The Hungarian Rapsody
If you happen to sneeze around Hungarians, they will respond with a cheerful "Egészségedre!" That's "Bless you!" in Hungarian, one of the most difficult languages in the world. It shares only few similarities with Finnish and it is like no other language you ever heard. Luckily, you don't need to learn it to have a fabulous time in Hungary. Most Hungarians speak English, although they enjoy teaching foreigners their tongue twisters. Budapest, the cosmopolitan capital of Hungary, offers many diversions for both experienced...
Budapest - The Light on the Water
The light and water are the essence of Budapest. There is of course the mighty Danube, the spas and dozens of mineral springs pushing through the ground, but the city is also full of fountains, water sculptures and cascading waterfalls. They create a surreal cityscape, especially when on warm summer evenings the splendor of illuminated buildings and lit-up bridges is mirrored in the Danube. One of the finest Hungarian experiences is a night time cruise on the Danube River, when the banks are covered with millions of lights...
The Danube Bend
The Danube Bend (Dunakanyar) is a name given to a string of small riverside towns just north of Budapest. "Danube Bend" is actually a misnomer, since the river doesn't change direction at this point. The Danube, entering Hungary from the northwest, flows in a southeasterly direction for a while, forming the border with Hungary's northern neighbor, Slovakia. Just after Esztergom, about 25 miles north of Budapest, the river swings abruptly south. This is the start of the Danube Bend region.
Hévíz (meaning "hot water") has been attracting visitors for more than two centuries. The town's main attraction is the water-lilies covered lake which extends over an area of approximately 30 square miles, with a depth of up to 118 feet at the center. Heviz Lake is the second largest hot water lake in the world, and with the water temperature of 90°F, open-air bathing is pleasant even in winter. The flow of water is very strong and the lake is believed to be completely replenished each day. The waters are reputed to have curative effects, and there is a thriving health tourism industry in the area.
At sunset the silky waters of the "Hungarian Sea" change colors, going from pink to orange to dark blue. Watching the kaleidoscope of luminescent hues reflecting off the water at sunset, it's easy to fall under the spell of Lake Balaton. Balaton is the happy heart of the nation, where city dwellers escape the summer heat and the atmosphere of endless summer lingers even after the season. The southern shore has wide sandy beaches and shallow waters and is lined with modern resorts and condos.
There is a good reason that the Hungarians are considered a great equestrian nation. The ancestors of the present day Hungarians, the feared Magyars, were nomadic tribes who sixteen centuries ago came from the wild steppes surrounding the Ural Mountains. Horses had a paramount importance in their lives, so it is not surprising that riding holds a central place in Hungarian history and that Hungarian culture is much closer to the steppe nations than to the surrounding Slavs. The most famed Hungarian equestrian...
Near Middle Europe's largest lake, in a romantic setting among the slopes of the Bakony Mountains, stands the world's largest porcelain manufactory. Herend porcelain's design and quality are legendary, and its delicate wares have been treasured by rulers and artists for nearly two centuries. Today, Herend produces over 4,000 patterns of porcelain, while designers keep dreaming up new patterns that retain the old Herend tradition. Porcelain's value, elegance, delicacy and strength have earned it the name of "white gold".
The Hungarians appreciate good food. They believe that food elevates the spirit, promotes confidence, and is a comforting symbol of success and status. There is a saying: "Hungarians may live in a hovel but eat like kings, and the English live like kings but eat like beggars". To the Hungarian mind, food, love, and music are inseparable. Even during Soviet times the food-loving Magyars enjoyed many of the tropical fruits like bananas, lemons, oranges that their neighbors (Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Romanians, and Bulgarians...
The Blue Danube
The whole world sighs when it hears the opening notes of Johann Strauss II's "The Blue Danube" waltz. The melody sublimely suggests the flowing waters, the interplay of main current and the little whirlpools you see on the Danube as you walk along its banks. Throughout the years, the "Blue Danube" has been one of Vienna's most consistently popular pieces of music. Because of the emotional connotations to the Viennese people, this waltz composed in 1866 by Johann Strauss II, has become Vienna's unofficial anthem.
Mozart in Vienna
The mellifluous sound of Viennese music streams throughout the culturally-rich city as musicians proudly perform the works of the city's most famous musician: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One of Mozart's first concerts was at Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace. The child prodigy was extolled by Austrian royalty, particularly by Empress Maria Theresa. After the performance, he leapt into the empress's lap, hugged and kissed her. Throughout his life, Mozart returned to Vienna several more times. When he became an independent...
The Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world where classical horsemanship in the fine art tradition of the Renaissance has been practiced for more than 430 years and where it is still cultivated in an unchanged form. The task of classical horsemanship is to study the natural movements of the horse and with systematic training cultivate the highest possible elegance in the fine art. The result is an incomparable harmony between rider and horse which is today only achieved by the Lipizzaner stalions in the 'Spanischen Hofreitschule' in Vienna.
Vienna is a city of music, pastries, waltzes, grand architecture, avant-garde art, parks and wine, but for many people it's the Viennese desserts, rich and luscious tortes, cakes and the whipped cream creations that are reason enough to visit the city. Having coffee and cake in one of the traditional coffee houses of Vienna is as much about the experience as about the taste, but when you do consider the taste, no other dessert surpasses the Sacher torte. The story of the Sacher torte began in 1832, when the powerful...
Experience the spa culture of Budapest, the champagne night-time cruise on the Danube and the mighty Buda Castle. Then travel to Vienna, filled with the Old World elegance, Viennese pastries and coffee, Mozart and waltz music and the mighty Danube weaving through it all. End the tour with the dreamy cityscape of Prague's winding lanes, stone bridges and delicate spires, set in the legendary Bohemia. Enjoy the best in classical music, Art Nouveau architecture, and the city's medieval splendor.
