Day 1 - Berlin
Guten Tag! Welcome to Berlin! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Berlin's nocturnal nightclub scene is a class in itself so perhaps go and discover it tonight after the meeting. Don’t stay up too long as tomorrow you’ll have a tick-list to go through if you want to say you have visited Berlin!
Day 2 - Berlin / Overnight Train
This morning, perhaps visit Mauerpark, which literally translates to Wall Park as it sits on the former Death Strip of the Berlin Wall. If the weather is nice the atmosphere is truly Berlin. In nearby Kastanienallee's pubs beer is cheaper than water. In the early afternoon, you'll board a train to Szczecin in Poland, where you’ll connect to your overnight train bound for Krakow. Don’t be late!
Day 3 - Krakow
Possibly the best-known Polish city, Krakow was the residence of Polish kings from the 11th to the 17th centuries, and its old town is a World Heritage-listed site. Which means you have some exploring to do! Take a stroll around Wawel Castle which sits on top of a hill next to the Vistula River. It provides a magnificent backdrop to Krakow. Rynek Glowny, the town square, dates back to the 13th century, and is surrounded by awesome buildings, with the Cloth Hall as the centrepiece. There will be plenty of time to explore the city, so visit St Mary's Church, shop for amber or crafts, or just walk around with your jaw agape at all the old-world glory of the place. Find out why Mariacki Hejnal (the trumpeter on top of St Mary's Church) sounds like his tune is cut in half. Sample Obwarzanki while doing that. What’s Obwarzanki? Well, you'll find out.
Day 4 - Krakow
If you want to tear yourself from the magical Main Square, venture out of town to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a deep underground network of tunnels and chambers that goes some 135 metres below. The Blessed Kinga Chapel is a highlight not to be missed, with all its fancy salt chandeliers and carvings. You might want to take a day trip to learn more about the history of World War II at Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Birkenau concentration camps and museums, sites where some of the worst atrocities were perpetrated (it's confronting, but important). A visit to Kazimierz, the former Jewish quarter in Krakow, could be a great idea after visiting Oswiecim. Krakow has many cellar restaurants and pubs and a thriving cultural scene too, so head to the streets, dip into some awesome street food and never leave Krakow without trying some Pierogi. Ask locals (or your leader!), they’ll tell you where to go!
Day 5 - Prague
Next up, journey to Prague. It's kind of a lengthy trip (approximately 7 hours), so try to nab a window seat and get cosy. This city is a wonderland of architecture, with buildings from the Middle Ages all the way through to the modern avant-garde. They don't call it the 'City of a Hundred Spires' for nothing. Check out the Gehry-designed Dancing Building (also called the Fred and Ginger Building) on the banks of the Vltava. Don't miss Prague Castle, because it's not only the biggest castle in the Czech Republic, but it is oh-so-pretty too. It's where you'll find the famous St Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane. A walk through the Jewish Quarter is also a must. Hip literary types can visit the resting place of Franz Kafka. Afterwards, why not take a seat in one of Prague's underground bars and sip some absinthe or a Pilsner. Some of the best fun in Prague is had after the sun goes down, when the magic of the Old Town really comes alive.
Day 6 - Prague
Another day in Prague and so many possibilities. Discover the Bohemian Prague: extravagant, political, passionate, and fuelled with Czech Water. Learn how the Bohemian artists, writers, dissidents, and their 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’s Sedlec Ossuary, or The Church of Bones if you like, a small Roman Catholic chapel that contain the skeletons of between 40.000 and 70.000 people. Back in Prague remember that the nightlife in Prague is some of the best in Central Europe. Whether dance clubs, beer-halls or underground absinthe bars are your thing, there's something for everyone. The city also boasts one of Europe's most respected jazz scenes. If you find yourself out until the early hours in a jazz club, have a wander along Charles Bridge or the Old Town Square as the sun rises for magical photo opportunities.
Day 7 - Cesky Krumlov
Depart Prague and travel by train to the southern Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov (approximately 4 hours). This picturesque medieval town dates back to the 13th century and is straight out of a fairytale. Cesky Krumlov (pronounced 'Chess-key Kroom-love') means 'crooked meadow', which is befitting, since the town is nestled in a sharp bend of the Vltava River. It also comes complete with a castle on a hill towering over the cute little old town, which boasts a collection of beautiful old buildings and a confusion of cobbled alleyways. Check out the castle and its epic Masquerade Hall, or climb the tower for aerial views of the town. If the weather's fine and you have two or three hours up your sleeve, take a relaxing raft or canoe trip on the river that winds right through the centre of Cesky Krumlov. This is a classic summer pastime.
