building and popular Checkpoint Charlie. There are also a couple of unique memorials like the Jewish memorial and the Topography of Terror, both of which are well worth your time.
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
  • Breakfast
Another day to discover Berlin? Why not! Set out to discover more of Berlin, perhaps hiring a bicycle and riding past more of the graffiti art-covered Berlin Wall, or going to a local supermarket to stock up on supplies for a picnic in one of the city's many green parks. Keep in mind that tonight there's another group meeting to welcome new travellers joining you at this stage of the adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Berlin - Museum Pass (3 Day Ticket) - EUR29
  • Berlin - Berliner Dom Cathedral - EUR7
  • Berlin - Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz - EUR8
  • Berlin - Schloss Charlottenburg - EUR21
  • Berlin - National History Museum - EUR8
  • Berlin - Pergamon Museum - EUR19
  • Berlin - Checkpoint Charlie Museum - EUR14
  • Berlin - Jewish Museum - EUR8
  • Berlin - German History Museum - EUR8
  • Berlin - Story of Berlin Museum - EUR12
  • Berlin - Topography of Terror - Free
  • Berlin - TV Tower - EUR16
  • Berlin - Bike Tour - EUR28
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and to meet new travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information. 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
  • Hostel (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
  • Hostel (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
  • Pension (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 - EUR18
  • 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
  • Triglav National Park - Canyoning - EUR65
  • Bled - Castle - EUR13
  • Triglav National Park - River Rafting - EUR55
  • Triglav National Park - Bus and Cable Car Trip to Mt Vogel - EUR25
  • Triglav National Park - 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

19 breakfasts

Transport

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

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights), Hostel (11 nights), Hostal (6 nighs), Guesthouse (2 nights), pension (1 night), Posada (1 night), Overnight Sleeper Train (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

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Madrid to Venice trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

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

COMBINATION TRIP
As this is a combination of 3 trips, your leader and the composition of your group will likely change in Barcelona, in Berlin and in Venice.

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.

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