At Vienna airport, transfers for your hotel leave at 10:00, 13:00 and 15:00. During Advent, the Austrian capital is a place of nostalgia and romance, with concerts, nativity displays and traditional Christmas Markets. Why not soak up the atmosphere or spend time in a pavement cafe? At 17:45, join your Travel Director and fellow guests and travel to a local restaurant for your Welcome Dinner.
Vienna owes much of its present day charm to the long reign of the Habsburgs. Join your Local Expert for a private tour of Maria Theresa’s Schönbrunn Palace. Then get your camera ready for a circuit of the famous Ring Road. This grand boulevard is built along the lines of the old city walls and showcases many of the capital’s architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House and magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence. Your journey continues to Budapest, the former second city of the mighty Habsburg Empire.
(Relaxed Start) Stroll through the alleys of the Buda Castle District with your Local Expert. Admire the incredible interior decoration of Matthias Church and take in the view from the Fisherman's Bastion. Across the river in Pest, which is the commercial centre, see the grand Hungarian Parliament Building and visit Heroes' Square. Visit the First Strudel House in Pest to see experts at work, stretching the dough and filling the delicious treats, which are yours to taste with a rich, aromatic coffee. The rest of the day is free for you to browse the boutiques of Vaci Street. In December, the street is festively lit and the Christmas fair will be in full swing.
Journey westward over the Slovakian border to arrive at the fortified capital, with the four-towered Bratislava Castle looming over the city. There's time to walk from the banks of the Danube to the Old Town’s historic squares and browse the market stalls. Continue through the wine-producing area of South Moravia to enter the forested countryside of Bohemia, dotted with peaceful lakes. Arrive at the historic capital of Prague, boasting one of the most beautiful and intact medieval centres in all of Europe.
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a relaxed start before joining your Local Expert at the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle, dominated by the soaring spires of St. Vitus' Cathedral. Walk in the footsteps of kings, along cobbled streets past beautiful palaces for sweeping views of the city. Descend to the Old Town Square, where the mechanised antics of the Astronomical Clock’s glockenspiel delight onlookers every hour. In December, you may see children in traditional dress, dancing and singing at the Christmas Markets.
Travel south through the forested Bohemian countryside to Český Krumlov, nestled amid loops of the Vltava River. Wander through the cobblestone, traffic-free streets, back lanes and arch-covered footpaths, passing colourful houses that lead up to the finest castle in the land. On days when snow blankets the medieval buildings and wood smoke pervades the narrow streets, it’s a scene straight from a Christmas card. Your journey continues south as your return to Vienna. As night falls, experience an extraordinary concert of Viennese classical music. The best-loved works of Johann Strauss and Mozart, performed by highly acclaimed soloists and dancers, are combined with a delicious meal of traditional Austrian fare and accompanied with drinks.
Your trip concludes after breakfast with transfers arriving at Vienna airport at 07:00 and 09:00.