Arrive Budapest, Hungary
Arrive in Budapest, a city occupying both sides of the Danube River and founded in 1873, when right-bank Buda and Óbuda joined left-bank Pest. Budapest’s broad avenues and turn-of-the-century architecture have earned it the name, “the Paris of Eastern Europe.” Like Paris, it is a cultural mecca for writers, artists and musicians. Transfer to your hotel, where you join your A&K Resident Tour Director and fellow guests for a welcome dinner.
Budapest | Matthias Church & Fisherman’s Bastion
This morning, cross the Danube River to explore the Buda side of the city. Visit Matthias Church, the 13th-century coronation cathedral of Hungarian kings, and Fisherman’s Bastion, offering spectacular views of the city. Built in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque styles, the bastion is named for the guild of fishermen who defended this part of the city during the Middle Ages. Then, meet a Buda resident for lunch in the gardens of her villa — an experience specially planned for A&K guests. Enjoy your afternoon at leisure, relaxing in your luxurious accommodations or exploring this romantic city on your own, perhaps dining at one of Budapest’s fine restaurants. Choose one on your own or ask your Resident Tour Director for a list of recommendations by A&K.
Budapest | Across the Bridge in Pest
Today, explore Pest, starting with a private visit to the beautiful, neo-Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House, which was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph and opened in 1884. Continue your city tour as you view Heroes’ Square and stop to see the Great Synagogue as well as St. Stephen’s Basilica, whose south tower houses the largest bell in Hungary. Then, visit the Central Market Hall, to view the vast array of food and crafts on sale throughout its three floors, including cheeses, sausage and other local specialties, and enjoy time at leisure for lunch on your own. Later, visit the Parliament Building before spending the remainder of your afternoon at leisure. This evening, after dinner, embark on a private cruise of the romantic Danube, to watch the glittering lights of Budapest drift by in the night.
Bratislava, Slovakia/Vienna, Austria | Chef’s Table
Journey overland to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, for a guided walking tour of its Old Town, once a jewel of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Stop at a local restaurant where you enjoy a Chef’s Table experience, having lunch with its esteemed chef, who shares insights into seasonal dishes and his life as a restaurateur. Embark on a high-speed catamaran for a quick cruise along the Danube River to Vienna, Austria.
Vienna | Hofburg & Schönbrunn Palaces
Join your local guide for a walking tour of marvelous Vienna. At the Hofburg Palace — former seat of emperors and current residence of the president of Austria — visit the Treasury to admire its glittering collection of Imperial regalia. Then, continue to the Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This afternoon, tour Schönbrunn Palace, the former residence of Habsburg monarchs. Stay for dinner and a concert at the Palace Orangery, an experience in a Baroque setting that combines culinary art and world-famous music.
Vienna | Visions of the Imperial City
This morning, enjoy a panoramic tour of Vienna, viewing the Prater and its Giant Ferris Wheel. See the Secession Building and the famous Hundertwasser House, and then visit the Belvedere Gallery, where you find many works by the brilliant and controversial symbolist artist Gustav Klimt, including The Kiss. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by an afternoon at leisure, free to relax or explore.
Prague, Czech Republic | Testaments to Tolerance
Travel to Prague, visiting Trebic en route, a town that dates to at least 1101, when the Benedictine Order founded their monastery here. Visit the ensemble of the Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery and the 13th-century Basilica of St. Procopius, a remarkable example of the influence of Western European architectural heritage. Together, these sites comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site and serve as reminders of the co-existence of Jewish and Christian cultures here, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Significantly, Trebic’s Jewish Quarter is the only Jewish monument outside of Israel specifically placed on the UNESCO list. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, before continuing to Prague.
Prague | Synagogues & Remembrance
Today, embark on a walking tour of Josefov, the city’s Jewish Quarter, which remained a walled ghetto until 1848. View the birthplace of Franz Kafka (part of the State Jewish Museum complex). Best known for his existentialist novel The Metamorphosis, Kafka is widely considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Proceed to visit the Old Jewish Cemetery, site of 12,000 graves, and the Old-New Synagogue, Europe’s oldest active synagogue, completed in 1270. After lunch, enjoy a private visit to the Estates Theater, a refreshing glass of fine sparkling wine and a mini-concert (subject to rehearsal schedules). Built in 1783, this theater represents one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in Prague and it was here, in October of 1787, that Mozart conducted the premiere of Don Giovanni. At the end of the afternoon, meet a local Czech artist, Tony Manto, at his gallery and learn about the art of glassblowing for an unforgettable artisan visit. Manto’s creations, made from local Czech iron, glass, porcelain and wood, are designed to inspire by appealing to all five senses.
Prague | Private Monastery Library Visit
Visit Privately visit the Baroque library halls of the Strahov Monastery, and view its incredible frescoes, which reside amid detailed stucco ceiling decorations. Stroll in the peaceful quiet, looking up at the mural devoted to the intellectual progress of mankind, and let yourself contemplate a bygone era. Then, admire the religious artifacts at the Loreto Chapel, a remarkable Baroque monument that remains a place of pilgrimage. Also, view the towering, Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, which houses the tombs of Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors, including that of Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia — legendary subject of the beloved Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas.” Cross the famous Charles Bridge, an iconic landmark of Prague completed in 1402. Walking past its statues of saints makes for a fitting conclusion to your visit to the historic central European capital, and sets the tone for a celebratory farewell dinner at a nearby local restaurant.
Transfer to the airport to board your flight home.