European Coach Tours Guide – Tours Of Central Eastern Europe

Coach Tours To Central Europe & Eastern European Countries

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Central Europe is generally said to include Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, encompassing several beautiful capital cities such as Vienna, Prague and Budapest. But such a vast region can’t be fully explored in a single holiday, and few tours even attempt to reach all of the countries. Instead, most focus on one or more country, giving passengers a deeper insight into their destinations and avoiding long periods of time on the road.

Germany is a favourite destination on the coach tour circuit as it’s well set up for group trips and offers great sightseeing variety: fascinating cities such as Dresden and Berlincombined with spectacular rural scenery with rivers, castles and rolling vineyards.

n neighbouring Austria, the capital, Vienna, offers elegant architecture, high culture and fine coffee houses; the small city of Salzburg is packed with equally beautiful architecture in a striking setting; and the country’s rural landscape is made up of lush Alpine meadows and mountains.

From Vienna it’s only a half-hour drive to BratislavaSlovakia‘s historical capital, perched on the banks of the river Danube. The Old Town and Castle Hill are home to many of the city’s historic monuments and buildings, and for those tours that venture beyond the capital there are thermal spa towns to explore, and the scenery of the Tatras mountains.

South of Slovakia is Hungary, where once again the capital, Budapest, is the focus of most visits. Bisected by the river Danube, the city is split into ‘Buda’ on one bank and ‘Pest’ on the other, with world-famous architecture and more than a hundred thermal mineral baths scattered across the city.

In PolandWarsaw and Krakow are the top destinations, each city with its own distinct personality and complex history. On the Baltic coast Gdansk is another city worth a visit. Near Krakow there’s the harrowing but excellently-presented and informative Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

And over in the Czech RepublicPrague is the highlight: ‘city of a hundred spires’, with an intact medieval centre of narrow, cobbled streets lined with Baroque palaces and churches. One of the city’s focal points is the Town Square and the Town Hall’s famous Astronomical Clock, which dates back to 1410.

Choosing A Coach Tour / Holiday

When you’re researching holidays to the countries we’ve mentioned, bear in mind that some tour companies class many of these as ‘Eastern’ rather than ‘Central’ European – so check out trips labelled under either category to see if they include destinations you’re interested in.

Unlike cruise holidays, which have elaborate facilities on board to keep you entertained between destinations, coaches are rather less salubrious; few people want to spend more time on the road than they do at their destinations. Most coach fleets operating from UK companies seem to be modern and fairly comfortable, however, and as a bare minimum offer air-conditioning, on-board toilets and reclining seats.

Tours range in duration but on average last for between seven and 14 days – although you do find a few that last about four days, and others lasting more than three weeks. If you want to see several countries rather than focus on one, you may want to opt for a longer trip — or you’ll find you don’t see much of each destination. Itineraries vary dramatically from one coach tour to the next, so decide where you really want to visit, then shop around for suitable tours before you commit yourself.

If you’re a solo traveller, it’s also worth knowing that there is usually a single supplement on coach tours and this can add quite a bit to the final price.

Budget Coach Tours Eastern & Central Europe

Bestvaluetours.co.uk offers a 13-day ‘European Surprise Tour’ from May to September, costing from £865 per adult (working out at £67 per day) – or £778.50 for children (5-17 years). The fact that this tour distinguishes in price between adults and children will make it appeal to families, but may put off those travelling without children.

Highlights of the trip include Amsterdam in the NetherlandsBerlin and Dresden in GermanyPrague and Lednice in Czech RepublicBudapest and Györ in HungaryVienna and Salzburg in Austria; Munich, Rothenburg, Rhineland and Cologne in Germany; and Brussels in Belgium. This means covering a lot of ground, but there are also four two-night stops at Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Vienna.

ncluded in the price is a tour of the cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Brussels – plus a visit to Lednice Palace in the Czech Republic, and a Rhine cruise to see the castles, vineyards and the mighty Lorelei Rock. This is a pretty impressive itinerary for a budget tour, and seems to offer very good value for money.

Buffet breakfasts are included while on tour, plus six three-course dinners, hotel accommodation, transport on an air-conditioned coach, and a tour guide. This is a good value holiday for people from the UK as the coach departs from near Victoria Station in London. And, finally, on the company’s website it says: “We guarantee departures on all tours. Once you have booked your tour we will not cancel it.” Given online reviews we’ve read about cancelled tours by some companies, this kind of statement is reassuring.

For full details visit

http://www.bestvaluetours.co.uk/europe-berlin-dresden-surprise-tour-tlf.htm.

Mid- range Coach Tours In Eastern & Central Europe

Leger offers a 14-day tour that’s confusingly named ‘Highlights of Eastern Europe’, but which offers a grand tour of the great cities of Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna and Prague (which many other tours categorise as ‘Central’ Europe).

