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Your guided vacation begins in Vienna, city of music, cafes, waltzes, parks and pastries. A tour will bring to life the most important historical sites including the Opera House, Imperial Palace and Schönbrunn Palace, the opulent former summer residence of the Habsburg family.
Then on to Budapest, a beautiful city formed in 1873 as a union of the cities of Buda, Pest and Óbuda. Defined by the River Danube which flows through the city center, Budapest is filled with culture and history. A tour includes the Parliament, Royal Palace, Castle Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Coronation Church, Hero’s Square and Gellert Hill.
Continue through Poland where several destinations delve into a more somber history. Stop in the city of Osweicim, better known by its German name of Auschwutz and the site of the most infamous concentration camp of the Holocaust. Spend some reflective moments amid the remains of the camp and the memorials to those who died.
In Warsaw a sightseeing tour includes the Monument of the Ghetto Heroes, honoring Jewish fighters who died trying to protect the city's Jewish population in 1943. Also visit the Chopin Memorial, Palace of Culture and Royal Castle. And in Krakow, learn about dumplings from a local chef then enjoy these and other specialties at a hearty Polish dinner.
The heart of a reunited Germany, Berlin has become since the '90s a scene-stealing combo of glamor, top museums, innovation, street art and a lively nightlife. Visit the famous Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the main shopping area, downtown Kurfuerstendamm. Also see the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall and visit the Checkpoint Charlie Museum which documents 30 years of escape attempts from behind the Iron Curtain.
On to Prague, a delightful metropolis full of energy, music, art and a magical array of bridges, cathedrals and towers. Tour the Gothic-style St. Vitus Cathedral, housed within the 1000-year-old Prague Castle complex, the largest ancient castle in the world. Also visit Wenceslas Square, the Royal Castle of Hradcany and the Old Town Square.
• 13 nights in premium hotels: 1 night in Vienna, 2 nights in Budapest, 2 nights in Krakow, 2 nights in Warsaw, 2 nights in Berlin, 2 nights in Prague, 1 night in Ceský Krumlov and 1 final night in Vienna
• 19 meals - Daily breakfast and 6 dinners
• On-tour transportation by deluxe motor coach
• Services of a professional Travel Director
• Former East Berlin Tour plus comprehensive sightseeing
• Hotel service charges, baggage handling and local taxes
• Airport transfers on arrival and departure days (conditions apply)
Day 1 - Arrive in Vienna
Welcome to Vienna, Austria’s great Imperial capital. Your journey begins with a welcome reception hosted by your tour director that includes dinner and wine.
Accommodation: Hilton Vienna - 1 night
Day 2 - Vienna & the Habsburgs, on to Budapest
Engaging Experience: After a relaxed breakfast, join a local expert for a private tour of Maria Theresa’s Schönbrunn Palace and formal gardens. Then drive around the famous Ring Road, built along the lines of the old city walls, which showcase many of the capital’s architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House, Hofburg Imperial Residence and Parliament building.
This afternoon, set off for the grand boulevards of Budapest, former second city of the mighty Habsburg Empire.
Accommodation: Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge - 2 nights
Day 3 - Budapest Sightseeing
In the morning, stroll through the alleys of the Buda with a local guide. Gaze out over the Danube dividing Buda from Pest - the two sides linked by the Chain and Elizabeth Bridges. Engaging Experience: Then ascend Buda’s Castle District to visit Matthias Church. Admire the3 incredible interior decoration and take in the immense facades of the Parliament building from the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Back in Pest, see the grand Parliament building up close and visit Heroes’ Square. Then enjoy time in the Central Market Hall, its three stories packed with aromatic food stalls offering Hungarian salamis, spicy paprika and sweet Tokaji wines. The rest of the afternoon is yours to relax or shop in bustling Váci Street.
Day 4 - Through the Tatra Mountains to Krakow
Enjoy a drive into Slovakia and through the breathtaking Tatra Mountains, where peasants still live in traditional wooden houses. See the picturesque Oravsky Hrad Castle before crossing into Poland and continuing to historic Krakow.
Engaging Experience: Dumplings are on Eastern European tradition so this evening meet the head chef at a local restaurant for a dumpling demonstration. Enjoy a hearty Polish dinner with a rich variety of local delicacies.
Accommodation: Sheraton Krakow - 2 nights
Day 5 - Krakow Sightseeing
In the morning, join a local guide to tour Krakow – for centuries the seat of Poland’s kings. Ascend Wawel Hill to visit the cathedral. Walk through the Old Town, past the courtyard of Jagiellonian University to Europe’s largest and most beautiful town square. See the medieval Cloth Hall and visit the 14th century St. Mary’s Church (watch for the trumpeter in the tower). Enjoy free time to explore on your own or maybe visit the 600 year old salt mines.
