SL2 A Taste of Eastern Europe TOUR


Bratislava, including the historic Old Town; Beautiful Pieniny National Park; High Tatras town of Trencin; Budapest walking tour; Holloko, Hungary's most beautiful town; Byzantine, Moorish, Romanesque and Hungarian legacies


Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sat 23 Apr 2016Fri 06 May 2016 $3680
Sat 09 Jul 2016Fri 22 Jul 2016 $3680
Sat 10 Sep 2016Fri 23 Sep 2016 $3680

Optional Single Supplement: $580 (number of singles limited).

Tour Overview

What is better than experiencing Eastern Europe by enjoying a simple

stroll along the winding streets of Slovakia's capital city, Bratislava, and

undertaking an adventure along the hiking trails of the Tatras mountain ranges? A tour of the 'Cave of Freedom' or a chairlift ride up to the summit of Mount Chopok is an opportunity not to be passed up while touring the Low Tatras. In Hungary, we see how important the land itself is to its civilisation; the Danube, which runs through Budapest, is the lifeline of the city and can we see from the immaculate old structures lining the waterway today how the populous gravitated towards it over the years. The many bridges, including the famous Chain Bridge, serve as perfect objects for framing the mighty waters. The renowned square known as the Vorosmarty Ter is strictly designated for the hundreds of pedestrians that walk around in search of interesting shops or relaxing coffee houses. The horsemen, who are known as csikosok, wear the elaborate uniforms of their forefathers as they tend vast herds of horses in Hortobagy National Park and Wildlife Preserve.

Regions visited: Central And Eastern Europe
Countries visited: Slovakia and Hungary

Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Bratislava
Arrive in Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic.

Overnight in Bratislava.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Bratislava - Trencin: Castle Tour
Our morning city tour takes us to the main sights of Bratislava, including the historic Old Town, the Gothic Cathedral of St Martin, and the 14th century Tower of St Michael in the ancient city walls.

After lunch in Bratislava we travel to Trencin in western Slovakia. Upon arrival we enjoy a walking tour of Trencin, including Trencin Castle. Together with Nitra and Bratislava, Trencin is one of the oldest of Slovak cities, chronicled as early as in the 11th century. Its strategic location near three Carpathian Mountain passes on the crossroads of commercial routes, has always determined the character of the city as a significant landmark. As early as in the ancient times, the famous Jasper Road used by the Etruscan, Greek, and later Roman merchants to transport precious jasper from the Baltic region, was crossing Trencin.

The city is dominated by Trencin Castle, which is the third-largest castle in Slovakia. Trencin Castle, with extensive fortifications, has several palace buildings that surround the central medieval tower. Today this remains the highest point of the city. Below the castle, on the hillside, is a small square that is reached by a historic covered stairs as well as by winding side streets. The old town also has a large main square, with a large baroque church and a variety of shops.

Overnight in Trencin.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Trencin - Bojnice - Ruzomberok - Horny Smokovec
Today's journey takes us via Bojnice, a small town in the center of the country at the upper Nitra River. This is one of the oldest spa towns in Slovakia and home to the famous Bojnice Castle, which we will visit during our stop here. We will take a short walk through the town itself is situated just below the castle. We will also stop today in the town of Ruzomberok situated in the Vah River Valley. Established by German colonists in 1223, Ruzomberok became renowned for its guilds, industrial production, tinkers and craftsmen.

Horny Smokovec is the gateway to the High Tatras National Park, founded in 1948 and forming the northernmost section of the Carpathian Mountains. This geographic region is home to numerous glacial lakes and has a distinctly alpine character.

Overnight in Horny Smokovec. Hotel Bellevue or similar.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Pieniny National Park
Our sightseeing for today takes us first to the Pieniny National Park, crown jewel of the most impressive areas of natural beauty in central Europe. Our visit to the park region will include a tour of the medieval Cerveny Klastor, at one time a Carthusian monastery. Adjacent to the monastery runs the Dunajec River, a natural border dividing Slovakia and Poland. From here we will continue on to the open-air museum of folk architecture in Stara Lubovna. This visit gives us the opportunity to walk amongst a collection of precious wooden houses dating from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.

After lunch we continue on to the town of Kezmarok where part of our tour includes a visit to the famous German built wooden Lutheran Church, a unique work of great carpentry and artistry. From here we return to Horny Smokovec.

Overnight in Horny Smokovec. Hotel Bellevue or similar.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Horny Smokovec - Bratislava
Today we journey back to Bratislava, a scenic route through the mountain ranges of the High Tatras to the Low Tatras -- mountain peaks and hiking trails, still green forests, bubbling streams, and haystacks like miniature, peak-roofed houses. We arrive in the mid-afternoon.

Overnight in Bratislava.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Bratislava, Slovak Republic - Budapest, Hungary
This morning we travel by train from Bratislava to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Hungary is a land of beautiful monuments and romantic music. Buda and Pest, two of the city's three regions, both face the mighty Danube, which forms the physical and spiritual centre of the Hungarian capital. It is its centrepiece, its heart, and its pulse. Its relationship with the city is even more intimate than that of the Seine with Paris or the Arno with Florence.

