The Wurst Pretzels in Town
If you were in a famous touring rock band, this trip would be your European leg. Two nights of rocking righteousness in Berlin, two in Krakow, two in Prague. Re-juicing in Cesky Krumlov and Vienna. Back to bein’ badass in Budapest, then all-out decadence in Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome.
Apparently pretzels were invented by German monks, which immediately makes German monks our favourite kind of monks. They were given out as a treat to kids who learned their prayers. But you don’t have to learn prayers to get in on the pretzel action with us. Lucky you.
Day 1-2 - Berlin
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
Nightlife, arts, history - Berlin is a triple-threat. By all means, experience the lot. Just don't try doing it all at the same time.
Spend free time getting to know Berlin
Perhaps take a bike or walking tour, visit the museums or visit the top of the Berlin TV Tower
Board an overnight train for KrakowPlus Hostel Berlin or similar
Day 3-4 - Krakow
Boarding an overnight train in Berlin and waking up in Krakow is probably something you've never done before, so your trip in Poland is off to a good start. There's the chance to visit Auschwitz, which is pretty heavy going but certainly worth it for the perspective. No jokes here.
Explore Wawel Royal Castle, which sits atop a hill next to the Vistula River
Get to know the city, by visiting St Mary's Church, shopping for amber or crafts and heading to the well-preserved old town
Perhaps visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a deep underground network of tunnels and chambers some 135 m below the surface
The Blessed Kinga Chapel is a highlight not to be missed, with its elaborate salt chandeliers and carvings
Optional day trip to learn more about the history of World War II at Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Birkenau
Make the most of Krakow's many cellar restaurants and pubs and the thriving cultural sceneBasztowa Guestrooms or similar
Day 5-6 - Prague
"The thornbush is the old obstacle in the road. It must catch fire if you want to go further", said Franz Kafka, the late, great 20th century author and philosopher. He was born in Prague, so there's plenty of Kafka wisdom to absorb. Then go to an underground absinthe bar. It's the done thing.
Travel by train to Prague (approx 7 hrs)
Perhaps visit The 'City of a Hundred Spires' - an architecture-lover's dream, and other such buildings from the Middle Ages, as well as the likes of the Gehry-designed Dancing Building (also called the Fred and Ginger Building)
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
Enjoy some of the many great restaurants and pubs, some in old vaulted cellars
Get amongst the nightlife in Prague, some of the best in Central Europe with dance clubs, traditional beer-halls or underground absinthe barsPrivate apartment
Day 7 - Cesky Krumlov
Remember that Dandy Warhol's song, Bohemian Like You? Well, it doesn't get much more bohemian than Cesky Krumlov.
Depart Prague and travel by bus to the southern Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov (approx 4 hrs)
Explore the castle and its Masquerade Hall, or climb the tower for aerial views of the town
Weather and time permitting, take a relaxing 2-3 hour raft/canoe trip on the river that winds right through the centre of Cesky Krumlov
Visit to the Cesky Krumlov brewery - where tours are often conducted in English - is also worthwhilePension Vltavin or similar
Day 8-9 - Vienna
Vienna = musuems, history, Hofburg, Schonbrunn, opera. That is all.
Explore the art museums including the Albertina, the Leopold, Kunsthalle Wien and the Museum of Modern Art
Check out Belvedere Palace, Hundertwasserhaus, the Secession building (with its gold laurel-leaf dome) or Hofburg Palace
Perhaps head out to Schoenbrunn for a guided audio tour of the summer palace designed by Empress Maria Theresa herself
Why not climb the 343 steps to the top of the tower of St Stephen's Cathedral
Take a spin on the famous Prater Ferris Wheel
Indulge in the great Viennese institution of coffee and Sacher torteDo Step Inn or similarBreakfast
Day 10-11 - Budapest
Grab a bike and pedal around the boulevards, climb Gellert Hill for views of the Danube, guts yourself on rich Hungarian food or freak out at the House of Terror. It's your call.
