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  • Prague
  • Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
    Prague's Charles Bridge
  • Kraków
  • St. Mary's Church, Kraków, Poland
    St. Mary's Church in Kraków
  • Hungarian School Visit
  • Hungarian Parliament in Budapest
  • Fishermen's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary
    Budapest's Castle Hill
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
    Croatia's Plitvice Lakes
  • Rovinj
    Rovinj, Croatia
  • Pletna boat, Lake Bled, Slovenia
    Slovenia's Lake Bled

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Best of Eastern Europe in 15 Days Tour

from $4,095 per person + air

Single Supplement $725

See Dates & Prices

Starting in beautifully preserved Prague, for 15 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, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia — including the waterfall wonderland of Plitvice and the picture-perfect alpine beauty of Lake Bled. Join us for the Best of Eastern Europe in 15 Days!

Dates & Prices

2022

What's Included

You'll get at least 19 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on our Eastern Europe tour:

  • Historic Prague walking tour
  • Prague Castle
  • St. Vitus Cathedral
  • St. George's Basilica (when available)
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (when available)
  • Kraków walking tour
  • Kraków's Wawel Cathedral
  • Kraków's St. Mary's Church
  • Eger orientation walk
  • Local school visit
  • Hungarian wine tasting
  • Pest walking tour
  • Walking tour of Buda's Castle Hill
  • Matthias Church
  • Danube River cruise
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Adriatic happy hour
  • Ljubljana walking tour
  • Lake Bled boat cruise (weather permitting)

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Eastern come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Prague to Lake Bled, Slovenia
  • 14 nights' accommodations (4- and 3-night stays) in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2022
  • 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 your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions for important details regarding everything listed above.

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Prague

We'll meet at our hotel at 3 p.m. to get acquainted and preview the adventures ahead. This afternoon we'll jump right in and enjoy a meandering walking tour from our neighborhood to Prague's colorful and historic Old Town Square. We'll end our evening over a hearty dinner together.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Prague.

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 (when available), and the Golden Lane. You'll then have free time for lunch and 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.

Strenuous walking: 2-8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in Prague.

Day 3: Moravian Countryside and Kraków

Today we'll leave the city and drive east into mountainous Moravia, stopping along the way to enjoy some free time for lunch and exploration. Then we'll cross into Poland on our way to tonight's destination: the surprising city of Kraków, Poland's cultural crossroads and melting pot. We'll take an orientation walk to the lively, historic market square and enjoy a traditional Polish dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 7 hours. Sleep in Kraków.

Day 4: Historic Kraków

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 also learn about the life and impact of local legend Pope John Paul II as we trace his footsteps on our walking tour through the heart of Kraków. Your afternoon is free to discover more of this pleasant city on your own. Visit a museum or two, or go rent a bike!

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Kraków.

Day 5: Lessons of the Past

This day takes on a very different tone, as we visit the concentration camp site of Auschwitz-Birkenau (when available), where at least 1.1 million innocent people were systematically murdered during World War II. Today, this is a powerful place for learning, reflection, and remembrance. After we return to Kraków, your evening is free.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Kraków.

Day 6: Drive to Eger

We'll begin our morning with a drive through the scenic Tatras Mountains and the rolling hills of Hungary's famous "Bull's Blood" wine-growing region. Our destination is the town of Eger, where the townspeople (with some help) turned back an Ottoman invasion of central Europe in 1552. Our day will end with a Hungarian dinner near the town of Eger.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 8 hours. Sleep in Eger.

Day 7: Hungary, Great and Small

This morning, you'll have time to soak in Eger's Baroque beauty. Later we'll visit a local school, where we'll sit down and chat with a teacher and enjoy lunch together in the cafeteria. Then we'll learn about the region's deservedly famous wines with a tour and tasting at a local winery. Our destination this evening is Budapest, the mighty Magyar capital on the Danube, where after an orientation walk, we'll enjoy dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Budapest.