On arrival we will embark on a walking tour of city's urban heart. This area is full of stately old buildings, grand avenues, and innumerable tiny streets. We will take local transport to the huge neo-Gothic Parliament (Orszaghaz), the most visible building of Budapest's left bank. Built by 1000 workers between 1885 and 1902, this building has now become the symbol of the capital with its slender towers, spacious arcades, high windows and vast central dome. Nearby one can see the magnificent building housing the Museum of Ethnography. Walking southeast we come to the stately and sprawling Liberty Square (Szabadsag ter). In the square's center remains a gold hammer and sickle atop a white stone obelisk, one of the few monuments to the Russian 'liberation' of Budapest in 1945. Passing by Roosevelt Square we soon come to the famous Chain Bridge, the oldest and most beautiful of the seven road bridges that span the Danube in Budapest. Before it was built, the river could be crossed only by ferry or by a pontoon bridge that had to be moved when ice blocks began floating downstream in the winter.

We continue along the pedestrian 'Promenade' with great views of Gellert Hill and Castle Hill on the opposite bank. We will stroll past the Concert Hall (Vigado), which is a curious mix of Byzantine, Moorish, Romanesque and Hungarian motifs. From here we walk to one of the liveliest places in Budapest, Vorosmarty Ter, a large square that the north end of Budapest's best known shopping street--Vaci Utca. This is a fantastic pedestrian-only area of the city that has undergone a full transformation over the last 10 years.

Eventually we will arrive at the famous 19th century Central Market Hall. This cavernous three-story market teems with people browsing stalls packed with everything from salamis and red-paprika chains to folk embroideries and souvenirs. We finish our day back at our hotel with a break before dinner.

Overnight in Budapest.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Budapest: City Tour
This morning we depart our hotel by private bus for Heroes Square where we will disembark and learn of the history of Hungary as it pertains to the monument. We then WALK over to Vajdahunyad Castle before continuing to St. Stephen's Basilica for a quick look inside. We will pass by the Parliament buildings continuing toward Margaret Bridge over which we cross to Buda. We drive along the water and continue up to the castle area. Our next stop is the Citadel -- good for panoramic views. Our bus leaves us for the day, allowing us to continue on foot to the Fisherman's Bastion.

After a lunch break we reconvene in front of the Plague Monument from where we proceed to St Matthias Church. After visiting the church we will walk down Tarnok Utca to the Royal Palace. At the Royal Palace we visit the National Gallery, devoted exclusively to Hungarian Art.

At this point you are free to continue independent exploration, or return to the hotel. One of the highlights of our Eastern European tours is using the local transport in each city -- most travellers truly enjoy the experience. Your Tour Leader can help plan the rest of your day.

Overnight in Budapest.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Budapest: At Leisure
The day is yours to explore on your own. You may choose to return to the promenade, explore a museum, or enjoy a coffee and cake in one of the many coffeehouses. The coffeehouse has a long tradition in Budapest; at the turn of the 20th century there were more than 400 coffeehouses in the city, many of them patronized by struggling writers. The coffeehouse was a cornerstone of Budapest literary life.

Overnight in Budapest.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Budapest - Szentendre - Holloko - Eger
This morning we travel by private coach to the riverside town of Szentendre, along the 'Danube Bend'. Szentendre is known for its museums, galleries and artists. Populated for well over a millennium, under the Romans it was called Ulcisia Castra, meaning Wolf Castle. Today its south European atmosphere with baroque architecture, churches of various faiths, narrow side streets, and cobblestone roads characterizes this town. You tour leader will take you on a walking tour through this gorgeous little town.

From Szentendre we continue on towards Eger. We will make a stop in the UNESCO protected village of Holloko, a small town of approximately 650 people. What sets this village apart from others is the 'Old Village' where 50 houses have been listed and declared historic monuments. Throughout time Holloko has managed to preserve its unique ethnographic and folk art values. The village itself is picturesque, with its cobbled streets and little white houses. Atop the nearby hill we can view what remains of a 13th century castle that was blown up by the Hapsburgs.

From here we continue on to Eger, situated in the Eger Valley between the Bukk and Matra Hills. Eger is famous for Red Bull's Blood (Egri Bikaver) wine, its medieval library, and for having the northernmost minaret in Europe. There are still many accessible sites and much charm to the narrow streets, arcaded buildings, wrought-iron gates, and Baroque towers and domes of the Old Town. This is the perfect walking city with something interesting at every turn. The nearby peaks of some of Hungary's highest mountains provide a natural backdrop for this city's historic monuments.

Overnight in Eger.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Eger: Town Tour
Eger has been inhabited since the Stone Age. During the early Middle Ages the area was inhabited by German, Avar and Slavonic tribes. Taken over by the Hungarians in the 10th century, Eger reached an age of prosperity during the 14th-16th centuries. Winegrowing, for which the town is still famous, began to be important at that time. During the Turkish occupation of Central Hungary, Eger became an important border fortress, successfully defended by Hungarian forces in the 1552 Siege of Eger, in the face of overwhelming odds.

