• Charles Bridge in Prague
  • Main Market Square in Kraków
  • School Visit in Eger, Hungary
  • Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Rovinj
    Rovinj, Croatia
  • Lake Bled, Slovenia

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Eastern Europe in 16 Days Tour

Starting in beautifully-preserved Prague, for 16 days you'll experience the rich diversity of Eastern Europe, from the energetic cities of Kraków and Budapest to tradition-rich "back door" towns and villages across the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia — including the waterfall wonderland of Plitvice and the picture-perfect Alpine beauty of Lake Bled.

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • The services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Eastern Europe come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 22 group sightseeing events • Historic Prague walking tour, including Josefov neighborhood • Prague Castle tour • St. Vitus Cathedral • St. George's Basilica • Czech Moravian folk performance • Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp tour • Kraków walking tour • Kraków's Wawel Cathedral • Kraków's St. Mary's Church • Kazimierz and Podgórze neighborhood walking tour • Oskar Schindler's Factory Museum • Eger orientation walk • Hungarian village school visit (when available) • Hungarian wine tasting • Pest walking tour • Walking tour of Buda's Castle district • Matthias Church • Danube cruise • Plitvice National Park hike • Rovinj orientation walk • Škocjan Caves tour • Lake Bled boat ride (weather permitting)...and more
  • All group transportation from Prague to Lake Bled, Slovenia
  • 15 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Eastern Europe guidebook, map, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Prague

We'll meet at 3 p.m. to get acquainted and preview the adventures ahead. This afternoon we'll jump right in and enjoy a walking tour through our neighborhood and Prague's colorful Old Town Square. We'll continue on to the Josefov neighborhood and learn about the rich heritage and enduring struggles of Prague's Jews. We'll end our evening over a hearty dinner together. Sleep in Prague (2 nights). No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Royal, Prestigious Prague

This morning we'll hop aboard a local tram to take us across the Vltava River and up the hill to the most massive castle complex in continental Europe: Prague Castle. We'll tour the impressive St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica and the Golden Lane. You'll then have free time for lunch and the remainder of the day for more sightseeing on your own. This evening is a great time to catch a classical concert or experience the quirky and uniquely Czech Black Light Theater. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: The Czech Countryside

We'll leave the city and drive east into mountainous Moravia, stopping in the beautifully Baroque hill town of Stramberk, where we'll enjoy some free time for lunch and exploration. Then we'll continue on to our rustic lodge deep amidst the beautiful Beskydy Mountains. Your guide will take you on a hilltop walk, admiring wooded trails, pristine views and spinning tall tales of local legends. Tonight we'll enjoy a Moravian feast along with traditional entertainment provided by a local folk troupe. Sleep in Pustevny (1 night). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 4: Lessons of the Past

Today we'll cross over the open border into Poland — essentially unguarded since 2007 — and enjoy lunch together in a small Polish town. This afternoon a local guide will lead us through the concentration camp sites of Auschwitz and Birkenau, Europe's most moving memorials to the Holocaust. Tonight's destination is the surprising city of Kraków, Poland's cultural crossroads and melting pot. We'll take an orientation walk to the historic market square and enjoy dinner together. Sleep in Kraków (3 nights) Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Historic Kraków — Then and Now

This morning we'll meet a local guide and wind our way through the story of Kraków. We'll marvel at Wawel Castle, the spiritual home of the Polish nation, and Wawel Cathedral, the resting place of Polish royalty and saints. We'll visit historic St. Mary's Church — the only tower in the world where a bugler has played every hour for the past 600 years (and boy is he tired). We'll learn about the life and impact of local legend John Paul II, as we trace his footsteps on our walking tour through the heart of Kraków. Your afternoon is free to visit one or two of Kraków's interesting museums. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Jewish Kraków

After a free morning to enjoy the many delights of Kraków, we'll meet up for a walk through the Kazimierz district — the heart of Kraków's once-thriving Jewish community. In the Podgórze neighborhood, we'll visit the museum that best captures Poland's shattering WWII experience: Oskar Schindler's Factory. Your evening is free to explore Kazimierz’s bustling restaurant and music scene. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Scenic Drive into Hungary

Today's drive takes us across Slovakia — the geographic center of Europe — and into the scenic Tatras — granite mountains that seem to burst up from the center of the earth. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch in the small town of Levoča, and then continue on to the rolling hills of Hungary's famous "Bull's Blood" wine-growing region. Tonight in the town of Eger, where the townspeople (with some help) turned back an Ottoman invasion of central Europe in 1552, we'll share a family-style Hungarian feast. Sleep in Eger (1 night). Bus: 8 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 8: From Villages to Capital

This morning you'll have time to soak in Eger's Baroque beauty or soak yourself in Eger's baths. Later we'll visit a school in the nearby village of Recsk, where we'll sit down and chat with a local teacher and enjoy lunch together in the cafeteria (when available). Then we'll learn about the region's deservedly-famous wines with a tour and tasting at the local Kohari Winery. Our destination this evening is Budapest, the mighty Magyar capital on the Danube, where after an orientation walk, we'll enjoy dinner together. Sleep in Budapest (3 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 9: Bustling Budapest

The rich history of Pest has created a city that's a puzzle of Baroque, classical, and modern architecture. On our walking tour this morning we'll crane our necks beside Europe's largest parliament building, and learn how Hungarians coped with half a century of fascist and communist tyranny. This afternoon you'll be free to wander through the Great Market Hall — an architectural gem and the city's largest indoor market — and treat your senses to a few paprika-infused delicacies. We'll regroup later on, ending our day together with a relaxing cruise on the Danube. Boat: 1 hr. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 10: Historic Budapest

Today we'll focus on the Buda side of the Danube, starting with a funicular ride up the steep Castle Hill for bird's-eye views of sprawling Pest, and a walking tour that takes us past the imposing Royal Palace and into Budapest's greatest church, the sumptuously-gilded Matthias Church. When we've finished here, your guide will be happy to arrange, for those who are interested, a chance to soak in the ornate and traditional public Thermal Baths. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Natural Wonders of Croatia

After breakfast we'll drive out of Hungary and into Croatia. Just across the border, we'll be welcomed with a fresh, family-prepared lunch in a pleasant farm setting. Then we'll drive on to our destination, the deep greens and blues of Croatia's water wonderland and one of Europe's premier nature preserves: Plitvice Lakes National Park. Sleep in or near the National Park, surrounded by the quiet of nature (1 night). Bus: 7 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 12: From the Forests to the Sea

This morning we'll hike along rustic boardwalk trails connecting the idyllic forests, travertine stone cliffs, clear blue lakes and gushing waterfalls of Plitvice National Park. We'll learn how the park is creatively managing to protect its delicate environment, including the use of electric trams and boats. We'll take a lunch break to replenish ourselves, then give our legs a rest as we drive to the Istrian peninsula on the Adriatic Sea and the enchanting town of Rovinj, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 13: Free Day in Rovinj

Take a "vacation from your vacation." The entire day is yours to enjoy the sun, gelato, seafood, and lazy ambience of Rovinj.  Wander through the narrow streets, watch local fishermen bring in the day's catch, or head to the beach for sun and a swim. We'll compare notes at an informal happy hour early this evening. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 14: Škocjan Caves and Lake Bled

Today we'll head for one of our planet's most remarkable natural underground networks, the Škocjan Caves. We'll take a guided hike through a surreal world of spacious underground halls, deep gorges, mighty rivers and shimmering natural springs. Emerging to the surface, we'll share a picnic lunch together before continuing to our destination, the azure jewel of Lake Bled. Sleep in Bled (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 15: Lake Bled

This morning we'll wake up in the midst of Slovenia's Julian Alps, beside a pristine lake ringed by forests and hiking paths. We'll take a traditional pletna boat ride together to Lake Bled's chapel-topped island, where local tradition requires each would-be husband to carry his bride up the 99 steps from the boat dock to the altar (4 in 5 are successful). Your afternoon is free to hike to the castle and its panoramic viewpoint, take a scenic walk around the lake (stopping for a creme cake), or rent a bike to explore even more. Tonight we'll rendezvous for a special dinner together, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Na zdravje! No bus. Boat: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.

