Highlights of Eastern Europe: Jewish Heritage 15 days / Religious Heritage Tours
About This Experience
Discover the rich history and inspiring endurance of generations of Jewish people in Eastern Europe. Start in the lovely two-sided city of Budapest. Journey west along the Danube to Vienna, unrivaled for its beauty and majesty. Head north to see the castles and cathedrals and remains of the Jewish quarter in Prague. End your journey in Poland, once home to Europe’s largest and most vibrant Jewish population, where the legacy endures in Krakow and Warsaw.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
13 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
1,000 years of Jewish history
Heartrending remembrances of the Holocaust
Dark coffee & flaky pastries in bohemian cafes
Austrian wine & Czech beer
Fairytale castles in Prague & Krakow
The renewed vibrancy of artsy Kazimierz
Overnight Flight1 night
Budapest3 nights - hotel info
Introducing Budapest—Pearl of the Danube
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Budapest, a city divided by the Danube River into its old and new sections (Buda and Pest). A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or begin acquainting yourself with the city. At an included dinner this evening, meet your fellow travelers.
Explore the city’s highs and lows, from Castle Hill to Heroes Square
Parliament, Holocaust Memorial
This morning’s included tour highlights the major landmarks of both Buda and Pest. Trace the stormy history of this fiercely independent nation on your stop at Heroes Square. Tour the lavishly decorated interior of the Parliament building, modeled after London’s Palace of Westminster. Then, cross the Danube and arrive in Buda, where you’ll ascend the imposing Castle Hill. The castle has witnessed several invasions, the most recent having occurred during World War II. Finally, pass by the Great Synagogue and visit the Shoes Monument at the Holocaust Memorial to bear witness to the lives lost during the Holocaust.
Uncover a rich Jewish history in the ghetto and the Great Synagogue
Dohany Synagogue, Jewish Cemetery
This morning, a local guide introduces you to the Dohány Street Synagogue, including the Jewish Museum and the Memorial Tree. Take a walking tour around the old Jewish quarter, passing by the Orthodox Synagogue and the Mikvahs (ritual bath) on Kazinczy Street. The tour continues in Buda, where you can visit the monument of Raoul Wallenberg and explore the traces of the medieval Jewish community in the Castle District.
Vienna3 nights - hotel info
Cruise along the Danube to discover the City of Dreams
Travel west through the Danube basin to Vienna, home of chocolates, cafes, parks and pastries. Your Tour Director will show you around the city, stopping at the Holocaust Memorial and visiting Vienna’s Jewish Museum.
Experience delightful, delicious Vienna in all of its imperial majesty
Optional Excursion - Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening
Follow a local guide on a comprehensive tour of Vienna this morning. Highlights include views of the Opera House, the majestic monuments of the Ringstrasse, and the Hofburg, once the hub of Imperial power. Inside the regal Schönbrunn Palace, where Marie-Antoinette spent her childhood, view the private chambers of the Empress Maria Theresa and the lavishly decorated public rooms. Your afternoon is free for a stroll through the Stadtpark or a horse-drawn carriage ride to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Tonight, opt to attend our traditional Viennese Heurigen evening. At this optional event, you’ll take a ride on the Prater Ferris Wheel and dine at a local restaurant where you’ll enjoy wine made by the people serving dinner.
Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening $99* pp
After a brief drive, your first stop is Vienna's Prater Ferris Wheel. Take a breezy ride to the top, which offers a one-of-a-kind view of the city. Next, continue to the picturesque village of Grinzing. At a local restaurant, you'll indulge in a festive night of music and food. Dinner will feature dishes typical of traditional Austrian Heurigens, or wine taverns. During your meal, you'll have the chance to try some of the tavern's own locally made wine—the perfect addition to your cozy Old-World setting.
Eat, drink, shop, play, wander, get lost and get found in Vienna
Optional Excursion - Bratislava
Spend the day at your leisure. You might wish to take a stroll through Vienna’s pedestrian zone, stopping at the Hotel Sacher for a taste of its world-famous chocolate Sachertorte. Or, join an optional excursion to historic Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, with a special stop at the city’s Jewish cemetery.
Bratislava $95* pp
Walk through Bratislava’s Old Town on a guided tour of the Slovakian capital. Stroll along cobblestone streets in the shadow of Brastislavsky Hrad, the hilltop 18th-century castle overlooking the Old Town. Then, tour the famous Hall of Mirrors inside the pink Primates’ Palace, where Napoleon and the Austrian emperor signed the Peace of Pressburg of 1805. Lunch is included. Please note: Depending on the day of the week, you may visit St. Martin's Cathedral instead of the palace.
Prague3 nights - hotel info
See the City of 100 Spires, from Hradcany Castle to St. Vitus Cathedral
Castle of Hradcany, St. Vitus' Cathedral, Jewish Museum
On this morning’s guided sightseeing tour, discover why Prague is known as the City of One Hundred Spires. The pinnacles of the city’s churches and palaces create one of Europe’s most majestic skylines. Visit the spectacular Hradcany Castle, from which Charles IV governed the Holy Roman Empire and Vaclav Havel restored democracy. Later, admire the soaring Gothic vaults of St. Vitus Cathedral. This afternoon, take a walking tour of Josefov, the Jewish Quarter contained within the Old Town to get a glimpse of Europe’s oldest synagogue and explore the Jewish Museum.
