Imperial Cities of Eastern Europe: Prague, Vienna, & Budapest
Eastern Europe shines, as you'll see on a journey to her highlights. Begin in Prague, the Czech Republic's City of a Hundred Spires. To nearby Nelahozeves and the art-filled Renaissance château of the Lobkowicz family. Old Cesky Krumlov next, then to Vienna (that grand dame), Bratislava, and finally, Budapest, a city we adore.
Delve into the history of Eastern Europe, and you arrive at some of the Western world’s most colorful characters. The Romans, who took control of the Danube in the name of the empire. The Ottomans, who helped themselves to Budapest and left behind a city with a Near East spin. The mighty Habsburgs, who threw their weight around for 300 years or so, leaving behind Baroque—and quite baroque—remnants. And, of course, the more predictable assortment of kings, emperors, musicians, painters, dictators, and dilettantes who also left their indelible marks.
Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
This is an 11-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create an Eastern Europe journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Europe.
Overnight in flight
Day 2-3: Prague, Czech Republic
• Arrive in Prague.
• City walking tour including Old Town Square, Jewish Quarter, and Jewish Museum.
• Leisure time.
Overnights in Prague
Day 4: Nelahozeves, Prague
• Drive to Nelahozeves, Lodkowicz château including art collection.
• Optional Dvorak Museum.
• Return to Prague, Castle District, Hradcany Square, Strahov Monastery with exclusive entry into closed-to-the-public library, private tour of Prague Castle complex.
Overnight in Prague
Day 5: Cesky Krumlov; Vienna, Austria
• Drive to Cesky Krumlov, walking tour of Old Town.
• Optional Krumlov Castle tour or leisure time.
• Drive to Vienna.
Overnight in Vienna
Day 6-7: Vienna
• Panoramic Old Town tour around the Ringstrasse.
• Optional Museum of Fine Arts and the Austrian Gallery at Upper Belvedere Palace (Klimt masterpieces)
• Guided tour of Albertina Museum.
• Private tour of Schönbrunn Palace, streudel-making demonstration and tasting.
• Leisure time or independent visit to the Sisi Museum, Leopold Collection, the Spanish Riding School to see the Lippizaners, and/or Haus der Musik.
Overnights in Vienna
Day 8: Bratislava, Slovakia; Budapest, Hungary
• Drive to Bratislava, Old Town walking tour including main square, City Hall, St. Martin's Cathedral.
• Drive to Budapest.
Overnight in Budapest
Day 9: Budapest
• Old Pest including St. Stephen's Basilica, Doheny Street Synagogue, and "Tree of Life" Memorial.
• Castle District, Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion, Buda Castle, and Heroes' Square.
• Evening cruise on the Danube.
Overnight in Budapest
Day 10: Budapest, Szentendre
• Parliament, Central Market Hall.
• Leisure time in Budapest, or drive to Szentendre for tour including Kovacs Margit Museum and old churches.
Overnight in Budapest
Day 11: Budapest; United States
• Fly home.
Per person sharing room from $8,690 for this 11-day sample itinerary.
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
Prague, Czech Republic.
Four Seasons Praha. Located on the banks of the Vltava River, just steps from the Charles Bridge. 161 guestrooms and suites. Amenities include a 24-hour fitness center with sauna and massage, and a business center.
The Augustine. Located in the heart of Old Town between Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. The hotel was created from a row of seven buildings dating back to 1284, many of which have historic significance, especially 13th-century Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery. Within are 85 guestrooms and 16 suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, one restaurant, and two bars.
Hotel Imperial. A short walk from all that is famous and truly Viennese, this historic landmark offers visitors all the comforts expected in a luxury accommodation, with many extras. Opera and concert halls are steps away, and the hotel stands right on the famous Ringstrasse. 128 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness studio with sauna, business center, hair salon, 1 restaurant, 1 bar.
Park Hyatt. Austria’s first Hyatt, this hotel stands within the UNESCO?World Heritage site in the old city in a restored building that dates back a century. The property offers 108 guestrooms and 35 suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, indoor pool, two restaurants, and two bars.
Four Seasons Gresham Palace. Standing on perhaps the most perfect location in Budapest—in Pest, overlooking the Danube and the beloved Chain Bridge—this art nouveau beauty offers easy access to the city’s historic highlights, its shopping district, and the mighty river. 179 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center with indoor lap pool, steam rooms, and Jacuzzi, business center, on-site spa, 1 restaurant, 1 bar.
Hotel Sacher. Opposite the Opera House in the central city. Grande dame of Viennese hotels, the Sacher boasts a long list of celebrity guests, including Indira Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Leonard Bernstein, and Queen Elizabeth II. The property has 149 guestrooms and suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, three restaurants, and one bar
Kaiserschmarrn: Dessert of the Emperor.
Kaiserschmarrn, literally the emperor’s mishmash, is an Austrian dessert first served to Kaiser Franz Joseph I around the turn of the 20th century. The emperor’s chef invented the dish, but Franz Joseph’s wife, Empress Elizabeth (known as Sisi), didn’t have any—she was watching her waistline. The emperor ate his portion and liked it so much that he ate hers, too. From then on, the dessert became known as Kaiserschmarrn.
We’re giving you the traditional recipe here, directly from Chef Rupert Schnait of Vienna’s outstanding Hotel Imperial. Innovative chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, however, have their own versions—some sweet, others savory.
Kaiserschmarrn is essentially a large, light pancake cut into bite-size pieces and served with a sprinkling of powered sugar and a side dish of Zwetschkenröster, stewed plums.
Yield: Serves four.
Ingredients for Pancake
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup whole milk
1/8 cup raisins soaked in rum
¼ cup granulated sugar
Powdered vanilla sugar
Pinch of salt
Grated lemon peel
1/3 cup butter
Ingredients for Stewed Plums:
7/8 cup fresh plums
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tsp. water
3 tsp. rum
3 tsp. grenadine
1 cinnamon stick
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Separate eggs, and beat egg whites with granulated sugar.
- Mix the milk with egg yolks, a pinch of salt, powdered sugar, and lemon peel.
- Little by little, add the flour, mixing the batter until smooth. Fold in the egg whites.
- Warm up a large frying pan, and melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter in it.
- Stir the batter gently, and pour it into the hot pan. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the top.
- Fry on both sides, then cover the pan and bake the pancake in the oven.
- Cut or pull the pancake into bite-size pieces while it continues to bake, adding remaining butter and a sprinkling of powdered sugar to caramelize the pancake.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve warm on a copper plate with stewed plum in a bowl on the side.
Directions for Making Stewed Plums:
- Boil sugar with water, grenadine, rum, and cinnamon stick.
- Cut plums into quarters and core them, then add to sugar mixture. Boil the fruit until soft.
- Remove cinnamon stick, and serve the plums warm.
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