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SECRETS OF PRUSSIA, BOHEMIA & THE BALKANS

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Fares
  • Accommodation

A journey overview

  • Berlin
  • Prague
  • Vienna
  • Budapest
  • Golden Eagle Train
  • Belgrade
  • Mostar
  • Venice

18 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 9 Jun 2020

Across cobbled passages and red rooftops, four historic capital cities echo an older, imperial Europe. But this is only half of the adventure. With the heavy chug of our train’s engine, we enter the mysterious Balkan states. Scale mountain towns, tiptoe through Dracula’s lair and walk through pretty pedestrian cities where summer is celebrated with drinks in medieval squares.

Map

Itinerary

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin awaits our early afternoon arrival. Set on Potsdamer Platz with the Brandenburg Gate in full view, the hotel boasts one of the best locations in the city. We get to know each other better over pre-dinner drinks and dinner at our hotel.

Discover Berlin by foot, from Checkpoint Charlie to the Reichstag and Alexanderplatz. Cabaret and circus then come together in a most unconventional manner at The CHAMÄLEON theatre. A drive leads us out of Berlin to Potsdam, where parks, palaces and heritage buildings await our discovery. A highlight is Sanssouci Park, home to six palaces. We head back to Berlin and look forward to a free afternoon.

Prague is a first-class train ride away and its stone streets carry us through the Old Town Square. Chef Leonardo Di Clemente puts forward a feast of three courses at our hotel’s restaurant, CottoCrudo. We continue our discovery, walking over Charles Bridge, where we find Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral and the John Lennon Wall. For lunch we seek out traditional Czech food, which we walk off with a stroll through the Jewish Quarter.

The Austrian capital is a short flight away, a city whose old-world grace outshines the frenetic pace of modern life. At Schönbrunn Palace, we admire its many rooms, as well as the exquisitely manicured park and gardens. We then set out to explore St Stephen’s Cathedral, Hofburg Palace and the Museum Quarter. The waltzes of Strauss and compositions of Mozart enrapture us afterward during a night at the opera.

Arriving in Budapest, we hear tales of a city sliced in two by the Danube River. The Hungarian State Opera House hosts us for a memorable evening, pairing exquisite food with an ethereal live performance. Whisked to Budapest-Nyugati railway station, the stately carriages of the Golden Eagle Danube Express await. Settle in to your cabin as the train rolls across the Great Hungarian Plain en route to Transylvania.

A 14th-century clock tower emerges as our train rumbles into Sighisoara. Later, we uncover the secrets of Bran Castle in Brasov, said to be the setting of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Our train then climbs over the Carpathian Mountains bound for Bulgaria. In the city of Veliko Tarnovo, stone houses balance precariously on the banks of the Yantra River. Spending an afternoon in Plovdiv, we explore the many sights of the charming Old Town.

Our train pulls up at the Serbian capital of Belgrade. Contemplate Tito’s memorial, Republic Square and mighty Belgrade Fortress. We reach Mostar, rebuilt in 2004 after the war. The town’s bridge is a poignant reminder of a not so distant past. Ornate minarets greet us on arrival into Sarajevo. The city’s history is recounted by our local guide, who experienced the horrors of the Balkan War firsthand.

Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is a delight to discover. We see Prešeren Square, the Three Bridges and Plecnik Market. High above the Carniola region, we explore Predjama Castle. Lastly, it’s onto Postojna Cave. Descending into the darkness, we navigate a network of caverns adorned with stalactites and stalagmites.

Out of the Balkans and into Italy. In Trieste, we climb a hill to the Trieste Cathedral. Our train then glides over the Venetian Lagoon into Venezia Santa Lucia Station. We experience the beauty of Venice as we walk through its winding lanes beside the canals. We see St Mark’s Square, St Mark’s Basilica and the Rialto Market. We accept an aperitivo at the legendary Harry’s Bar, before heading back to our hotel for a Farewell Dinner.

A slow morning leaves some time for independent discovery before we head for the airport, having completed an epic discovery of eastern Europe.

Brochure

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