Day 6 - Saints, War & Warsaw
Engaging Experience: First stop today is in the city of Oswiecim, better known throughout the world by its German name, Auschwitz, the most infamous site of the Holocaust. Spend some reflective moments amid the remains of the concentration camp and the memorials to those who died.
Travel north to Czestochowa to visit the 14th century Monastery of Jasna Gora, famous for the Black Madonna, said to have been painted by St. Luke. Continue across the Polish Plains to the capital, Warsaw, for the night.
Accommodation: Sheraton Warsaw - 2 nights
Day 7 - Warsaw Sightseeing
On a morning guided tour, see the "wedding cake" Palace of Culture and visit the Chopin Memorial in the Lazienki Park. Pay your respects at the Monument of the Ghetto Heroes before a walk in the reconstructed Old Town to see Renaissance mansions in the Market Square and the Royal Castle. The afternoon is free to enjoy at your own pace. Suggestions include a Chopin recital or a visit to the baroque Vilanov Palace.
Day 8 - The Spirit of Berlin
Your route leads westwards today, across the rolling farmlands of the central plains. Pass Poznan, often called the "cradle of the Polish State," and continue over the Oder River to Germany. Your destination is the vibrant capital of Berlin.
Accommodation: Marriott Berlin - 2 nights
Day 9 - Berlin Sightseeing
Wake up ready to embrace the rejuvenated spirit of Berlin. Join a local guide for a drive along the Ku’Damm past the Memorial Church. Continue through the Tiergarten to the refurbished Reichstag building and see the Brandenburg Gate. On the eastern side, take Unter den Linden past the State Opera House to the Alexanderplatz.
AAA Complimentary Inclusion: This afternoon, the surreal landmarks of the former East Berlin. Begin at the Soviet War Memorial in Trepow Park before continuing to the East Side Gallery, the largest stretch of the former Berlin Wall. Finally visit the Checkpoint Charlie museum documenting nearly 30 years of dramatic escape attempts across the Iron Curtain.
Day 10 - Dresden & Prague
Drive south to Dresden. Almost totally destroyed by horrific air raids in 1945, Dresden has now risen again in a blend of old and new. See the reconstructed Frauenkirche and walk past the colossal Procession of the Dukes on the wall of the Royal Palace. Round the Catholic Cathedral to view the tiered facades of the Opera and magnificent baroque Zwinger Palace.
After free time for lunch, head for the Czech border in the Ore Mountains and continue to the capital of Prague.
Accommodation: Art Nouveau Palace- 2 nights
Day 11 - Prague Sightseeing
Engaging Experience: Prague has blossomed since the ‘Velvet Revolution’ but its essential character remains unchanged. On your morning sightseeing tour, a local guide shows you the amazing St. Vitus’ Cathedral, which is set inside the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle. Later, cross the river to explore the vast cobblestoned expanse of the Old Town Square and see its famous Astronomical Clock. As night falls, why not head for a local restaurant to sample tasty Czech cuisine as well as the famous local beer?
Day 12 - Ceský Krumlov, & the Bohemian Nobles
Enjoy a drive through the Bohemian countryside to Ceský Krumlov, a picturesque medieval town on the banks of the Vltava. Walk through the narrow cobbled streets and arch-covered footpaths, past colorful townhouses and centuries old inns, cafes and shops. Enjoy a guided visit to the fairytale red roofed castle, considered by many to be the finest in the land.
Your hotel is set in a former 16th century Jesuit dormitory in the historic town center so this evening, when all the day trippers have left, you can enjoy the unique atmosphere of this UNESCO Heritage site over dinner at one of a number of selected restaurants.
Accommodation: Rusz, Cesky Krumlov - 1 night
Day 13 - Back to Vienna
Cross the border into Austria and enjoy a drive along the Danube through the agricultural region of Waldviertel, before arriving back in Austria’s great Imperial capital, Vienna. As night falls, get together for a celebration dinner with wine and good cheer at a prized local restaurant.
Day 14 - Depart Vienna
Your Eastern European adventure ends this morning after breakfast.
Limitations & Restrictions
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Price given based on Jul 4 – Aug 22, 2015 departures; rates for other departure dates may be higher. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
**Restrictions apply to the AAA Vacations® Best Price Guarantee and 24/7 Member Care. Should you find a valid better rate for the exact same itinerary within 24 hours of booking, AAA will match the lower rate. Ask your AAA Travel Counselor for details.
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