Day 16: Tour Over After Breakfast

Ljubljana's airport is just 30 minutes away, and there are nearby train connections to Munich, Vienna and other European cities. Whatever your plans, your guide will help you get on the right track. Na svidenje!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Eastern Europe in 16 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to four hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Helen

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/03/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fast pace, full of amazing sights and a history lesson that filled in many blanks. More than I imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I realized how little I knew about the history of the people and events, why they appear stoic and slow to smile or open to conversation. I begin to understand why they don't share our work ethic and don't understand us any more than we understand them. Travel is the key--so I hope to leep traveling."

Rochelle

Bothell, WA

Tour: 10/03/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I made this trip with my daughter, so it was primed to be special. Tina is a wonderful tour guide who took care of everything and left me with nothing to think about but enjoying myself. My traveling companions were a congenial group. I filled my mind with interesting information and saw beautiful places and tried out new foods and drinks. The mix of large cities and small towns, the local guides, all contributed to a rewarding experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Without exaggeration, I would say there were at least 3 wow moments every day. I had never been to any of the places we visited before this trip, so everything was new, exciting and fun!"

Janet

Vancouve, BC

Tour: 10/03/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Firstly: Thanks so much. I really enjoyed the tour. I found the balance of city visits and nature visits great. I also really liked the amount of free time that was included, again, a nice balance. The entire tour was fun and very professionally run. There was a selection of activities and guided tours. It was the best tour experience I have had to date.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow! Knowing Poland to be fairly poor, I hadn't expected Krakow to be such a beautiful and vibrant city. The main square was the most spectacular that I have ever visited."

Mark

Cut Bank, MT

Tour: 10/03/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well planned. The right amount of tour time was devoted to all the various activities. Our ghuide was pleasant and really wanted to make sure that we experienced everything!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Personally, I really enjoyed the bus tour through the Central European countryside, seeing all sorts of historical sites, and how the couuntries are changing- agriculturally, socially, and politically."

Janice

Cut Bank, MT

Tour: 10/03/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful tour! Everything was well-organized, the destinations and activities were fun, and people on the tour were congenial and interesting. Tina, our guide, was knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to limit myself to one "wow" moment because there were many. Lake Plitvice Park was beautiful and fun to walk through. Auschwitz was sad and unforgettable as well. The exhibits of victims' shoes and personal items made the experience very real."

Karen

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 10/03/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I would describe this trip as a real cultural and historical experience. I didn't really know what to expect of these countries and cities following communism and this was a great introduction. Some are further along than others but each location had its own distinct character and historical point of view and the tour strives to allow one to experience it all. A great combination of cities and natural beauty. It's a lot of ground to cover. Thank you for ending the trip at Lake Bled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitivice Lakes National Park in Croatia was breathtaking. Reminded me of picture-taking in Venice; a different view, colors and texture around every turn. Of course, mother nature and a beautiful fall day helped! In Budapest, the Danube river cruise at night with all the buildings and bridges lit up was a visual delight. And of course, Auschwitz is not a "wow" moment in a good way, but I'm glad I had that sobering experience. I will remember it always."

Donna

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/03/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything the pre-tour materials promised! Well organized, well led (very well!). The tour was fast-paced and stuffed with history and experiences, but that's exactly what I expected in this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice National Park in Croatia! I knew nothing about this area before the trip so it was a wonderful surprise. Strolling the boardwalks with rushing waters beside and often beneath oneself was a great experience, especially with finding a waterfall around every bend. As a second "wow moment, I would say that Krakow was a delightful surprise and probably my favorite of the large cities we visited."

Randy

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyable, lots of fun, memorable, interesting & engaging tour members & staff

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Danube Cruise at night; Plitvice; Chopin Concert-on Krakow square,Lake Bled,Jewish Quarter-Prague. I enjoyed them all."

Pam

Jewett, TX

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip! The guides, sights, and fellow travelers were all exceptional. I appreciate that RS keeps the number of participants low and that a full bus is provided. Having a full seat for the bus rides was really a plus. I also enjoyed the balance between planned activities and free time and the variety of experiences we had on the tour. I look forward to taking more RS tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments that I can't narrow it down to just one. The whole Nazi component (Auschwitz, Birkenau, Jewish neighborhoods, Schindler's) was the most significant and moving part of the tour. The Danube River night cruise and Plitvice National Park were the most beautiful. Kopcsik Marzipan Museum, a minor museum visited during free time in Eger, was really fun and impressive."

John

Woodbury, MN

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time. The group was wonderful. Peter, our guide was the very best. Hotels, meals and activities were outstanding. We also appreciated the amount of free time. We were taken care of in every way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the buildings along the river on the night cruise in Budapest. Maybe not a "wow" moment at the time, but certainly a "wow" after the fact was the wine tasting in Hungary!! What a great time we had there..................fun, fun, and more fun."

Wes

Kelowna, BC

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Very well done. Peter was extremely knowledgeable. Plitvice was the high point. Rab was a complete waste.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitivice - nature beats the cities."

Barbara

Woodbury, MN

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour as we usually travel on our own, with a Rick Steves book, of course. But with the language difficulties we opted for a tour this time. It was so well organized, not too many travelers (two seats on a bus, fabulous), time to explore on our own, well informed guides, no need to worry about reservations of any kind. I would definitely do a Rick Steves tour again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the biggest wow was the night cruise in Budapest. Right up there would be the winery in Hungary, Moravian dancers near Pustevny, and Plitvice Lakes National Park."

Stephen

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Peter and Andrea were wonderful tour leaders. As college history majors, we especially liked Peter's summaries of each countries history starting with their experience under the Roman Empire. The tour was a great mix of exploring big cities and smaller towns as well as seeing the Plitvice National Park, the Skocijan Caves, and Isle of Rab and Lake Bled where natural features dominated. Group dinners were wonderful, as were the folk dancers at Hotel Mamenka and wine tasting at Kohary winery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Jambor Vilmos Altadnos Iskola in Hungary and the eagerness of the students to interact with us both in the classroom, during lunch and in the schoolyard, arm wrestling and playing soccer. One of our group knew some magic tricks and really capitivated the students until they were ushered out to the playground. I'd include what I said for question 2 as Wow Moments."

Cynthia

Waco, TX

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was second Rick Steves tour and it once again confirmed RS tours are the best and most well run. Had doubts about visiting the school in Recsk but that turned out to be very interesting. I would have preferred to visit the Schindler Museum in the morning rather than the afternoon so more time could have been spent there on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Prague is still a favorite city, but now Krakow has been added to my list. The river cruise on the Danube was definitely a "wow"."

Barry

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We did the Eastern Europe tour. Like our "Heart of Italy" last year, this tour again allowed full immersion into the local culture of each country. From spending an afternoon with small community school children to guided and self exploration of "off the beaten path" sites. We marveled at how throngs of tourists standing in line and peering through closed gates would watch the Rick Steve's tour group pass by them into the deeper areas of each site.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"By far, Lake Bled was our favorite and everything about that location was incredible. From the awesome hotel to the people and the sites, it was a complete joy to end the tour there and nearly everyone we spoke to on our tour felt the same. Soooo beautiful!"

Gail

Plymouth, MI

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

this was my first guided tour of any kind. After being in Europe several times before I really found out what I was missing without a very knowledgable guide. It made life so easy and you could just really enjoy the experience of your surroundings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were just so many WOW's. I think that it was so beautiful and peaceful at lake Bled. It was a great place to be for our final 2 nights with the tour."

Richard

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We lucked out with the weather. Even though we went to E. Europe at the end of September, we had minimal rainfall, and only with warmer temperatures. Our tour group were a lot of fun, with truly no grumps. The hotel stays were great with bigger, nicer rooms than we experienced on the W. Europe tour we had previously enjoyed. The food was excellent, even though it was pretty meat and potatoes centric. The beers were great and easily outshined the wines, though we did no beer tastings as a group..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to come up with one favorite 'Wow" moment because there were so many. Probably the folk troupe in Pustevny would be my top WOW."

Peter

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

First tour. Informative. No Grumps. Don't think I'll do another. The bus, as spacious as it was with only 22 people, did not really fit me. Gads, imagine a full coach on this trek!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Birkenau was tough."