Day 8 - Ceske Budejovice / Vienna
Travel to Ceske Budejovice and join your leader for an orientation walk and optional lunch in this Bohemian town that is famous for the Budvar brewery (home of the original Budweiser beer). Alternatively choose to use your stop over to go on a quick brewery visit for a glimpse of the brewing tradition that has existed here for hundreds of years. Tours are operated every day at 2pm and the factory is located a short taxi ride away from the town centre. Discuss the options for this day beforehand with your tour leader. In the afternoon travel onward to Vienna (approx 5 hours).
Day 9 - Vienna
After a quick overview of what this great city has to offer your leader will take you to the famous Naschmarkt food and produce market, where you will have the option to try all sorts of weird and wonderful things. You will have the rest of the day free to explore Vienna at your own pace. You might like to head out to Schönbrunn for a guided audio tour of the summer palace designed by Empress Maria Theresa herself. Here, the Gloriette Monument boasts killer views of Vienna. The palace gardens are free to all visitors but there is a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. If you feel like watching dancing horses, catch a dressage show at the Spanish Riding School. Remember though, The Spanish Riding School doesn't operate throughout the summer months. After all this sightseeing you might like to indulge in a traditional Viennese coffee and Sacher torte, before capping off the evening with a spot of Mozart, Bach or Schubert in a concert hall. Notes: Skip the queues to Schönbrunn palace by booking tickets online. For the Spanish Riding School you will need to book tickets well in advance.
Day 10 - Budapest
Take a train from Vienna to Budapest (approximately 3 hours) and explore this exotic 'Pearl of the Danube'. Since the collapse of Communism, Budapest has experienced something of a renaissance. Glamourous and glitzy shops and restaurants sit alongside old-world architecture and groomed boulevards. Riding a bicycle is one of the best ways to get around. Budapest is the perfect city to enjoy from the water. From here you'll be able to see the magnificent buildings that line the banks of the Danube River and the bridges linking Buda to Pest (who would have thought?). Take one of the tourist boat trips to see the sights or cross the Chain Bridge for a spectacular views of the Parliament Building and the Castle District. Make sure you 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. One unmissable activity is to soak in the hot thermal baths. There are loads of these around the city centre and they range from classy and elegant to simple outdoor types. Some even have chess boards so you can exercise your brain while rejuvenating your body.
Day 11 - Budapest
Enjoy another day in the Pearl of the Danube. Exploring the historical Buda castle is definitely one way to do it! Forget about the bustling city and lose yourself in the history of Buda castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings. The winding streets of Castle District dates back to the 13th century. And there is an old, mid-19th century local pastry shop there! As this is a combination trip, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Budapest. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. You're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Day 12 - Budapest / Overnight Train
This morning you have the option to join your leader on a short orientation walk of the city. Afterwards you have a free day to spend in Budapest. Alternatively, join your leader on a trip to Szimpla Kert, one of Budapest's famous ruin bars. They originated as squats hidden in inconspicuous side streets, and have since become an inherent part of Budapest's night life. In the evening, board an overnight train to Belgrade.
Day 13 - Belgrade
Wake up in Serbia in time to see the train pull into station. Also known as the ‘White City’, Serbia’s capital takes pride of place straddling the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. Settle in at the hostel and then get to know the surrounding area with an optional orientation walk with your leader. After that it’s open slather. The bohemian quarter of Skadarlija is the perfect place to let your hair down and try some local food, or you can walk the ramparts of the imposing Kalemagdan Fortress. At night there’s no shortage of trendy clubs and smoky bars to visit where you can shout a hearty ‘zivjeli’ while drinking rakija with the locals.
Day 14 - Belgrade
Enjoy a sleep in (you deserve it) and then tackle a second big day in Belgrade. The day is all yours to explore, so ask your leader for some insider tips on how to spend your time. Perhaps sign up for a cruise along the Danube River, passing Kalemagdan Fortress, Pancevo Bridge and the artist village of Zemun. Maybe check out the Nikola Tesla Museum and learn about the life and work of Serbia's greatest inventor. Travelling in summer? Pack a towel and join the locals at Ada Ciganlija beach, where you can swim, take part in water-sports or simply soak up the sun with a cocktail. For dinner pick up a plate of cevap (little meat sausages) and prebranac, a Serbian take on baked beans. Continue exploring Belgrade’s nightlife by visiting one of the floating bars on the river.
Day 15 - Skopje
This morning hop onto another train to Skopje, Macedonia's capital city (approximately 3 hours). Devouring gozleme and baklava is probably at the top of your list but take the time to check out one of the city’s 30 mosques, innumerable caravanserais and hamams. Failing that, eat your gozleme while simply walking through the narrow lanes of Carsija, Skopje's most atmospheric neighbourhood. The Museum of the City of Skopje, which is housed inside an old railway station, is also worth seeing for its unusual, partially ruined facade (the result of an earthquake in 1963). The clock on the outside is stuck at 5:17, the exact moment the earthquake struck.
