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

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

Elizabeth

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 09/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great tour - from the tour leader to the bus driver, to all the other tour members. 1st tour, so we were nervous, but it was wonderful. Peter was excellent, knowledgeable and always ready to help. Interesting countries, from behind the Iron Curtain, with years of history that we learned about. Bus was large, clean and comfortable. Hotels were a pleasant surprise in their quality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rovinj - such a welcome respite from traveling almost every day - just a wonderful time for R & R. The weather was great and we had no idea that the Adriatic would be so beautiful. The hotel was tops, and it just gave us a needed break from the road. That said, the ancient cities we visited were amazing too. So much history that we knew nothing about before the trip. Hard to pick just one that was a favorite - they were all so interesting."

Maxine

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour and first time we've traveled to Eastern Europe. Being world travelers and taking one big trip per year, either on our own or with a tour group, we always love the camaraderie with the groups and this one was no exception. There were definitely no "grumps", but just wonderful companions! The itinerary was just right and the amount of free time given us perfect. I especially liked the combination of seeing "big cities" and countrysides/national parks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but seeing the Skocijan Caves in Slovenia was quite something. I had visited caves before but this one is amazing and is the largest underground cavern in the world! People with a severe fear of heights might pass it up, though! Another "wow" was seeing the Plitvice Lakes National Park and waterfalls in Croatia, a beautiful respite from all the historical sites. The "hike" was actually a pleasant, easy walk. Due to the recent floods, some of the boardwalks weren't passable."

Jeffrey

Brinnon, WA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I have been a loyal Rick Steves traveler for nearly 20 years, following advice for itineraries, lodging, etc. in detail. I used to be his kids' pediatrician. This was the first tour I have taken however. My only concern was my age (72)as most other tour members were late 50's and 60;s. The distances walked were not a problem but the pace was. I can walk forever at my own pace but found the constant speed walking, then standing to catch our breath a problem. Guides were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the whole city of Krakow, and the lovely villages at Rovinj and Bled."

Beverley

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First and foremost our guides were the best in the world! George Farkas and Saso Golub are bright, intelligent, witty, wonderful, kind and thoughtful. They knew their history and were very informative. We really got a feel of the countries we visited. Eastern Europe was more than I expected. It is beautiful beyond words, the people are interesting and the towns are charming. This trip was everything I expected out of a Rick Steves' tour and more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was a "wow" moment, however, turning a corner on our walking tour of Budapest and seeing the Parliament building."

Mary

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing! I learned so much about the the history and culture of the countries we visited. The tour was a good mix of city and rural/seaside. George and Saso are both amazing guides and it was a bonus to have 2 guides, from different countries to talk about their culture and recent history. Everything on this tour was so well planned. I felt like I was able to make the most of every minute. And there was a good balance between group activities and time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip was full of "wow!" moments. Walking along the Danube after dark was magical, and hiking through Pletvice National Park was an experience I'll always remember."

Peggy

Reston, VA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The activities and organizational aspects of the tour were all very good but I was most impressed by the quality of the educational and cultural experience. I learned so much about the history, the geography and the people of a region of the world that was hidden behind the blackness that was the "iron curtain" for so many of my growing up years. The guides were all local, knowledgeable and willing to share personal experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many Wow moments. I had anticipated the beauty of Prague but Krawkow, Budapest and the Adriatic were a wonderful surprise. the caves, I could have done without - this was really pushing the envelope for a 60ish group but otherwise really enjoyed the opportunity for outdoor hikes or local visits to vineyards, picnics, etc."

Susan

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was so interesting, stimulating, and easy because we were coached throughout the experience about the countries we visited and how to navigate on our own as well. It was SOO very helpful to have all-day passes provided for the metros and trams so we could easily explore cities on our own. Nice balance between cities and countryside - very much appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moment was the unbelievable scenery at Lake Bled, Slovenia. We had the opportunity to explore the area on our own, including time to rent a car and drive the beautiful road to see the Julian Alps, as well as to walk around the lake. It was an enchanting ending to the 16 day trip."

Judy

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George and Sasho were wonderful guides. The rhythm of the trip[INVALID]-walking and riding the bus[INVALID]-and then the vacation from the vacation was perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The salt mine in Krakow and the school in Hungary. Both were events that I would not have seen if touring myself."

Nora

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Your organization is so lucky to have George and Saso, as well as all the individual special guides we had on this trip!! The personal experiences they related, in answering our questions to further understand many situations was outstanding and lead to a more comprehensive history of all of Eastern Europe. To think that there was this great "hole" called Yugoslavia when we learned about it in school and to now comprehend what that was, and why, and the differences now was phenomenal. Thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The school visit to speak English with the middle school students The vacation from vacation in ...augh, I can't find the name of the island in Croatia.... The concerts in the churches!"

Marvin

Eagan, MN

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George, our guide, was fabulous! His information and stories while on the bus helped make that time productive. Finally, I understand why some wish the old Communist regime would come back. Each of the local guides and also Saso, the assistant guide, did a great job covering their areas of expertise. There wasn't a bad tour the whole trip. I can't forget the wonderful job Mitch did driving the bus safely the whole trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments so it is hard to single out just one. I think the time in Krakow was a huge surprise. I did not expect the city center to be that fabulous, and our hotel was merely a couple minutes walk to the main square. Dinner on the square, horse drawn carriages clip clopping by and music playing made for wonderful evenings. I completely lost track of what day it was."

Jay

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George was fantastic. Besides the usual historical, cultural, and political insights, he constantly thought of ways to make the experience more special for each of us. The local guides were superb, and added personal anecdotes that brought their stories to life. Mitch, the driver, was a virtuoso; allowing us to read or converse without giving a thought to the task of driving. The countries themselves were fascinating, and the range of experiences was perfect. Outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow at night! Rovinj from our balcony! Budapest parliament at night! Too many."

Aryn

Burlingame, CA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

On this trip I wanted to see much of eastern europe. I did! What I did not expect to receive is an understanding of what was happening under the iron curtain all of those years. They really enlightened my mind and my eyes on all that happened in Eastern Europe. Although it was fast and there was so much to do, I felt like I was able to see it all and go on my own when ever I wanted. The structure was city to nature to city to nature to relaxing. Just great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments on this trip. Among the nature wow moment was the trip to the caves in croatia, the tallest and craziest caves I may ever see, and seeing the waterfalls in a croatian national park. Budepest and its metro, city, and buildings was also another wow moment for me."

Linda

Sequim, WA

Tour: 08/21/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I enjoyed the tour very much. I learned so much about a part of Europe that I had not visited before - about the history and people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice was totally unexpected in its awe inspiring beauty - even in the rain!"