A C

Mcloud, OK

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, a very rewarding experience. Seeing countries and cultures that were pretty much off the map of my consciousness was eye opening. Just as I had suspected, outside of political rhetoric, people are pretty much the same worldwide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The children at the school in Recsk were a joy to meet, with their enthusiasm for the languages they were learning. They are part of the future of their country, and agents for changes in the world."

Ron

Sequim, WA

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I enjoyed the tour, but I didn't love it. And a large part of that has to do with the structure of the tour itself. Coming into it, I think most travelers are at a disadvantage because people of our generation (Baby Boomers and the older Gen X'er's) know so little about Eastern Europe. I think that this tour tries to cram too much into the 16 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Plitzvice National Park, along with just the scenery and terrain of that part of Europe. I'm biased because this was as much work as it was vacation; I was researching the area for the next in a series of books on Ancient Rome. However, if there was one moment that I treasured as far as a memory of something surprising, it was that."

Carol

Maple Grove, MN

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. Not knowing much about this part of the world and having grown up in the 50's& 60's when the communist ruled Eastern Europe with the iron curtain blocking almost all information & communication, I found this tour to be most educational, informative, & interesting. It was wonderful to see the colorful & vibrant people & cities and tour & learn about them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many WOW moments. One WOW day was the morning visit to the school, interacting with the teacher and students then driving to the winery for wine tasting in the afternoon, a gorgeous warm,sunny day. The students were so enthusiastic and curious about the USA. The owners of the winery (husband & wife) were so warm & welcoming. Tony serenaded us with his violin. We danced on the veranda. It was magical! The Auschwitz tour was a WOW moment in a very different way. It was a somber,tearful day."

Robert

Taylor, MI

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Aaron and Istvan made any uncertainty about a tour disappear. We were slightly concerned because we had never travelled with a group in the past. They were always courteous, professional and friendly. Our group of fellow travelers also made this a once in a lifetime experience. Actually, we're hoping that it becomes at least a twice in lifetime experience,because yesterday we signed up for a 14 day Adriatic Rick Steeves tour! We can't wait to join you again in September!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but visiting the schoolhouse in Hungary, where we learned that so many of the kids had come from households with no working parents, was a reminder that we all can do a little more to make this world a little bit better. We intend to stay in touch with the teacher that we met, and help this school with books and other items."

Steven

La Palma, CA

Tour: 09/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful and enlightening experience for me. The places we visited were beautiful, and meeting people who experienced rule under the USSR and later experienced freedom in their own countries gave me insights that I don't think I could have obtained in any other way other than travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since I really knew so little about Krakow before our visit, I was just amazed at the beauty of the old city and Wavel Hill, and of the resilancy of the Polish people."

Kenneth

Merced, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I thought the tour was great. We would recommend it to anyone interested in going to Eastern Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "WOW" moments, but I think the Scotjian caves in SLovenia were my favorite. I've been on many cave tours, but never have I seen a cave as big as those AND with a river flowing through the caves."

Mike

Minnetonka, MN

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was superbly planned[INVALID]a near perfect balance of structured group activities and free time for more in-depth exploration of places/sites on your own as well as fun rural sites and activities along the travel route between cities. Rick Steve's company definitely gets credit for the quality of this advanced planning. Our tour guide[INVALID]Katerina[INVALID]really made this tour special through her warmth, experience, and willingness to share insights from her life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Lennon Wall in Prague.....a very cool example of the Czech's yearning to control their own fate and destiny."

Carol

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th Rick Steves tour, and while we have enjoyed all of them, this one was really outstanding. We had especially chilly, wet weather, but nothing that kept us from our activities. The 3-night stays were particularly nice and gave us a good chance to do hand washing (and drying). The half day free times were also welcome. We were well oriented and felt comfortable walking from our hotels to sights and restaurants.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Lake Bled was just like the lovely photos we have seen. The horrors of Auschwitz were so difficult to see, but gave us much to ponder about that cruel time for those peoples."

Ruth

Columbus, IN

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I most enjoyed getting to know the other tour members. After 16 dys, I felt I was leaving my best friends when the tour concluded. Our farewell dinner was really great.My favorite town was Krakow. I loved the underground museum in the square and also that we were given bus/tram/subway tix to use. The Pope's church there was amazing with the beautiful stained glass.I very much enjoyed Plitvice National Park. Great accomodations and wonderful sites to see. Glad we started from the top.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had 3: the folk dancing in Pustevny, winetasting w/Tony the violinist, and Plitvice Natl Pk. Being with the kids at the school was special too."

Judith

Merced, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose this tour because of the itinerary and it certainly lived up to expectations. We learned so much about our visited countries. The cities of Prague, Budapest and Krakow offer an array of impressive sights. I liked the mix of country and city because, although I can appreciate the beauty in churches, I prefer the wonder of nature. Given what I just said, this may be inconsistent but you might consider replacing Rab with Dubrovnik (although it may be too far south).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Lake Bled for the first time was my "wow" moment. We loved walking around the lake, the pletna boat ride, the castle, the gorgeous mountains."

Tom

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guide Katarina was fabulous.

Irene

Sequim, WA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Found the tour to be packed with experiences, from just plain fun and fabulous to more sobering and thought provoking which made for a broad range of memories to recall as time goes by.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard one, but the trip in Budapest, sailing along the Danube at night with all the buildings lit up was pretty spectacular. I had the added charm of a young college student from Hong Kong beside me and she was totally amazed and in awe by the whole thing."

Stuart

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Visiting and learning about many of the countries that were once under communism and are now free and thriving. Beautiful historic cities and great countrysides. Auschwitz and Birkenau are a must to remind all that such horrors must never happen again. I also enjoyed the free time that was built into the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having lunch with the kids at Recsk Village. Also the Great Market Hall in Budapest."

Gretchen

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations for travel in Eastern Europe. We loved Prague and were glad that we had 2 extra days to enjoy it. We loved the cities of Krakow and Budapest, but also the smaller towns of Levoca and Eger, Plitvice National Park and Lake Bled. It was a nice blend of city and country. We learned much about the history of the cities and countries that we visited from our great guide, Katerina, as we rode the bus from one country to another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "WOW" moment for me was the visit to Auschwitz as hard as it was. It seemed fitting that the day was cold and rainy - it made it easy to understand the hardships that the Holocaust victims had to endure. it was a difficult but necessary stop to make."

William

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were blessed with an outstanding group of fellow adventures. As expected, all our encounters with cities, villages and countryside were wonderful. But it was the special unexpected events that were so memorable. The village folk group that performed for us after dinner (in Pustevny) was outstanding and at our wine tasting Toni captivated us with his Gypsy violin. One part of the trip I'll never forget was our visit to Auschwitz.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to select just one special moment, but the spectacular natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park was certainly special"

Peggy

Marshfield, WI

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. It was a compatable group of people. We saw many wonderful sights & ate lots of good food. Accomodations were varied & interesting. Guide was very helpful. The weather was a bit of a downer. It was much chillier than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice National Park was a great surprise! Auschwitz/Birkenau was wow in a sobering way. The place was huge. The cold wind & rain made us appreciate even more what the prisoners suffered."

Leticia

Hayward, CA

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I loved the places we covered . The hotels are outstanding with their delicious breakfast. I can tell that our group are unique and special compared to other tours. We covered more details and recieved individualized attention. We just had a bad rainy weather to reach certain destination on foot very uncomfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice lakes national park. Very beautiful even in the rain. The walks, the boat ride and climbing the stairs in the park are very breathtaking."

Sara

Roswell, GA

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was just what we expected: very comprehensive and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was impressed with the beauty of Budapest. The architecture of Prague was nice too, but hard to appreciate in the rain. I especially enjoyed the musical concerts (not included in the tour) that we attended in both Prague and Budapest. The salt mine in Krakow (not included in the tour), the caves in Slovenia and Plitvice National Park in Croatia were amazing experiences I'll never forget."

Scott

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed everywhere the tour went to. I thought the tour was very well thought out and well paced

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick one thing. Maybe Budapest, and specifically the Pest side."

