We've brought together Eastern Europe's must-see cities — Prague and Budapest — for an eye-opening eight-day adventure. You'll explore Prague's mighty castle, swirling Baroque churches, fascinating Jewish Quarter, and sample what may be Europe's most refreshing beers. Then it's on to cosmopolitan Budapest, with its unexpected elegance, hidden courtyards, remarkable markets, and tales of a tumultuous history — an experience that's spiced with surprising cuisine and a panoramic cruise along the Danube. Join us for the Best of Prague and Budapest in 8 Days!
You'll get all this!
- An extra-small group, limited to 20-24 people — less than 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 Prague and Budapest come alive for you
- All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 17 group sightseeing events • Prague Castle tour • St. Vitus Cathedral • St. George's Basilica • Old Town walking tour • Art Deco walking tour and Mucha Museum • Josefov Jewish Quarter tour • Velvet Revolution walking tour • Budapest bus orientation tour • Buda Castle district and Matthias Church tour • Pest walking tour • St. István Cathedral • Great Market Hall • Hungarian cooking class • Cultural performance • Hungarian State Opera tour • Heroes Square tour • Danube cruise...and more
- All group transportation from Prague to Budapest
- 7 nights accommodations (4- and 3-night stays) in memorable, centrally-located hotels
- All breakfasts and half your dinners
- All tips for guides and driver
- Free stuff including Rick Steves' Prague & Czech Republic and Rick Steves' Budapest guidebooks, 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 Prague
We'll meet in our hotel around 4 p.m. to get acquainted and go over the week's schedule. Then we'll take an orientation walk through our Old Town neighborhood and over the historic Charles Bridge — one of Europe's most entertaining promenades — followed by a hearty dinner together. Sleep in Prague (4 nights). Walking: moderate.
Day 2: Prague of Kings and Nobles
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, St. George's Basilica and St. Vitus Cathedral. To see for ourselves whether Prague really is home to the best beers in Europe, we'll walk to a nearby monastery's brewery for a refreshing mug and free time for lunch, then meander through delightful hidden gardens back down to the Old Town, where you'll be free for the evening. Walking: strenuous.
Day 3: Jewish and Art Nouveau Prague
Today we'll take a walking tour through the Josefov neighborhood, once the site of Prague's Jewish Ghetto — and still one of the most evocative Jewish districts in all of Europe. For a thousand years one of the leading centers of Judaism, the neighborhood is studded with thought-provoking museums, fascinating synagogues, and a Kafkaesque, dream-like cemetery. After free time for lunch, we'll take a tour of the classy concert halls and salons of the city's Municipal House and cap off the day with an Art Nouveau walk connecting some of Prague's slinkiest facades, and tour a museum devoted to the local master of Art Nouveau: Alfons Mucha (whose stained glass you will have already marveled at inside St. Vitus Cathedral). Your evening will be free for dinner on your own. Walking: strenuous.
Day 4: Revolutionary Prague
We'll start our day by retracing the footsteps of Prague's celebrated Velvet Revolution, following the events of November 17, 1989, through the modern city to Wenceslas Square, where thousands of Czechs held up and rattled their keys, telling their communist leaders, "the time has come for you to go home." We'll end our walk through history at Charles University — one of the oldest in Europe — where your guide will bring the stories of Emperor Charles and Jan Hus to life. You'll return to the present in time to enjoy dinner 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. Walking: moderate.
Day 5: On to Budapest
This morning we'll board our coach for the drive to Budapest. En route we'll pass through the rolling hills of ancient Moravia and modern Slovakia, catching our first glimpse of the wide, blue Danube as we approach the capital city that straddles both banks of the river. Upon arrival this afternoon, we'll drive up Buda's steep Castle Hill for bird's-eye views of "twin city" Pest across the river, and into Budapest's greatest church: the sumptuously-gilded Matthias Church. When we've finished here, we'll settle in to our hotel and enjoy a Hungarian dinner together. Sleep in Budapest (3 nights). Bus: 7 hrs. Walking: light.