Day 8: Bustling Budapest

The rich history of Pest has created a city that's a puzzle of neo-Baroque, neo-classical, and modern architecture. On our walking tour this morning, we'll crane our necks at Europe's largest parliament building and learn how Hungarians coped with half a century of fascist and communist tyranny. We'll break for lunch, giving you free time 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. Later this evening, we'll end our day together with a relaxing cruise on the Danube.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Boat: 1 hour. No bus. Sleep in Budapest.

Day 9: Old Budapest

Today we'll focus on the Buda side of the Danube, starting up on Castle Hill for a bird's-eye view of sprawling Pest, followed by 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 orient those interested to the ornate and traditional public thermal baths.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Budapest.

Day 10: 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. After dinner together, you'll sleep soundly, surrounded by the quiet of nature.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 7 hours. Sleep in or near the national park.

Day 11: 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 Lakes National Park. We'll learn how the park is creatively protecting 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. Our destination is the enchanting seaside town of Rovinj, where we'll enjoy a sunset dinner.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Rovinj.

Day 12: 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.

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). No bus. Sleep in Rovinj.

Day 13: Slovenian Countryside and Ljubljana

Today we'll head to the azure jewel of Lake Bled, at the foot of Slovenia's Julian Alps. Along the way, we'll stop in Ljubljana for a tour highlighting some of the city's famous landmarks and free time to make your own discoveries. After exploring the capital, we'll continue through the verdant Slovenian countryside on our way to our final destination: a pristine lake ringed by forests and hiking paths.

Light to strenuous walking (guide's choice). Bus: 5 hours. Sleep in Bled.

Day 14: Delightful Lake Bled

Today 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 church at the top (four in five 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 kremšnita cream 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!

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Boat: 1 hour. No bus. Sleep in Bled.

Day 15: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. 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.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Eastern Europe in 15 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) 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

Andrea

Stillwater, OK

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From our first meeting to the last the leadership, Peter, was exceptional. He set the tone for the tour of openness, friendliness and cooperation. The tour group was exceptionally in its interaction with all participants. Sam, our bus driver, was incorporated into our group at the first meeting. Having a slightly smaller group was nice. I enjoyed every event during the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've thought about this a lot. My first reaction was to name Peter as the wow moment - he is very good. However, in the midst of such varied activities I believe the visit to Wawal Castle and cathedral would be that event. The cathedral is truly beautiful and intriguing."

Jacqueline

Cody, WY

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing tour--the perfect mix of interesting and fun travel companions; five countries, five languages, five currencies; a mix of large cities, smaller cities, small towns, seaside, countryside, a national park, and Auschwitz in its own category; along with expert guidance with free time; all made possible by our exceptional guide, Peter, and our expert driver, Sam. I can't say enough about the planning and execution of every detail that made this Heart of Europe tour outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was really nothing on this Heart of Europe trip that didn't leave a lasting memory. The small town feel of wandering in old Prague, the National Museum in Krakow, the overwhelming feeling of loss of Auschwitz, the camera obscura in Eger, the bustle and ease of movement in Budapest along with a philharmonic concert at the art deco Liszt museum, the hike in Plitvice Park, the Roman ruins in Pula, delightful small town Ljubliana, and exquisite Lake Bled. And Guide Peter!! Wonderful trip!"

Amy

Warren, MI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was absolutely amazing. Last year, my husband used the Rick Steves books to plan our Honeymoon to Italy. It took a lot of work to figure out the logistics and making sure everything was planned out. This year we booked the Best of Eastern Europe (heart of Europe) last minute on a whim and we were completely blown away with how perfectly seamless it was set up. Our guide, Peter, made the trip even more wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wonderful wow moments in our tour, so it is especially difficult to pick just one... The most impact part of the trip was the visit to Auschwitz."

Rich

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fantastic adventure. Peter made every day special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Auschwitz was a very memorable experience. To actually be on the site where so many atrocities were inflicted on the innocent citizens was a overwhelming. I had done a lot of reading and studying the holocaust but I was not really prepared for the impact of standing on the site."