Sue

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I came home from the Eastern European tour exhausted, but in a good way. There was so much to learn and observe about a part of the world that I knew of in broad strokes, but not in any particulars. It was interesting to experience the region that is still in the midst of the transition from communism to capitalism. Observing the challenges of the present and future, but also seeing haunting echoes of the past. Our guide, George, did an excellent job of presenting this very complex region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say that the most emotionally powerful moment on the trip was the visit to Auschwitz, but that said there are plenty of beautiful wow moments. Natural wonders abound which are my wow moments. Caves, waterfalls, lakes and islands."

Toni

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our second Rick Steves tour was even better than the first, primarily because of our guide, George. More about him in later questions. I enjoyed the cities we visited, especially Budapest. Plitvice National Park was a high point, even though it was overcast and damp. The folk group at Pustevny was wonderful. The hotels for the most part, were extremely comfortable and the food was excellent. There was a good balance of city and village and countryside. Mitch, our bus driver, was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"George was the main Wow of our tour. More about him later. One of the best Wow moments was the "Book Cafe" George told us about -- it wasn't part of the tour but we went there on his recommendation. Fabulous place. Another was the folk dancing and singing at Pustevny. They seemed very engaged in what they were doing and very connected to us, the audience. The full moon over Wenceslas Square at night. The very strange 1960's style hotel at Plitvice -- I loved the way it looked and felt."

Richard

Royal Oak, MI

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Eastern Europe is full of fascinating sights, people, history, food and experiences. Rick Steves' tour through George Fwas one of the best that I've experienced. George brought things to life, gave us a myriad of facts and insights, and shepherded us in such a kind, caring and warm manner. I learned so much personally and whetted my appetite for returning to the cities and countries that we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably, the tour of the Jewish Quarter in Prague that my spouse and I Did just before our tour began really gave me insight into why my mom and her family kept secret our Jewish heritage until the late 50's. Strolling the "squares" in these ancient cities was simply awesome."

Michael

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was powerful and engaging. The fantastic itinerary was a varied framework to share travels, airplane colds, friendship and personal interests. I was moved by almost every place we visited. George Frakas was the best guide I've ever seem. He made the trip with his knowledge, spirit & great recommendations. One rainy night when Toni was ill and she and I were walking home from dinner we met George who asking about her then walked us over to an all-night pharmacy to get her remedies.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't have a favorite Wow but here are some: Prague: Having coffee at Municipal House, Dinner under the Absinth Drinker in the Kaverna Slavia. A photograph of Czeslawa Krajewska at Auschwitz. Krakow: walking into the town square at night, the Planty. Budapest: The Egon Schiele exhibit, the coffee shop in the Alexander Bookshop. The outdoor war museum in Croatia (our driver, Mitch, knew about). The island visit in Lake Bled. The bus rides. All only some of the wows."

Janice

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, George, was great. He was very knowledge and good at improvising when needed. He was always available with extra information and help with any problems we had. Mitch the driver was excellent. The guides were all good and all of the tours were excellent. This was our 5th tour and all 5 tours have been great. Fun people on the tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz and Schindler's Factory added a lot to what we had seen at Mauthausen previously. It added a lot of information that I didn't know about the countries inthat part of Europe. The beautiful countryside everywhere was wonderful..especially in Bled."

Mary

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 09/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We so enjoyed being on a trip that we did not have to do the driving. This was our first tour of any kind and knew that we would only go on a Rick Steves Tour. Learned so much about the countries and enjoyed everyone in the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When our guide took us out the first evening in Krakow to see the square. It was the most beautiful square I have ever seen at night."

Jean

Boring, OR

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our excellent guide, Etelka, and outstanding driver made this a very nice experience. The tour members were interesting, congenial people from different parts of the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice was such a unique natural area. In all my travels I'd never seen anything quite like it. Even though there were many tourists, it felt good to be away from cities and enjoy the beauty."

Barbara

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent...we learned a lot, had an excellent guide and enjoyed traveling with our tour mates. Re the schedule, in Krakow, there was a free afternoon followed by a free morning followed by a walking tour of the Jewish quarter and the Schindler factory museum. If the walking/Schindler tour was in the morning, there would be more free time to visit the art museum next to Schindler and stop in the Jewish quarter for music and food on the way back to the wonderful historic center of Krakow.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorites were in Prague, at the castle, looking over the beautiful city while the Prague Castle Orchestra played, the very surprising city of Krakow, the beautiful evening cruise on the Danube in Budapest, and Lake Bled. All the music over the course of the tour was wonderful."

Carl

Surrey, BC

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the pre-pre-tour stuff (agreement:being on time;no grumps;physical fitness requirements), to the pre-tour stuff (buddy system, emphasis in a nice way of expectations and consequences) to the excellent tour guide(s) and bus driver, to the great experiences (school, caves, concentration camps, use of transportation (lrt, funicular, metros), city orientations, wine tasting), to the great food, to the well located accommodations, it was a great overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To say favorite does not feel right but Auschwitz-Birkenau was a definite "wow" in terms of the surprise as to the degree of sinister/cold blooded/absence of humanity planning and execution (bad choice of words but can't think of a better one) of the elements of the process. The tour guide was outstanding. She had the expertise and knowledge but also the requisite sensitivity and reverence. As a secondary I was really impressed with Krakow. I think this is one of Europe's best kept secrets"

Dennis

Bloomfield Hills, MI

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a glimpse into a slice of humanity, from the wonders of architecture, art , and music to the horrors of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Our guide Etelka was amazing and our group worked together very well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A Polka band in Slovenia, the concert at Smetana Hall in Prague, and seeing the realities of the concentration camps."

Gretchen

Happy Valley, OR

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The combination of guided tours and free time allowed us the on our own experience...walking in the small streets, tasting the local food, going to that out of the way Art Nouveau museum. Etelka shared personal experiences under communist rule making the history real. Her leadership and knowledge of history, her sense of humor enriched every day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would have to be Auschwitz and Birkenau. The reality of the horror made for a solemn, sobering day...but a necessary lesson lest we forget."

Will

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 2nd tour with Steves, Inc. and it was as good or better than the first. Our fellow travelers were charming, not a jerk in the bunch, nobody to gossip about. The tour seemed to have themes: the first part revolving around WWII, the Holocaust, and the Cold War. And the second part revolving around the natural beauty of Eastern (or central) Europe. It was a soul-nourishing vacation in several ways.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, the view from our hotel room onto Lake Bled at the end was breathtaking. There was so much history. We realized how much of the history we know is not just US-centric but the European history is British-centric and Western Europe-centric. Austria and the Holy Roman Empire were a much bigger deal than we realized, I think. We also learned quite a bit about life under Communism."

Paul

Dover, MA

Tour: 09/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned a ton about the geopolitical and ethnic forces that shaped and are shaping this part of Europe. The major cities we visited were all interesting, charming and accessible and the bus rides went by quickly. Lake Bled is beautiful and Plitvice worth the visit but the cties were the major attraction.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As it happens, Martin Lobkowicz lives in the same town as my wife and I (Dover, MA) and his son William overseas the family museum in Prague. As a result, this wow was mainly personal as I cycle past the elder Lobkowicz's house on a regular basis and feel somehow contacted to the family's sponsorship of Beethoven. Seeing the original score of opus 55 was incredible."

Charles

Louisville, KY

Tour: 09/12/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall, had a great time and got what expected from Ricks Tours. This was our third tour. First time to Eastern Europe. I do have two things that I suggest be changed on the Tour. 1) The daytrip to Slovenian Caves on the way to Lake Bled. I suggest dropping it and go to the city close by (LBJ) instead. It was an impressive Cave but I really would skip it, especially considering all the walking just to get out of the Park. I would of loved to stop by the city LBJ instead. 2) See Hotel comments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say on this tour? Lake Bled is very beautiful, so probably that but no one moment stands out."

Allan

Orinda, CA

Tour: 09/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We didn't encounter any travel glitches during the tour, thanks to Marijan's vigilance. He was fantastic. His history lessons during long bus rides were both informative and entertaining. The local guides made the old cities and sites come alive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"You have to see the majesty of Plitvice Lakes National Park with your own eyes."