Take a trip outside of Prague to witness the region’s checkered past
Optional Excursion - Château Sychrov
Optional Excursion - Theresienstadt
With a free day in Prague, you might choose to relax at a welcoming sidewalk café or take a walk along the riverbanks. Alternatively, choose to journey into the countryside for an optional excursion to Therensienstadt, a historic fortress that served as a concentration camp during World War II. This evening, opt to enjoy our Chateau Sychrov concert and dinner.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Château Sychrov $135* pp
Visit Château Sychrov, a 17th-century Baroque estate north of Prague. Take a guided tour through the estate, paying special attention to the elaborate carvings along the stairway, in the chapel and in the dining room. Then, tour the gallery of French kings and the château's gardens. Later, attend a private concert of classic Czech music and an included dinner.
Theresienstadt $59* pp
Journey to Theresienstadt on this full-day excursion. A historic fortress erected by the Habsburgs in the 18th century, but in 1941, the Nazis captured the fortress and converted it to one of Europe’s most infamous concentration camps. You’ll tour the fortress grounds, visit the camp's underground corridors and learn about Therensienstadt’s long and complicated past.
Krakow2 nights - hotel info
Wander within the ancient walls of Wawel Hill and Old Town Krakow
Schindler's Factory, Auschwitz/Birkenau Museum
Today’s guided tour of Kraków introduces you to Wawel Hill, perched high above the Vistula River. Visit Wawel Cathedral, where Polish kings were crowned. Pope John Paul II once served as archbishop here. Stroll through Glowny Square, passing beautiful Sukiennice Cloth Hall and the Jagiellonian University on your way to the enamel-ware factory where Oskar Schindler was able to save over 1,000 Jews from transport to the Platzow Concentration Camp in Kraków. You’ll also make a stop at the Remuh Synagogue, an elegant 16th-century synagogue and the city’s only active synagogue. This afternoon, bear witness to life in the camps on a tour of the former concentration camp of Auschwitz.
Warsaw2 nights - hotel info
Admire Polish perseverance in the revived city of Warsaw
Optional Excursion - Chopin Recital & Dinner
A local guide leads a sightseeing tour of Warsaw, a city all but destroyed during World War II, but painstakingly rebuilt since 1944. At Lazienki Park, behold the Chopin monument and the palace of Stanislaw Poniatowski, Poland’s last king. A guided walk through the Old Town brings you to Starego Miasta Square, lined with Renaissance facades and baroque townhouses. This evening, opt to attend a traditional Polish dinner in a Warsaw restaurant followed by a Chopin recital.
Chopin Recital & Dinner $99* pp
This evening, enjoy a private concert recital featuring the music of Frédéric-François Chopin. Born in 1810, Chopin is widely considered the world's best composer for piano, an instrument that featured prominently in his compositions. Tonight, experience Chopin’s genius firsthand as pianists play some of his greatest masterpieces. Then, sample local specialties at one of Warsaw’s finest restaurants during an included dinner.
Passport & Visa
This tour includes the following countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Germany (on the extension). In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary or Germany. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Budapest and depart from Warsaw. Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach (and by train on the extension to Berlin). In your free time, you may wish to explore the cities by public transportation. Budapest has an all-inclusive transportation system, with links between the metro, “green trains,” yellow trams and red trolley buses. Purchase tickets from newspaper stands, vending machines or metro entrances. Vienna has a similar system and is even more efficient. You can purchase tickets in singles or in bulk for S-bahn (above ground), Ubahn (underground), tram and bus lines. The waiting time for trains and subways is usually no more than five to 10 minutes. Prague, Warsaw and Kraków are all well-served by trams, local buses and taxis, if you need to explore beyond the main attractions. Otherwise, they’re best accessed on foot. In Berlin, an extensive system of S-bahn, Ubahn, tram, train and bus lines serve every corner of the city. One ticket covers all types of transportation.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
In Austria, thick soups of paprika and onion, veal, beef and venison with cranberries are popular, as is the renowned Wiener Schnitzel. Fish lovers will find excellent wild trout, carp and crayfish. But perhaps the most memorable aspect of Austrian cuisine are the desserts—strudels made with all kinds of fruit and nuts, soufflés and elegant chocolate cakes, such as the world-famous Sachertorte. Hungary boasts goulash as its national dish, but also is known for its excellent salamis, cheeses, nut-flavored pancakes, freshwater fish and preserved fruits. Czech food is hearty, and you’ll find large portions of veal, beef and potato dishes. Some of the world’s finest beers are produced here, including the original Budweiser and Pils. German food is hearty and substantial. Among the specialties are rich dumpling stews and sauerkraut cabbage, tasty thick sausages and smoked cheeses, dark breads and tempting chocolate cakes. Germany also produces some of the world’s finest and purest beers, while white German wines are exceptionally good.
The euro (in Austria, as well as Germany on extension), Polish zloty, Czech crown and Hungarian forint are the currencies you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take credit cards and ATM/bank cards. All are widely accepted in the major cities, with some exceptions. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/ CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
The tour is too new and has not had all the kinks ironed out....pricey for what was received......included dinners were awful and westernized......many 'optionals' were cancelled....tour director appeared to be a 'stand by' and not an expert for this type of tour.....lots of wasted time on 'leisure days' with hotels being far from the city center .......Auschwitz-Birkenau which should have been a highlight of the tour ended up being a 'herded' type of experience - too fast, not enough time to experience the environment.....very disappointing, overall.....