Early EASTERN EUROPE under the Roman rule was Greek speaking, while the west was largely Latin. From the early middle ages, the Eastern Roman Empire, mostly known as the Byzantine Empire, thrived for a good 1,000 years and more. The rise of the Frankish Empire in the west, and in particular the great schism that formally divided Eastern and Western Christianity, enhanced the cultural and religious distinctiveness between Eastern and Western Europe. The conquest of the Byzantine Empire, center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, by the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, and the gradual fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire thereafter, eventually leading to communism in the 19th century have all greatly impacted and changed the fabric of Eastern Europe.
Post World War II, Europe was mostly polarized between the mainly capitalist Western Bloc, and the mainly communist Eastern Bloc. With the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain. In this divide, Eastern Europe was mainly composed of all the European countries liberated and then occupied by the Soviet army. It included the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
Though all the countries in Eastern Europe adopted communist modes of government and were officially independent from the Soviet Union, the practical extent of this independence - except in Yugoslavia, Albania and to some extent Romania - was quite limited.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 the political landscape of the Eastern Bloc, and indeed of the world, changed. West and East Germany unified. And in 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Many European nations which had been part of the Soviet Union regained their independence (Lativia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus). Czechoslovakia peacefully separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) fell apart, creating several new nations in 1992: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia & Montenegro (in 2006). All this is probably why Eastern Europe embedded with mind-churning history, is such a beautiful place to visit and experience. From Castles, Palaces, Churches and Mosques to the streets, rivers and the country side, Eastern Europe truly takes your breath away.
EASTERN EUROPE - 9 NIGHTS / 10 DAYS
INDIA / BUDAPEST
Arrive at Budapest International Airport. With its multifarious and often embittered history, incredible architecture and rich cultural heritage, Hungary’s capital deserves reputation as the Paris of Central Europe. Transfer to your hotel and check-in. Stay overnight in Budapest.
After breakfast, depart on a guided city tour of Budapest. The tour takes you to all the major sights. You will be passing by the Parliament Building prior to crossing the Danube on the Margaret Bridge. From here, you will drive to the Royal Castle on the Buda side of the city. Here you will have some free time so you could visit the Fisherman Bastion which offers stunning views of Buda and the Mathias Church. Your tour will continue to the Gellert Hill, a 771 ft high hill overlooking the River Danube that offers one of the best panoramic views of Budapest. Post this, you’ll cross the Elizabeth Bridge from where you will drive towards the Heroes Square, passing by the Opera House and St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Later in the evening, go on a Budapest-bynight tour and a boat cruise. The magnificent buildings and sights all glowing and illuminated at night just give this city a totally different feeling than what you experience during the day. Return to your hotel. Stay overnight in Budapest.
BUDAPEST – BRATISLAVA – VIENNA
After breakfast you will check-out and depart for Bratislava. The Capital of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava also referred to as the “Beauty on the Danube” can not only boast interesting history but it also is the centre of the most dynamically developing region in central Europe at present. On arrival in Bratislava, you will be driven to the center of the city for a guided walking tour of Michalska Gate, Main Square, Old Town Hall and Primatial Palace (outside). You will then continue walking to Reduta and the Cathedral of St. Martin. Afterwards your journey continues by bus where you’ll pass by the Presidential Palace, Bratislava Castle the Slovak Government and end with a visit to the the Slavin Monument.
Later drive to Vienna. Vienna is Capital and the largest city of Austria. It is famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cozy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm. Arrive and transfer to the hotel in Vienna. Thereafter check-in and stay overnight in Vienna.
After breakfast, depart for a guided city tour of Vienna. Drive pass the main landmarks of Vienna Ringstrasse, Vienna’s main boulevard, State Opera, the Museums of Fine Art and Natural History, the Parliament building and many more before visiting the famous Schonbrunn Palace where you will take a tour of some of the most magnificently decorated rooms. Thereafter you have the option of exploring this beautiful city on your own, or go on an optional tour to the House of Music Museum or Albertina Museum or Musical Concert or Opera. Return to the hotel in the evening. Stay overnight in Vienna.
VIENNA – SALZBURG
After breakfast check-out and depart for Salzburg, best known as the birth place of Mozart. Salzburg’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later in the day, go on a orientation tour of the city by visiting Mirabell Garden, Hellbrunn Palace, and many more sights. Next, enjoy the Sound of Music tour - a wonderful ride with breathtaking views of the landscapes where the opening scene of this 1965 landmark Oscar award winning movie was filmed. In the evening, enjoy the Mozart Musical Concert and thereafter transfer to the hotel. Stay overnight in Salzburg.
SALZBURG – MUNICH – PRAGUE
After breakfast drive to Munich, Germany. Arrive and see the lively Viktualienmarkt, the green market of Munich. Later you’ll pass by the new Jewish Synagogue built in 2006 and the old 15th century cathedral "Frauenkirche" with its typical domes. The Wittelsbach residence and the Field Marshal’s hall, where King Ludwig L built his version of Italian architecture is next on your tour.
You will then visit BMW Museum that showcases the history of BMW and also displays a terrific ensemble of engines and turbines, aircraft, motorcycles, cars and other vehicles from the time BMW came into being. Later depart for Prague , capital of the Czech Republic where you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. Stay overnight in Prague.
After a sumptuous breakfast, depart on a guided city tour of Prague. First you will visit New Town and then the National Museum and National Theatre. You will then cross River Vltava and go on a walking tour of the Prague Castle. You will see the Castle grounds and the famous Gothic Style St. Vitus Cathedral. Finally our coach will take you to the Jewish Quarter and through the Old Town Square to Wenceslas Square where you will end the tour. Later, you will go on the spell binding Valtava River Cruise, through the historical part of the city where you will pass through the most impressive sights and monuments, including Prague Castle Panorama, Charles Bridge, Romantic Kampa Island, picturesque houses and rooftops and charming spires of the lesser Town and Old Town. Stay overnight in Prague.
PRAGUE – KARLOVY VARY – DRESDEN
Post breakfast, check out and drive to Karlovy Vary. This world famous spa town has been known for centuries for it’s 12 medicinal mineral springs which you will have the chance to taste. The best known is the Vridlo (Geyser) which shoots its curative waters to a height of 12 metres. In Karlovy Vary you can find historical and modern colonnades and can admire the locally manufactured Moser Glass and Thun porcelain. Later drive to Dresden.
This Saxon Capital called “ Florence of North” in the 18th century, was a centre of artistic activity supervised over by the cosmopolitan Augustus the Strong and his son Augustus III. Arrive and explore Dresden on a walking tour. Thereafter check-in and stay overnight in Dresden.
DRESDEN - BERLIN
After breakfast, check out and drive to Berlin. Berlin has a modest beginning as a trading centre in the 13th century, but over time it grew into a European Powerhouse. Since reunification in 1990 it has evolved into a dynamic and creative city. Arrive and discover Berlin on a walking tour. You will explore the Berlin Wall and the site of Hitler’s Bunker, Check Point Charlie, the Reichstag with its glass dome, Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz with Sony Center, the twin Cathedrals on Gendarmenplatz, Jewish Synagogue and many more sights. Later we visit the Story of Berlin, a very unusual exhibition about Berlin. where you will experience the city’s moving history with all your senses. Return to the hotel & stay overnight in Berlin.
BERLIN / INDIA
After a sumptuous breakfast, drive to the Berlin International Airport airport to board your flight back home with wonderful memories of your tour.