Wally

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a chance to visit areas of Europe which I have never been to with the exception of BudaPest. The back roads and small towns and were most enjoyable. Our tour guide was most enjoyable and caring and very well informed as to the history and sights to be seen. His walks were always informative and enjoyed (except for his favorite saying..."it just around the corner"). Which could be miles ! Our bus driver was fun and a real character. Was always helpful when asked. ALL the people were fun !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The square and sights in Prague, Krakow, Schindler's Factory and museum tour, the island of Rab and Lake Bled. Sights that will always be remembered.........arriving in the Julian Alps and Lake Bled were beautiful, island of Rab, the Square in Krakow will always be memorable. The thermal baths in BudaPest were great. The ski lodge in the Beskydy Mts was beautiful. Wine tasting and dancing was a lot of fun. Sea food dinner in Rab which was outside on the patio, was best meal of trip ! !"

Jack

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great Tour

Patsy

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Eastern European trip was fun, filled with lots of history, good food and great tour members. There was superb camaraderie among all tour members, the guide ,and bus driver. Walking , hiking, climbing hills and stairs were the order for most days in order to view all the sights - this provided a great cardio workout. There was great variety - easy days, hard days, ample free time, many chances to select your own dining venue, great "side" trips to a school, winery, picnics in parks , etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the alive and bustling market square of Krakow . Music, restaurants, shops, birds landing on little children's arms all made for a delightful experience. A "great fun" moment was at the Kohari Winery - wine tasting , participating in some Hungarian dancing - lots of laughter. The winery owners and translater were a pure delight. Auschwitz-Birkenau - very sobering - brought tears to my eyes The BEAUTY of Plitvice Lakes Nat'l Park, Rab, Lake Bled"

David

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Enjoyed the tour overall. Would have liked it better if some of the hotels were nicer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list."

Sue

Golden, CO

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great group of people on our tour which made every day an exciting adventure. All our guides were very knowledgeable and upbeat and gladly welcomed all questions. All the hotels were comfortable and clean and worked hard to solve any problems that arose. Our bus and driver were awesome, making the travel through the countryside very comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the "wow" moments were the times spend in the out-of-doors outside of the big cities. Seeing three big cities, that although they are all different, they are similar in many ways, kind of becomes a blur after a while. The small towns like Pustevny, Levoca, Eger, Rab and Lake Bled each had their own character and were very pleasant and memorable. Plitvice National Park and the Skocjan Caves were amazing and an awesome experience. I wish we could have had longer in each."

Greg

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 4th RS tour, we enjoyed seeing several countries that we had never before even considered to visit. Istvan introduced us to the warmth of people, cultures and traditions that were behind the Iron Curtain and great mysteries in our own lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The city of Krakow was a great surprise. Beautiful walkable city, friendly people, great food and beer."

Nancy

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything I excepted., Great locations, food and people. Our group was easy going, A good many of them have been on many other Ric Steve trips and were well seasoned. This was my first and I really enjoy being in the center of everything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"BUDAPEST: I really did not know what to expect and when we got into the city and started touring the city, it was amazing how easy it was to get around the city. I really want to go back to spend more time just hanging out. Another was the Lake Bled area, what a beautiful area. Truly felt like we were in the Alps."

Bill

Dawsonville, GA

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, you make this difficult by telling me that I have a 500 character limit. I could utilize more than this limit by telling you what a wonderful guide Peter is. He is extremely well versed in the history of the places that we visited. He showed a strong personal interest in each and every member of the group. The extras such as the entertaining group who played, sang, and danced for us at the cutesy mountain resort, the and the wine tastings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "extras" stated above."

Sharon

Princeton, IL

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In this, our fourth trip, Rick Steves lived up to his reputation of providing a stimulating adventure in which we were free to make new friends, explore previously unknown avenues, experience an [INVALID]native life style that comfortable fit or stretched our comfort zone. It was amazing how our guide, Peter, fulfilled the needs of the 25 tour members and molded the group into a unit while maintaining our individualism. We could not have been happier with the friends we made from all over the US.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Personally the "heart of Europe" wow moment was sitting in a village in Slovakia 8 miles from where my grandmother was born and raised until the age of 9. I found it quite emotional that I could be so near her roots. In addition, Lake Bled's solitude and the opportunity to leisurely walk around the lake with tour friends brought a soothing, relaxing end to the tour."

John

Princeton, IL

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip through the "Heart of Europe" was great. Getting to reflect back on a time when we were growing up and seeing how the individual countries have evolved over the past three decades was a fantastic experience. Meeting the people, seeing the places, and eating the food were well worth the endeavor. Definitely, this was another good choice!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow moment" has to be found near the end of the trip. The National Park in Croatia as well as finishing the trip in Lake Bled were both refreshing and awe inspiring."

Nancy

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was so surprised to see how lovely Krakow is. The biggest surprise, however, was Rab, which appeared to be a big brown island as we approached it by ferry. Amazingly, the town was a little Mediterranean paradise, which we enjoyed thoroughly."

Marc

Olalla, WA

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"too many to mention; wine tasting in Hungary,personal stories of local and main guide, Historical connections - connecting the dots."

Stephen

Hanover, PA

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything I expected and more! Our guide was fantastic, and I especially loved the itinerary he provided the first day of the tour. It made planning free time much easier. The hotels were all in great locations, the meals were great, the tours were great, everything was great!! This was my second Rick Steves tour, and I'm ready for my third!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were just so many! Every place we visited provided a "wow" moment for me. I never thought "Eastern" Europe would be so great! I grew up in the 50s and 60s hearing about how dismal the countries were in Eastern Europe. It never seemed like a place I would want to visit, but the post-Communist era has seen a re-birth. You still see remnants of the Communist era, but it is the wonderful sights, wonderful people, and wonderful experiences that rule the day! WOW!!"

Jeffrey

Longmeadow, MA

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fifth tour and I believe the best one yet. While we did not have that real iconic structure or location we've dreamed about, it was spectacular from start to finish. We also benefited from a wonderful group of travel veterans who shared their stories from many journeys. In particular we wanted to know their favorite RS trips for our future planning. The bad news is we came up with too many recommendations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday provided a WOW moment. However the most profound experience took place after our trip to Auschwitz. The chemical gassing of civilians in Syria was front page news and hotly debated on television as we started the trip. After that sobering trip through the evils of humanity we had to ask " Can this be allowed to happen again?" I changed my mind on the bus ride on to Krakow. My feelings were jarred further with our walk through the Krakow ghetto and the visit to Schindler's Factory."

Nancy

Longmeadow, MA

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed Peter as a guide. I felt we learned a great deal of information. He was able to tell us stories of his family that related past history to present. I loved the change of pace from the three big cities to the "country" second half of the tour. Rab and Lake Bled were wonderful surprises! I was very glad we had Peter to help us with the money exchanges through five countries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Things I really enjoyed but hadn't expected....our visit to Rab and being able to walk into the Adriatic Sea. The walk through the national forest to see 26 waterfalls. Eating fried sardines in a paper cup and liking them. The changing scenery on the long bus rides."

Joyce

Dawsonville, GA

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe as well as our first Rick Steves' tour. We had no real expectations and knew we were going way beyond our comfort zone. The tour exceeded anything I anticipated and I know we made the right decision to take this tour. There is no way we could have planned such a complete and comprehensive trip on our own as we wouldn't have figured out how to get to the several "back door" places and activities, or found such good hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "WOW" moments were discovering our tour-mates. I think they were all very intelligent and interesting, and we shared many things in common. It was such fun getting to know them and sharing experiences with them. Everything else about the tour was wonderful and I can't think of any specific moments that were significantly more special than others."

Linda

Ormond Beach, FL

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From start to finish this tour was a joy. Our guide, Peter, was wonderful. Our tour members were a lovely group of individuals not to mention the wonderful big cities of Prague, Krakow and Budapest to the natural areas of the Czech Republic, Croatia and Slovenia and the Hungarian countryside. We love the combination of history, leisure, hiking and all the other "back door" experiences. We will continue to sign up for Rick Steves' tours for as long as we can. Thanks so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice National Park, Rab, Lake Bled, Skojan Caves. What can I say. There were just too many great places."

