Any listing of Europe's great cities must include these three, where a banquet of travel thrills awaits you. Beginning in Berlin and ending in Vienna — with Prague, Dresden and the Danube in between — our dozen-day adventure explores the very heart of Europe. From the music of Strauss to the dynasty of the Habsburgs and the idealism of the Velvet Revolution, these remarkable cities have sparked the dangers, hopes, and beauty of Europe — yesterday and today. Join us for the Best of Berlin, Prague & Vienna in 12 Days!
You'll get all this!
- A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
- Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Central Europe come alive for you
- All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 14 group sightseeing events • 3-day Berlin Museumspass • Berlin historical walking tour • Berlin's Museum Island & Jewish Sites walking tour • Dresden orientation walk • Zwinger museums • Frauenkirche and audio guide • Terezin Memorial walking tour • Historic Prague walking tour • Prague Castle tour • Melk Abbey tour • Vienna walking tour • Vienna Opera tour (when available) • Hofburg Treasury • Belvedere Palace tour...and more
- All group transportation from Berlin to Vienna
- 11 nights accommodations (all but 2 are 3-night stays) in memorable, centrally-located hotels
- All breakfasts and half your dinners
- All tips for guides and driver
- Free stuff including three guidebooks (Rick Steves' Prague & Czech Republic; Vienna, Salzburg & Tirol; and Snapshot: Berlin), German phrase book, map, moneybelt and earplugs
- Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
- Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
- Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2013
- 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
- Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
- Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
- Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
- Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
- Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to Berlin
We'll have a "Welcome to Berlin" meeting at around 5 p.m. at our hotel in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. On our way to dinner together, we'll get oriented to this up-and-coming corner of the former East Berlin, and learn to use the city's public transportation system. Sleep in Berlin (3 nights). No bus. Walking: light.
Day 2: Berlin's Historic Heart
We'll begin our day with a walking tour through the historic heart of Berlin. At the Brandenburg Gate, we'll hear how locals felt on the day in 1989 when the Berlin Wall suddenly became irrelevant. We'll continue our walk with a stop at Checkpoint Charlie, and then focus on Germany's reunification and how Germans view their place in the EU today. For the rest of the day, you'll be free to explore the wealth of top-notch museums and other nearby sites with your included museum pass. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 3: Today's East Berlin
This morning we'll hop on a tram to Hackescher Markt and explore ever-changing East Berlin. We'll see a once-destroyed Jewish neighborhood now renewed with a flourish, an island dedicated to world-class museums, and the site where the Nazi's burned 20,000 books. The afternoon is free for you to use your included museum pass and go deeper in history at the German History Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum), Pergamon Museum (Ancient Greece), Neues Museum (including its Egyptian collection), or pass new glitzy Berlin via boat along the Spree River. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 4: Resurrected Dresden
Today we'll board our bus and head south to Dresden, where we'll be greeted by priceless works of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Raphael, Titian and more in the Zwinger Museums' Old Masters Gallery. We'll continue with a walking tour of this reborn-from-the-ashes city, including the city's greatest symbol of pride: the inspiring Frauenkirche, destroyed during WWII and rebuilt since the 1990s with donations from around the world. This evening we'll have dinner together and sleep at our welcoming family-run hotel in Dresden (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 5: Terezin and Prague
We'll continue south to the Czech Republic today, stopping to share a picnic lunch in the delightful Czech town of Litomêřice. Just down the road, we'll find a completely contrasting experience in the fortified town of Terezin, which was converted into a concentration camp in 1941. Today it's the Terezin Memorial, and we'll go inside to learn its story. Later this afternoon we'll arrive at our hotel in the heart of Prague's Baroque Old Town. After settling-in, we'll take an orientation walk through the Old Town, including the wonderfully pedestrian Charles Bridge and enjoy dinner together. Sleep in Prague (3 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 6: Royal Prague
This morning we'll hop on a local tram to take us across the Vltava River and up the hill to the most massive castle complex in continental Europe: Prague Castle. We'll tour the impressive Old Royal Palace, the Golden Lane and St. Vitus Cathedral. Is Prague really home to the best beers in Europe? We'll find out by sampling one during lunch at a local brewery, followed by free time for more sightseeing on your own. This evening will be a great time to catch a classical concert or experience the quirky and uniquely Czech Black Light Theater. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 7: The People's Prague
We'll enjoy a full morning of sightseeing with our local guide, beginning with a walking tour of the Old Town Square. After learning about the Velvet Revolution, the people's march that toppled the Communist regime in 1989, our morning will end in the proudly-preserved Josefov neighborhood, with its Old Cemetery and historic synagogues. The rest of the afternoon you'll be free to explore more of the Josefov neighborhood, visit the Mucha museum, or make your own discoveries in Prague. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 8: Delightful Český Krumlov
Today we'll hop on our bus and head for the centuries-old town of Český Krumlov. After an orientation walk, you'll have time to explore this photogenic old town of quaint shops and cobbled lanes — maybe even rent a canoe. We'll feast on locally-caught trout for dinner, and sleep in Český Krumlov (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).