Peter

Arroyo Grande, CA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour (would rate it 8.5/10 overall), and that's coming from someone who's normally a reluctant traveler at best. I learned a great deal about the history & culture of Eastern Europe, and enjoyed seeing the historical locales (especially churches, palaces, and museums) with my own eyes. The "nature" parts of the tour (mainly in Croatia & Solvenia) were OK, but not as impactful as the cultural. Guide Peter was the highlight!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz/Birkenau ... haunting, emotional, deeply sad. The skies were depressingly (though appropriately) cloudy, and rain began to fall as we walked through the ruins of Birkenau. But, almost miraculously, a rainbow appeared as we returned to the main building, perhaps a sign that there is always light & hope in the most hellish of circumstances."

Karen

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual, the Rick Steves tour was amazing (my 5th). The planning put into the tour was excellent. All logistics were seamless. Peter was such a fantastic guide. He is really excited about the heart of Europe and willing to share his knowledge. Hotels were great. The food from that area of a Europe is not my favorite, but there were so many options. We were so busy taking in history and sights at the beginning that it was nice to slow down the last few days and see the scenery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So much WWII history and the horrors the people endured. The Schindler Museum gave a very thorough background. Krakow and Budapest are lovely cities. So many wows"

Nicholas

Warren, MI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had an absolutely amazing time on this trip. Peter was an amazing guide in addition to the amazing group of fellow travelers. We appreciated all the helpful tips we received at booking and prior to the trip from the Rick Steves' staff and Peter himself. We always knew the planned path forward and as "over planner" myself, I greatly appreciated always being in the know. It was wonderful to have someone else in charge of all the logistics for change.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau was powerful and a day I will never forget. I will not say it was my favorite, but the drained feeling at the end of the day is arguably a "wow" factor in and of itself. We loved Plitvice Falls in Croatia, Vintgar Gorge near Bled, all of Krakow, and the nighttime cruise along the Danube was incredible."

Jonnathan

Lafayette, CA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Super! Very educational and enjoyable at the same time. Had a great time interacting with fellow travellers who were all really easy-going and nice people.

Marie

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can you confine it to just one? Maybe it was Rovinj, where we stayed in a 5-star hotel, beautifully situated between the town to one side and the nature preserve on the other. It made for a perfect day of exploration."

Brian

Mason, MI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Peter was excellent with everything about the Eastern Europe. He is a lot of fun. I highly recommend him for future Rick Steve tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Budapest, very historic. Amazing buildings."

Judith

Waynesville, OH

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The fact that every detail was covered so thoroughly-time allowed for visits and touring all cities, included dinners, snacks, breakfast, bus was always ready for us and very knowledgeable tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful castle sitting way up on the rocks in Bled and the fact that I walked all the way up there and got my certificate."

Francis

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was incredible. It was everything I'd imagined. Katerina was awesome. It added to my experience that Katerina had personal experiences with the history of the area and lived through the communism era. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone! My wife and I are already talking about our next Rick Steves, tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My personal "wow" moment was seeing the very, very old architecture in each of the cities. Highlights of the tour were: Krakow, Plitvica and Ljubljana."

Nancy

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first travel experience with a tour group and it was a great way to experience 6 different foreign countries in 15 days. Our guide Katarina was exceptional and made our tour especially memorable. Our group came from all over the US (with one couple from UK) and our time spent together at dinners and on the bus were relaxing and enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. I especially enjoyed taking in the beautiful architecture of Prague, Rovinj and Ljubljana. The visit with the school children in Eger was also very memorable."

Jan

East Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was truly an amazing trip! I enjoyed all of the cities, towns and countries we visited. I learned so much about history and cultures that I hadn't seen or experienced before. Our fellow travelers were fun, and we enjoyed getting to know them. I enjoyed the group dinners and many times our guide or the restaurant provided local music for our enjoyment. We had great weather the whole time, too! (Thanks, Rick!) I posted pictures on social media while we traveled, and highly recommend this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say the night cruise on the Danube River in Budapest, and going to Lake Bled, Slovenia were my highlights. I also really enjoyed our time in Rovinj, Croatia. It really was a "vacation from our vacation "!"

