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Marvel at the grandiose magnificence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Times may have split the empire, and these countries, but fun, beauty, and culture still resonate through these unique Eastern European capitals. Budapest is the jewel of post-Communist Europe, epitomizing the nightlife, art, and quirky spirit embodied by the new individualism found in much of Eastern Europe. Vienna is the intellectual home of Europe, with famous museums and Operas. Don't worry, it's not just the intellect that wins Vienna, they too know how to have fun. In Salzburg, sing along with the Von Trapps on the Sound of Music tour, admire the Hohensalzburg Castle, and feast on Wiener Schnitzel at the Augustiner.
In November and December, wind your way through the famous Austrian Christmas markets in Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg.
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The trip departs Rome from the Roma Termini train station. The meeting point is in front of the Nike store at the front of the train station. Please meet your trip leader 20 minutes prior to departure. Travel to Budapest is by private luxury coach with A/C, DVD, and bathroom. We make one 45 minute stop. We will arrive in Budapest early the next morning.
We will meet for a 3 hour walking tour of Budapest with a professional Hungarian guide who grew up in Communist Hungary. Breakfast will be served prior to the walking tour, and on each subsequent day. The walking tour is a great introduction to the city and Magyar history and culture. Major sights on the tour include St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge, Parliament building, Castle Hill/Royal Palace, and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
The afternoon is free to explore Budapest and its many activities. Bus2alps recommends going to the famous Szechenyi Bath and Spa, located near Heroes Square. Your trip leader will organize a trip there for those interested. This is a traditional Hungarian experience you won't want to miss! After, you can stroll down Andrassy Utca, Budapest’s version of the Champs-Elysees. There is also the House of Terror, or the Art Gallery Museum.
In the evening, you’ll have the option to go on a Danube River Dinner Cruise, which is a great way to see a different view of the city with beautiful views of the buildings and bridges lit up against the water at night. Included in the dinner cruise is also a delicious Hungarian buffet on the boat. Or at night you are free to try one of the many restaurants in the area. Your trip leader will let you know what time to meet at the hostel to head to our favorite ruin bars!
After breakfast we will depart Budapest early morning for Vienna. We will arrive in Vienna in the afternoon. After check in, we include a private walking tour and local guide from Vienna exploring the history and culture of this culture capital. The tour meets in the lobby of our accommodation. The tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours and will end just in front of the famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Afterwards there is time to stop off at the Hotel Sacher, home of the original recipe of the Sacher Torte, to taste this world famous chocolate cake! Vienna has numerous dining options. If you want to stay local, you cannot miss Wiener Schnitzel. We recommend a visit to the beautiful Schonbrunn Palace. This magnificent Palace can be toured in sections and has an amazing history attached to it. Marie Antoinette is one famous past resident of the palace. The Palace, located in a fully sculptured garden, is considered second only to Versaille in style, size, and opulence. Don’t forget your passport with student visa to receive the student discounted entrance.
Your trip leader will be able to inform you ahead of time of Opera and Ballet performances in Vienna for our weekend. The Vienna Opera House is THE most famous in the world. Tickets for standing room are very cheap!
For those looking to party, Vienna has an eclectic mix of bars and clubs in the inner city. One area in particular nicknamed The Bermuda Triangle has a high density of bars and clubs that are very popular with the local Viennese.
We will depart early Sunday morning to get the most of our day in Salzburg. The beautiful drive to Salzburg takes us through the Austrian Alps. Salzburg is well-known for being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and for providing the beautiful backdrop to one of the most famous musical films of all time, The Sound of Music. There are numerous tours and buildings associated with Mozart in Salzburg including his birthplace, now a museum and a home. For chocolate lovers, you can buy Mozart chocolates everywhere. We highly recommend joining the optional ‘Sound of Music Tour’. This tour is entertaining and informative, highlighting not only the classic film but also local history and customs. You will see all the main settings for the film in addition to the beautiful Alpine countryside surrounding Salzburg. We depart Salzburg for Italy in the afternoon. We will make one stop en route for dinner.
Danube River Dinner Cruise: A scenic boat ride along the river with stunning views of Parliament and the castle as you dine on a delicious dinner buffet while listening to live music and sipping a complimentary glass of champagne.
Thermal Baths: The cave system below Hungary was created by the movement of natural springs below the city. Join the Hungarians in their love of relaxing in one of the dozens of thermal baths scattered throughout the city, fed by their natural springs.
Communist Walking Tour: This free (guides work off tips) tour is run by the same guides as the Budapest Walking Tour. It gives a complete history of life in Communist and Post-Communist Budapest and highlights important locations involved in the struggle against Communism.
Performance at Vienna’s State Opera House: Notably the most famous Opera House in the world, there typically are performances every night.
Sound of Music Tour: This lively musical tour takes you by coach bus to all of the locations that the movie made famous. The tour will take you through the Austrian countryside and up into the Austrain Alps. The tour not only teaches you about the movie and real-life story behind ‘The Sound of Music’, but is an informative historical account for the surrounding area.
Budapest Walking Tour: The top walking tour in Budapest, the Hungarian guides give a fantastic account of early Hungarian history, in addition to life in Communist and Post-Communist Hungary.
Vienna Walking Tour: See the highlights of Vienna's old town center. On this tour you will pass the Hofburg Palace, the Volksgarten, the Parliament building, the Town Hall, the National Theater, and the State Opera House along with an overview of the city.