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Eastern Road

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The ultimate collision of history and modernity happen here in the arms of Eastern Europe. Commencing in Berlin with the option to loop back around or end in Warsaw, you will flutter from traditional meals and royal castles, to eclectic clubs filled with well-dressed locals. 

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EASTERN ROAD

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WHAT'S INCLUDED
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Team
Food
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ME Time
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ITINERARY
YOU WILL VISIT
Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland +5 MORE
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1
2
Berlin
2 days
Dresden
Prague
2 days
Kutna Hora
Vienna
2 days
Bratislava
Budapest
2 days
Banska Bystrica
Krakow
2 days
Częstochowa
Warsaw
2 days
Berlin
1
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Reviews for

Eastern Road

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16 independent reviews

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  • Vanessa
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled September 2014
  • 34
  • Level 1 Traveller
  • 1 Contikis
  • 5 Countries

Amazing tour through beautiful and dark places

This regional tour was my second with Contiki, and it was an intense journey through a beautifully complex part of the world. This tour is great for anyone, especially people interested in WWII and Cold War history. In this review I'll capture some of the highlights and provide tips that we found helpful during the trip. IN GENERAL Expect adequate, but not excessive rooms at the hotels. Expect continental breakfasts that feature cold cuts, cheese, and some muffins/croissants, often supplemented with dodgy scrambled eggs and hot dogs masquerading as sausages. Expect free wi-fi at all of the hotels, which are usually outside of the city centers but close to public transit. Expect 12 variations on a theme of meat & potatoes. Whether it's bratwurst in Berlin, goulash in Hungary, pierogi in Poland, or dumplings in Slovakia, you will eat very basic (but delicious!) foods these two weeks. 2 weeks traveling by coach is going to put a strain on your immune system, no matter how healthy you start out. Take your multivitamins, listen to your body when you need rest, and don't go big right off the bat. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Aspirin is remarkably difficult to find in this part of Europe, so pack accordingly. If you don't already know, figure out how to read a metro/bus timetable. All of these cities have great public transit systems that will take you anywhere worth going until at least 11:30pm (24 hours in Budapest). As of 2014, you'll use four different types of currency on this trip, so research and plan accordingly so you don't lose a bunch of money paying fees at the exchanges. There will be no opportunities to do your laundry that you do not make yourself. The hotels will charge you an arm & a leg for their service, so I recommend Vienna as a midpoint to find yourself a laundromat. THE TOUR GROUP This was the second Conitki and with a group of about 50, there were a lot of people to get to know. Of course the natural sub-group divisions came into play before long, usually along the lines of age, interest, and relationship status. The best thing about these Contikis is that you will usually find like-minded travelers that you connect easily with. It won't be everyone, but you'll still leave with some gems to keep in touch with. THE TOUR MANAGER Included in the cost of your trip is the service of a tour manager. In my mind, they are there to help get you from A to B, and to help direct you to the scenes that interest you. Our tour manager, Danny Steenkamp, went above and beyond this by: - Giving a (sometimes quite detailed!) introduction to the history of the place we were visiting - Providing us with an array of options for every traveler type - the historian, the foodie, the partygoer, the alcoholic, the culture vulture, the shopper. At no point did we ever feel like there was enough time spent in any one place, but that's the point. - Providing suggestions for cheap eats for those on a budget - Giving us a 'cheat sheet' with tips on local food and drink, taxis and metro service, basic translations (greetings, please/thank you), popular sights to see and cost/hours, including some off-the-beaten path for those who didn't want to stick to the 'touristy stuff.' - Above all, being a generally well-informed and respectable human being that you'd want to hang out with, even if you weren't paying for his guidance BERLIN The first night is a brief introduction to your tour manager, a drive around the city, and an included dinner featuring traditional German cuisine. This "group first date" was a great way to get introduced to some of your fellow travelers. The second day in Berlin offers two optionals, both of which we did: - Berlin Walking Tour. We loved this stroll that covered several landmarks, primarily because our local guide (Alex) did such a great job putting everything in context, prompting us to think about different ways to interpret the things we were seeing. - Eye Spy Tour. Essentially a shortened walking tour that focuses on the Berlin Wall, and ends up at two different bars where the group can participate in a fun mystery-solving activity. This was a hit for us because the same guide from the morning did a similarly excellent job with this. Our stopover on the way to Prague was Dresden, which was very picturesque. PRAGUE The first evening in Prague features an included walking tour that takes you to the St. Vitus Cathedral, and the famous "Golden Lane" that features Franz Kafka's house. This is the first breathtaking view of a city that you'll see on this tour. Our guide Sara was wonderfully cheerful even when describing the darker moments of the Soviet occupation of then-Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic is the least-religious country on the tour, but you'll be amazed to hear about some of the superstitions and odd traditions of these people! We did one of the two Prague optionals: - Traditional Czech evening. This is a dinner that features local Czech cuisine accompanied by traditional Czech song and dance performed live. Very enjoyable, lots of food, and the wine & beer flows pretty freely this night. Our stopover on the way to Vienna was Kutna Hora, which was my favorite stopover because of the Sedlec Ossuary (so many bones!!). VIENNA Vienna is the most upscale, classy-feeling stop that shows the least of the damage resulting from WWII, despite being bombed over 50 times and briefly occupied by the Soviets immediately after the war. A walking tour of the city is included the first morning in Vienna, which centered around the legacy of the powerful Habsburg family that held its seat of power here for over 600 years. We spent most of our free time in the museums, especially the Natural History Museum, which is massive! Also, our best meal of the trip (planned outside of the tour) was at a Hungarian restaurant called MINI. We did one optional: - Schnaps Museum. This is a visit to one of Vienna's finest Schnaps-producing facilities, with an introduction to the Fischer family who has been distilling the local fruits into this very tasty beverage. This was one of the best bang-for-the-buck optionals as a tasting is included at the end (which includes absinthe with an alcohol content as high as 80%!). Our stopover on the way to Budapest was Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. More meat and dumplings! BUDAPEST The first order of business was a brief tour of the Buda side of the city (our local guide was Natasha), which took us up to Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion, and then to the Citadel where the Liberty Statue marks the highest point of the city. This is the second time you'll encounter a breathtaking view of the city, which was my favorite on the tour. During our free time the next day we made a stop at the Terror House to get a glimpse of Hungary's dark history under the Communist regime, and while we didn't make it to the Turkish baths, that is our reason to come back. We did one optional: - Budapest River Cruise. Easily the best optional on the entire trip - lots of good food, wine, and by this time you've likely connected with the travelers that you'll become close to, making for some great conversations. Our stopover on the way to Krakow was Banská Bystrica, a picturesque little town that you really only need an hour or so to see. KRAKOW The first stop in Krakow was dinner in the Jewish Quarter Krakow kicks off with another walking tour that took us to Wawel Castle, which is one of Poland's most culturally important sites -- as a former home to Polish kings and a symbol of Polish statehood. With our free time we attempted to visit the museum where Oskar Schindler's factory once was, but it was closed. We spent the day wandering around the city center looking for polish food to eat and cheap souvenirs to buy. Our final optionals: - The Salt Mines tour. This is a great underground exploration of 700-year-old salt mines, an impressive part of Krakow's industry. It's a lot of walking, but you see these amazing caverns that were carved out without the help of explosives or industrial drilling equipment. - Pierogi Dinner. Pierogi was my favorite version of potato dumplings on this tour, and so I really enjoyed this hearty meal. The "piergi making" is really optional, if you'd prefer to simply watch and eat. The first "stopover" on the way to Warsaw is a longer visit at Auschwitz. There is nothing I can say that will prepare you for walking on this ground. Soak it in, feel the feels, and pay your respects to this troubling place. Our second stopover between Krakow and Warsaw was Częstochowa, whose claim to fame is the Icon of the Black Madonna housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery. WARSAW We were introduced to Warsaw on the final full day of our trip via a walking tour with another local guide who took us to some of Warsaw's landmarks, including a Chopin statue, the memorial to the Jewish Ghetto, and the memorial to the Warsaw Uprising during WWII. In our free time we visited the Museum of the Polish underground movement, as well as the Chopin Museum - which is a must for anyone remotely familiar with his work. The final included dinner this night is a great way to finish off the tour. ENDING THE TOUR We took the coach back to Berlin from Warsaw. Note that this is basically a 9:00 to 5:00 drive. We'd likely depart out of Warsaw if we did it over again.