Jack

Sussex, NJ

Tour: 08/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was well organized. Enjoyed all of the areas visited. Felt tour gave a good overview of Eastern Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Skocjan caves."

Mary

Sussex, NJ

Tour: 08/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great as always.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice National Forest was beautiful even in the pouring rain."

Walter

Appleton, WI

Tour: 08/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the experience. For my wife and I it was the exactly the right type of travel. We have taken a tour with another company which was not a good experience. We found this to be the perfect mix of history, activity, and culture for our tasts.The others on the tour had a simmilar nature to us, and we really bonded. I think we made some life long friends. All in all an excellent experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have purposly waited to fill out this evaluation so the scenery could settle a bit and I could put the trip in perspective. I think the wow moment came when I got to know my fellow travelers and guide. I'll ember them longer than some of the scenery. I suspect this is not the intent of the question however. As far as cities go I liked Krakow the best. I really enjoyed the folk dancers we saw in Pustevny. But the best scenery was by far Plitvice. Absolutely magnificent ."

James

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 08/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great balanced tour with large cities, Krakow, Budapest, small towns Eger, Bled, etc.and natural wonders: Plitvice National Park, the caves in Croatia,etc.!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That would be walking through Plitvice national Park with all its waterfalls nd other things."

Russell

Waxahachie, TX

Tour: 08/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having been on (5) other Rick Steve's tours, my wife and I were looking forward to another wonderful tour. We were not disappointed. Our tour guide Peter was born to be a guide. The itinerary was great. One day we were in the mountains and the next on an island near the coast. The major cities we visited were full of sights to see. The food we ate together as a group was memorable. A taste of local cuisine at a gourmet level. Looking forward to next year's adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The (4) main memorable places we visited were: - Krakow - Budapest - Plitvice (Waterfalls) - Rovinj (Islands) Prague is amazing too. We visited it last year also. Bled was a close runner up. I would like to do this tour again someday."

Ralph

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fascinating trip to a part of the world that I grew up thinking I would never see. As a westerner who grew up knowing that there was a "different world" behind the Iron Curtain I had many preconceived ideas about this part of Europe. Although much has changed since the fall of Communism, my preconceptions were still very much in place. I rapidly updated my concept of this part of Europe. I no longer consider it to be Eastern Europe. It is the "Heart of Europe".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The overall effect of hearing and seeing the how this area dealt with Communism and is now living with a Capitalistic type system. I was stunned by the beauty of the countryside and the high quality of the highway system. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of many old buildings. In Budapest my wife and I spent two lovely hours eating lunch and sipping coffee/dessert in a Café complete with frescoed ceilings and a pianist who played classic American Jazz. It was divine."

Philip

Maple Valley, WA

Tour: 08/18/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is our second tour with Rick Steves and never imagined that it could have been better than the first, but it was. Your team was professional, helpful, always smiling and patient with the numerous questions they've probably answered a hunderd times. Thank you Rick Steves for the ease at which you opperate the tour and the care free experience it provides for the traveler. I will be back again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow Poland, who would have thought that Krakow would have been the delight it turned out to be. Quite honestly when we booked the tour we thought it was just a stop along the way to get us to Budapest, my wife and I couldn't have been more wrong. The entire experience there was a memory maker, from the old city square, culture, food, Chopan concert, to just the friendly natured and appreciative Poles. And the hotel location, who could have wanted more, Krakow was simply awesome."

Walter

Annandale, VA

Tour: 08/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful balance of old-world cities and off-the-path villages and natural places. The tour quickly dispelled many unfounded preconceptions I had formed of what to expect in the countries once behind the Iron Curtain. Very educational and invigorating. A 'must do' for anyone with a sense of history and desire to experience a grand variety of culture, beauty, and inspiration.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were overwhelmed with the vast, easily accessible classical musical events offered virtually every day in Prague, Krakow, and Budapest. Most notable was in Krakow, Poland, where we attended a classical performance at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. While waiting outside, we were delightfully graced by the stunning voice of a lone woman singing heavenly operatic pieces to passers-by for whatever coins they would spare. She so belonged inside performing for a most appreciative audience."

Nicole

Providence Village, TX

Tour: 07/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour showed us what evil people are capable of, the resilience of the human spirit and what we must learn from history. I can honestly say that this tour changed my perspectives on so many things. I was astounded by the beauty of the Czech Republic, sorrowful at Auschwitz, incredibly proud of the Polish people and amazed by the Hungarians as they pick up the pieces from the fall of Communism. Croatia and Slovenia taught me about the complex social issues of the Slavic People. AMAZING!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a whole, the history of the region was a "WOW" moment. I honestly believed I knew some history, but the entire trip I learned more and more that I had never known. I came home researching and continue to learn about the region. This tour changed my perspective on so many things, and I am eternally grateful for the oppurtunity to see these amazing countries."

Delores

Fowler, CA

Tour: 07/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was excellent. Each city we visited included an informative preview as we traveled by bus and each tour gave us great insight to the history of the country. We certainly did our share of walking, but all of us survived well. The contrast of city and country sights was also a special part of the tour. I would highly recommend this tour to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was coastal Croatia. Staying on the island at the hotel, enjoying the view across the water was great. Even the sudden storm that caused a change of dinner plans was a memory making experience. There were many wow moments on this trip including Auschwitz - Birkenau, leaving an impression that will remain in my mind forever. The guide, Thomas, shared from his heart as he led us through the tragedies of this event."

Ruth

Olympia, WA

Tour: 07/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful experience on this tour. The history was fascinating, the architecture of the cities outstanding, and the beauty of the countryside blew me away. Our guide, Katka, took excellent care of us and provided us with a lot of fun. Our group members were committed to the "no whining" pledge and turned any mishap into fodder for a great story and adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from -Prague was my favorite city and I think Plitvice National Park was my favorite scenic wonder. In both places I walked around with my eyes stretched wide open and had to keep reminding myself to close my mouth, which was tempted to fall open in awe. Another "wow" moment - our guide at Auschwitz was outstanding! His ability to communicate the horror of that place without being melodramatic and tell the story as if it was the first time he was speaking of it was outstanding."

Richard

Fowler, CA

Tour: 07/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was more than I expected and I attribute that outcome largely to the efforts of our guide, Katkah.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Slovenia was certainly a high point for me in view of the fact that both my mother and father's parents immigrated from Slovenia in the early 1900's. One specific high point was the Skocjan Caves and the wine tasting afterwards. As a retired science teacher I was not only impressed but awestruck by the total experience. The warmth and friendliness of the folks putting on the wine tasting was also a very memorable time. We had some fun sharing when I told them my Slovenian name."