May 9 - 18, 2024
10 Days / 9 Nights
This tour starts in Budapest and ends in Prague
$4,680 per person
$1,560 optional single supplement
$380 additional nights per room (single or double) includes airport transfer
Includes all fees and taxes
Hellbrunn Summer Palace
The Hellbrunn Summer Palace in Salzburg was built in the early 17th century by Prince-Archbishop Marcus Sittcus. The palace is famous for its "watergames", a series of mechanical, trick fountains that splash the unexpecting visitor. Such water jokes were extremely popular in the 17th century. They delighted the idle rich of the time and fit the playful mode of the baroque mindset (another example of such pleasures is Villa d'Este in Tivoli near Rome). The lavish Hellbrunn palace was built purely for pleasure.
The Alps are Europe's major range of mountains, spanning from the Mediterranean coast of France via Switzerland, North Italy and Austria to Slovenia. As such, a considerable area of Austria is part of this mountain range, accordingly hiking, skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing rate highly among Austrian's favourite pastimes. The clean air, spectacular sights, lakes and glaciers and well-tended trails and hikes contribute to the Alps allure and attract numerous tourists and visitors. The Alps flora and fauna is unique...
The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music (1959) is a musical by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and based on a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is an adaptation of the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Many songs from the musical have become standards, including the title song "The Sound of Music", "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "Do-Re-Mi". The original Broadway production, opened on November 16, 1959; the show has enjoyed numerous...
Founded by Prince Archbishop St. Rupert, on the ruins of the lost Roman city Iuvavum, Salzburg, originally under the control of Bavarian rulers, gained independence in the Middle Ages, gradually increased its wealth and power throughout the Renaissance, and peaked in the Baroque era in the 17th century. Salzburg is dominated by churches, castles and palaces. Its picturesque old town, with its homogenous baroque appearance, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Art lovers call Salzburg the Golden City of High Baroque...
The Mozartkugel, or Mozart ball in English, was created in 1890 by the Salzburg confectioner, Paul Fürst, and named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The master confectioner, Paul Fürst, came to Salzburg in 1884 and opened his own shop at 13 Brodgasse. He presented the Mozartbonbon for the first time in 1890, later producing and selling it in greater quantities as Mozartkugeln. Fürst’s achievement was the production of a perfectly rounded chocolate, with no flat areas. In 1905, Paul Fürst presented the Mozartkugel at a fair...
Antiquing in Vienna
From the retro designs of the 60s and 70s to the antiquities of centuries past, Vienna is a treasure trove of vintage goods. The market in Am Hof Plaza is the perfect place to find antique kitchen gadgets, jewelry, toys and vintage clothing. In the city center you will find plenty of boutiques selling centuries-old housewares and furniture alongside modern designer shops. Every Saturday morning, Naschmarkt turns into the city's most famous flea market selling plenty of uniquely Viennese trinkets to take back home.
Prague, with its magnificent castle, its Gothic towers, baroque churches, cobble-stone lanes and Art Nouveau architecture is one of Europe's most visually stunning cities. Long hidden from the world behind the Iron Curtain, since the fall of Communism it has opened up to an ever-increasing number of visitors and today is one of Europe's most popular destinations. With over 1000 years of history, this venerable city in the heart of Europe has seen its share of drama, from its medieval Golden Age, through its 16th century...
Architecture and Art in Prague
Prague, with its magnificent castle, its Gothic towers, baroque churches, cobble-stone lanes and Art Nouveau architecture is one of Europe's most visually stunning cities. Long hidden from the world behind the Iron Curtain, since the fall of Communism it has opened up to an ever-increasing number of visitors and today is one of Europe's most popular destinations. With over 1000 years of history, this venerable city in the heart of Europe has seen its share of drama, from its medieval Golden Age, through its 16th century glory...
Prague is considered one of Europe's great Jewish cities. Jews have been living here since the 10th century, and by 1708 there were more Jews in Prague than anywhere else in Europe. In the Middle Ages there two distinct Jewish communities in Prague: Jews from the West have settled around the Old-New Synagogue, and Jews from the Byzantine Empire were living around the Old Shul (today's Spanish Synagogue). The two settlements gradually merged and were confined in an enclosed ghetto. For centuries, Prague's Jews...
Mozart in Prague
Nothing defines Prague as much as music. Along with Salzburg, Prague is a city inseparably connected with the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was in this Bohemian capital that the composer celebrated his greatest triumphs and acclaim. It is said that in Prague, even the street singers understood the arias of Mozart's operas, while the audience in the royal seat of Vienna still overlooked his musical genius. It was during the snowy January of 1787 that Mozart came for the first time to Prague to personally conduct his opera...
The region of Bohemia occupies the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands, currently the Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, it often refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in historical contexts, such as the Kingdom of Bohemia. Western Bohemia is a well known spa region with towns like Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Marianske Lazne (Mariensbad) and Frantiskovy Lazne surrounded by green hills, thick forests and cheerful fields of sunflowers. The region abounds...
"Dobro Chut" is what Czechs say to each other before they begin a meal. It means "Bon appetit" or "Hope it tastes good!" Czech food is rich and hearty. The "knedlik" is the most common side dish. It is a dumpling, made of either wheat or potato flour that is boiled as a roll of dough, then cut into slices and served with gravy. Most dishes are pork, or beef, but chicken, turkey, fresh-water fish, duck, lamb, and rabbit are common as well. On menus you often see the word "Medallions": it just means a piece of meat, sliced flat...