Day 16 - Skopje
Today is another free day in Skopje, so why not venture out of town and check out Matka Canyon – a deep ravine cut into the Suva mountains by the Treska River, 15 kilometres southwest of the city. Here you’ll find caves, 70 different species of butterflies (count ‘em, we’ll wait) and several medieval monasteries. There is also Vrelo cavern nearby, a water-filled cave with incredible stalagmites and as-yet unchartered depths. Some experts believe it might even be the deepest underwater cave in the world. If caves and stalactites aren’t your thing, you can also tackle one of the many nature walks in the canyon. In the evening, grab your crew for dinner in the Old Bazaar or at the restaurants in the Debar Maalo area.
Day 17 - Thessaloniki
Catch a bus ride this morning and arrive in cosmopolitan Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece! Thessaloniki is largely considered the cultural capital of Greece, with plenty of shopping, nightlife and entertainment. After settling in, head out to the waterfront and visit the White Tower or check out some of the city’s many Ottoman and Roman ruins. Thessaloniki’s food scene combines 2,000 years of history to create an intriguing mix of French, Balkan and Mediterranean flavours (plus a dash of Eastern spices too). There are plenty of eateries to try around the Roman Agora, so why not try an authentic souvlaki for dinner and wash it down with a Mythos beer. Thessaloniki has a large student population, which means there are plenty of thumping bars and nightclubs to explore come nightfall.
Day 18 - Nei Pori Beach
After a short train ride (approximately 1 hour), arrive in the laid back beach village of Nei Pori. Check into the hotel before taking a short orientation walk, including a visit to Nei Pori’s Old Town. After that, the rest of the day is free to do as you please. Get into a swimsuit and perhaps while away the day on Nei Pori’s white sand beaches.
Day 19 - Nei Pori Beach
Make the most of a second day in relaxing Nei Pori. Perhaps head out to Mount Olympus, Greece's first national park. It is the highest mountain in Greece and the second highest in the Balkans, with a height of 2918m. The mountain is famous in Greek mythology as it is the dwelling of the twelve Olympian gods, headed by Zeus. Mytikas peak was the gods' meeting place, and Stefani peak was the Throne of Zeus from where he was said to have displayed his mighty power by throwing thunderbolts. Head out for a hike along the lush forested ravines and ridges of the mountain - there are several options from 3 to 6 hours. Your leader will be able to help you arrange transport. Back in Nei Pori you’ll find a range of differently flavoured ouzo and tispouro in the many shops, so pick up a bottle to share this afternoon or take back home. After more lazing on the beach, get ready for a night out at Nei Pori’s beach bars or head to the nightclubs in nearby Platamon.
Day 20 - Athens
This morning catch yet another train to arrive in Athens, the heart of Greece and centre of the ancient world. This incredible city was given a face lift in the lead up to the 2004 Olympics, which means it has updated streets and architecture plus all the Old World charm of the Acropolis, Pantheon and more. All of the highlights can be easily seen on a walk of the city, so don’t forget to check out the original Olympic Stadium and swing by Syntagma Square to see the changing of the guards (featuring a very dramatic and pom-pom filled walk). Another highlight is the Acropolis Museum, where you can walk over ancient ruins encased in glass. Later tonight, why not enjoy a farewell meze dinner with your crew. Toast the end of this railway adventure with a shot (or two) of ouzo.
Day 21 - Athens
This adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned. You are able to depart at any time. There’s so much to see and do in Athens so we don’t blame you if you’re planning on sticking around a little longer. We can arrange additional accommodation for you on request (subject to availability) and also set you up on one of our Urban Adventure day trips, such as ‘Taste of Athens’ or ‘Markets, Ruins and Ancient Athens’. Please enquire at the time of booking.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Meals Included: Breakfast: 9 Lunches: 0 Dinners: 0
Now one of the world's most artistic and exciting cities, Berlin has a complex history. And beer is cheaper than water here. Go figure
Gorge on the history, architecture and bohemian vibes of the Czech Republic. Soak up the smooth sounds of jazz at a low-lit bar in Prague before stepping right into the fairytale of Cesky Krumlov
So much of what is epic about Europe can be found in Vienna. Revel in the city's rich offerings of art, history and music and stroll along the eclectic Ringstrasse
Enjoy a jaw-droppingly scenic walk along the banks of the River Danube in Budapest. Threaded with bridges and hemmed in by castles and historic city buildings, Europe's second longest river is also one of its most beautiful
Wander through Belgrade’s Bohemian quarter and grand 19th-century boulevards, before launching yourself into its animated nightlife.
Sitting alongside its Ottoman past, the Macedonian capital of Skopje has reinvented its centre with gleaming neo-classical monuments and buildings, adding a new layer to this fascinating city.
Uncover thousands of years of civilisation in Athens with a visit to the world-famous Acropolis and the ancient Agora.
There's nothing quite like dining on rich and hearty moussaka or grilled lamb and tzatziki in a traditional Greek tavern. Just wash it all down with a shot (or two) of ouzo.
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