Costing from £1,049 per person in July (about £75 a day), this tour is available up until September and then again in 2010, and includes collection from a regional pick-up point in the UK and an on-board tour guide. The coach then heads to Belgium for the start of the tour, and on to Berlin (2 nights); Warsaw (2 nights); KrakowBudapest (2 nights); ViennaPrague (2 nights), and back to Belgium for a night before returning to the UK. There are seven decent excursions included, such as a guided walking tour of Prague and a visit toAuschwitz Concentration Camp – plus several optional extras offered. There’s a pretty good balance between variety and quality time in key destinations – with the exception of Vienna, which can’t conceivably be explored in an afternoon and evening.

The tour includes accommodation in 3- or 4-star hotels with daily breakfast and nine evening meals.

Visit http://www.leger.co.uk/tours/hep for full tour details.

Luxury Central & East European Coach Tours

Insight Vacations offers an 8-day ‘Best of Germany’ premium escorted tour costing from £1065 (about £133 a day), excluding flights to the starting point. Departures are available throughout the year until September.

This is a high-end tour appealing to those with an interest in Germany’s culture and cities, medieval architecture, Alpine scenery and World War II history. And while it doesn’t give you the variety of some of the other tours (because it focuses solely on Germany) it does offer the advantage of short driving days, and doesn’t try to cover too much in a short amount of time. There are also two-night stays in both Munich and Berlin, giving you a good break from the road. There’s a full itinerary, though, with many excursions included in the price, plus a few optional extras (at additional cost).

The holiday itinerary starts in Frankfurt and visits Mainz, Rothenburg, Munich, Dresden, and Berlin. There’s a bit more to it than that, though, with city tours and excursions out of these base destinations. These include visits to the cities of Rothenburg and Nuremburg, with their old world charm; the splendid Baroque city of Dresden; the red sandstone castle of Heidelberg; the beautiful Bavarian Alps; and the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. The city tours highlight the key attractions – so in Berlin the guided sightseeing tour starts along the Unter den Linden past the Humboldt University and Opera. You stop on Museum Island before passing the Brandenburg Gate, symbol of the reunification, on to the glass-domed Reichstag building, and then driving through the Tiergarten.

This tour doesn’t come cheap, but has many little extras that you won’t enjoy on cheaper tours. You’re transferred to your departure airport before your flight to Frankfurt (complimentary for distances of up to 100 miles) – although flights themselves are not included in the price quoted above. A professional tour director accompanies the tour, and you’re given a document wallet, map book, journal and information pack at the start of the trip to prepare you for your destinations. Guests are accommodated in modern hotels in all the cities except for medieval Rothenburg, where the accommodation is in an old, characterful hotel instead, near to the city’s impressive Town Hall. Buffet breakfasts are included each morning, as well as three dinners scattered throughout the tour (the rest you have to pay for).

Finally, when you’re choosing your tour date you’ll notice that Insight Vacations puts each tour into one of two categories: ‘Preferred Departures’ (could be subject to some rescheduling) and ‘Definite Departures’ (100% certain to depart as scheduled) – so if you book the latter you can be assured your trip won’t be cancelled.

For full details visit http://www.insightvacations.com/uk/index.php?brochure_set_id=363183&brochure_id=363188&region_tour_id=2268391

Alternative Luxury Tour In Central and Eastern Europe

If a tour of just Germany doesn’t appeal, you could opt instead for Trafalgar’s 14-day ‘Bohemian Highlights’ tour, which costs from £1,399.00 (£100 per day) per person excluding flights, available throughout the year until October.

The itinerary includes visits to Berlin in Germany; Poznan, Warsaw (2 nights), Czestochowa, Auschwitz and Krakow (2 nights) in Poland; the Tatra Mountains in SlovakiaBudapest (2 nights) and Györ in HungaryVienna in Austria (2 nights); Tabor and Prague (2 nights) in the Czech Republic; Pilsen, Nuremberg and Frankfurt in Germany.

The tour includes daily breakfasts plus seven dinners. Trafalgar’s coach fleet offers all the usual facilities, claims to offer ‘generous’ leg room, and have large, panoramic windows. If you book your flights through Trafalgar (at additional cost) they offer free airport transfers as part of the package.

We found this tour offered by Global Coach Tours. Visit http://www.globalcoachtours.com/t-bohemianhighlights-650.aspx for full tour information.

When To Go 

The best time to visit Central Europe is from Spring to Autumn (around April to September/October) – with temperatures peaking in July and August in most destinations. Temperatures reach around 21.5C in Budapest in July and August, for example, and around 18C in Budapest and Berlin. Winter can be quite harsh, particularly in the Polish cities of Warsaw and Krakow, and may not be so pleasant for sightseeing – plus there are less tours available at this time, except for those focusing on Christmas Markets.

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