Our walking tour today will include a visit to the famous castle of Eger with its museum and underground casements. We will also see the Archbishop's Palace, Franciscan Church, and Turkish Minaret.

Overnight in Eger.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Eger - Paks - Siklos - Pecs
Today we depart early for our journey from Eger to the region of Southern Transdanubia, a region of undulating hills, forest clad ridges and rural ambience.

After passing Budapest we start our route south, traveling parallel to the Danube River for much of our journey. After passing by Paks, a town in central Hungary on the banks of the Danube River, we will continue to the city of Pecs. Pecs has been selected to be the European Capital of Culture in 2010, sharing the title together with Essen and Istanbul. This is a city not to be missed; as it is a major art center and university town. Here we will take a walking tour of the Old Town, and will see the historic cathedral, synagogue, mosques and fourth-century Christian necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with burial chambers decorated in murals.

Overnight in Pecs.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Pecs - Villany - Pecs
This morning we will venture towards the southern border to visit the historic town of Siklos and its well-preserved medieval castle. Wine has been produced in this region since the Romans settled here at a place they called Seres. After our visit to the castle we will continue on to Villany for lunch and an afternoon of sightseeing. The famous Villany -- Siklos Wine Road is 30 km long and covers 8 villages. The Romans finds uncovered at the base of the hills prove that people have been growing grapes and making wine here for over 2,000 years. Today the Villany -- Siklos wine region covers an area of about 2,000 hectares. In Villany, the village after which wine region is named, we will visit the Wine Museum, situated amongst the historic wine cellars. We will take a walk here, on the mild slopes of the southernmost wine region of Hungary. We will visit some of the local cellars and sample some of the locally produced wines. We then return to Pecs for our overnight.

Overnight in Pecs.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 13 Pecs - Lake Balaton Region - Budapest
Today we proceed north to the Lake Balaton Region. Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and is often affectionately called the "Hungarian Sea".

Our day will be spent exploring this region. We will cross the lake by ferry from Szantod to Tihany. The Tihany Peninsula was declared a national park in 1952, and the peninsula is well known for its historical monuments, beautiful panorama and its Mediterranean climate. Balatonfured is a small town on the northern shore of the lake and is part of a region that was important to social life in the 18th century, even before bathing and swimming took off as a mass pastime 100 years later. This is the place where the first Balaton steamship started its trips, and the first yachtsmen's association began here. Here were built the villas of 19th-century celebrities, and the town is still the center of festivities. Patients have been treated here for three hundred years with the help of the mineral water sources, as the water is good for diabetes and digestive malfunctions.

Veszprem is a quaint and quiet town away from the lakeshore region, and here we will take a walk in the Castle Quarter.

At the end of our day we travel back to Budapest for our last night in Hungary.

Overnight in Budapest.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 14 Departure
Departure from Budapest.


Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Hotel Ibis Bratislava

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Bratislava
Country: Slovakia

The Ibis Bratislava hotel is ideally located in the city centre and easily accessible by public transport. For lovers of
... and history, the centre of the old city and Bratislava castle can be reached on foot in a few minutes. Built recently, the hotel has 120 queen beds, and a bar with snacks open 24/24.

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Grand Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Trencin
Country: Slovakia

This new hotel is located in the heart of the old city centre of Trenčín. The 25 rooms are all
... in a modern and trendy style. Solarium, whirpool and finish sauna are included in price of room.

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Hotel Ibis Centrum Budapest

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Budapest
Country: Hungary

The Ibis Budapest Centrum hotel is located in the centre of the financial, cultural and commercial district of Budapest. Ideal
... business or tourist stays, it is within easy access by public transport. The hotel has 126 air-conditioned rooms. You will appreciate its garden with a terrace and its bar open 24/24 to serve light meals and snacks. Restaurants are immediately close by. Wifi Internet access for guests.

Read More.

Trip Information

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Breakfast and dinner (hotels & local restaurants) daily. All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.


Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered in spring, summer and fall the most popular of which is are spring and fall when temperatures are relatively mild and crowds thinner. Showers quite possible in spring and fall, somewhat less so in summer though can occur any time. Summers can be humid though long daylight hours maximize exploration.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have a couple of full bus days there are plenty of stops of interest. Second class day train Bratislava - Budapest. Though we do not rate this tour "strenuous", it is a busy programme with numerous city / town walking tours featuring uneven surfaces, inclines and / or stairs. You must be able to spend several hours on your feet per day, walking at a leisurely pace. There may not be porters available in all locations. We also make use of public transit in some cities in order to maximize sightseeing where vehicles are impractical (most people quite enjoy this insight into daily life).


Well-located, air- conditioned, mid-range hotels (3 star) throughout. Many are smaller properties (3-4 story) that may not have elevators. All hotels have en suite toilet and bath, though most have shower only. Porter service is sometimes available; you MUST be independent with your luggage. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)



TOUR STARTBratislava

TOUR ENDBudapest