By: Hue Nguyen, Travel Consultant
In recent years, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest are three European capital cities that have gained popularity with travelers and I can see why. If you are looking for a tour that is not fast paced and that has plenty of time to explore, the Prague, Vienna, Budapest with Trafalgar tour is the perfect option. I really enjoyed spending 3 nights in each city because I did not have to pack and unpack every day. All the hotels on this trip were centrally located in the town centers and breakfast was made to feed a king! My touring experience in each city was an eye opener and I truly appreciated learning about their culture and cuisine.
Our first stop on our Trafalgar tour was in Prague. Upon arriving at the Prague airport, our Tour Director met us in the baggage claim area and we were transported as a group to our hotel. After freshening up, we started the evening with a drive up to the beautiful castle hill to dine at the famous U Cisaru, where the king and many elites of old time Prague used to dine. We enjoyed a three-course dinner with the main dish being a Norwegian Salmon, impeccably seasoned and it was cooked to perfection.
The remainder of the time in Prague, we visited St. Vitus Cathedral, the most important and largest church in Prague. We also visited the Prague Castles, the Charles Bridge, and Old Town Square.
Of course, we had to join the many tourists to see the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, built in 1410, which was once the envy of all of Europe.
With so much free time on this trip, our tour director had several optional experiences to offer us. I took an excursion to Kutna Hora, which is a small silver mining town in the central Bohemian Region of Czech Republic. At Kutna Hora, we learned about the town’s history and visited the Church of St. Barbara and the Church of Our Lady at Sedlec, which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
I had seen Prague in a lot of movies, but it really was breathtaking in person! The architecture was so picturesque with all its gleaming spires. Its storied churches, narrow streets, hilltop castles, and statue-lined bridges created the scene of an urban fairy tale.
We said goodbye to Prague and headed to Vienna for the next three nights. I absolutely loved Vienna! Some famous sights included the Hofburg Palace, which is also the official residence of the President of Austria. We also had exclusive access into the palace to view the Hofburg family’s extravagant art collection before it was opened to the public. On the drive to the palace, we also got to see the Parliament Building, the Opera House, and visited St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
I signed up for an optional excursion for a dinner in a country mansion. This one was well worth it! We took a scenic drive to the countryside of Vienna to a restaurant mansion called Marchfelderhof. This place dates back to the Napoleon Bonaparte era. Inside, the restaurant is decorated with photos and memorabilia of top celebrities and many important people that have dined there. The highlight of this excursion was when we were welcomed as VIPs with a grand red carpet entrance.
I also signed up for a palace dinner with a Viennese Concert and a visit to the gorgeous Schonbrunn Palace. It houses a beautiful garden, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overall, Vienna was a magical experience and it exceeded my expectations.
We saved the best for last, Budapest! This one is by far my favorite city. I love Budapest for all the architecture. The city is a treasure trove, with enough baroque, neoclassical, eclectic and art nouveau buildings to satisfy everyone.
At night, I took an optional experience to have dinner cruising down the Danube River. This by far was well worth it! I got to experience Budapest by night and took in the views of the illuminating city at sundown. The best view was the dazzling Parliament Building glowing by the river.
The next day, we took a walking tour of the Castle District to visit St. Matthias Cathedral. This cathedral was built in the 13th century and was the coronation spot for Hungarian’s last two kings. We also took a drive to the West side to visit the Great Synagogue, which is the largest in Europe. Another stop was to visit the St. Stephen’s Basilica. The picture I took does not do it any justice.
The rest of the time was free time on your own. I enjoyed an optional experience where we took a drive to Szentendre, which is a small riverside town outside of Budapest known for their picturesque artists’ village. There, we were invited into a local restaurant where we learned to make traditional Goulash and wander around the narrow streets of the Baroque Old Town shopping for locally made souvenirs.
On our last day we enjoyed a farewell dinner at the Busulo Juhasz Etterem, where I devoured a delicious roasted duck over mashed potatoes and cabbage.
This 10-day trip was better than I had ever imagined. Trafalgar offered the perfect touring opportunity to explore the hidden gems in Central Europe. I loved being surrounded by beautiful attractions and the rich history of Europe’s architecture. I got a chance to learn about a different culture, history, and the best part was I made new friends and met people from all walks of life.
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