Kelli

Vestal, NY

Tour: 07/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Eastern Europe tour changed my life. So many of my "Cold War" conceptions of how were blown up during these sixteen days. Eastern Europe was a beautiful vibrant place that I plan to visit again someday.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow!"

Rich

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 07/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was excellent in three big ways: great guide, really fun group, and an interesting, beautiful part of Europe to explore. All surpassed our expectations. Our family had a wonderful time on this trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The WOW wasn't just a moment [INVALID] it was traveling with a special bunch of tour members who really enjoyed doing things together. There was lots of laughter during meals and people happily spending their free time with one another. No cliques, no grumps. The friendly tone set by our guide helped spark this camaraderie as well. We've been on several Rick Steves tours [INVALID] all with great guides and groups [INVALID] but this gang was exceptional."

Peter

Bethesda, MD

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful trip. It was full of history, nature, architecture, art, music, and even dancing. We were part of a well traveled cohesive group of people and led by the most fabulous guide on earth - George.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat ride on the Danube in Budapest was awesome."

Susan

Atherton, CA

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

excellant

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was going to Krakow, Poland and visiting a little museum above the town square. There are only three rooms not very large but breathtaking. I was ably to stand and inhale the brushstrokes of the polish artist. This was the moment!"

Maxwell

Atherton, CA

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful experience! This tour exploded some of my mis-conceptions about eastern Europe. The group was great and George, our leader, was truly outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several 'wow' moments. The two best were: Krakow and Plitvice Lakes National Park. Both just blew me away."

Mary

Beaufort, SC

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were extremely pleased with all aspects of this tour. The pre-tour prep was solid. And our guide George was exceptional! We enjoyed our traveling companions, the talks by George as we traveled, and our driver's contribution too. The sights and experiences were wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name!"

John

Beaufort, SC

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well planned with many interesting places to see and activities do and ran smoothly. The variety was refreshing. The local guides seemed well chosen. Our tour leader interacted well with the group and with each individual. The talks he gave on the bus brought life to the importance and history of what we were seeing. He also gave information on what was available for our free time and how to use the public transportation to get there. Even our bus driver was excellent+informative.

Daniel

Bothell, WA

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an incredible variety, from large, historically important cities (Prague, Krakow, Budapest), to educational experiences (Auschwitz-Birkenau) to the incredible natural scenery (Pitivice National Park, Skocjan Caves, Lake Bled). The bus driver, Bojan, was professional, experienced and personable, our guide George was amazing, and ALL of the tour members interacted extremely well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's very difficult picking one particular "wow" moment. However, here is one that stands out: SKOCJAN CAVES (Slovenia). The sheer immensity and volume of the main cave is simply awe-inspiring and impossible to appreciate unless one has been there. Added to that is the huge canyon below, through which the raging river flows. The walk across the bridge on the far end was amazing, with the river directly below."

Linda

Redmond, WA

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a fabulous trip! We were a little nervous since this was our first long tour but everything exceeded our expections. The intinerary was excellent with a good mix between city and smaller locations plus plenty of free time. George, our guide, was amazing. He often went the extra mile with his recommendations and helping us arrange extra activities. Boyan, our driver, was always professional and drove very safely. The trip logistics/arrangements were flawless-everything went as promised.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many including Plitvice Lakes National Park, evening cruise on the Danube, visit to the winery, Rovinj, etc."

Carey

Pacific Palisades, CA

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very helpful to have all the logistics managed for you: bus and driver, hotels, metros, tour sites, restaurants, special events etc. Our group interacted well- we had "no grumps" and it was a pleasure to get to know the people on our tour. Fascinating corner of Europe with interesting people, cultures, history & cuisine. We packed a lot into every day with 3-4 hour walking civic tours. Good balance between structured events and open time in the afternoon to explore on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Near Eger, Hungary - we visited Kohary Winery set in a beautiful countryside, tasted their savory vinos while "Toni" serenaded us with his virtuoso violin melodies. Everything was right with the world in that timeless setting. Fun to dance afterwards and the winemaker gave us a tour of his press & cellars with barrel samples."

Kris

San Lorenzo, CA

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best way to see Eastern Europe. perfect combination of culture, history and natural beauty . ready to go again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow"

Dennis

San Lorenzo, CA

Tour: 06/30/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well informed and easily understandable guides; George Farkas was energetic, always upbeat,and very knowledgeable. The cities were great, loved the tours, and George gave us plenty of suggestions for our free time. The bus was also very comfortable. The stop in Rovinj was so nice that I would rather have had one more day there. Aall in all, a great tour and experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole city of Krakow."

Robin

Fresno, CA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time in Eastern Europe. There was a wonderful balance of education and relaxing. Etelka did a great job of helping us understand what Eastern Europe was like during communism and under their current state. We learned about the countries and cities, but also took time to relax.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed Plitvice Lakes National Park. It was a beautiful park and I enjoyed going on the hike. There was a waterfall around every corner. It was just the right kind of hike, not to hard or too easy."

Dennis

Normandy Park, WA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great tour (our 7th) Enjoyed having a smaller group (19).Guide was excellent as usual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice Nat'l Park"

Sue

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall it was a fantastic trip. From big city Prague to national park and then to the sea. A great trip with a lot of scenic views and everything from castles, caves to bribing the passport officers!! Oh, yes we did:) I will say a couple of the guides were long winded and on hot days that was not fun! ( Budapest guide)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the walk thru Plitvice, I could do it everyday! We hit it perfectly, going thru backwards, no crowds, the place to ourselves! I took so many photos."

Betty

Montesano, WA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour more than met my expectations. I wasn't sure what it would be like to share such close surroundings with a bunch of strangers [INVALID] but they were great and it was fun to bump into them when we were off touring on our own. Our guide, Etelka, was a highlight of the trip. Her stories of growing up under communism were fascinating, her enthusiasm for life and her genuine interest that each person had a memorable trip was a breath of fresh air!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I spent my birthday in Rovinj, Croatia and Etelka, Kristen, Dana, Julia and Mira sang Happy Birthday to me in Hungarian. I loved it all - The Golden Lane in Prague castle; Toni the Hungarian Gypsy violinist; Bath's in Budapest for my aching bones; Mitch our bus driver, etc."

Judy

Normandy Park, WA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour, great guide, good driver, good tour members. A rich variety of sights and experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but the night boat trip in Budapest was beautiful."

