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Vantage invites you to Transylvania, where the lure of vampire legends awaits in Romania’s fabled central region, home to mountainous scenery, medieval villages, and Bran Castle — Dracula’s legendary manse. You’ll visit Prejmer Fortified Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and check off another UNESCO Site off your list when joining our optional tour to enchanting Sighișoara. Step inside elegant Bucharest, bohemian Brasov, and a forested region of fairytales — now with an extra day added for better pacing in 2020!
Please note that in an effort to better the pacing, two days (Days 11 and 15) from your base journey will take place within your extension. The order of these two base days in the extension itinerary is subject to change.
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Traveling through Transylvanian history
Today we’ll venture into Transylvania, the mountainous, legend-haunted region in central Romania. On the way, we’ll stop for lunch in Sinaia, a former royal summer retreat, and visit fairy-tale Peles Castle. As we enter Transylvania proper, you’ll see why it’s known as the last medieval landscape in Europe. Our destination is charming Brasov, the compact baroque city that still retains the medieval walls and gates erected nine centuries ago by Saxon merchant princes. Dinner is included at a local restaurant.
Please note: Today's activities are part of your base tour price. Passengers on the pre-trip extension to Transylvania will have the Bucharest portion of their base program today.
Explore Brasov and Bran Castle, legendary home of Dracula
Following breakfast, embark on a walking tour of beautiful Brasov, followed by a visit to Bran Castle, the legendary home of Dracula. You'll have free time for lunch on your own here before returning to the hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Take a Transylvania Highlights optional tour, or explore Brasov on your own
Enjoy day at leisure in charming, walkable Brasov. Or join an optional full-day Transylvania Highlights tour including a walking tour of Sighișoara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of Dracula. Lunch is included on this optional tour. In the evening, you're invited to join a pub crawl through Brasov.
AVAILABLE ON TRANSYLVANIA EXTENSION ONLY: Discover Transylvania’s fairy-tale village of Sighisoara, a 12th-century Saxon settlement whose central citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses, and ornate churches, Sighisoara’s beautifully preserved medieval character rivals that of Old Prague or Vienna. The city’s other claim to fame is the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), ruler of the province of Walachia from 1456 to 1462. It was he who inspired Bram Stoker’s fictional creation, Count Dracula. You’ll learn the city’s fabled history on a guided walking tour that includes lunch at a local restaurant.
Inside Prejmer Fortified Church
Today you’ll enjoy an included excursion to Prejmer Fortified Church, a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site that was constructed in the 13th century by Teutonic knights and fortified by a circular wall in the 15th century by German colonists. Three hundred storage rooms on up to four levels held supplies for potential siege, and the fortress protected the church from 50 attacks over the course of history. You’ll learn about its victorious battles and those who protected it before returning to your hotel for a free evening.
Panoramic tour of Bucharest and exploring its historic buildings
Today we’ll make our way to Bucharest, Romania’s largest city and capital, where we’ll embark on a panoramic tour and have lunch. Afterwards, explore Bucharest’s grand monuments and leafy, old-world boulevards on a city tour that includes a choice of entrances. Unforgettable Moment: You can visit the infamous People’s Palace, the grandiose, sprawling, and never-completed administrative building initiated by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Alternatively, take a fascinating walking tour of Manuc’s Inn, Bucharest’s oldest hotel building, which was built as a way station for caravans and surrounds a large open courtyard. Dinner is included at your hotel.
Please note: The Bucharest portion of today's activities are part of your base tour price. Passengers on the pre-trip extension to Transylvania will have the Peles Castle and Sinaia portion of their base program today.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Experience the resurgence of Warsaw and Krakow on this historical foray into the heart of Poland. You’ll spend three nights in Krakow, one of Europe's most indisputably beautiful cities, before transferring to Warsaw, the elegant capital meticulously restored after its destruction during World War II. Enjoy informative walking tours of each city’s atmospheric and historic districts and visit the Warsaw Ghetto and the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps to explore some of the darkest chapters in world history. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites round out this extension, as well as a potential fourth when you join our optional Wieliczka Salt Mine tour.
Journey on a scenic ride to Krakow
After breakfast today, we depart for a lengthy but scenic motorcoach trip from Budapest to Krakow. Enjoy an evening at leisure, with dinner on your own. Later, if you're feeling in the spirit, join your City Host for a pub crawl through Krakow's bars.
City walking tour, and a visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau
During your walking tour of this elegant city, once the seat of Poland’s royalty, ten centuries of architecture are on display. Your route includes Wawel Castle, the coronation and burial site of Polish kings, and the vast medieval square — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, we’ll make a somber visit to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz and the nearby “death camp” of Birkenau. These sites are now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They’re also a museum and a memorial dedicated to the 1.5 million people who perished here.
Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine, or spend a day as you please
Today, enjoy a day at leisure, or join a new optional tour to impressive Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of Poland’s most-visited attractions, it’s more than 1,000 feet below the surface of the Earth, with an even longer heritage that goes back more than a dozen million years ago when the rich rock salt deposits first formed the stunning crystals and deposits you can admire today. There’s even space for concerts and weddings far below the earth, with chapels, hall and an underground lake. You’ll even see sculptures made entirely of salt!
Please note: You'll cover approximately 800 stairs, 380 of which are at the start.
Head to Warsaw
After breakfast, transfer to Warsaw today, arriving in the afternoon just in time for lunch on your own. Your City Host can make suggestions! Afterward, check into your hotel and enjoy a day at leisure with dinner on your own.
Tour Warsaw’s Old Town and visit the Warsaw Ghetto
On this morning’s included tour, you’ll delve into Warsaw's Old Town, the historic heart of the Polish capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The UNESCO designation recognizes the painstaking rebuilding of this district following deliberate destruction by retreating German troops. We’ll also visit the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto, where some 400,000 Jewish citizens were imprisoned after the Nazi conquest of Poland in World War II, and three quarters of whom died in concentration camps. Your afternoon and evening are at leisure to explore more of Warsaw on your own. This evening, reconvene at the hotel for a Farewell Drink and Dinner.
After breakfast in the hotel this morning, transfer to the Warsaw airport for your flight back to the U.S.