Day 6: Bustling Budapest
Pest — the larger, more sprawling half of Budapest — is a puzzle of Baroque, classical, and modern architecture. On our walking tour this morning we'll crane our necks beside Europe's largest, most ornate parliament building, and explore some of the city's hidden courtyards. Along the way, we'll learn how Hungarians coped with half a century of fascist and communist tyranny. At St. István's elaborate cathedral, we'll hear why, once a year, locals parade the saint's millennium-old fist around the city. Then we'll explore the city's Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok), where we'll treat our senses to a few paprika-infused delicacies in a special Hungarian cooking class. Later tonight we'll regroup and relax with a cruise along the Danube. Boat: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.
Day 7: Elegance of Empire
This morning we'll tour the caked-in-splendor home of the Hungarian State Opera. Built in the 1880s, when Budapest was co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Hungarians took every opportunity to make their opera house more opulent than anything the Viennese could muster. You'll see they succeeded. Then we'll ride on the oldest metro in continental Europe, on our way to Heroes Square to see and learn about the bronze-cast, larger-than-life players in Hungary's national story. This afternoon your guide will be happy to arrange a chance to soak in the ornate public Thermal Baths (yes, you'll have plenty of time to soak it all in!). Tonight we'll rendezvous for a special dinner together, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Egészségedre! Walking: strenuous.
Day 8: Tour Over After Breakfast
Budapest's Ferihegy Airport and three busy train stations can connect you to practically anywhere in Europe, and your return home. Whatever your plans, your guide will help you get on the right track. Viszontlátásra!
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 Prague & Budapest in 8 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) 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 four 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 Prague before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Prague guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Czech (although many locals speak English well), and get over your jet lag with fresh air and exercise.
Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Prague that we will not be doing as a group (see your guidebook for details): Museum of Medieval art, Havelská Market, National Museum, Toy and Barbie Museum, Rowboat or Paddleboat on the Vltava River.
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). Prague and Budapest 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." Flying within Europe has also become more reasonable. Ask your travel agent or check the above web links.
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.
While it is important to pack light, there is one thing you should consider including when packing for this tour. Budapest is known for its natural hot springs and spending time at one of the many baths around town is a great treat, so you may want to bring along a swimsuit.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
Tour Guide Raves
"Honza was the absolute epitome of a tour guide. He gave us personal information spontaneously in response to questions, and we were captivated by his stories of his grandmother and his family. He really taught us about Prague and Budapest. I can't imagine a better tour guide."
— Judith in Anita, IA
"I thought Etelka was fabulous! Her energy and enthusiasm were amazing. She made everything interesting and exciting. She explained everything beautifully and made me look forward to everything we were going to do with her obvious joy in the journey."
— Karen in Burke, VA
Favorite tour memories from recent alums:
"Some of the most meaningful and memorable experiences involved the various synagogues and walks in the old Jewish quarters of the cities. Strolling around Budapest's Central Market was utterly fascinating; the boat ride on the Danube was a lovely experience; and the group meals were delightful. The tour of the Budapest Opera House was amazing — not to be missed. And it was really a rare privilege to be taken step- by-step through the unfolding of Prague's Velvet Revolution via our guide's personal involvement."
— Deborah in New York, NY
"Loved the entire trip but there were two highlights — one in each city. In Prague we attended a performance by the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra at the Municipal House, and in Budapest the evening Danube cruise was amazing. The water was rising and we had seats in the open air deck — sipping wine as we cruised by the lighted sights of Buda and Pest, it was a wonderful finish to our day."
— Patricia in Toledo, OH
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.)
- Closely Watched Trains (1966)
- Fireman's Ball (1967)
- Czech Dream (2004)
- Sunshine (1999)
- Kontroll (2003)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
Rick Steves Audio Europe™
- Classical: Béla Bartók, Antonin Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, Bedřich Smetana
- Jazz: Károly Binder, Emil Viklický
- Bluegrass: Druhá Tráva
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- I Served the King of England — Bohumil Hrabal
- The Metamorphosis — Franz Kafka
- The Good Soldier Švejk — Jaroslav Hašek
- Prague — Arthur Phillips
- The Radetzky March — Joseph Roth