Jeffrey

Kelowna, BC

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Despite traveling extensively, I had never been on an organized tour before. I had always thought organized tours were for "old" people who, for various reasons, were unable or too scared to venture out on their own. I was certainly wrong! The tour was a perfect mix of "organized" and "do it yourself" really! It would have taken me hours and hours to plan this trip on my own. The experience would never have been as rich as it was, what with the excellent local guides and focused sight-seeing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My children were collecting T-shirts from each of the countries on our tour. While waiting for a late ferry to the island with our hotel, we were discussing the T-shirt situation (we didn't yet have one for Croatia and we were leaving for Slovenia early the next morning). Our guide, Etelka, reported that she "knew of a store not far from the boat" and she would take the kids quickly a buy a T-shirt in the 10 minutes before the ferry was to depart. She ran with my children to buy T-shirts! Wow!!"

Debra

Kelowna, BC

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the combination of city and country-side stops. Loved the combination of free time and group tour time. Loved the city specific tour guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wine tasting in Hungary"

Kristen

Montesano, WA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I LOVED my tour through Eastern Europe! This was my first tour, and I would recommend it anyone without a doubt! Our guide, Etelka, warmly welcomed us from day one and continued to entertain us throughout the entire trip with great stories and smiles. I also had fun getting to meet new friends within our tour group. As for the tour, I enjoyed seeing the old architecture, bustling cities, quiet countrysides, and the chocolate & gelato! If you're deciding, you should go on this tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Szechenyi Baths! The warm water and gorgeous architecture of this place was amazing! I wish I were soaking in that inviting, warm water right now! I will also say that swimming in the Adriatic Sea in Rovinj, Croatia and in Lake Bled, Slovenia was a lot of fun also!"

Marie

Seaside, OR

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour had a near perfect balance of old and new, large and small, group and individual, bus and walking, coming and going, history and present, cities and nature. I simply cannot imagine trying to do this kind of tour without the framework of a group - and specificallty without the overall philosophy that is deeply embedded in all Rick Steves Tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The time we spent in Auschwitz will forever be etched in my mind."

Lee

Fresno, CA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my 4th tour & Etelka was by far my favorite guide. She was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rovinya was so fun & beautiful. Didn't miss Rab island at all."

Rebecca

Davis, CA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour and our guide, Eltelka, was a big reason for it. I always enjoy learning about history, art, culture etc but hearing her personal stories (and those of the other guides) really brought it to life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't have a single moment. I enjoyed my first morning walk in Prague through the Old Town Square and onto the Charles Bridge. Going to the opera in the Estates theater was special too. Visiting Auschwitz was profound< I will be thinking about it for a while. I loved Krakow, but the highlight was hearing classical music played by the Krakow Chamber Orchestra in the St. Peter and Paul Church. Budapest was amazing too.The baths and the evening cruise were hits! These are just a few "wow" moments"

Cathy

Lakewood, CA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great experience. Peter was a perfect guide and went above and beyond to care for all of us. Our group was small, but not too small. Our bus was comfortable and we could spread out. Our hotels were comfortable and similar to what we are accustom to when traveling on our own. There was plenty of variety in our activities, and we had just the right amount of time on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Luckily, Peter was traveling to Vienna after the tour as were five of us. Our trip was interrupted because of a late train and without his help, it could have been very unpleasant. He stayed with us the entire way right up to helping us get our tickets when we arrived at the Vienna Metro. I couldn't have been more impressed with his actions."

Ann

Yakima, WA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an absolutely incredible tour! I felt that the itinerary was planned out very well- it combined and alternated big cities wth smaller towns in such a way that we were able to explore a variety of places without getting overwhelmed. This tour combined popular big city experiences with small town local experiences. I think this tour did a great job of showing us the must-do's as well as letting us experience and see the local life.

Margaret

Olympia, WA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As an 80 year old, who has had the good fortune to travel extensively, I decided to take two of my granddaughters aged 15 and 25 along. This trip proved to be the trip of a lifetime for all of us. Peter left no questions unanswered whether historical, political, cultural or just simply changing money - dealing with 5 different currencies was a concern for me as well as many different languages. Not for Peter. He made everything informative, fun and easy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was very well planned all the way and with many highlights. At the end of the trip we couldn't wait to swim in the Adriatic in beautiful Rovinj."

Stewart

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a fantastic trip! The tour exceeded our expectations. We had a wonderful guide and an outstanding tour group we could not have asked for a better group of traveling partners. We wanted to learn about the history, people, and culture of the Heart of Europe, enjoy the food, take in the scenery, experience the sights, and just soak in all of the places that were new to us. We enjoyed so many of the places we visited, it will be hard to decide which ones we want to visit again in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Among my favorite wow moments was the spectacular midsummer fireworks show in Krakow. It takes place on the shortest night of the year, and just happened to correspond to one of our nights in Krakow. The fireworks show included laser lights and music and was set up along a quarter mile of the Vistula River-- one of the best fireworks shows I have ever seen. Other wow moments include Plitvice National Park, seeing Auschwitz, swimming in the Adriatic, and soaking in the baths in Budapest."

Nohora

West Palm Beach, FL

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent trip. Well organized and the guide Peter was professional, kind and knowledgeable. All of the tour members were courteous, capable and amicable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the entire trip. It exceeded my expectations"

Ralph

Simsbury, CT

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Peter, our guide, was terrific. Lots of detail, great with questions. Always looking out for us. Took initiative at very turn. Involved himself with us thoroughly. Our fellow travelers were wonderful. Thoughtful, intelligent, energetic, lighthearted, inquisitive, sociable. All of it! Trip sites wonderful. Varied. Much natural, cultural, historic beauty. Great mix of free time and group visits. Couldn't ask for more. Thank you, one and all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow! Hard to choose here. Really, it don't think I can single any one thing out. There was for me a kind of wide, collective "WOW"."

Maria

Albany, OR

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Eastern Eruope tour was absolutely amazing! Our guide,Peter, did a phenomenal job sharing his vast knowledge of history, answering questions and giving suggestions, and being " militant optimistic"! This tour provided a superb mix of exploring big cities, appreciating and enjoying the beauty of the land, and participating in varied activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour offered so many wonderful experiences that are in the "wow" category. The quaint town of Rovinj, Croatia with it's twisting cobblestone streets and breathtaking view of the Adriatic Sea was so charming! Don't miss the spectacular Salt Mine tour in Poland....complete with a cathedral 400 feet underground and massive chandeliers all carved from salt!"

Susan

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The countries on our tour were new to me so I was looking for an overview of the region, an understanding of the cultural, historic, and geographical similarities and diversity within the six countries. Mission accomplished and much more. I especially appreciated the format of the tour which showcased small towns and countryside as well as major cities, the Adriatic, and the Slovenian Alps. Walking tours gave us a great introduction to each city and other whole-group activities were varied

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many great moments that I couldn't pick a favorite. They were as varied as a mountain sunset, five different versions of goulash, view from the Charles Bridge, sitting in the central square in Stramberk after sampling the local gingerbread treat, the energy within the Main Market Square in Krakow, the wine-tasting complete with music, the painted walls of Matthias Church, the Shoe Memorial, deserted homes in Croatian villages, the view from Bled Castle."