My Contiki was: Beautiful-Educational-Intense

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20 September 2014 - 2 October 2014

  • DemiAnn
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled July 2012
  • 18
  • Level 3 Traveller
  • 3 Contikis
  • 19 Countries

Incredible!

I can say without a doubt that this was the best two weeks of my life. This tour has so many things to offer, from rich incredible history, amazing unique experiences, visiting fascinating places and amazing nightlife and parties every night! It is truly the perfect mix of culture and fun. The accommodation was really nice and usually reasonably close to the city squares, especially in Krakow (really great underground cave bar there, check it out!) Budapest, Prague and Krakow were my favourite cities. This tour had so much partying and something exciting happening every night which was the best for adventurous people like me.The pub crawl is Prague was INSANE. I don't actually remember most of that night except it was so much fun! The nightlife in Eastern Europe is crazy so get amongst it! Going to Auschwitz Concentration Camp was a once in a lifetime opportunity and was truly eye-opening, I'll never forget it. You will learn so much history about the Berlin Wall and World War II which is still so evident in all the cities. Learning so much was a true highlight of this tour for me. The cuisine was so delicious (especially Hungarian goulash) and the optional dinners were the best experiences to have a great night with your contiki mates and try new dishes. Petula and Angela were our brilliant tour guides, easy going, so much fun and energetic, and full of knowledge. I had the best time with a great group of people from a variety of ages and cultural backgrounds. I would definitely recommend this tour because it is the perfect way to discover Eastern Europe. I wouldn't change a thing!

