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How you'll experience the Best of Eastern Europe in 19 days:
by Rick Steves
Our tour begins in historic Berlin, once the symbol of divided Europe and the Iron Curtain. Now it's a giant building site as Germany's new capital. We'll meet at our hotel at 4:00 p.m. to get acquainted and then visit the Reichstag dome. Sleep in Berlin (2 nights).
We'll start our day with a walking tour of the city, ending at the Checkpoint Charlie museum (admission included). The afternoon is free - you might want to visit the Pergamon Museum.
Today head south to Dresden, where we'll see the partially-rebuilt Frauenkirche and the art treasures in the Zwinger Palace. Sleep in Dresden (1 night).
We'll cross into the Czech Republic, and make our way to Prague, Europe's best-preserved Baroque city. Sleep in Prague (3 nights).
Days 5 & 6
Over the next two days we'll spend time visiting Pragues's wonderfully preserved Old Town, enjoying Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture and visiting the Jewish Quarter. We'll also tour the Prague Castle area and St. Vitus's Cathedral. There will be free time to sample Prague's evening treats: classical music, theater, and Europe's best beer.
Our goal today is the village of Trojanovice in Moravia, the western part of the Czech Republic. Old houses, wooden churches, and hiking trails await in the surrounding Beskydy Mountains. Sleep in Trojanovice (1 night).
We'll spend the morning at Auschwitz, Europe's most moving memorial to the Holocaust. Then on to Krakow, Poland's medieval university city. Sleep in Krakow (2 nights).
We'll spend the entire day in Krakow, with free time to visit the castle or the Jewish district.
A full day's drive takes us through Slovakia and the Tatra mountains to Eger, set between the Mátra and the Bükk Mountains in Hungary's best known wine-growing region. Sleep in Eger (2 nights).
We'll spend today in Eger and the Hungarian countryside. Highlights will include wine cellars, villages, a Stalin-era gulag, a minaret, and Eger's indoor produce market.
Days 12 & 13
After a short drive to Budapest, we'll spend a day and half in the mighty Magyar capital straddling the Danube river. We'll have guided walks through the castle district of Buda (on the west bank) and through the more commercial Pest (on the east). Sleep in Buda (2 nights).
We head south to Croatia and the unique wonders of Plitvice National Park, where a system of boardwalk trails lead to magical waterfalls. Sleep in Plitvice (1 night).
After a morning hike through the park, we'll drive across the mountains to the sea. We'll board a boat for our enchanting island retreat in the Adriatic (2 nights).
Today is a 'vacation-from-your-vacation'. The entire day is yours to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea views.
Our destination is the azure jewel of Lake Bled, set in the midst of the Julian Alps. Sleep in Bled (2 nights).
Today is free for a boat ride, a mountain hike, or to relax by the lake. Those seeking city excitement can take a day-trip to Slovenia's charming capital, Ljubljana. We'll get together tonight for a farewell feast.
Our tour ends after breakfast. Slovenia's international airport is a half-hour away; or hop a nearby train to other European cities