New Year’s in Budapest: Highlights of Eastern Europe17 Days • 5 Cities New Year’s in Budapest: Highlights of Eastern Europe
Celebrate New Year’s in Budapest! Escape the norm on this escapade through Eastern Europe. Pay a visit to a Budapest beer garden, taste test traditional Polish pierogis and become awestruck by the magic of Prague. Step back to more somber times with an immersive look at World War II and Jewish history, including a visit to Auschwitz and the storied ghetto of Krakow. There’s much to explore, learn, experience and feel throughout these 17 days.
What are the top highlights?
- Count down to the new year in Budapest
- Discover the fairytale magic of Prague’s Old Town
- Wash down hearty Bohemian food with an authentic Pilsner. Or three.
- Party in Budapest’s eclectic ruin bar scene
- Experience Classical music in classical Vienna
- See firsthand why Berlin is considered the hippest city in the world
- Learn about Jewish history & the tragedy of the Holocaust in Poland
Your trip includes
- Round-trip flights & airport transfers
- Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
- Private deluxe motorcoach
- 15 nights in hand-picked accommodations
- Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
- Daily breakfast & three-course Farewell Dinner
- Metro passes in each city
- Entrance to Wieliczka Salt Mines, Schonnbrunn Palace and other select attractions
You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.
Click **here **for examples of where you'll stay.
Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:
- Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
- Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
- Flights are booked with major airlines
- 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
- One checked bag included on most flights
- Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure
Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Board your overnight flight, bound for Budapest. Sit back, relax, and try picking up Hungarian, one of the hardest languages to learn (it’s a lot more throaty for starters).
Day 2: Arrive in Budapest + Welcome Mixer
Welcome to Eastern Europe! Your Tour Director will be waiting at the airport when you arrive. Today is the day to adjust, make new friends and start the journey right.
- Land at the airport and meet a waiting EF representative.
- Transfer to your hotel to check in and check out your room.
- Get familiar with the area around your hotel with an introductory walk with your Tour Director.
In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Mixer. Enjoy some appetizers over drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Then it’s on to wherever your new friends and the party takes you.
Day 3: Sightseeing Tour of Budapest + New Year’s Eve Celebration
See Budapest’s highlights and major landmarks, including Pest on the west bank of the river. Learn about the stormy history of this independent nation on your stop at Heroes’ Square. Cross the Danube and arrive in Buda, where you will climb the imposing Castle Hill. Since its completion in 1265, Buda Castle has witnessed several invasions and reconstructions. Later, you’ll visit the medieval Matthias Church, located in the heart of the Castle District.
- Tour Buda and Pest with a local guide to show you all the buda-best there is to see
- Hit the town like never before in the city’s grungy, eclectic nightlife scene
- Count down to New Year’s in style—with dinner, drinks, and a toast at midnight. Then, keep the party going as late as you want.
Day 4: Free Day in Budapest + Optional Thermal Baths & Spa Visit
On your last day in Budapest, take some time to reminisce on all the goulash you ate, friendly people you met, and amazing castles, churches, and museums you saw. The day is yours to see Budapest however you please.
Thermal Bath & Spa Visit(extra cost)
From the makers of “hit the showers!” comes: easing blissfully into Europe’s largest medicinal baths. Fed by deep underground hot springs, the ancient Romans and, later, the Ottomans, loved lounging in the mineral-rich waters of Budapest. Today, locals and visitors alike beat the summer heat—and warm up in the winter—in these massive pools. With exclusive access to spa facilities, saunas, steam rooms, and 18 indoor and outdoor baths of varying temperatures; this is the place to be in Budapest to turn up, chill out, or just take a pic of one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Seriously, Google “Szechenyi Baths,” we’ll wait. Still not sold? There’s beer.
Day 5: Travel to Vienna
Marvel at the European landscape as you drive along a canvas of castles, farmlands, villages and mountains on your way to Austria. Next stop: Vienna!
Day 6: Sightseeing Tour of Vienna
Ahh, Vienna, the home of Classical creators and world-class classiness. This Austrian city is full of grand operas, grandiose architecture, and gardens so pristine, you'll wonder how its visitors are so well-behaved. Today, you'll get to know Vienna in-depth with a local guide.
- Meet your local guide for a sightseeing tour of Vienna
- Visit the lavish palaces, parks and parliament buildings
- Learn about the major and minor figures who struck a personal chord with this city
Day 7: Free Day in Vienna + Day Trip to Slovakia
Enjoy a free day in Vienna to people-watch in a café like Freud, stuff your face with Sacher Torte (AKA a local variation on decadent chocolate cake), explore Prater Park, or simply do as you please.
Castles & Capitals: Slovakia Day Trip(extra cost)
We hope you’re keeping count of the castles you’ve seen on this trip—‘cuz this day trip to Slovakia is about to do a number on it. Head out of Austria and take a quick bus ride over to its neighbor, Slovakia’s fairytale capital city of Bratislava. Cross another country off your list easily—Bratislava and Vienna are two of the world’s closest capital cities—and start by examining the magnificent ruins of the 1,100-year-old Devín Castle, high over the Danube and Morava Rivers. Then, it’s off to the Old Town for some serious Hansel & Gretel vibes, and yes, another castle. Will there be time after for a traditional chimney cake? Oh yes. There certainly will be.
Day 8: Travel to Krakow
Keep the party going as you travel to one of the most storybook beautiful cities in Poland: Krakow. Upon arrival, take a walk around with your Tour Director and get to know a new country.