Gerri

Bainbridge, WA

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had the most wonderful guide named Peter. He was always one step ahead of the game with a glorious smile and a sense of humor. He was so helpful and always had a solution to any problem that came up. I feel we learned a lot from his history lectures and stories. He made the trip a unique experience. What patience! I would love to follow him on another tour. I liked how the tour was set up with the busy cities first and the peace and quiet of the country excursions in the second half.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. I was astonished by the astronomical clock in Prague. I was moved by the wear on the marble steps from all the people who have visited the Buchenwald concentration camp's tower. I was amazed at the beauty of the parks we visited. I felt priveledged staying in the friendly and quaint hotels while watching the local action outside my window."

Deborah

Kalamazoo, MI

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After traveling to other parts of Europe, I still had an "itch" to experience Eastern Europe. This tour scratched my "itch", it taught me so much more than I thought was possible. I now feel that I have experienced all of Europe after this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I came on this tour to experience Eastern Europe during the Nazi regime and under communism. After learning about and visiting Jewish ghettos in each city, we visited Auschwitz. My "wow" moment was looking at prisoners photos lining the wall. Why did this atrocity have to happen?"

David

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Prior to our signup, I read a review that I think summed up our experience quite well. I can't locate it now, but paraphrasing: A trip beginning with an understanding of the darkest days of WW2 and communist control, then ending in the sunshine of the Croatian coast and splendor of the Julian Alps; a journey from darkness to light. Along the way, we were skillfully guided by Katka, who was simply off the chart in terms of her leadership skills and local knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"An evening of live jazz in Krakow; who knew..."

Stephen

Springfield, OR

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well thought out, inclusive of so many important sights and activities. This was our first Rick Steves tour although we have been using his guide books for at least 15 years to travel to Europe on our own. This particular journey included countries we have never visited, which made it very special. The group dynamics was very good and really exceeded our expectations and even our concerns. The hotels and meals were very satisfactory. Our tour guide was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave in Slovenia was incredible."

Angie

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. From start to finish we moved smoothly through six countries. The variety of experiences from big cities to beautiful country side was sensational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments for me. Even the street musicians and artists were worthy of wows. This tour is a must for your many clients."

Robert

Indiatlantic, FL

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was one of the most memorable and enjoyable times of our lives(of course, we have said that after each of our previous Rick Steves' Tours) . Not only do you get to see some amazing sights and learn about the history and culture of some incredibly interesting and unique places but you get to experience it with an eclectic group of fun seekers . Our group bonding including our wonderful tour guide Katka and even our bus driver Bojan was amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was the way the Eastern European cities we visited came alive at night with dramatic lighting and heightened cultural energy . It was truly inspiring see experience this in person."

Claudia

Spearfish, SD

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I expected to visit sites and cities where horrible attrocities occured. I didn't expect to have personal accounts from very talented guides make that era real for me as no college history course ever did. I expected to see famous cities of Eastern Europe in various stages of restoration after terrible destruction during two world wars. I didn't expect to develop an overwhelming admiration for countries that have rebuilt their culture and their lives.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we were leaving an organ/trumpet concert at St. Michael's cathedral in Prague, an older (80's) gentleman was sitting on a folding chair, playing a very sweet violin. Eyes closed, voice still strong and clear, he started singing a very famous aria from an opera I should remember. When he opened his eyes to slits and noticed one member of our make-shift audience mouthing the words with him. He rose to stand beside her as they finished the song. BEAUTIFUL!"

Sara Jane

Springfield, OR

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After traveling Europe for many years using RS guide books we decided the Eastern Europe trip was too complicated to do on our own. We found every aspect of the tour was expertly handled and enjoyed sharing it with a group of like minded travelers. I was amazed at how easy it could be to travel with 25 people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really think one wow moment would be like choosing a favorite child! Almost every single day had a wow moment. We saw many lovely churches and I was very impressed with the square in Krakow. It was clean and safe and the interior market was interesting."

Kenneth

Kalamazoo, MI

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first RS Tour and it was more than I expected. Hotels we comfortable, meals were delightful, guided tours were informative, bus was roomy and comfortable and our tour guide could not have been better! It really is "Europe through the back door." Hotels were close to city center, bus travels on back roads through incredible countryside and tours were done to show highlights of areas and allow you more time to explore on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour! Everyone has asked this since we returned and our answer is the same....we loved the whole experience. Prague, Krakov and Budapest were great. The biggest surprises were Rab Island and Slovenia..loved them both. But the best WOW moments were the ways Katka continually surprised us with little extras like our "potluck" on Rab Island. Thanks Katka!"

Liz

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour and it was as wonderful as the first one, which what the Best of Europe in 14 days. Beyond all the great cities and villages we visited and the amazing sites we saw, the best part of the trip was the people we traveled with, especially our guide, Katerina (Katka). Tour highlights for me included Prague, Krakow, Lake Bled and all of Croatia.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walk through the caves in Slovenia was amazing and something I'm glad I was able to experience. The visit to Auschwitz was beyond sobering but an very important site to visit out of respect for the 1.4 millions of people who lost their lives there and to ensure we never forgot what happened."

Valeri

Yuba City, CA

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a very good experience for me. It was the first "tour" I've ever been on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many of them. Architecture, churches, waterfalls, the Danube in Budapest, meaningful time at Auschwitz, locals."

David

Yuba City, CA

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose the Eastern Europe tour because we had heard about the fantastic cities but had little familiarity with the geography or history of those distant countries. Now we feel like we can recognize landmarks, understand some of the social customs, and have grown to appreciate the cultural contributions and struggles of each of these people groups. Our tour leader, Etalke was cheerful, energetic, knowledgeable and gracious. It seemed like each hotel was an upgrade from the one before it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The strongest single incident was seeing the lighted architecture of the Budapest riverfront. We also enjoyed walking around the city squares and churches. Being there with crowds was probably authentic with the gatherings at those locations throughout history."

Jackie

Irvine, CA

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour provided just about everything that was in the itinerary and "fine print"... Etelka, our guide was outstanding and organized in addition to being knowledgeable and having a very positive attiude. Her love of life and travel was definitely infectious! Our tour group consisted of people with similar values and that made the trip more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm not sure if I would call it a "wow" moment but possibly the most impactful.... and that was our visit to Auschwitz. Ever since we were children, my husband and I have mourned this dreadful time and felt that we needed to see the camps at some point in our lifetime..........so it was an extremely powerful experience and I am still trying to digest it. My husband also loved the Skocjan caves ; a very unique experience"

Esther

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first Rick Steves tour. I enjoyed the small group. But think in a larger group, there is more likely to be more single women. As a widow, it is difficult to find women who like to travel, so I often travel alone. I like your policy of sharing a room if there is another woman willing to do so. I liked the quaintness of the small family hotels, but also enjoyed the luxury of the larger upscale hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't think of any that would fit into that category. It was all very nice."

Deanna

San Jose, CA

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed seeing Eastern Europe. We were surprised how you could still see the effects of the war on the buildings ect. Our guide was great always very positive even when we had rain off and on. Everyone on our tour were friendly and we were all about the same age. This was our 3rd tour and was as wonderful as the others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My first wow moment was the night river cruise in Budapest. All the lights on the Parliament and Castle were outstanding. The concentration camps were very emotional and made you really think about what they had to endure. I still think about it and their living conditions."

Debbi

La Crosse, WI

Tour: 08/19/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Completely enjoyed our trip! Great group, great guide, great tour! Could not have been a better vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my, how to pick just one. Well I guess for me it was the day we had lunch in the tiny village of Levoca, Slovakia. The village itself was so charming and fun to explore. After lunch our tour guide, Ben, told us he had a special surprise for us. And he wasn't kidding! We drove a short distance from Levoca and there in front of us was Spis Castle! It was amazing! It is probably the most impressive castle I have ever seen. I just wish we would have had time to hike up and explore it."

Carla

Elkhorn, NE

Tour: 08/19/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved all of the different things we did on the trip; one minute we are in a large city, a winery, an island, into the mountains, on also on a lake. How wonderful it was.

