Depending on our arrival time there may be the opportunity to have a brief introduction to our surroundings before spending our first night in Slovakia.
We take a tour of Bratislava on foot, including the Old Town and the castle (entrances optional, payable locally) before spending our second night in the city. The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, is home to approximately 450,000 inhabitants and borders both Austria and Hungary. Not surprisingly it has been influenced by many cultures and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary. In the afternoon we transfer (approx. 2hrs) to Banska Stiavnica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A mediaeval town, it is spread across a steep valley and in the Middle Ages was the main supplier of gold and silver to the Kingdom of Hungary. It boasts a number of beautifully preserved buildings such as the 14th century Chateau and the Church of St Catherine, and the numerous small picturesque squares. At the end of our day we transfer to Banska Bystrica. Overnight Banska Bystrica.
After a morning transfer to Cierny Balog (approx 1hr) we take a ride on the local steam train that first began operation in the 1900s.This section of renovated tracks takes a scenic journy through the Hroncianska Dolina Valley and keeps alive an important cultural feature of the area. In the afternoon we take a trip to the Dobsinska Ice Cave, in the Slovensky Raj range, another Slovakian highlight to make the UNESCO list. The entrance to the cave is at 970m, and has a total length of over 1400m although only 515m is regularly open to the public. The ambient temperature in the cave does not exceed 0 degrees annually, giving rise to a plethora of stalagmites and frozen cascades, a truly memorable sight. Our day ends with our first glimpse of the High Tatras as we drive to our hotel in Smokovec.
The High Tatras offer some wonderful vistas and a cable car ride is a great way to appreciate the reach and variety of the surrounding peaks. Our ride takes us to one of the many mountain lakes in the area - Skalnate Pleso, by the southern slopes of the imposing Lomnicky Peak, one of the highest in the area at 2634m. The panoramic views over the mountains here are well worth the trip. Our afternoon begins with a visit to Pribilina, a traditional village maintained and preserved as an outdoor folk museum. After a walk around the village to enjoy the architecture and atmosphere we transfer to our next base, the village of Terchova. The rest of the day is free to explore the village or go for a walk in Janosikove Diery canyons.
Today we cross the Slovakia - Czech border and journey to the Beskydy mountains in the Wallachia region. A highlight of the region is the town of Roznov pod Radhostem presenting unique architecture of wooden painted houses, churches and farm houses. Equally interesting is the millennial city of Olomouc, which has always been the most important royal city of Bohemia. Sightseeing in this UNESCO town awaits us, as our tour takes in the splendid episcopal palaces and historic streets as well as the ancient university and still functional clock at City Hall.
We begin with a transfer to UNESCO town Kutna Hora, an influential town in the history of the region largely due to its rich deposits of silver. Today the wealth and history of all the houses and churches still attest to its former role, as does the majestic cathedral. A particular feature of the town is the church, a charnel house, originally a Gothic building of the 14th century, the interior of which is composed exclusively of human bones. The afternoon is free to wander the crooked streets and soak up the historic atmosphere. Overnight Kutna Hora.
Our day begins with a drive to the Czech Republic's historic capital, Prague. We combine guided sightseeing in the morning and some free time to explore the city. The compact medieval centre of is an unforgettable labyrinth of stony narrow streets, old squares, passages and countless churches with hundreds of towers and turrets. Among the most memorable sights are Prague Castle, Golden Lane, Old Town Square with the Astronomical Clock, Petrin Hill with the 62m high copy of the Eiffel Tower, and Charles Bridge with beautiful sculptures. Overnight Prague
After our transfer to the historic town of Cesky Krumlov (approx 2hrs) we enjoy its small squares, narrow cobbled streets and beautiful chateau that overlooks the town. The early evening and morning are particularly good times to see this town, as the light reflects of the red roofs and the surrounding hills. Overnight Cesky Krumlov. Please note that due to a festival in June, the 12th June departure will overnight in Ceske Bedejovice.
We drive to Telc (1hr 45mins). Telc is a great example of renaissance architecture and has changed little over the past century. The town square, flanked by traditional houses and buildings, many of which proudly display coats of arms will immerse you in a bygone era. The dominant feature is the castle, which boasts the original interior. After sightseeing and lunch in Telc you transfer to the wine region of South Moravia and visit the Lednice-Valtice estate.
This morning is free for you to discover the Lednice Chateau, its gardens, greenhouse or minaret. After lunch we transfer back to Vienna,