Day 9: Sightseeing Tour of Krakow
See the best parts of Krakow today with a local guide. Reach the top of Wawel Hill, perched high above the Vistula River. Visit Wawel Cathedral, where Pope John Paul II once served as archbishop. Stroll through Glowny Square, passing beautiful Sukiennice Cloth Hall and the Jagiellonian University. If you have some free time, learn how World War II impacted this city at Schindler’s Factory of the famous “Schindler's List,” which is now a museum.
Day 10: Free Day in Krakow + Optional Auschwitz Excursion
Enjoy a free day in Krakow to do as you please.
Auschwitz Concentration Camp(extra cost)
Take a half-day trip to Auschwitz, the most infamous Nazi concentration camp in Europe. Also continue to the nearby Birkenau Concentration camp and see the existing structures and ruins. Get an up-close look at one of the darkest spots on the world's history.
Please note: This excursion must be booked at least 21 days prior to tour departure.
Day 11: Travel to Prague via Wieliczka Salt Mines
En route to Prague, stop for a guided sightseeing tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Described as “an underground metropolis”, this centuries-old monument is a result of generations upon generations of work, and is integral to the history and culture of Poland. More than a simple mine, the underground caverns host a series of corridors, statues, an underground lake and even an entire chapel adorned with chandeliers and vaulted ceilings.
Day 12: Explore Prague
Rise and shine, time to get that goulash. Put on your most cobblestone-ready shoes, get all the “Czech” puns out of your system, and experience classic Prague sightseeing today with a local guide—an expert who really knows their old buildings from their very old buildings.
- Get stoked and stay stoked—a very easy thing to do in Prague—as you follow a local guide around the city’s greatest hits.
- Ask to see the Crown Jewels at Prague Castle, the ancient centerpiece that hogs the whole city skyline (not mad though, it’s beautiful).
- Cross the Vlatava River via King Charles IV’s famous Charles Bridge—don’t worry, there’s still time for you to become an emperor and have your own namesake bridge, too.
- Tour St. Vitus Cathedral—a church so old, that if you had one beer for every year since construction began on it, you would have 676 beers, but please do not actually attempt to drink 676 beers.
- Take a stroll and Czech out more of the city yourself (Sorry, couldn’t help just one).
Day 13: Free Day in Prague
If you wake up this morning asking yourself “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” it’s probably because 1) “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a great song, 2) you’re in Bohemia, a region of the Czech Republic, and 3) Prague has you feeling some type of way. You’re free today to get to know the city better, maybe take it out for dinner and dancing, or ask it some deep questions about life—whatever floats your boat.
Free Time Suggestions
John Lennon Wall: The John Lennon Wall has been a statement of peace, kindness, and tasteful selfies for over 30 years. What started as a protest to Communist rule in the 1980s, has become a colorful conglomerate of pacifist sentiments that you’re welcome to add to yourself. Hmm, Rolling Stones fans, I don’t see a Mick Jagger Wall anywhere, do you?
Petrín Park: Take a stroll through Prague’s Petrín Park (you can’t miss it, it’s the giant hill looming over the city), visit the Hunger Wall built during a famine in the 1300s in exchange for food, then take the Petrín funicular train down the hill into the historic Malá Strana neighborhood for some shopping on Mostecká Street.
Day 14: Travel to Berlin via Dresden
En route to Berlin, make a pit stop in Dresden, a city entirely destroyed by bombs during WWII before being built back up. You’ll have time for lunch and to explore the cool restaurants, cafes, and architecture. Then get ready for German food, beer, and sightseeing.
- Hit the road on your way to Germany, and say goodbye to the ornate castles and long history of the Czech Republic.
- Stretch your legs during a stop in Dresden, and make sure to check out the gorgeous riverside architecture.
- Arrive in the hip city of Berlin and try your best to keep your jaw off the ground.
- Familiarize yourself with the area around your lodgings during a walk with your Tour Director.
Day 15: Sightseeing Tour of Berlin + Optional Graffiti Workshop
Explore Berlin’s most iconic sites with a local guide, by way of bus and your own two feet. This is a city steeped in history, art, and boasts a culture as diverse as its citizens. See the sights, try the local version of sausage, and find a good bar to wash it all down.
- Walk Kurfürstendamm, the main boulevard, lined with high-end shops, bars, and theaters.
- Visit the Rathaus Schöneberg town hall, where John F. Kennedy made his inspiring, “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963.
- Stand beneath Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of European unity and peace.
Graffiti Workshop at the Berlin Wall(extra cost)
Breathe some color into your life with an art class unlike any other. Start by meeting up with a local graffiti artist—no need to be sneaky, it’s legal here. Then head to their studio: Berlin’s famous East Side Gallery. This is no stuffy art gallery. This is a nearly mile-long outdoor stretch of the Berlin Wall, completely covered in graffiti, and is the perfect outlet for artists to express themselves. Learn the basics from a pro, design your own masterpiece, then spray paint the Wall with it. By the end of today, you’ll basically be the Berlin Banksy.
Day 16: Free Day in Berlin + Farewell Dinner
Nine times bigger than Paris and with more bridges than Venice, Berlin is a city you could easily get lost in—and be glad you did. The capital of Germany is celebrated for a vibrant nightlife scene with parties known to go not just all night, but all weekend long. Have some fun with a free day in this thrilling metropolis!
Free Time Suggestions
Museum Island: Discover five unique, and internationally significant, museums wedged between the River Spree and Kupfergraben. Make your way through the archaeological collections and art galleries in this area of concentrated history.
Story of Berlin: Explore the staggering 800+ years of Berlin’s history at this centrally located museum. With 20 individually themed rooms, you’ll see exhibits on the two world wars and the Cold War before heading into the original fallout shelter hidden beneath the city’s streets.
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.
Day 17: Fly Home
Auf Wiedersehen, Freunde!
Translation: Goodbye, friends! Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?
EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS
1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.
2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.
Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.
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