Charles

Wallace, ID

Tour: 08/19/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Especially enjoyed Budapest, Hungary. The Szechenyi thermal baths, Danube river boat tour of the city night lights, the Hungarian Danube Folk Dance and traditional music ensemble performance at the Duna Palota theater, the main market place and the food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Danube river boat tour at night and seeing the lights of the city, bridges and Parliament Building."

Linda

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 08/19/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Bled - such a gorgeous and peaceful place to end our tour. I will return to Slovenia! The wow moments came from our time at the concentration camps when pictures in books from when I studied and taught the Holocause became reality. To walk in the steps of so many who were brutally punished and murdered as well as on the paths where many survivors walked was completely overwhelming. Thank you for including this in our tour."

Wendy

Durango, CO

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steve's Eastern Europe trip was terrific. The group of people was small, diverse and fascinating. Even though we knew what to expect, everyday was new and exciting. Each country had its own unique fingerprint on Europe, which Peter helped us understand. The variety of experiences allowed all of us to do a little bit of what we really wanted to do. The time off also enhanced this experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the market up in the Buda section of Budapest. There were hundreds of vendors, creating almost overwhelming cacophony of smells, sounds and sights. Crafts persons were creating an amazing variety of items including embroidery,felting, weaving, woodworking and carving, musical instrument production, folk painting, tatting, and children's crafts. At the same time musicians played on the stage backing up dancers dressed in beautiful traditional costumes."

James

Tampa, FL

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour, guide and fellow travelers were all outstanding. The cities visited in the first week of the tour were impressive. Prague was as great as advertised. We could have spent several weeks there. Auschwitz and Birkenau are painful to tour but a necessary stop and unlike anything else in the world. The local guide was perfect. Krakow was the surprise of the trip. What a jewel to visit. Feels smaller and friendlier than it's size would predict. Budapest is gorgeous. Quiet after that

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably arriving in Prague. Once the ball gets rolling there, the rest just flows in like manner."

Susan

Henderson, NV

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great,small group, lots of fun fellow travelers! Our's was a great guide, informed, smart,fun. We had alot of free time to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"krakow square at night"

Debbie

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I start telling people about it by saying that I learned so much! It was well-organized and flowed well. I valued our guides 10-point historical structure for each country as well as his "lectures' on overall themes (EU, Yugoslavia). The balance of urban and rural experiences, and especially those that tourists cannot or might not easily develop for themselves (meeting with a teacher in Hungary, winery visits, national parks, Wallachia) was terrific. Being a small group was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. I loved the karst caves in Slovenia. That was a beautiful, inspiring, fresh, restful place. The Art Nouveau church of St Francis in Krakow also touched me. Fireworks over the Danube for the national holiday. Experiencing Wallachia, including the great meal and dancer/singers. My husband carried me up those 99 steps to the church on Lake Bled's Island in honor of our 30th anniversary!"

Donna

Houston, TX

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

leader was excellent, as was the itinerary. the group coalesced nicely, partly in response to self-selection through the company's standards.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Bled was just beautiful."

Joan

Milton, MA

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guide was terrific both in personality and knowledge. I am a high school history teacher and i was thrilled with university quality background that he gave us both on& off the bus. I thought the pace of the trip was perfect, well-thought out w urban and countryside experiences. The stops on the bus rides were timely and again well-paced. The hotels were very nice and loved that they were in the heart of the cities or in charming mountain areas. My fellow tour members were interesting, nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Budapest on Aug 20 national holiday-the Chain Bridge packed w festive folks, the Castle area w outdoor markets, free museum entrance and the fireworks over the Danube at night."

Ted

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour lived up to our expectations. Having used Rick's books before, we got the same "back-door" experience, but with the hotels and transportation all arranged for us. Having a knowledgable, prepared guide improved our appreciation for what we saw, and the amenable fellow travelers ("Stevedores") made the outing enjoyable. The tour struck the right balance between urban/rural, planned/free time, learning/relaxing, and group/individual experiences. We will be enthusiastic repeat travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I carried my wife up the 99 stairs to the church on the island of Lake Bled, Slovenia, to the surprise and amazement of the group, the guide, my wife, and--most of all--myself (age 58). The baths in Budapest astounded us."

David

Breslau, ON

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I didn't know what to expect for our first Rick Steve's tour and she was seriously worried that I would violate the 'No Grumps' policy. The tour was fantastic and didn't give me anything to be grumpy about; Our guide was great, we couldn't have been with nicer travelers, each country offered various surprises and treasures, food was better than I expected and the hotels were charming. The focus on public transportation was a great idea and very useful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the dinner at Pustenvy, Czech Republic combined with the folk entertainment. The ambiance was so unlike anything back home and we had a wonderful, memorable evening."

Edward

Regina, SK

Tour: 07/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We just had a great time. Excellent tour. Would do it again in a heart beat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments! Budapest was beautiful. Evening river cruise on Danube was wonderful. Meals were absolutely great, well planned! Accommodation was also great."

Ron

Novato, CA

Tour: 07/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 3rd RS tour and we enjoyed them all but this was the best overall experience for me because of the huge variety of experiences from big cities, to state parks, wineries, the beach, and the historic experiences related to the horrors of WWII. It has to be a challenge to keep 25 adults interested and entertained for 16 days together. Both the tour design and Ben's leadership accomplished this admirably.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice National Park was astonishing. Geologically unique and beautiful. Ben did a good job of getting us to the hike early but the crowds we still overwhelming at the end."

Barbara

Regina, SK

Tour: 07/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved it all. I really like how most days had a group time where we were toured the highlights and were educated so well, but then there was free time to personally explore the areas of special interest. The guides were great to answer questions and point us in the right direction. So much less time was wasted on figuring out where we were going and what we should do. I know we saw way more than we ever could have on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow moments to name one. Prague, Krakow, Eger, Budapest, Plitvice, Rab, Lake Bled - I loved each place for its history and uniqueness and what it had to offer - the combination of city and nature was nicely balanced. As a teacher, I loved the visit to the school in Hungary - another connection with local people and a nice touch that wouldn't have happened if we were on our own."

Susan

Vacaville, CA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been on two previous unique Rick Steves' Tours, Best Europe, and Spain/Portugal. Eastern Europe was an emotional tour because the people there have lived through so many tragic and difficult events. The tour was well organized to include beautiful cathedrals, squares, and nature. I feel that each local guide gave us a good history and feel for each country, but it was sometimes hard to enjoy the scenery when you remembered what the people have been through, especially recently.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As the bus went by the dark blue Adriatic Sea with the white, limestone hills rising from it, I remember putting my camera close to the window many times to capture this majestic scenery on film! I remember saying, Wow! over and over as we rounded each corner to bring us to the ferry that would take us to The Island of Rab. It was truly something I had never seen before."

Curtis

Vacaville, CA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I totally enjoyed our experience. I thought the trip had a nice balance of on your own and guided.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having lunch with the teacher and the wine "tasting""

Dave

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every single aspect of the trip either met or exceeded expectations. It was a masterfully arranged blend of three large metropolitan areas, several exquisite "back door" experiences, and a couple of leisurely "down" days that allowed for relaxation and recovery. This trip far surpassed our last Rick Steves' tour, which we thought impossible, but such was the reality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a teacher who leads a seminar on comparative genocide, it would have to be the first moments at Birkenau, for it took a first-hand look to appreciate the scope of the facility, the reality of the ovens and tracks, and the lingering sense of loss and pain. While there were many "wow" moments, all of them far more enjoyable than this, Auschwitz remains the singularly most important moment of this trip."

Sarah

Redmond, WA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a lot of walking, learning, talking, and experiencing. As this was my first Rick Steve's tour, I did not know what to expect. Personally, I enjoy traveling to areas on my own accord, but with no knowledge of language or culture, going with a tour group to Eastern Europe was wonderful. The Island of Rab was truly the only 'pure' vacation time; laying in the sun and swimming in the Adriatic Ocean. The rest felt like a wonderful school field trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz-Birkenau was absolutely the most stunning part of this entire tour [INVALID] I don't need (nor want) to go into deep detail, but walking along the railroad tracks and meandering through the living quarters broke my heart. Yet, it made my entire trip worth it ten times over."