Travelling from Vienna by train (approx 3 hrs), arrive in Budapest with time to explore the Pearl of the Danube
Perhaps hire a bicycle for a great way to move between the city sights
Take a tourist boat trip to see the buildings that line the banks of the Danube River and the bridges linking Buda to Pest
Cross the Chain Bridge for a views of the Parliament Building and the Castle District
Be sure to head down to the river after dark to enjoy the floodlit spectacle
Head out to Statue Park to see all the communist monuments that were removed from the city streets after the fall of the Iron Curtain
Enjoy a soak in the hot thermal bathsBaross City Hotel or similarBreakfast
Day 12-13 - Bled
Bled is a popular little place, what with being an alpine town next to a glacial lake and all. You can go rafting, ride to Vintgar Gorgoe or paddle out to Bled's island church. Or you can just laze around and do diddly squat. Your call.
Travel by train to the lakeside town of Bled (approx 9 hrs)
Enjoy outdoor activities such as rafting, caving, canoeing and swimming
Why not hire a bike and head out to Vintgar Gorge (4 km) and walk through the natural canyon
Explore Bled Castle, perched atop the 100-metre cliff overlooking the lake
Catch a pletna (small wooden boat) over to the island in the middle of the lake to ring the wishing bell
Take a day trip to Lake Bohinj, situated within a glaciated valley in the Julian Alps, and perhaps ascend Mt Vogel by cable carUnion Travel or similar
Day 14-16 - Venice
The Bridge of Sighs was named so (by Lord Byron) because the view from the bridge was apparently the last thing Venetian convicts saw before going to prison. Turns out you can barely see anything from the windows, so Byron obviously had no clue what he was on about.
Travel by train through to one of the world's most unique cities - Venice (approx 5.5 hrs)
Use your free time to explore Venice by foot
Perhaps visit the Grand Canal, the old-world shops of the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the Piazza San Marco and its golden Basilica, and the Bridge of Sighs Wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas and cross the hundreds of tiny bridges
Take in the shops, markets, galleries, churches and buildings around every corner
Be sure to take a gondola trip through the romantic canalsHotel Mondial or similar
Day 17-18 - Cinque Terre
'The Cinque Terre' translates in to 'The Five Lands'. Learn the following: "Ciao signora, mi piace che la vostra casa è un bel colore tale. Si riempie la mia anima la mia gioia" ("Hello lady, I like that your house is such a nice colour. It fills my soul with joy"), and you'll be making friends in no time.
Travel on a series of trains to the Liguria region, home to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre (approx 5 hrs)
Perhaps walk along the famous path of the Cinque Terre (12 km, approx 5 hrs in total)
You can also jump on a train between any of the villages or to get back to base whenever you want
After working up an appetite, perhaps indulge in the foods of the Liguria regionAffittacamere Anita or similar
Day 19-20 - Florence
We took an office survey of Florence. Paul says, "Easter in Florence is great. They have this huge festival in the main square. It reaffirmed the Catholic in me." Pat says, "I loved the gelato".
Board a train bound for Florence (approx 3.5 hrs)
Discover the sights of this 'outdoor museum' 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
Visit the Uffizi, one of the world's oldest art galleries and a work of art itself
See Michelangelo's famous statue of David in the Galleria dell'Accademia
Explore as many of the surrounding galleries and museums as you have time for, or simply relax in a cafe and watch it all go byPlus Hostel Florence or similarBreakfast
Day 21-22 - Rome
There's more gelato to be had in Rome. But there's also the Colloseum, pizza, espresso, pasta, Sintine Chapel, Michelangelo and Pantheon to be had, so choose wisely.
Take in the designer shops, restaurants, cafes and exciting nightlife of Rome
See some of the world-famous sights such as the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and the Forum (the centre of ancient Rome)
Take in the Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica
Don't miss out on the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel
See how many icons of Rome you can tick off during your time hereHotel Bolognese or similar
What to Know
Tour leader, accommodation, transport and sightseeing.
- International flights, airport transfers, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals not listed (lunches and dinners), any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.
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