Make your way through five distinctly different countries in Central and Eastern Europe, encountering capitals of history and culture from Warsaw and Vienna to Budapest, and exploring World Heritage sites from Krakow to Prague. 

Starting at: $6,297 * Price includes special offer * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Evening in the main square of Krakow
 Kraków's engaging main square
 Interior of St. Mary's Basilica, Kraków
 Poland's Wieliczka Salt Mines, a World Heritage site
 Old Town Warsaw, a World Heritage Site
 Budapest, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, situated along the Danube River
 The Matthias Church, located on the Pest side of Budapest
 Fishermen's Bastion, Budapest
 Interior of Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest
 St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
 Vienna's State Opera House
 Schönbrunn Palace outside Vienna
 Charles Bridge, Prague
 Prague's astronomical clock near the main square
 Prague Castle
 Gothic mosaic facade, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague
 Jewish Ceremonial Hall, now part of the Jewish Museum, Prague
 The legendary Charles Bridge, Prague

Old World Europe

Poland, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic

16 days from $6,297 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Make your way through five distinctly different countries in Central and Eastern Europe, encountering capitals of history and culture from Warsaw and Vienna to Budapest, and exploring World Heritage sites from Krakow to Prague. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The capitals of Old World Europe tour was the most thought-provoking and emotionally intense tour I've ever experienced. It will live on in my memory after the others have faded.

- Sylvia L.

Our trip was an outstanding learning experience that came without the stress of planning and executing a 15-day tour through five countries. Smithsonian did everything for us!

- Tom M.

The Old World Europe tour gave us an intimate view of the history and culture of eastern Europe. We learned a lot and enjoyed every minute. 

- Kate H.

The total Smithsonian experience was excellent from the tour director to the hotels, itinerary, and logistics. We wouldn't hesitate to use Smithsonian again.

- Ken & Karen O.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

Embark on a journey through Eastern and Central Europe that celebrates the culture and history of five distinct countries. Encounter the extraordinary architecture of Warsaw and Krakow, then make your way through Slovakia to majestic Budapest. Explore the legacy of the Hapsburg emperors in Vienna before capping off your journey amid the legendary “hundred spires” of Prague. Soak up local traditions in every destination, sampling local specialties, attending concerts, and enjoying curator-led tours of art museums and visits to local artisans.

Highlights Include

  • Poland: Experience a range of World Heritage sites, including the Old Towns of Warsaw and Kraków, the 700-year-old Wieliczka Salt Mine, and the haunting camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Soak up Poland’s classical music traditions at a private piano recital.
  • Hungary:  Explore the stunning twin cities of Buda and Pest on guided tours, and take a curator-led tour of the Hungarian National Gallery. Visit art galleries and artisan shops in the hilltown of Szentendre.
  • Austria:  Follow the Danube past medieval castles on the way to Vienna. Trace the footsteps of imperial Habsburgs on tours of the opera house and Schönbrunn Palace, and attend a concert of classical music. Venture to the Vienna Woods, once a royal hunting ground, and visit the spa town of Baden, the former summer residence of Habsburg monarchs.
  • The Czech Republic: Immerse yourself in the fairytale city of Prague. Tour the Hradčany castle district and the Jewish area of Josefov, and visit the privately owned Lobkowicz Palace to see an impressive collection of European art and artifacts. Enjoy time at leisure to explore on your own.

The capitals of Old World Europe tour was the most thought-provoking and emotionally intense tour I've ever experienced. It will live on in my memory after the others have faded.

- Sylvia L.

Our trip was an outstanding learning experience that came without the stress of planning and executing a 15-day tour through five countries. Smithsonian did everything for us!

- Tom M.

The Old World Europe tour gave us an intimate view of the history and culture of eastern Europe. We learned a lot and enjoyed every minute. 

- Kate H.

The total Smithsonian experience was excellent from the tour director to the hotels, itinerary, and logistics. We wouldn't hesitate to use Smithsonian again.

- Ken & Karen O.

Itinerary

Days 1–2 — Depart the U.S. for Warsaw, Poland

Fly overnight to Warsaw, and transfer to your centrally located hotel upon arrival. Meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner at the hotel tonight. (D)

Day 3 — Warsaw

Largely destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, the historic center of Warsaw was carefully rebuilt in the years that followed, its churches and palaces restored to their original glory. With the fall of Communism, the city became a dynamic and progressive capital while retaining much of its distinct old world character. Delve into the Historic Center of Warsaw, now a World Heritage site, on a guided tour that includes the Old Town and its remarkable architecture, the Royal Castle, the Jewish Cemetery, and the evocative remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto. In the evening, enjoy a private classical piano recital. (B)