Linda

Mesquite, NV

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It was a great introduction to Eastern Europe. Our guide was amazing and did an outstanding job of informing us, entertaining us and orienting us. My only complaint is that some of the hotels were not as comfortable as I would have chosen on my own. Lack of internet was an issue in several places. The photographer, Dominic, was a great addition to the tour group. He was engaging and easy to work with and be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Bled was my favorite "wow" moment. The mountains were spectacular and I love the lake. The 4 mile walk around the lake is a must for every visitor."

Kathy

Richmond, VA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great mix of history, education and fun! I just wish I brought something for motion sickness for the bus rides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had too many to mention."

Jennifer

Redmond, WA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was well balanced between historical, cultural and social aspects. Our tour guide was probably the reason this balance was so well maintained. His perspective, attitude and gentle humor were an added bonus to the experiences I had while traveling through this part of the world. The travel was seamless, hotels were good and our travel companions, most of whom were "Rick Steve junkies", were delightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz-Birkenau had an incredible impact on my daughter and I. While this phenomenal memorial/museum is an opportunity to bear witness to the dark side of the human condition, it felt so important to stand on those grounds and hope for a different future. Not to be shied away from and certainly fueled deeper thought into the complexities of history and human behavior."

Barbara

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous trip because of a fabulous guide. He made the 2,200 km bus ride from Prague to Lake Bled whiz by with his excellent lectures, historical details and personal experiences. And the 24 member group was just the right size and just the right people. I didn't want the trip to end. Thanks so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite Wow moment was just past sunset on the island of Rab in Croatia walking along the deserted boardwalk on the opposite site of the island. The moon was full and the Adriatic Sea was shimmering and the cathedral was outlined in the sky. Perfect moment all around."

Jose

Ocala, FL

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I was well aware or the tour schedule, tour philosophy so had a good idea of what to expect. My expectations were high and they were fulfill. Group was good and we had an excellent guide who was reasonable, funny while very proper, and strict with hours while accommodating. The accommodations were better that expected and the group meals were good with good variability and sampling of the locals cuisines. The guides were all informative and very good and peter complemented then well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Budapest was better than I expected. The tour organization/schedule was great in many aspect but particullary covering lots of history and culture in the first part of the trip but then having having the last few days with more focus on natural wonders allowing latter on the trip more time for "mental "relaxation ."

Marie

San Diego, CA

Tour: 07/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely wonderful. The tour itself and the tour group and guides made it wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While at the Kohary winery we celebrated the anniversary of one of our couples. Watching them dance to the music was very touching. It was obvious that they have enjoyed each other's company throughout the years and were doing so on this trip. What a nice way to celebrate your 40th wedding anniversary. Also, the school visitation was memorable. Listening to the local teacher answer questions from our group, particularly the teachers in our group, was so informative."

Dale

Irvine, CA

Tour: 07/01/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Great leaders, great group, superior bus driver!! Two long (long) days on the bus = ugh! More strenuous that I was lead to believe. Great leaders & group. Superior bus driver! Much more strenuous than I anticipated. Two long (very long) days on the bus = ugh

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The quality of the group!"

Marijane

South Salem, NY

Tour: 07/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a perfect combination of history, both distant and not so distant, and current events that opened my eyes to a part of the world of which I was largely ignorant. It engaged me in a way I didn't expect: sure the places we visited were beautiful and memorable, but I am still thinking about what happened there and what formed the current countries and the people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick a favorite: underground history museum in Krakow because it was so well done, Schlinder factory because it made me angry, boat ride on the Danube because it was so beautiful, view of an ancient town's layout from a chuch tower in Rab."

Betsy

Saratoga, CA

Tour: 06/27/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Eastern European tour was for me a huge educational experience which included the beauty of countrysides and magnificent cities along with the bleak and horrific sites left by the Nazi and Soviet occupations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hike through the Plitvice National Park was so beautiful and amazing. Photographs could not begin to capture the wonder of this park. Krakow was a lovely discovery. Budapest amazing. The Moravian Folk troupe so much fun. Lake Bled a beautiful spot to end our tour."

Pam

St Peters, MO

Tour: 06/27/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Rick Steve Tourst are the best. This was my 4th. Not sure if it is my last....I am always totally exhausted when I get home. But I always when asked say, well maybe one more time. I just need to find a better experience at getting to and from destination cities, etc. The most frustrating parts are the airport experiences. Once we get to our first hotel, things pretty much go as planned, but oh before...... not Rick Steve's problem. It is true, traveling in an experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Budapet at night on the river cruise. Takes your breath away. The folk dancers. They just loved what they were doing, and the fun was contagious. Also liked the Wine Cellar Tour."

Alex

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 06/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a fantastic experience traveling in Eastern Europe. The itinerary did a great job of mixing big cities with natural beauty which paced the trip just right to get the most out of each stop. I appreciate Rick Steves' attention to detail. Never a dull lunch stop or bathroom break! This was my second tour with Rick Steves and it matched if not exceeded the first one which I didn't think was possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My first wow moment was sitting in the front row of the elegant Budapest opera house enjoying a top-rate opera performance at a great price. My second wow moment was the evening river cruise on the Danube River in Budapest marveling at the city lights. My third wow moment was hiking in Bled Slovenia on a hidden path that our guide recommended to a breaktaking view of Lake Bled and the Julian Alps with no one else around! Thanks to our guide. Plitvice Park also deserves a wow!"

Ken

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt the tour itinerary was well planned; the tour leader was well informed AND knew how to organize a tour with 23 people. She had a very warm and receptive personality and applied the communications adhesive that helped our group bond together quickly. I still have contacts with group members and plan to visit them in different parts of the country. The bus driver did a great job making us feel safe and accepted on his bus. The tour leader did an excellent job of including him.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The park in Croatia was breathtaking. Praguea, Krakow, Budapest were inspiring; the island of Rab and Lake Bled were serene and beautiful. The visit to the school in Hungary was very interesting and different to do on a tour. This part of the world was all new to me and the tour left me feeling informed and appreciative of the leaders."

Susan

Centennial, CO

Tour: 06/17/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experience. Great group of travelers. Trip unfolded as advertised and more. Nicely paced. Nice blend of cities, small towns, and countryside. George was an exceptional guide [INVALID] talented at "taking care of us," providing factual information, and offering his keen insight into the cultural content of what we were seeing. This last quality made the whole trip very special for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow during the Summer Solstice celebration Dancing with the Moravian dancers Exploring the caves Jewish Quarter in Prague (Anna was terrific) The baths, cruise, and nightlife in Budapest The beauty of Slovenia Convention with fellow travelers"

Weather

Czech Republic / Prague


Poland / Kraków

Kraków Weather


Hungary / Budapest


Croatia / Split


Slovenia / Ljubljana

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Prague before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Eastern Europe guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Czech (although many locals speak English well), and get over your jet lag with fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Prague that we will not be doing as a group (see your guidebook for details): Explore the Josefov Jewish Quarter and Museums, Mucha Museum, Museum of Medieval Art, Havelská Market, National Museum, Toy and Barbie Museum, boating on the Vltava River.

Transportation

Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). Prague has become a transportation hub, making additional travel before your tour quite easy. The most direct route is to purchase a flight into Prague and out of Ljubljana (the closest airport to Lake Bled). You may want to consider flying in or out of Munich, Vienna, Venice, Budapest or Zagreb and then taking a train to or from your tour. The most convenient train connections from Bled leave from the Lesce-Bled station in the town of Lesce about 4 km from Bled. Ljubljana, Salzburg, Munich, Vienna, Venice or Zagreb are all reachable by train with multiple daily departures.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

For information about traveling by train, read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a railpass.

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Czech RepublicPolandHungaryCroatia, and Slovenia: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Packing

While it is important to pack light, there are a few items we'd like you to consider including when packing for this tour. There are some great opportunities for hikes on this tour (weather permitting). While hiking boots are not necessary, we recommend you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction. Also, if you are planning on taking a dip in the Adriatic Sea, you may wish to pack a swimsuit and perhaps a lightweight microfiber towel. Lastly, bring a small flashlight – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to use it.

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.