Sandra

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Eastern Europe tour is ambitious in scope in terms of the history of the area as well social, cultural and natural features. We took the tour because we were interested in the area but didn't feel up to being able to create a comparable tour on our own. I think this was a wise choice and I doubt if we could have come close to having as good a time if we were planning it ourselves. Hotels were good and close to city centers and the meals were largely very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Catching sight of Rovinj from our hotel on the island and wishing we could stay longer. I never tired of the view."

Donna

Yakima, WA

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour and it was fabulous. The tour had the right mix of cities and the natural world. We had opportunities to meet and get to know the people who live in this part of the world, including at meals, wine tasting, and a visit to an elementary school. The pace of the trip was fine. We had opportunities to explore and be on our own along with plenty of guided walks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several "wows": a concert in the Municipal House in Prague, St. Mary's cathedral in Krakou, night-time cruise in Budapest, Szechenyi Baths in Budapest, walking in Plitvice national park among lakes and waterfalls, view of Rovinj from the top of the bell tower."

Carol

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful start to finish. Great tour members. OUTSTANDING guide. Variety of big cities to small villages, somber Auschwitz & Birkenau, beautiful Plitvice Park, caves, mountain top stay to Craotian coast, wonderful Lake Bled. Enjoyed every aspect. Nice ratio of free time to guided time. Enjoyed having some free mornings as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There has to be a favorite?? Plitvice park was just amazing at every turn in the trail. I live in the pacific northwest and I don't believe I have ever seen so many waterfalls in one place."

Mary

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was fantastic. My two children enjoyed the entire experience as much as my husband and I did. The itinerary was very balanced between cities and small towns, and I loved the "nature stops" (Plitvice & the caves near the end).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the main square in Krakow for the first time, the beauty of Plitvice National Park, Slovenian pastries, nights in Rovijn...and so many more!"

Beth

Ottawa, IL

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a wonderful time. Enjoyed the exciting cities, and the beautiful countryside. So much history and culture to absorb. Marijan did a great job of helping us understand it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved seeing Budapest at night. The boat ride down the Danube was spectacular."

Ralph

Spokane Valley, WA

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I liked it. This was my first trip to Europe, so everything was new and different. All the Hotels were fine and the food was great. I cannot imagine a better agenda for covering a lot of eastern(central) Europe in 16 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a career as a forest manager, so I enjoyed the country side and small towns more than the big cities. I was surprised to see how much of these countries were forested. I am glad we went to Croatia and were able to see what the ravages of war had inflicted on the country."

Brent

Columbus, OH

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved the variety that the tour included. Activities ranged from museums to villages to Auschwitz to caves to hiking to beaches. Modes of transportation varied from tour bus to all types of public transportation to rowboats, cruise ships, ferries. And we were fortunate to have a group of 14 that normally is 28. Also very nice mix of "free" time and planned/touring time. Great variety of options to do during the free time with excellent planning/orientation included.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not a one favorite wow. Big city "wows" were how lively and youthful Krakow is and how ornate and massive buildings in Budapest are. Impressed with all the large city squares."

Carolyn

Twin Falls, ID

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Katerina was deightful, and a surpurb tour guide. She puts alot of thought, energy, thoughtfulness in her tours. Espically nice was the special treats she had for each country. Our group was small (great) and everyone was interesting. I enjoyed every minute of the tour. I only wish I had arrived a few days earlier as their is too much to see in Prague in the short time we where here. (Maybe a suggestion in the intro. letter to do so)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had looked forward to - 2 places I had seen on my 365 day calendar- one was St. Gellert (Hotel) Thermal Bath and Swimming pools that were beautiful and a short walk from the Hotel. Also I had read about the Plitvice Lakes area so was thrilled to be experiencing the beautiful area. I really enjoyed the free time at the Hotel Istra off the coast of Rovinj. After the fast pace of traveling it was nice to relax in the sun and swim in the beautiful Adriatic Sea. The whole trip was a thrill for"

Alison

Bellingen,

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Tour really met our needs. The City and country experiences balanced well. The countries we visited gave us a good understanding of History and Culture of Eastern Europe. The Scenery was spectacular in many places along the way-

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved Krakow-small city with a wonderful feel Loved Pltvice Lakes National Park Prague and Budepest were overwhelmingly beautiful Our holiday on the Istra Peninsula-Rovinj-just lovely Slovinia-visit to the Skotjan caves/winery and Lake Bled fabulous and last but not least our lovely driver Boyan from Slovinia-very professional in everyway."

Rhonda

Mt Vernon, IL

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour opened my eyes about an area I was only exposed to in formal education. There is nothing like first hand experience. I rated this tour as very good because my first tour Best of Europe in 21 Days was outstanding every single day whereas this tour had some days that were not outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments were in Prague. I loved all of it. The fact that it is a very walker friendly city was an added plus. There were many "wow" moments in Prague. Specifically, I really liked seeing the John Lennon wall, the Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, and the Dancing House."

Randy

Keizer, OR

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Katerina our tour guide was very knowledgable , organized,dedicated yet fun and personable. As well, our bus driver Bojan sp? was increadibly skilled and personable.It was a pleasure to share this period of time with them at the helm. As I am normally an independent traveler and this was my first experience as a member of a tour group I appreciated the small size of our group of 14.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our visit to Plitvice National Park was certainly an eye opener and a pleasant break from the Big Cities. Incredibly beautiful waterfalls, enhanced by Katerina's( our tour leader )forthought to begin at the opposite end of the trail thus avoiding the large crowds for the most of the hike. Most enjoyable time indeed!"

Catherine

San Diego, CA

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It was relaxing to be on the tour where most decisions are made and tasks performed for you. The tour was well planned and organized, had a nice balance of city and country, as well as time with the group and on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz, Birkenua, Oscar Schindler Museum and the exhibit of children's drawings at the Old Synagogue in "Praha", each an experience not to be missed."

Cheryl

Franklin Furnace, OH

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

i most enjoyed the big cities, prague, budapest, krakow the best. i like historic buildings. i liked that i was able to see the famous painting (lady with Ermine). i didn't even know that it was there. i am a nature lover myself, so the parks, lake, caves, was nice to divide the time with. because Budapest was such a big city, i like having the tour guide take us to the big sites in the morning, it got a little hot in the afternoon and we didn't make it back to spend more time there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"i really enjoyed the boat cruise in Budapest. i like seeing the city lit up, the atmosphere on the boat."

