Wines of Eastern Europe: Vienna, Budapest & Prague11 days / Special Event Tours
About This Experience
Sample some of Europe’s best varietals at the Budapest International Wine Festival, an annual event that brings together Hungarian winemakers and international vintners. A local sommelier guides you through the festivities, which include a Wine University, traditional folk music and, of course, a lot of tasting opportunities. Then, sample more regional flavors on visits to the winemaking regions of Lake Balaton and Wachau, and a private dinner and tasting at the opulent Château Sychrov.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
9 nights in hand-picked hotels
Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 3 three-course dinners with wine or beer, 4 wine tastings
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Hungary’s best wines all in one festival
Eastern Europe’s hidden-gem wine regions
Private tastings in authentic atmospheres
Opulent palaces & unique local artistry
The whimsy of Art Nouveau architecture
Dark coffee & flaky pastries in bohemian cafes
Overnight Flight1 night
Budapest3 nights - hotel info
Touch down in two-sided Budapest
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 to escort you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or begin acquainting yourself with the Hungarian capital. At an included dinner this evening, meet your fellow travelers.
Spend the day sampling world-class wines in a castle—lucky you
Hungarian Parliament Building, Matthias Church, Budapest International Wine Festival
This morning’s included tour highlights the major landmarks, beginning in Pest on the west bank of the river. Trace the stormy history of this fiercely independent nation on your stop at Heroes’ Square. Tour the lavishly decorated interior of the Hungarian Parliament Building, modeled on London’s Palace of Westminster. This afternoon, cross the Danube to visit the medieval Matthias Church and attend the Budapest International Wine Festival in Buda Castle, perched high atop the imposing Castle Hill. Since its completion in 1265, Buda Castle has witnessed several invasions and reconstructions, and features many works of art within its walls and gardens. Inside this historic castle setting, a local sommelier guides you through various tastings and informative wine presentations as well as live performances and a wine auction. You’ll meet notable Hungarian winemakers and sample the region's best vintages, including Hungary’s world-famous Tokaji wines and pezsgo, a Champagne-like sparkling white.
Discover the tastes of Lake Balaton’s hidden resort towns
Breakfast, Wine tasting
Leave the bustle of Budapest for the nearby Lake Balaton Region. Sun reflecting off the region’s namesake lake—Central Europe’s largest—creates a micro-climate that is ideal for wine production. In fact, vintners have been taking advantage of the Mediterranean-like climate for two thousand years. You’ll have time to explore the Benedictine Abbey in the lakeside town of Tihany, before taking a scenic train ride to where you’ll board a ferry and journey across the lake to the resort town of Balatonfüred. After a walking tour of the charming town, you’ll have free time for lunch and to explore on your own. Then, rejoin the group and depart Balatonfüred for the beach town of Csopak, where you’ll enjoy a wine tasting before returning to Budapest for the night.
Vienna3 nights - hotel info
Travel down the river to the artsy outpost of Szentendre
Journey west through the countryside on today’s transfer to Vienna. Along the way, stop in Szentendre, a picturesque artists’ colony nestled on the banks of the Danube, for a walking tour lead by your Tour Director. Arrive in Vienna late this afternoon and take the rest of the day to relax before an included dinner.
Take in the imperial majesty of delightful Vienna
Optional Excursion - Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening
On today’s guided sightseeing tour of Vienna, you’ll tour the ornate interior of Schönbrunn Palace. Once the summer home of Empress Maria Theresa, the Rococco residence features beautifully landscaped gardens in the surrounding estate. Continue your tour of this brilliant city, as you travel along the Ringstraße and pass the Hofburg, the winter palace of the long ruling Hapsburg dynasty. This afternoon is free at leisure. This evening, opt for a ride on the Prater Ferris Wheel and dinner in a heurigan, a traditional Austrian wine tavern featuring locally produced wine.
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, food and entertainment. 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.
Cruise the Danube to Melk & the Wachau Wine Region
Breakfast, Lunch, Wine tasting
Travel to Melk this morning for a guided tour of Melk Abbey. Situated on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Danube, this Benedictine abbey was founded in 1089 and is among the world’s most famous monastic sites due to its impressive interior frescos and impressive library. Later, get acquainted with the Wachau Wine Region on a cruise down the river to Dürnstein, where you’ll sample the region’s culinary fare during an included lunch and wine tasting.
Prague3 nights - hotel info
Uncover the charms of the City of 100 Spires
Optional Excursion - Walking Tour of Prague's Jewish Quarter
Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral
On this morning’s guided sightseeing tour, visit the spectacular Prague 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. During your free time this afternoon, you may choose to wander through Old Town, discover Wenceslas Square or cross elegant Charles Bridge and enjoy breathtaking views of the city. Alternatively, join our optional walking tour of Prague’s Jewish Quarter that features a visit to Europe’s oldest synagogue.
