Sandwiched between Eastern and Western Europe, Hungary has been ruled by Romans, Austrian Hapsburgs, and Ottoman Turks-to name but a few-and each has left their mark. Straddling the Danube, the twin city of Budapest dates from Buda's earliest days as a Roman outpost, and rivals Vienna as the most elegant city on the Danube. Wide avenues and cathedrals are watched over by imposing Buda Castle, besieged no less than 31 times in its 750-year history. Hungary's spas will pamper you, its wine beguile you, and its architecture stun you so much you'd swear you were in more affluent Western Europe. But the traditional countryside-and the prices-will pinch you out of that dream.
Budapest to Istanbul (EABI)
From pastoral countryside to forbidding forests and magnificent mountain ranges, experience the romance of the east on your way from Budapest to Istanbul. In two well-packed weeks, explore the weathered architecture of Budapest and grand Ottoman palaces and mosques in Istanbul for an introduction to the artistic and cultural heights of two very different empires. With an intriguing combination of cultural colour and outdoor activities, you'll come away with a real feel for this lesser-explored corner of Europe.
Highlights: discovering the rich and varied culture and countryside of Eastern Europe, Visiting 'Dracula's Castle' and charming Slavic villages, exploring the spectacular Eastern European capitals of Budapest and Istanbul
The Best of Eastern Europe (EABE)
From fairytale Czech towns to the ‘Pearl of the Danube’, Budapest, experience the unique culture, food and history of Eastern Europe. This 2-week trip through six Eastern European countries offers an intriguing combination of urban centres, village life and outdoor pursuits. Visit castles, churches and romantic town squares. Indulge in Berlin’s café culture and Prague’s beer, explore a Tatra Mountains' village and float down river on a raft.
Highlights: Wandering beautiful medieval cities, Hiking in the High Tatra Mountains, Exploring world-class museums, Savoring the café culture.