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 a Grand Circle Program Director
- All transfers
- Now included for 2015:
- Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your extension and all optional tours
After breakfast onboard your ship, you disembark and begin your Budapest extension.
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.
Lunch is on your own. You then board the bus for the trip to your hotel. After checking in at your hotel, the rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. You may want to wander through the city and view some of the classic architectural treasures that lie off the beaten paths in Budapest.
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. 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.
Set out with your Program Director to discover more of Budapest via public transportation. After lunch on your own, you have the afternoon free to explore Budapest according to your own interests. You can browse museums and city shops today, and seek out an interesting restaurant to savor the local cuisine. Dinner is on your own tonight, as well. Your Program Director will be happy to give you suggestions.
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 have the remainder of the day for independent exploration in Budapest, as well as lunch on your own. You can ask your Program Director for suggestions on where to dine on your own this evening.
In early evening, join your traveling friends to share your trip memories over a Farewell Drink, before dining on your own in Budapest.
After breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.