Day 4 —Krakow

Travel south to Krakow, a thriving hub of Polish culture that served as the country’s royal capital for centuries. Its charming Old Town is a World Heritage site that illustrates the city’s tumultuous history of prosperity and calamity, and the Main Market Square is the largest medieval square in Europe. Explore St. Mary’s Church, famous for its hand-carved wooden altarpiece; the Royal Chambers of Wawel Castle, the seat of Poland’s monarchs for more than 500 years; and Wawel Cathedral, Poland’s national sanctuary. The remainder of the day is yours to discover this delightful city at your own pace. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Auschwitz and Krakow

Trace some of history’s darkest moments on a visit to Auschwitz (Oswiecim in Polish) and Birkenau this morning. Tour the grounds of the concentration camps, where the original prison blocks have been converted to museum spaces that display poignant reminders of those who lived and died here. On your return to Krakow, stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Arrive back in the city in the late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure. (B,L)

Day 6 — Krakow and Wieliczka

Descend into the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a maze of 700-year old tunnels that stretch nearly 200 miles. Marvel at rock-salt wonders of this World Heritage site, which include statues of historical figures sculpted by miners and contemporary artists, as well as an immense chamber deep underground that houses the Chapel of Saint Kinga. Carved into the rock salt, the chapel boasts a salt chandelier and carving of The Last Supper. The afternoon is free for independent exploration in Krakow. (B)

Day 7 — Slovakia/Budapest, Hungary

Journey south today through the snowcapped Tatra Mountains into Slovakia, where you stop for lunch. Early this evening, reach our hotel in Budapest’s elegant Castle District located in the Buda side of the Danube River. Gather for dinner together this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Budapest

Flanking both sides of the Danube, Budapest is a beautiful city with a rich cultural and historical heritage. On a tour of hilly Buda, explore the magnificent Matthias Church, scene of numerous Habsburg coronations, and stroll around the Fisherman’s Bastion for outstanding views across the Danube to Pest. Visit the Dohany Street Synagogue, where Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saëns once performed, and enjoy a curator-led tour of the prestigious Hungarian National Gallery. Tonight,  savor a typical Hungarian dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 9 — Budapest

Enjoy a full day to discover the “Paris of the East” at your leisure. (B)

Day 10 — Danube Bend and Vienna, Austria

Travel through the lovely countryside of Western Transdanubia en route to Vienna and take in the scenic views of forested hills, medieval castles, and the meandering Danube. Stop to visit Szentendre, a charming small town with inviting artisan shops and galleries, and a museum displaying the work of acclaimed ceramicist Margit Kovacs. (B,L)

Day 11 — Vienna

Follow the footsteps of imperial Habsburgs as you explore the ornate Vienna Opera House and majestic Schönbrunn Palace, which richly demonstrates the tastes and aspirations of Habsburg royalty. This evening, sample the flavors of Vienna with a traditional Wiener schnitzel, then enjoy a concert of classical music. (B,D)

Day 12 — Vienna Woods

Set out on an excursion to the Vienna Woods, once a royal hunting ground outside the city and now a UNESCO Biosphere that’s home to a rich diversity of birdlife and plants. Then visit the medieval abbey of Heiligenkreuz, one of the oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monasteries in the world, and continue to the spa town of Baden, once the summer residence of Habsburg monarchs. (B)

Day 13 — Prague, Czech Republic

Depart for Prague, the enchanting capital of the Czech Republic, and arrive in the late afternoon. Brimming with magnificent historic monuments, medieval architecture, and art, Prague has long been one of Europe’s capitals of culture. Take the rest of the day to get acquainted with this wondrous city on your own or join an informal walk with your tour director through the stunning Old Town, a World Heritage site. (B,L)

Day 14 — Prague

Spend the morning exploring the Hradcany castle district, home of the distinctive 9th-century Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech president, which towers above the Vltava River. Considered the biggest ancient castle in the world, Prague Castle proudly displays virtually every architectural style of the last millennium. Continue to St. Vitus Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece that houses the tombs of many Bohemian kings; then enjoy a stroll along Golden Lane. The remainder of the day is yours to pursue your own interests in Prague. (B)

Day 15 — Prague

Step into history in Josefov, Prague’s Jewish ghetto, founded by 10th-century Jewish tradesmen. Visit the historic Old Jewish cemetery and several of the once-thriving synagogues that are now part of the Jewish Museum. Take a tour of the 16th-century Lobkowicz Palace, the only privately owned palace within Prague Castle, and browse its impressive collection of Bohemian and European art and artifacts. Tonight celebrate your Eastern European adventure during a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 16 — Depart Prague for the U.S.

Following a very early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flights to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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