⏱️ 14 Days
🏙️ 10 Cities
🗺️ 05 Countries
Prague is the equal of Paris in terms of beauty. Its history goes back a millennium.
The 1989 Velvet Revolution that freed the Czechs from communism bequeathed to Europe a gem of a city to stand beside stalwarts such as Rome, Paris and London. Not surprisingly, visitors from around the world have come in droves, and on a hot summer's day it can feel like you’re sharing Charles Bridge with half of humanity. But even the crowds can’t take away from the spectacle of a 14th-century stone bridge, a hilltop castle and a lovely, lazy river – the Vltava – that inspired one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of 19th-century classical music, Smetana’s Moldausymphony.
Scenic spots: Prague Castle/St Vitus Cathedral/Charles Bridge/Astronomical Clock/Old Town Square/Church of Our Lady Before Týn
Český Krumlov, in Bohemia’s deep south, is one of the most picturesque towns in Europe. It’s a little like Prague in miniature – a Unesco World Heritage Site with a stunning castle above the Vltava River, an old town square, Renaissance and baroque architecture, and hordes of tourists milling through the streets – but all on a smaller scale; you can walk from one side of town to the other in 20 minutes. There are plenty of lively bars and riverside picnic spots – in summer it’s a popular hang-out for backpackers. It can be a magical place in winter, though, when the crowds are gone and the castle is blanketed in snow.
Scenic spots : Cesky Krumlov Castle/Lazebnický Bridge/Vnitřní Město/Church of St Vitus
The joke 'If it's baroque, don't fix it' is a perfect maxim for Salzburg: the story-book Altstadt (old town) burrowed below steep hills looks much as it did when Mozart lived here, 250 years ago. Standing beside the fast-flowing Salzach River, your gaze is raised inch by inch to graceful domes and spires, the formidable clifftop fortress and the mountains beyond. It's a backdrop that did the lordly prince-archbishops and Maria proudly.
Beyond Salzburg’s two biggest money-spinners – Mozart and The Sound of Music – hides a city with a burgeoning arts scene, wonderful food, manicured parks, quiet side streets where classical music wafts from open windows, and concert halls that uphold musical tradition 365 days a year. Everywhere you go, the scenery, the skyline, the music and the history send your spirits soaring higher than Julie Andrews' octave-leaping vocals.
Slovenia's capital and largest city is one of Europe's greenest and most liveable capitals; it was the European Commission's Green Capital of Europe in 2016. Car traffic is restricted in the centre, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city's heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer, cafes set up terrace seating along the river; it almost feels like a nightly street party. Slovenia's master of early-modern, minimalist design, Jože Plečnik, graced Ljubljana with beautiful bridges and buildings as well as dozens of urban design elements such as pillars, pyramids and lamp posts, which exist solely to make the city even prettier. Attractive cities are often described as 'jewel boxes', and here the name really fits. Some 50,000 students support an active clubbing scene, and Ljubljana's museums and restaurants are among the best in the country.
Scenic spots : Hallstätter See/Kath. Pfarramt Hallstatt
Slovenia's capital and largest city is one of Europe's greenest and most liveable capitals; it was the European Commission's Green Capital of Europe in 2016. Car traffic is restricted in the centre, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city's heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer, cafes set up terrace seating along the river; it almost feels like a nightly street party.
Scenic spotsDragon Bridge/Ljubljana Castle/Mestni Trg/Triple Bridge/Ljubljana University
Zagreb is made for strolling. Wander through the Upper Town's red-roof and cobblestone glory, peppered with church spires. Crane your neck to see the domes and ornate upper-floor frippery of the Lower Town's mash-up of secessionist, neo-baroque and art deco buildings. Search out the grittier pockets of town where ugly-bland concrete walls have been transformed into colourful murals by local street artists. This city rewards those on foot.
Afterwards, do as the locals do and head to a cafe. The cafe-culture here is just one facet of this city's vibrant street life, egged on by a year-round swag of events that bring music, pop-up markets and food stalls to the plazas and parks. Even when there's nothing on, the centre thrums with youthful energy so it's no surprise that Croatia's capital is now bringing in the city-break crowd. Zagreb is the little city that could.
Budapest is paradise for explorers. Keep your senses primed and you'll discover something wonderful at every turn.
D1 :Scenic spots : St Mark's Church/Zagreb Cathedral/Ban Jelačić Square/Lotrščak Tower
D2: Scenic spots : Királyi palota/Hungarian National Gallery/Budai várnegyed/Mátyás Templom/Halászbástya/Szechenyi Chain Bridge
D3:Scenic spots : Central Market Hall (Nagy Vasarcsarnok)/Vörösmarty tér/Szent István Bazilika/Magyar Állami Operaház/Parliament Building
Bratislava doesn’t provoke admiring swoons; it intrigues. In the midst of Slovakia’s capital, a flying
saucer hovers above forest-fringed riverbanks. Its castle presides over a pastel-hued old town, but a
concrete jungle looms behind. Despite the march of modernism, Bratislava is green. It banks the
Danube River, by the Austrian border, and its hilly parks are threaded with hiking and biking trails.
The Male Karpaty (Small Carpathians) roll north, with vineyards in their lowlands.
Scenic spots : Bratislavský hrad/St Martin's Cathedral/Michalská brána/Schöne Náci/Cumil -- The
man at work/Church of St Elizabeth
Baroque streetscapes and imperial palaces set the stage for Vienna's artistic and musical masterpieces
alongside its coffee-house culture and vibrant epicurean and design scenes.
D1 : Scenic spots : Schoenbrunn Palace/St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
D2 : Scenic spots : University of Vienna/Österreichisches Parlament/Kunsthistorisches Museum/Café
D3 : Scenic spots : Hofburg/Graben/Vienna State Opera
Enriched by the silver ore that veined the surrounding hills, the medieval city of Kutná Hora became
the seat of Wenceslas II’s royal mint in 1308, producing silver groschen that were then the hard
currency of Central Europe. Boom-time Kutná Hora rivalled Prague in importance, but by the 16th
century the mines began to run dry, and its demise was hastened by the Thirty Years’ War and a
devastating fire in 1770. The town became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1996, luring visitors with
a smorgasbord of historic sights. It looks its flower-bedecked best in May and June but is worth a full
day’s visit at any time of year.