Day 9: Melk and Vienna
After an early morning drive to the Danube Valley, we'll tour the artistic treasures and Baroque wonders of one of Europe's great sights: the freshly-gilded, newly-restored Melk Abbey. Then we'll set course for the one-time capital of a powerful empire — and our tour's grand finale — Vienna. Tonight, we'll enjoy an orientation walk, followed by a traditional Viennese dinner together. Sleep in Vienna (3 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 10: Habsburg Vienna
This morning we'll take a walking tour from Stephansplatz to the elegant Opera House while learning of the 640-year rule of the Habsburg Empire. We'll take in the dramatic architecture and history of the Opera House (when available) and be blinded by the stunning collection of royal regalia at the Hofburg Treasury. The rest of your day is free to explore more of Vienna's highlights, and maybe stop to savor every chocoholic's dream: Viennese Sacher Torte. No bus. Walking: moderate.
Day 11: Artistic Vienna
Let's begin with a walking tour of Vienna's Art Nouveau architecture and the lively Naschmarkt produce market. Then we'll continue with a tram ride out to the elegant Belvedere Palace for a tour, including a roomful of Gustav Klimt's wildly-gilded — he called them erotic — paintings. (Ponder The Kiss and decide for yourself.) Your afternoon is free to explore a world-class museum or two, or slow down to enjoy sipping a coffee in the city where Europe's café scene was born. Tonight we'll meet for our last dinner together, where we'll share travel memories and toast new friends. Prost! No bus. Walking: moderate.
Day 12: Tour Over After Breakfast
It's a breeze to reach Vienna's airport by shuttle, bus or taxi. You'll have easy connections to home, back to Prague, or on to Budapest and other points in Europe. Auf Wiedersehen!
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Rick Steves tours are physically active!
This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Berlin, Prague & Vienna in 12 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.
Sightseeing On Your Own
If you arrive in Berlin before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Snapshot: Berlin guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of German (although many locals speak English well), and get over your jet lag with fresh air and exercise.
Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Berlin that we will not be doing as a group (see your guidebook for details): Jewish Museum; Gemäldegalerie; Museum of the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie; Potsdamer Platz; Gendarmenmarkt; New Synagogue; German History Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum); Reichstag Dome. If you'd like to visit the Reichstag Dome, you must make advance reservations. The best time to visit is pre-tour or after 15:00 on Day 2 or Day 3.
If you want to spend more time in Vienna after the tour, visit the Schönbrunn Palace, the world-class art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum or enjoy numerous performances around the city. Your Rick Steves' Vienna guidebook has plenty of ideas for any extra time you may have after your tour and your guide will be happy to help you with post-tour plans.
Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.
There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). Berlin and Vienna are transportation hubs, making travel before or after your tour quite easy. For links to helpful rail and air websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."
Read Rick's Guide to Eurail Passes and decide if your travel plans merit a railpass (or contact our Rail Department for advice at email@example.com or 425-771-8303 ext. 214).
Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.
If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See a chart with monthly rain and temperature information for this tour.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
Tour Guide Raves
"Katka was amazing. She was a wealth of information and so personable. She took time with each participant and made all of us feel like we were a valued part of the group. She handled so many details which was so refreshing. She also added so many nice personal touches in each location with the local foods and beverages!"
— Elizabeth in White Bear Lake, MN
"Fabian was incredible! He was very well organized, enthusiastic, gracious, and attentive to the group and individuals. I particularly appreciated his enthusiasm for and knowledge of history, culture and geography. He is a superb lecturer, and is very responsive to questions. He prepared me well to get the most out of this adventure."
— Elden in Rancho Murieta, CA
Favorite tour memories from recent alums:
"Every day was accompanied by a 'wow' moment — even if it was the simple experience of tasting yet another wonderful regional beer! However, the visit to the rooms of the Hofburg Treasury in Vienna that contain the coronation regalia of the Holy Roman Emperor resonated with 900 years of European history. To a history buff, that realization was startling and unmatched."
— Colin in Calgary, AB
"There were several magic moments, but a particularly memorable one was the Berlin city history walk, Hitler's bunker, the Berlin wall, communism resistance sites...very moving."
— Joyce in Half Moon Bay, CA
"The view of Prague palace at night from the Charles Bridge was my 'wow' moment."
— Cynthia in Waco, TX
To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.
Videos & More
This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.
Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows
(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)
- Cabaret (1972)
- Amadeus (1984)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
- Schindler's List (1993)
- Kolya (1996)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
- Classical: Beethoven, Dvořák, Haydn, Mahler, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss
- Pop/rock: Falco
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- Berlin Noir — Philip Kerr
- Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut
- The Good Soldier Švejk — Jaroslav Hašek
- The Radetzky March — Joseph Roth
- A Death in Vienna: A Novel — Frank Tallis