These three cities are a winter wonderland, perfect to explore at the beginning of your semester abroad. Get off the beaten path and check out the Eastern European hotspot of Budapest, where you can relax (and warm up) in the renowned outdoor thermal baths, heated by naturally warm spring waters. When the sun sets, dine while cruising past the glowing monuments on the banks of the Danube River, then check out the local ruin bar scene. Next, head west to Vienna to indulge in the mother of all chocolate cakes, Sachertorte. Marvel at the palaces of the Habsburg Empire and feast on Wiener Schnitzel, an Austrian delicacy. In Salzburg, sing along with the Von Trapps on the Sound of Music tour while winding your way through the rolling green Alps, or adventure off on your own to admire the view from the Hohensalzburg Fortress.
The trip departs from Florence on Thursday evening and travels overnight to Budapest by private luxury coach. We make one 45 minute stop. We will arrive in Budapest early the next morning.
We will meet for a 2-3 hour walking tour of Budapest with a professional Hungarian tour guide. 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 your Bus2alps guide will take you to the famous Szechenyi Bath and Spa, located near Heroes Square. This is a traditional Hungarian experience you won’t want to miss! After the thermal baths, 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, your guide will have some great dinner recommendation. After dinner, your trip leader will let you know what time to meet to head to our favorite Budapest 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 of this cultured 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. After the walking tour, you’ll have lunch before continuing with the rest of the day.
There will be 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.
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 stop at multiple main settings for the film within Salzburg in addition to catching some views of the Austrian Alps from rural Salzburg. We depart Salzburg for Italy in the afternoon. We will make one stop e-route for dinner.
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.
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.
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 while watching live Hungarian music/folk show and sipping a complimentary glass of champagne.
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.
Sound of Music Tour: This lively musical tour takes you by coach bus to many of the locations that the movie made famous. You will stop at multiple main settings for the film within Salzburg in addition to catching some views of the Austrian Alps from rural Salzburg. The tour not only teaches you about the movie and real-life story behind ‘The Sound of Music’, but is an informative historical account of the surrounding area.