Richard

Littleton, CO

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour. The question we get a lot is "would you do another one" and the answer is yes. Our tour guide Katerina was outstanding and our tour group was great. Overall the "Best of Eastern Europe in 15 Days Tour" exceeded our expectations. (Should be called The Best of CENTRAL Europe, but that is for another write-in.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being this was our first Rick Steve's tour, I can't say that there was just one/favorite "wow" moment. Everyday there was a "wow" moment - each day when I woke up - it was "wow" look at all of the things I get to experience for the first time."

Darlene

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Katerina was an excellent guide to make the tour outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Krakow was my "wow" moment. I have always wanted to see Poland!"

Michael

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, this is one of the best of the seven tours we have taken with Europe Through the Back Door. It was well organized, interesting, well paced, and enjoyable. What made this one exceptional was the emphasis and activities included by Jana, our guide, to facilitate group cohesion and friendship among and between group members. She modeled this in her leadership style, and communicated a great deal of enjoyment of her interactions with members, and of members' interactions with each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several high points, for me, during this tour. I love meeting and talking with the Hungarian school children in Eger, I enjoyed talking about the current political climate in Hungary with the local guide in Budapest, and finally, I loved how I looked forward to the developing friendships with other group members during all of the different activities that were scheduled every day."

Marsha

Heath, TX

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I continue to share with others as to how special the Rick Steves tours are and we once again, were not disappointed. A group of 27 led by Jana. Various ages and backgrounds brings much spice to our trip and we all go home with a sense of making new friends. Being a retired teacher, I always think about how much knowledge I gain each time I travel with the Rick Steves group. Their guides are amazing and have so much history to share.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would be hard to come up with one favorite "wow", as each place we toured was special in its own way. I loved visiting Prague and Budapest. My husband and I walked completely around Bled lake and up to the castle. It was breath taking in more than one way. :-)"

Renee

Alta, WY

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a learning experience. So much to see and do. We also made some great friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz"

John

Alta, WY

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We finished the tour feeling like we had learned a lot and had made some great friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Auschwitz!!!"

Nancy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was outstanding - Jana is a wonder! Information, history and most of all patient support for the multitude of needs of us travelers (lost money and credentials, dietary needs, bankrupted airlines - all those problems that go beyond expectations. Excellent hotels and destinations and special activities. I really appreciated Jana's historical back-rounding on each country with objective descriptions of contemporary politics. Excellent bus driver Mitch (or is it Micz?)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but maybe, after days of moving around in cities and a bit of 'cathedral overload,' arriving in Rovinj on the Adriatic coast, specially lovely hotel and Italianate city across the water for a day's exploring."

James

Lancaster, PA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was led by a very competent, personable and lovely guide (Jana). She brought a wealth of both general historical as well as personal recent historical experience and stories which gave us a better understanding than we could have experienced just reading on our own. Jana also was tuned in to potential travel problems and alerted all of us of the bankruptcy of Adria Airways with helpful guidance on how to navigate this bump in the road for our return trips

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every stop had a memorable marker. Being free to explore on our own for a significant time added to this. Croatia and Slovenia were definite places for a return trip as well as seeing more of Poland."

Paul

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I are completing this together, so you won't get one from her. We truly enjoyed the tour. Just a few comments are listed below. Both my wife's and my families have roots in this region so it was important for us to see it. This was our first Rick Steves tour and it won't be our last. Keep up the great work!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For myself I really enjoyed the Plitvice Lakes National park. For my wife it was Rovinj."

Mary

Port Dover, ON

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was all we expected. The countryside was beautiful!! We enjoyed driving through rural areas rather than on the busy freeways. Jana and the guides did a great job of providing history of the area as well as the buildings. Very enlightening!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We found the visit to Auschwitz, although disturbing, a highlight of the trip. It reminds us all that we cannot allow ourselves to be complacent. A close second highlight was having the opportunity to hike in Plitvice National park. Beautiful!!!"

