On this 15-day holiday, you visit five of the most intriguing countries in Europe – Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic – and experience the historic cities of Frankfurt, Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. There is so much to do and see, it simply isn’t possible to cover everything in this article. We therefore present only the highlights of these amazing cities.
You’ll arrive at Frankfurt (Offenbach) and check into the Sheraton Offenbach situated in the city’s centre. That afternoon, enjoy an orientation drive through Frankfurt and a welcome meal with your Travel Director in the evening.
The following day, travel to Berlin via Leipzig, the former home of Johann Sebastian Bach. Spend the next day sightseeing in Berlin. Suggestions include a visit to Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site incorporating no fewer than five different museums. Don’t miss the Neues Museum with the bust of Nefertiti on exhibit.
A walk along the Berlin Wall is a must. Visit Checkpoint Charlie, the east/west crossing and now a tourist centre. Most of the wall has been demolished, of course, but a one-mile section remains, containing graffiti and artworks created when the wall was brought down in 1990.
If you enjoy shopping, go to Friedichstrasse. This major culture and shopping street in central Berlin boasts big name designer stores as well as Europe’s largest department store, KaDeWe.
After Berlin, is a two-night stay in Warsaw on the Vistula River. Consider visiting the Palace of Culture & Science, built between 1952 and 1955 as a “gift of friendship” from the former Soviet Union. At 231 metres high, it is the tallest building in the capital. The locals have very mixed feelings about it and joke that the view from the top is the best for miles, because it doesn’t include the Palace itself!
In connection with the 200th Anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin’s birth, the capital city of Poland opened a new walking route, based on the multimedia trail of Chopin’s Benches.
If you like parks and formal gardens, then the Saxon Gardens (Ogrod Saski) in central Warsaw are modelled on Versailles. Myriads of chestnut trees, a large number of Baroque statues and an ornamental lake make the Saxon Gardens a soothing and beautiful getaway in a city setting.
The following day delivers another visit with history. The Jasna Gora Monastery at Czestochowa dates from the 14th century. It is home to the painting, Black Madonna, the Monastery’s greatest treasure. Following the serene and beautiful Jasna Gora is a sobering reminder of the atrocities of WWII, the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
Your next port-o-call is Krakow for two nights. It is well worthwhile taking a trip to the Wieliczka Salt mine, one of the oldest operating salt mines in the world. At Wieliczka, you will find a complete chapel carved into the rock salt, adorned with dozens of statues.
Zakrzowek, a wild oasis in the heart of the city, was created from an old stone quarry. Stroll the paths around the lake or opt for the hiking trails in the park close by. You can even take diving lessons with the local scuba club. The water is 30 metres deep.
So far, you are only at the end of your first week of this educational, enchanting and historical adventure. We have only touched on a handful of the astounding sights and activities in these cities. Still to come are Budapest on the Danube with its chain bridge, Vienna, home of the Spanish Riding School, and Prague, featuring Prague Castle, the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. Each of these magnificent cities presents its’ own delights for you to savour.
The Bohemian Highlights Tour is a truly magical experience, and one that you will remember for a lifetime.