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RS Best of Eastern Europe tour report

Hello all! This will be a fairly short tour/trip report. If you have specific questions about anything please just PM me and I'll answer when I can. We were on the tour that started June 12th, and our guide was Peter from Budapest. First off, it was fantastic!!!

We flew O'Hare to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to Prague on Lufthansa and everything went smoothly. We used our hotel's offer for a private driver which worked great. The front desk man gave us a great recommendation close to the hotel for dinner and we did a walk after that, then bed.

Tour Day 1 - before meeting our guide and mates we headed to Vysehrad Fortess as we had been in Prague after our GAS tour in 2018 to do something different. The Basilica was beautifully decorated I recommend visiting it. We met our wonderful group and guide and went on a walking tour with Theresa (a hoot!) and had dinner in the Little Town.

Tour Day 2 - With the group went up to the Castle complex and saw everything. After being let go for the afternoon we went to Lobkowitz Palace and really enjoyed their collection. We headed back to the hotel, freshened up, had dinner and then headed to the Rudolphinum for a classical concert. Fabulous! Then enjoyed a night walk.

Tour Day 3 - Travel day to Krakow

Tour Day 4 - As a group we did a local walking tour up to the Castle, through the Cathedral, and then back down to St. Mary's in the Square. We missed St. Mary's as we had reserved a driver to get us out to the Salt Mine and then back to Schindler's Factory Museum. After the museum we walked to Kazamierz and sat outdoors at a restaurant with Klezmer musicians playing.

Tour Day 5 - We had the morning free but nothing was open that we wanted to go to as it was Corpus Christi celebration. We were so disappointed but it turned out great because we were able to witness the locals celebrating and it was fantastic! Guess I'll have to go back to Krakow a 4th time to see the things I missed. The afternoon was spent at Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau. It was my 3rd visit and it was and is very important to go.

Tour Day 6 - Travel day to Eger.

Tour Day 7 - We had the morning free so we did the Camera Obscura, market, Cathedral and enjoyed a local music festival with a little picnic. Then we had a wine tasting just outside of Eger and it was fabulous! Watch out as they pour more than just tastings. Very fun though! Arrive in Budapest.

Tour Day 8 - Walking tour in the morning and free afternoon. 2 of us went to the House of Terror and 2 did a tour of the Opera House meeting back up for dinner. Then we had our group evening cruise on the Danube. FABULOUS!!!

Tour Day 9 - Group tour up to the Castle Hill going in the Church. You will not have enough time in this Church so I recommend going back, which we did. The tour ended at the Great Market Hall. We took our time there eating lunch trying different things and then buying some souvenirs. It was 100 degrees out and we originally planned to go out to Memento Park after but with the heat and our love of the Matthias Church and wanting to go back we decided to do the Church instead. Then the Holocaust memorial along the river and Dinner. The Folk dance evenings weren't running, a casualty of Covid, but maybe they'll be running when you are there.

Tour Day 10 - Travel day to Plitvice.

Tour Day 11 - We started first thing in the morning at Plitvice. Wow was this place amazing!! So incredibly beautiful! Then drove in the afternoon to Rovinj.

Tour Day 12 - If you want a relaxing day make sure to bring your swimsuit. You can see the town and relax. That isn't really our style so 3 of us headed to Pula for the Roman sights while the 4th stayed back and relaxed. Then upon getting back to Rovinj we enjoyed St. Euphemia's Church.

Tour Day 13 - Travel day to Lake Bled with a stop in Ljubliana.

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Tour Day 14 - Group pletna boat ride to island and Church. Then with our free time we hiked up to the castle and enjoyed that, hiked around the lake stopping at Hotel Bled for Kremsnita Cake, and freshened up before our group dinner. Hotel Bled no longer lets you in to see the Social Realism wall murals.

Tour Day 15 - we had breakfast and said goodbye to our new friends. They were wonderful and we will miss them. We had a private driver to Venice where my sister and I were dropped off at Marco Polo airport and two of us were dropped off at Piazzale Roma to stay in Venice.

My sister and I were on EasyJet to London Gatwick and with everything going on I was nervous that our flight would be cancelled. However it was as scheduled and we made it to Gatwick just fine. Good idea to travel with just carry-on as we did. Also, there were rail strikes in the UK that week and I was also worried that we wouldn't be able to get from Gatwick into London to our hotel. Luckily for us the rail strikes were Tues., Thurs., and Sat. and we were traveling on the Sunday following. Gatwick Express to London Victoria and the tube to Bayswater where our hotel was. We stayed 3 nights and went to Fishbourne Roman Palace, the London Eye, Mamma Mia, the World of Stonehenge Exhibit and regular exhibits at the British Museum, the Superbloom in the Tower moat for the platinum jubilee, and a London Walks Revolting London walking tour. We flew home from Heathrow on the 29th. The combination of getting to the airport 4 hours early, having a morning flight and not having to check any luggage provided a smooth process for our flight back to Chicago.

My husband and his mom stayed in Venice for 2 nights going to St. Marks, the Secret itineraries tour of the Doge's Palace, the Frari Church and Scuola San Rocco, and an Opera at the Musica a Palazzo. Their flight on the 28th got cancelled and re-booked for the 30th, so they had to stay 2 extra days. Getting to Chicago through Newark was stressful as they had to do customs there before proceeding to their gate to going to Chicago and it isn't recommended. Then they had to drive 2 hours back to Madison after landing in Chicago. But, they made it home by 8pm. Whew!

Hotels were all great with good breakfasts. The one in Plitvice park did not have AC so prepare for that. The park is worth it! Our local guides were great! Peter was great and our bus driver was great! Group meals were good and was often more than you can actually eat. We only did carry-on which worked just fine (and was really necessary for the airports, having to check a bag would have been a nightmare) and did laundry ourselves in the sink. The guides and hoteliers were always ready with good advice for restaurants. Don't miss getting out at night, especially on Krakow's main square. Cheers!

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2764 posts


This tour is on my “wish list” so it’s great to read your review

Posted by
7389 posts

Thank you so much for sharing your trip report! This is an area where we haven’t traveled, yet, and are considering doing it through a RS tour.

Posted by
2460 posts

Fun report, thanks! I took this tour in 2012 and Peter was the guide, one of my all time favorites. That Eger winery is the best (lots of sleeping on the bus after).

Posted by
111 posts

Thank you for your trip report - it sounds like a wonderful trip. Two months and counting - I'm so excited for our trip in the fall!

Posted by
3961 posts

Thank you for sharing your wonderful report. I enjoyed reading it! We haven’t taken this tour,
but experienced many of the same places on our own in 2019. We also did the RS Adriatic Tour in 2018 that overlaps the Eastern Tour. One of our tour members did back to back Eastern with the Adriatic. It was interesting that he met up with his Eastern tour again along the way! One area we have yet to travel is Poland. It’s on our radar!

Posted by
43 posts

Thanks for the report. We hope it will be cooler in September for our tour. Who set up your driver from Bled?

Bill in SoCal