Patricia

El Dorado Hills, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well planned. There was "together" time and adequate time to explore on your own. I enjoyed the places we visited. I enjoyed the "off the beaten" path stops, Kohlari Winery in Hungary and a visit with a beekeeper in Slovenia were wonderful. I enjoyed learning the history of the places we visited. Prague, Krakow, Budapest and Rovinj were absolutely beautiful and fun. Bus time was fun too, seeing the countryside was a treat. Lots of room on bus was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to pick from. I think it would be arriving at the Hotel in Rovinj. It is on an island and the views were spectacular. You are right on the Adriatic Sea with a view of Rovinj from the island. It was a resort from heaven. Plus, the time exploring Rovinj the next day was magical. A close second, Krakow, I really liked it there as well."

Judith

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Jana made it fabulous. She gathered the centuries of history in these countries into understandable stories. Always helpful, especially to me when I lost my passport and with me at the police department when it was returned. Joyful. No paperwork! Exhausting and at the same time a trip of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mitch driving that huge bus around hairpin turns as we looked down into the valley of beautiful farmlands on our way to Bled. Unique views as I held my breath and didn't close my eyes."

Wendy

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I liked the balance of scheduled activities and free-time. I also liked the balance of city exploration and non-city places (Croatia and Bled). The tour guide was excellent. Plus the guides in the cities were great too. The logistics went smoothly, which was a huge plus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really appreciated the visit to Auschwitz. The guide was exceptional. Very insightful and respectful. A very moving experience."

Carol

Lancaster, PA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful! Enjoyed the group a lot. Good amount of structured vs free time. Learned so much! Could have stayed longer in Slovenia and Croatia! Mitch, the driver, is EXCELLENT!! Boy, can he back up that bus!! So glad there was something planned for us to do in Slovakia instead of just driving through Have been recommending your company to our friends!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the beauty of both grand structures and magnificent scenery Learning so much about a part of the world that has been "hidden" for me so long Seeing a young Jewish woman guiding our tour of a synagogue and thinking how beautiful young women just like her were led away to Auschwitz ... Learning about the ancient history of that part of the world and the buildings, etc. but also the recent history... Seeing the houses that were bullet ridden and deserted from the war in the early 90's"

Linda

Sherman Oaks, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip has been one of the best in my life! I learned so much about Eastern and Central Europe in terms of the history, geography, and cultural aspects of the area. This was done with the excellent choice of cities, events, and cultural experiences that we enjoyed. The most important, single, reason for this incredible trip was our amazing guide, Jana. As a result of my trip, I want to return to this part of Europe, and spend more time further exploring this great part of the world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really can't pick a favorite "wow" moment because there were so many. Certainly, the beauty of Plitvice, resulted in lots of "WOW" moments. I really enjoyed Prague and it's musical and cultural history. Listening to music in the Municipal House, and then taking a tour of that magnificent, Art Deco, building was a highlight for me. I did that on my own,when we had time in our own. This is another reason Rick Steve's tours are so great: you have time to explore your own interests."

Jeanne

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was terrific, and a good balance of city and nature. It was very interesting to learn about Eastern Europe 30 years after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several: In Prague, the view across the Charles Bridge to the castle, etc. The view of the Parliament in Budapest from our night trip along the Danube: everything was lit up and so beautiful. And the walk through Plitvice National Park with all the beautiful waterfalls."

Kathleen

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my very first tour. I have always planned my trips prior to this one. The tour definitely exceeded my expectations. The tour was well planned and any roadblocks were handled with aplomb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was arriving in Rovinj, Croatia just in time for dinner after a big storm. We had one of the most beautiful sunsets ever, and I don't say that lightly. There were beautiful colors, dark clouds in the background. Perfect!"