Jordan

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour not only led us to beautiful and intriguing places, but also was chock-full of history and architecture. We enjoyed the variety of cuisines throughout the span of the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On a bridge, over a deep narrow canyon -- inside a cavern! At Skocjan Caves NP in Slovenia."

Karl

Concord, CA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good to outstanding. It wasn't the ultimate - We had that experience when we went on the 17 day best of Italy tour in 2008!!! This trip had many memorable moments, lots to see and do, and the exposure to a part of Europe that culturally I hadn't given a lot of thought to before the trip. So it was fun to learn a lot about their history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The WOW in a sad sense was the tour of Auschwitz - when we got to the rooms with personal belongings (the hair) was disturbing. Krakow was a very pleasant surprise. We had a free morning and sat by the Cathedral and there was a celebration going on, with the choir playing. It was very peaceful and enjoyable. Eating dinner at Rovinj was one of the best romantic evenings we had. Having the most beautiful sunsets while enjoying a delicious meal with the person closest to you - Awesome"

Nancy

Pittsford, NY

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day was a new experience to be savored. The destinations, hotels, cuisine, and back door happenings with Peter made each day remarkable. I looked forward to the historical background and language lesson before each country. Learning how to use the local transportation was beneficial to feel like a local. Practical tips on what to see and do with free time were extremely helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Danube River cruise in Budapest was so wonderful we went the next night as well. Lake Bled in Slovenia is 1,000 times more beautiful than Lake Placid in New York. Ringing the bell in the church tower on the island and having lunch at the castle overlooking the lake with the Julian Alps as the background were my most memorable moments."

Jeffrey

San Rafael, CA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the tour was great! As always, we saw and understood much more than we would have if on our own, and we met nice folks that had a love of travel in common.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the closest I came to "wow" moments was when we were immersed in the beauty of the falls in Croatia, Swimming in the Adriatic Sea under Moon Light in Rovinj and the amazing vistas from the top of the Castle at Lake Bled. Those are sights that will stay with me over time. Oh...a real "wow" moment....the sour cherries over ice cream desert we had for dinner at the restaurant in Rovinj. Why does ice cream taste so much better "over there"?"

John

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an eye-opening tour! These people have been through so much! Over the last 1000 years and then again since WW2. And to see how vibrant their cities are today. And we had the perfect guide to give us context to the events and places that we saw. Peter was "The Best" in helping us interpret the history and culture of the 6 countries that we visited. If he was a university prof, I wouldn't have missed a lecture. Plus he was fun and thoughtful and engaged with all of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rather than a "Wow Moment" I would like to refer to a "Wow Factor,: and that was the quality of the guides on this tour. Starting with our exceptional guide Peter, but including the local guides and most of the site guides, they were able to provide historical and cultural context to the interesting areas, communities and sights that we were visiting. They usually presented their information with passion or with humour; but always in an engaging way, adding greatly to the depth of the tour."

Charles

Kenosha, WI

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a great time on this tour. I thought the flow of the tour was perfect. The first 10 days of the tour were very busy what with covering the cities of Prague, Krakow and Budapest. Then we moved on to Plitvice National Park and the pace slowed down, great timing. Then for me the 2 days in Rovinj at the Hotel Katarina was one of my big highlights. I understand that Robyn who works out of the office in Edmonds was responsible for making the move to this hotel, nice call Robyn.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Kind of hard to have just one "wow" moment on this trip. The night river cruise in Budapest with all the buildings and bridges lit up will certainly make you go "wow", and then there's the waterfalls at Plitvice National Park. Water is coming out of the ground from everywhere, its flowing over countless waterfalls and running under your feet as you walk along boardwalk paths. One minute the rushing water is so loud you can't hear yourself think and then the trail makes a turn and silence. "wow""

Amy

Satellite Beach, FL

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed our tour completely from beginning to end!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although there were several "Wow" moments, I enjoyed the evening river cruise down the Danube,the Plitvice National Park and the visit to the elementary school in Recsk, Hungary."

Ronald

Norwell, MA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience exceeded expectations. Not only did I enjoy the "big cities" we visited, but also came away with a deeper understanding of Eastern Europe because of our interaction with the people we met in the various "small towns" we visited. Our tour guide George did a fantastic job "meshing us into a cohesive unit" with his "buddy system" approach. He was continually enthusiastic, extremely knowledgeable (as were all our tour guides", and very quick to solve any issues.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was during our lunch stop at a small farm in Croatia. That's when George approached my wife and asked her if it was okay with her if we recognized her birthday with a champagne toast. What showed to me is that on a Rick Steves' tour, it's people that matter the most!!"

Thomas

Modesto, CA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide,George,and the composition of our tour group made our experience excellent. George's enthusiasm proved to be the highlight of the trip for me.Eastern Europe was a pilgrimage for many of us to see our forebears' home countries, learn much more about the history ,culture and beauty of the area than I anticipated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was an overall impression rather than any one moment. The combination of some magnificent cities with rural experiences was very satisfying."

Jeanne

Norwell, MA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely everything about our tour was exceptional,especially our guide, George. Though we chose the tour for the cities included, we were equally impressed with all the local venues and people we met. They gave us a genuine flavor of the countries. All the hotels and restaurants were outstanding. Because so many in the group wanted to visit The Salt Mines in Krakow, George arranged a tour, including transportation for us. This meant successfully rearranging 2 other scheduled tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Realizing it was my birthday, George asked if we could celebrate at lunch. He provided champagne for a toast, which made me feel very special."

Elizabeth

Vacaville, CA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this tour. It was a great balance of historic cities with lots of interesting sights,charming small towns, and stunningly beautiful countryside. We had a very cohesive tour group who were fun to spend time with. Even the travel days on the bus were enjoyable with great lunch stops. I never would have attempted going to six countries in 16 days on my own but the tour made it easy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was crossing Lake Bled on a sunny, crisp early AM in a Pletna boat with our tour group. Looking across the placid, crystal clear lake with the snow covered mountains in the background and gorgeous scenery all around me took my breath away. Lake Bled has got to be one of the prettiest places I have ever been. A close second was Plitvice Lakes National Park. What a magnificent example of God's glorious creation!!"

Joel

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful guide George, who grew up in the area and knew the history very well. We met interesting people in the tour group and had a wonderful time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We spent a day in Budapest with another couple just wandering around with no real plan. We used the day pass for public transit as a free shuttle to view the city. Stumbled upon some wonderful things including a dancing water display synchronized to music on Margaret Island. We liked it so much we came back at night to see it again with its night time light show."

Linda

Mcfarland, WI

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a wonderful time and will definitely consider Rick Steves' tours for future travels!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We especially loved Rovinj-the town, the evening meal and the hotel and grounds on St. Katarina's Island."

