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Old World Prague & the Blue Danube 2014

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Pre-trip: Budapest, Hungary

Experience Budapest, the lively capital of Hungary and both the political and cultural heart of the nation. Full of monuments to its past, it is also a place of contemporary arts and culture, cafes and restaurants, and museums and galleries—all enhanced by the presence of the mighty Danube.

It's Included:
Accommodations: for 3 nights at the First-Class Courtyard by Marriott Budapest City Center or similar
3 meals: 3 breakfasts
Included tours: Hungarian Parliament Building, Szentendre
Exclusive services of an experienced Grand Circle Program Director
All transfers

    Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Budapest. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

  • Arrive today in Budapest. You'll be met at the airport by a Grand Circle representative and directed to the bus that will take you to your hotel.

    Relax after your overseas flight, or venture out on your own. You can join your Program Director for a walk to get acquainted with the vicinity around your hotel.

    Get to know your Program Director and fellow travelers over a Welcome Drink. You can ask your Program Director for suggestions for where to dine on your own this evening.

  • After breakfast, gather for a briefing by your Program Director. Then set out and discover the city via public transportation.

    Afterwards, enjoy the remainder of the day to explore Budapest at leisure. You may want to wander through the city and view some of the classic architectural treasures that lie off the beaten paths.

    While Budapest flourished as a cultural and commercial center in the latter part of the 1800s, the city greatly expanded the number of its buildings to meet the needs of its ever-growing populace. As you walk through the city, you’ll see that many of Budapest’s structures reflect two architectural styles—Historicism and the more predominant Hungarian Art Nouveau. The variations of this Art Nouveau embellished the facades of buildings with decorative ceramic tiles characteristic of Hungarian folk motifs.

    The cityscape has retained its Art Nouveau elegance throughout the 20th century and is now protected by its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

    Dinner is on your own tonight.

    Or join us for an optional Hungarian Culinary Experience—an excursion to Borkapolna Winechapel restaurant for an evening of traditional food and wine. We’ll enjoy specialties of the region and sample the best local vintages in a tasting that features a few of the more than 1,000 Hungarian wines available here. We’ll dine in a vaulted cellar that served as an underground chapel during the communist years. One wall is still adorned with a gilded fresco of St. Stephen, Hungary’s patron saint.

  • Today, enjoy an included morning tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building, the massive domed structure which dominates Budapest’s skyline on the banks of the Danube. You’ll tour the various chambers of the building, including the inside of the impressive dome hall, which features historic items from the coronation of King Stephen in the year 1000, as well as statues of other Hungarian monarchs.

    After your tour, you’ll enjoy free time to explore Budapest on your own. Dinner is on your own this evening; you can ask your Program Director for suggestions on where to dine.

    • Meals included:

    This morning, join your Program Director for a visit to the charming town of Szentendre. Set in a painterly landscape, this village is twelve miles north of Budapest, where the Danube River makes a sharp bend through the Pilis and Borzsony hills. Artists have drawn inspiration from these surroundings for almost 200 years, and the town has many galleries.

    As you stroll here, you can browse the art and absorb the atmosphere of this picturesque town, some of whose streets consist of narrow steps climbing the hills. This is also a fine place to shop for Hungarian arts and crafts if this suits your interests.

    You’ll transfer to your ship in the early afternoon. Tonight you’ll join your fellow travelers on your Old World Prague & the Blue Danube River Cruise Tour.