Behrooz

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a safe and exciting trip through Eastern Europe with background info to prepare us to enjoy our special interest

Favorite "WOW" moment

"visitingso many beautiful scenic places. Defiantly Cruise on the danube Plitvice Lakes and Lake Bled Gorge were some of my Wow moments"

Elsa

Bath, NC

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour covered a lot of territory geographically, and the days were often quite full. There was a lot of history to digest, both recent and of past centuries. Our guide Eszter balanced the pace well and her enthusiasm was infectious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In general, the second half of the trip, outside of the big cities, was my favorite. In particular, our end of season swim in the Adriatic, at Rovinj in Croatia, was my "wow" moment. The water was so clear, with fish and non-stinging jelly fish everywhere, and the high salt content made me feel like a cork! I really felt a part of Eastern (Central) Europe then!"

Gary

Denver, CO

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was a lot to see in 15 days. Covering so much in that amount of time, I know that there was so much we couldn't see. This isn't a complaint. I truly enjoyed getting a good exposure to so much. Peter, our guide, was great. He was very knowledgeable about everywhere we went and the supplemental knowledge with the other guides in each city was excellent. Hearing of Peter's experience of his first 15 years living under Communism and the changes he saw afterwards was one of the highlights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I suppose visiting Auschwitz couldn't help but be a wow moment but all the other sights and information on the Nazi and Communist experience made my head go "WOW"."

Virginia

Poulsbo, WA

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just enough people. It was nice to have the major cities and crowds during the first half of the tour and a more relaxed pace at the end. There was a shift from castles and cathedrals, which we thoroughly enjoyed to smaller cities and nature. Nicely done.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Parliament building in Budapest at night from the river! View of Lake Bled in the morning from our bedroom window"

Laurie

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip! Beautiful country and people. Our tripmates were enjoyable and our guides very knowledgeable. Our guide, Katka, was knowledgeable, helpful and fun to be with. I couldn't have asked for more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Lake Bled. Unbelieveably beautiful. I also loved Rovinj- staying on the island, swimming in the Adriatric, and kayaking. Both were well-timed, at the end of the tour when we'd been going gangbuster for nearly two weeks."

Cheryl

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we were not sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised with an amazing tour! We are already discussing which tour we want to go on next and how long it will to take to save for the next one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many amazing moments and sites on the tour, we saw so much and learned so much. I would have to say our guide, Katka, was a WOW moment the whole trip. She was a wealth of knowledge, told personal stories, was so well educated in the countries we visited, spoke all the languages, and taught us so much. I absolutely loved learning so much from her."

Elizabeth

Poway, CA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an excellent tour, our 7th, and we highly recommend it. Great exposure to history. The experiences were so varied: palaces, music, horrific sad monuments, national parks, local culture. Visiting these five countries was an honor and a challenge due to the tumultuous history past and present of war, genocide, occupation, and struggle. But, we also found joy. We were awed by the beautiful cities, architecture, waterways, parks, and the kindness and determination of the people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the Czech Republic it was Prague's main square, and the beautiful views over the river at night. The group dinner at Egar, Hungary, was outstanding. Budapest was great and has beautiful views over the river. In Croatia, walking at Plitvice Lakes was a Wow moment, as was swimming in the Adriatic Sea. At Lake Bled, Slovenia, the views were gorgeous and we enjoyed the boat ride and walking around the lake."

Robert

Poway, CA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am impressed with the depth of information on history, culture, architecture, language & religions covered in this tour of 5 countries. Our tour guide, Sanel, prepared us well for each aspect of the travel experience. Definitely enhanced my knowledge & understanding. We covered everything described in the intinerary plus nice side trips, lunches and such. It is an active trip, lots of miles covered, structured time, free time to explore and plenty of good walking exercise.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The early morning hike through Plitvice Park (Croatia) was a 2 1/2 hour Wow moment! Gray skies & a slight mist accentuated all the colors to go along with all the beautiful waterfalls. At every turn on the elevated plank trail there were countless amazing views of nature."

Edward

Atherton, CA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was different than our last tour -- the Best of Italy. In addition to seeing a new part of the world (Eastern Europe), virtually all of our tour was in countries and cities that were victimized by oppressive regimes (i.e., the Nazi's and Soviets). And in Croatia, we visited an area where bullet holes from the Balkans war were plentiful in some buildings that our tour bus passed. Our guide, Samil was a survivor of the Bosnia holocost.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Budapest, which surprised us in its grandeur."