Linda

Marana, AZ

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fabulous trip. George did so much to help us understand the culture, history, geography and politics of the 6 countries that we visited. All of the stops were amazing - great local guides, charming accommodations, wonderful group dinners. The walk through Plitvice Lakes National Park cannot be adequately described - one has to experience it! This tour was a great combination of big city and countryside experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were absolutely amazed that after our orientation to each city (Prague, Krakow, Budapest) that we really were able to navigate the public transportation systems easily. "WOW - I can do this!""

Bruce

Tigard, OR

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't know of any Rick Steves tour that I wouldn't expect to enjoy, but I have to admit that Eastern Europe was at the top of my wife's bucket list, not mine. I must say that this tour had to be an experience of a lifetime, far exceeding my expectations. Having grown up with the Iron Curtain limiting my education about the history and widely varied cultures of countries of the tour, I would say I couldn't have placed most of them on the map.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment lasted the entire tour. I had no idea what a void I had in my knowledge of Europe until exploring and learning about these countries and their people. We all have a basic understanding of the history of France, England and the rest of western Europe, but it doesn't really all fit together until a person gets the "rest of the story"."

Scott

Vacaville, CA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip. Our tour companions were the best and we had a great guide in George. He was never rattled even when best laid plans had to change on the fly. Who expects the electricity to go off just as you are boarding the streetcar? The tour was an excellent mix of big cities and small towns and nature.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course Lake Bled and Rovinj were beautiful as were the waterfalls at Plitvice but if you can stretch "wow" to overwhelmed, I was hit by Auschwitz-Birkenau. The tour book said it was big but it was huge and to think of the horror that happened there."

Eileen

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a fantastic introduction to an area in Europe where we might have hesitated to travel in on our own. Now we can't wait to go back! It was a good mix of urban and nature, city and village, complicated history and exciting futures. I enjoyed the city introductions then being left to our own devices to choose how we spent our time. The local tours hit the highlights and a couple of fun folk dance events that we normally wouldn't have picked.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring Budapest by public transit after the Castle tour, four of us hopped off at Margaret Island. We stumbled upon the Music Fountain and returned later that night for a repeat show after dark. I really enjoy public spaces and public art so this was a great random find."

Gordon

Marana, AZ

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, it was great. Our tour guide was fantastic; the choice of places to visit was varied, each adding a new wrinkle to the Eastern Europe experience; the pace was just right; and the amount of information shared and the variety of things we learned was tremendous, putting into historic perspective the places we saw. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day was better than the previous. Each experience seemed to build upon the previous ones. The trip was greater than the sum of its experiences. Therefore, there were too many "wow" moments single out. By the time we arrived at Rovinj, I needed the rest from the pace of "wow" moments. Yet Rovinj was a wonderful "wow" of its own."

John

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the best tours I have taken. There was a great combination of guided tours and free time. Our guide, Katerina, provided us with loads of information, some of the most interesting being about her life under communism. The hotels were better than expected, and the provided meals were generous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole tour!"

James

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

For a tour, it is the best that you can get. Small group that didn't overcrowd the bus, making the road cruising pretty confortable. Great drive through the Hungarian countryside, which was definitely the highlight of the journey, with the lunch at a village middle school and wine tasting. Unfortunately Auschwitz was a let down. It was resumed to a quick stop on the way to Krakow and no time at all to explore it a little bit on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice was really good."

Faith

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first "guided tour" and it was great to have someone else be in charge! I really liked the mix of group activities and free time. All the guides were great and the fellow tour members were a really nice bunch. I also liked the "down time" in Rovinj that came just at the right moment!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think driving into Budapest was the most unexpected delight with all the amazing buildings right one after the other!"

Virginia

Dripping Springs, TX

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip exceeded my expectations, and I have been dreaming of it for years. It's an excellent mix of cities, history, architecture, nature. I learned so much about every city and country visited, from 1400's through today. It was extremely interesting to hear about life under and AFTER Communism from guides that experienced both. Also learned so much about the present. Loved experiencing all local foods and wines! Had WONDERFUL time with fellow tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, it is hard to say, but here are my top 4 WOW's: Plitvice National Park waterfalls Touring Auschwitz and Birkenau Lake Bled scenery St. Mary's Cathedral in Krakow"

Richard

Columbia, SC

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, a fantastic travel and learning experience. I knew before the tour began that there were going to be several long travel days, but being on a bus with a seat to myself and with some unique stops on those long travel days, time passed quickly between stops. Tasting different food from all these different countries was really a treat. Being located in centrally located hotels enhanced our experiences in every city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Even though I had seen Plitvice before, it remains a "wow" moment. And, this time the views were quite different. Due to recent floods in the area, several times we had to take high trails before descending--giving a whole new, and more strenuous, perspective to the park. The natural beauty and serenity of Lake Bled was also two days to remember."

Erik

Aumsville, OR

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized and executed. Well paced with a nice variety of experiences. The hotels and restaurants were all nice choices. The local guides were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice National Park was once-in-a-lifetime. Although I have seen many waterfalls, I have never seen anything like this, and I never expect to. Although, strictly speaking, it was not on the tour, the Danube Folk Ensemble in Budapest was extraordinary. I was not expecting very much from a folk-dance performance, but I was awestruck. Extremely sophisticated and polished. It would not be out of place in Carnegie Hall. Please recommend this optional experience to future tour participants."

Ron

Columbia, SC

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned. Guide was most knowledgable and helpful. Most strenuous of the five tours I have taken. Guide gave us a printed outline of the tour with her information. Never gotten before but most useful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the school and having lunch with students and staff."

Robert

Auburn, CA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and I really enjoyed the experience. The itinerary was well planned, the balance between guided tours and free time was about right, and recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants were generally excellent. Would definitely recommend this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most amazing sights were the Plitvice Lakes and the Skocjanske Caves. Have never seen anything like those places, especially the caves. The realm of the Hobbit actually exists!"

Donna

Napa, CA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Due to the nature of the region's history, there were more somber elements to this tour than other two I went on. Not a complaint, just an observation. Much to ponder. Bathroom breaks seemed too frequent and too long. Having two consecutive destinations---Rovinj and Lake Bled---that provided so much leisure, seemed like too much leisure. The added tour of Lipica stud farm was a let-down, compared to Vienna Lipizzaners. Glad to have seen it, but recommend you don't include in future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz was profound. Interacting with the children in Recsk was a special experience, as was dining on their cafeteria food."

Cynthia

Auburn, CA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

How lucky I am to be able to travel like this. A trip that ran the gamut of great experiences. From the depths of human tragedy at Auschwitz to folk dancing with apple-cheeked country people in the Czech Republic, throw in a few great wine tastings, lots of expert information on history and culture, and then, then, the beauty and awesomeness of mother nature. What a treat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The simultaneous intake of breath from our entire group when we turned the corner at the Skocjan Caves, heard the river pounding below us, and knew that we were in a world none of us had ever experiened before."