Walking Tour of Prague's Jewish Quarter $79* pp
Follow a local guide on a walking tour of Josefov, Prague’s Jewish Quarter, nestled between the Vltava River and Old Town Square. Discover the Quarter's remains, which survived devastation during World War II and oppression during the Communist era. Afterward, pay a visit to the Jewish Museum of Prague, housed in a collection of former synagogues, one of which displays the names of all the Czechs sent to concentration camps. Along your tour, learn about the Golem myth, a story forever entwined with Prague’s Jewish history. You’ll also see sights once frequented by Franz Kafka, the enigmatic author of The Trial and Metamorphosis, who made his home in Prague. Lunch is included.
Travel north—your Château awaits
Breakfast, Wine tasting, Dinner
Enjoy a day in Prague at leisure. You can journey inside St. James Church and its evocative Gothic interior or check out the Rococo facade of Kinsky Palace. This evening, travel to the neo-Gothic Château Sychrov for a guided tour of the castle and gardens followed by a private dinner concert and wine tasting.
Extend Your Stay
Add Salzburg $499*
Dubbed the “Rome of the North”, Salzburg is a beautiful city filled with museums, mansions, parks and churches. The birthplace of Mozart and the setting for the Sound of Music, lovers and music-lovers will delight in this romantic destination.
Salzburg3 nights - hotel info
Absorb the ancient castle and atmospheric Old Town at Cesky Krumlov
Stop in Cesky Krumlov, one of the Czech Republic’s most delightful villages, for a guided tour of the impeccably maintained 13th-century castle once inhabited by the Rosenbergs. Arrive later in Salzburg to spend a free afternoon.
Sing along to the Sound of Music in Salzburg
Optional Excursion - Mozart Concert & Dinner
On today’s guided walking tour, discover the highlights of Salzburg, including the Mirabell Gardens and Mozart’s House. Tonight, join our optional Mozart Concert & Dinner.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Mozart Concert & Dinner $119* pp
Step inside the 1,200-year-old St. Peter Stiftskeller, the oldest restaurant in Europe located within St. Peter's Abbey, for an evening of fine dining and Mozart. Mozart composed over 600 works in his short life, and tonight, you'll hear his masterpieces as you sample local delicacies. Let the music carry you late into the night. Please note: This excursion requires advanced reservations and payment at least 20 days prior to departure.
Ascend into the Bavarian Alps for stunning scenery
Optional Excursion - Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines
Discover more of Salzburg on your own today or join an optional excursion Salzburg’s salt mines and the Eagle’s Nest, a mountaintop retreat built as a birthday gift for Adolf Hitler.
Eagle's Nest & Salt Mines $105* pp
Drive through the Bavarian Alps to the mountain village of Berchtesgaden, where you'll tour the 450-year-old salt mines that brought wealth to Bavaria and Salzburg. Continue to Obersalzberg, where a scenic bus ride along steep gorges offers gorgeous views of the snow-capped Alps. Here, you’ll take a gilded elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest, an Alpine retreat built for Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday. Please note: The elevation of the Eagle’s Nest is approximately 5,500 feet, which may not be advisable for travelers with heart/lung problems or other altitude-related limitations. This excursion is seasonal from mid-May through late October.
Passport & Visa Requirements
This itinerary includes the following countries: Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. 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 are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.¬Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights.¬One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).¬ Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
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).
There are no major health risks associated with traveling on this tour. However, it’s always advisable to check with your healthcare provider for the latest updates.
The popularity of Hungarian wine dates back to the Roman times, with a white dessert wine called Tokaji the most popular varietal. Hungary’s national dish is hearty goulash, but also is known for its excellent salamis, cheeses, nut-flavored pancakes, fresh-water fish and preserved fruits. It is perhaps desserts for which Austrian cuisine is most famous: From strudels made with all kinds of fruit and nuts to soufflés and elegant chocolate cakes such as the world-famous Sachertorte. Thick soups of veal, beef and venison flavored with cranberries, onion and paprika are popular, as is the renowned Wiener Schnitzel. Fish-lovers will find abundant options of wild trout, roast carp and crayfish. Czech food is typically large portions of veal, beef and potato dishes. Some of the world’s finest beers are produced here, including the original Budweiser and Pils.
Round-trip flights arrive in Budapest and depart from Prague (or Munich on extension). Included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the cities by public transportation. Budapest also has an all-inclusive transportation system with links between the metro, “green trains,” yellow trams and red trolleybuses. Purchase tickets from newspaper stands, vending machines or metro entrances. Vienna has a top-notch transportation system. You can purchase tickets in singles or in bulk for Sbahn (above ground), U-bahn (underground), tram and bus lines. The waiting time for trains and subways is usually no more than five to 10 minutes. Prague is best explored on foot, but if you need to access the suburbs or transport to a hotel, trams and local buses are readily available.
All destinations operate on the European standard 220 volts.
The Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Vienna, Budapest and Prague.
The euro (in Austria), Hungarian forint and Czech crown are the currencies you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 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’s 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.