Geoffrey

Kalamazoo, MI

Tour: 08/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The latest of our ETBD trips-Eastern Europe met all of our expectations as we expected a "RickTrip" would.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Reuniting with Etalka (our guide for Tallin, Helsinki, St P in 2013) at the winery in Eger."

Paul

Roseville, CA

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our excellent made my trip spectacular. Whether it was discussing European politics, using public transportation., or finding an honest currency exchange, they were on top of it. The travel bus was surprisingly comfortable for me as I'm tall and generally can't sit long on bus. The air conditioning on the bus worked well and was definitely needed. I appreciated the snacks and cold beverages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed several things. Budapest was a remarkable city, beautiful and interesting. Pletvice national park was a highlight, especially being able to hike through it. Prague is one of my favorite cities for wondering around in, especially being a pilsner beer enthusiast."

Carol Susan

Mount Angel, OR

Tour: 08/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Croatia: 1000Falls Park. Amazing. Also the beautiful old hotels you arranged for we travelers to stay in. Made me feel so special."

Patricia

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 08/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and I attended with my husband. We had watched many Rick Steves travel episodes on television and then found out from an acquaintance about the tours. We have mostly done our own travel but had recently done three trips to Asia with a private tour for four. Looking at your website, we decided to try Eastern Europe for our first group tour and loved it! We were ready to give of the reigns of control and enjoy a pre-planned itinerary. Excellent decision!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many but the evening river tour in Budapest with the grand beauty of the city and its history was a big "wow" on this trip. I stopped my photography after a few minutes and soaked up the magic of the cruise. Here I was floating in a fairy tale scene."

Thomas

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 08/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first package tour. It was more than I expected. Every aspect of the tour - from the accommodations, to the iinery, even the transportation days was well thoughtout.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night cruise on the Danube. Followed closely by the wine tasting."

Jane

Lake Forest, CA

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves Tour and it was wonderful! I had never been to these countries and I'm so pleased we visited.Prague and Budapest were beautiful and fascinating, as was so much of the trip. Oh, and Krakow, I loved. All the history was so interesting and Peter was so informative. The hotels were very nice and comfortable. The group was great, too. Besides being informative, Peter was organized, pleasant, funny and truly great as a guide; we can't say enough good things about him!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mine was the city of Budapest. I was overwhelmed by its beauty, charm, accessibility and history. My husband's favorite part was the Park in Poland and the waterfalls, and Prague."

Ronn

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 04/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 2nd RS tour, this one was just as exhilarating as our Best of Europe trip in 2018. George made us "2-for2" in guide excellence; he was extremely personable, well-prepared and knowledgeable. Being from Hungary, he added personal insight and a special stop due to his connections. Similarly, we found our 23 fellow travelers to be a diverse and delightful group. Everyone was flexible and adaptable, even though we dealt with a few more weather challenges than we had on our first trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "wow" moments, but I'll go with one that some of us anticipated would be a possible disaster. Upon our evening arrival at our Plitvice Lakes lodging in Croatia, we were greeted by the latest snow flurries in 23 years, which continued through our tour the next day. Clad in multiple layers, virtually everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy our truly idyllic 6-mile trek through the park, awed by the natural beauty of countless waterfalls and lakes, accentuated by the lightly falling snow."

When To Go & Weather

Any time between April and October is a good time to take a Best of Eastern Europe tour. However, the months of April, May, September, and October are best for combining the convenience of peak season with generally good weather and lighter crowds. Summer has its advantages, with the best weather and long days, but the biggest crowds, especially in larger cities.

Czech Republic / Prague


Poland / Kraków

Kraków Weather


Hungary / Budapest


Croatia / Split


Slovenia / Ljubljana

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in the Itinerary section of your online customer account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying in the Documents section of your customer account.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Prague (PRJ) and out of Ljubljana (LJU) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Europe.

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Eastern Europe guidebook.