Alan

Mechanicsburg, PA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I enjoyed our tour guide and my fellow travelers. I also appreciated how careful our bus driver was. I basically got what I wanted out of the trip. It was evident to me that much thought has been put into constructing the itinerary. I particularly enjoyed the restaurants chosen. However, I thought there was a bit too much standing around listening to excessive details about every church and statue we saw. Sometimes less is more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oddly enough it was the drive through the villages in Croatia, seeing how nearly every house still had bullet holes indicating how the war was really neighbor against neighbor. I enjoyed the free time we had to walk around Prague, Krakow, and Budapest. And I enjoyed the countryside in all the countries that we drove through."

Diane

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was wonderful in every way. Our guide Katka was knowledgeable, articulate and fun to be around. The group of people we traveled with were really fun and shared many common interests with us too. The tour was the right amount of everything for my taste. The right number of organized tours, the right amount of time on our own, the right people, the right number of cities, the right cities, and the right number of national parks or more rural areas. Activities were awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I hadn't realized/put together in a concrete way that the people of eastern Europe really lived with terrorism from 1940 to 1989. What a shame! Katka brought this home to us both in terms of her knowledge of history and cultures but also because she lived with communism until she was 16. What an amazing experience and how terrible to realize what her life might have been like if communism hadn't fallen in 1989."

Barbara

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our May trip to the "Heart of Europe" was great. I came to learn and understand a great deal more about both the historical and current issues facing the countries we visited. Our guides were great (Peter and Estzer) and the local guides that were with us were wonderful; they all added a perspective for what occurred in the past and the impact on what is currently happening in these countries. Prague, Krakow, and Budapest were amazing; but equally wonderful were Eger, Rovinj and Lake Bled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As you might imagine, this is a difficult question to answer. Visiting the Jewish ghettos in Prague and Krakow and Auschwitz was incredibly sad/disturbing to face first hand the cruelty that we do to our fellow person - this was such an important part of this trip. The willingness of the guides to share their families experiences under Communism was so important to me in understanding what the "coming down of the wall' really meant in their lives; it amazes me how naive I have been."

Maureen

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 7th Rick Steves tour and I am just as thrilled as I was with the 1st. Our guides were so knowledgeable and easy to listen to, the accommodations were unique and comfortable, and above all, our fellow travellers all shared the same expectations and desires for a memorable, fun filled, educational experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow was the most suprising destination of the trip. I had no idea how beautiful the city is---especially lit up at night. Previous impressions were of a dusty, ruin filled city but we were amazed at the green park around the perimeter, the cleanliness of the streets, the friendliness of the people and the overall beauty. Lake Bled was also a great experience---even though we had been there on the Adriatic tour, it is such a beautiful place, we really enjoyed it a second time."

Stephen

Pleasant Hill, CA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have travelled in Europe frequently but this was our first R. Steves' tour so we very curious as to how it would measure up. In a word it was great! Our guides added a unique and valuable perspective that you miss traveling solo. The tour was a good blend of organized activities and down time, must-see city sites (Prague, Krakow, Budapest) and natural wonders (Plitvice and Skocjan caves), five course restaurant meals and open air picnic lunches.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think Krakow was the biggest surprise of our trip. We were "expecting" Prague to be spectacular and it was but Krakow was equally remarkable with a youthful vibe and less crowds. I also enjoyed the "back door" experiences, particularly the visit to the school in Hungary and the wine tasting at the Egri vineyards in Hungary and the picnic/wine tasting in Slovenia."

Erin

Pleasant Hill, CA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fabulous! It was a great way to see a lot and I found it to be a very efficient use of our time. We didn't have to spend time figuring out the public transportation or where to park or even checking into hotels. There was a perfect balance of structured time and free time. The itinerary was a nice balance of big cities and rural areas. Our fellow tour members were lovely and I never heard a single complaint from anyone. In addition, no one was ever late. Amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The biggest surprise was Krakow. It has a very youthful vibe, the biggest square I have every seen in Europe with a lot going on. We listened to free opera in the square all three nights we were there. The city is easy to navigate and romantic! The locals we spoke to were so pleased we were visiting their city. To top it off it was inexpensive. I came home and told all my kids they should honeymoon there! Other highlights: Lunch with Hungarian school children and Plitvice and the Slovenian Cave."

Carol

Orlando, FL

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Visiting the "Heart" of Europe changed my whole perspective on that region. I had some preconceived ideas that were totally changed. The countries were very old world with distinct architecture. The people were friendly and happy to have us visit them. The cities were very clean and the people took pride in their businesses.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were in Krakow for the 650th anniversary of Jagiellonian University. They had an opera in the market square in the evening. To stand with so many people and enjoy the opera with them was an experience we will always remember. That same day were we in St. Mary's Cathedral when the Prince of Luxembourg visited the cathedral."

David

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Between good and outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"What you can't see on your own. Like visiting with the kids at the Hungarian school, picnic lunches prepared by the locals, etc."

Laurel

Steamboat Springs, CO

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly enjoyed every part of the tour. Peter and Eszter were so knowledgeable and helpful. I especially enjoyed hearing their own stories growing up in the region. The opportunities to visit places we would have never had on our own, such as the school, added so much to the tour. We appreciated the recommendations Peter and Eszter gave us for restaurants, shopping,and sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! Budapest was my favorite. The views of pest from the castle, the lights along the river on the cruise, the ruins pub and the book cafe were the best. I was captivated by the city atmosphere."

Anthony

Kirtland, OH

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned a great deal about the history of the countries in the Heart of Europe, saw many beautiful sites (both urban and rural), ate wonderful foods and did all this without having to worry about any of the logistics of a major trip. With many meals included, all of the hotel and travel arrangements handled by Peter and Eszter and the expert driving of Bojan, I did nothing but relax, enjoy, learn and socialize with other folks on the trip. Thus, my overall experience was very enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plitvice National Park was a wow. The fact there are two lakes with water flowing down from one to the other was both beautiful and unusual. Though it rained the entire time we were there, it was truly a grand experience. Krakow was a close second. What a wonderful city to explore."

Robert

Steamboat Springs, CO

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second tour with Nick Steve's and it was wonderful. The 2 guides Peter and Eszter were knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and had a sense of humor. They were tremendous and are the main reason I will do another Rick Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just being in countries that were behind the iron Curtin and meeting people who lived under that form of gov't. Was so impressed at how well that have done with such a big change in there society."

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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 ! !"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

Jack

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great Tour

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!!"

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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.