My Contiki was: Eye-opening-Interesting-Incredible

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13 July 2012 - 25 July 2012

  • Cristin
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled May 2014
  • 23
  • Level 3 Traveller
  • 3 Contikis
  • 10 Countries

Fantastisch!!

As my first time traveling alone as well as my first Contiki trip, I was thoroughly impressed with how well the trip was organized and had a truly incredible experience. I always felt safe and comfortable while on the journey. The tour manager, Nick Papadatos was phenomenal. He was knowledgeable, fun, outgoing, personable and truly enhanced every part of the trip for me. Fortunately the group that I went with was a great group of people who all enjoyed going out at night, but also appreciated the historical significance of everything we did. I signed up for every additional activity and regardless of what other reviews said the Classical Concert in Vienna and Parliament Tour in Budapest were absolutely worth it. If you have any sort of appreciation for classical music you will definitely enjoy the evening. As for the Parliament Tour, it wasn't the most exciting tour seeing as the tour guides are older but the building itself is exquisite and the architecture is magnificent. If I had to choose one thing that I was disappointed with I would say that I would've liked to go into every cathedral and castle that we saw, but there simply was not enough time. Here's a brief summary of each city: Berlin Pros: Walking tour was good and full of historical facts; food was great. Cons: Hotel was awful - no air conditioning and small rooms. Also, all of the museums were closed on Mondays so we did not get to go to any museums on Museum Island. Eye Spy Berlin tour - definitely not worth the money. Not as cool as they make it seem in the brochure. Prague Pros: Bike tour (which we did after it down poured and it was still one of my favorite memories from the trip), traditional Czech dinner (the food itself wasn't my favorite, but the evening itself was great!) Cons: The Nuclear Bunker tour was great- but not as authentic as I would've liked it to be. It has been used for video games and things like that so there are XBOX stickers on the floor and took away from the historical significance of it - but I am still very happy that I did it. Vienna Pros: ALL OF THE OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES - Schnapps tour was great! Classical concert was wonderful. Prater was fun and the Praterdome was easily the best nightclub I have ever been to. Cons: The city itself wasn't impressive - if it weren't for the optional activities I could've done without this city Budapest Pros: MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY I HAVE EVER SEEN. If you've heard a lot about the beauty of Prague - just wait till you get to Budapest. Dinner cruise was amazing and so picturesque. Sparty - if you don't know what it is - look it up. (Crazy but definitely worth while just to say you've done it!). Also, before you go check to see if they have any festivals when you are traveling - my group was lucky and I got to both the summer festival on Margaret Island which was stunningly beautiful AND I also experienced the Hungarian food festival which was fun and the locals are great. The Fisherman's Bastion was beautiful and made me fall in love with the city. Definitely do the Museum of Terror - it's a great precursor to visiting the Concentration Camps in Poland. Also, visit Margaret Island - it's a great little spot to hangout for an easygoing afternoon. Cons: There are none. Krakow Pros: Salt Mines Tour - Just do it. You won't regret it. Pierogi. Pierogi. Pierogi!!! Definitely try the traditional Polish drink at the bars - it's similar to Apple Pie and it's amazing. Cons: Hotel breakfast wasn't as great as the previous cities but it was still good. Warsaw Pros: Good nightlife. Pierogi!!!!! The final night was wonderful and it was nice that it was included on the trip. Cons: Not much to do in the city other than walk around and soak in the sites *Auschwitz and Birkenau were truly sobering and completely numbing. I have been interested in the Holocaust and WWII for quite some time and have studied it, therefore visiting the camps is one of the main reasons I chose to do this specific trip. It's good that it falls towards the end of the trip because at that point you feel comfortable leaning on your Contiki family when the emotions set in. Fun things about the trip: The day song that your tour manager picks - after you get home, when you hear it on the radio you will always remember your Contiki travels and the amazing people you met while on the tour. Nightlife - even if you're not a big drinker, there is something for everyone. Go out with the group to form some great memories that will last a lifetime. Worst hotel - Berlin Worst food - Prague Worst optional - Eye Spy Berlin Best food - Poland. Best set of "Me Time" activities - Vienna & Budapest Most historical - Berlin and Auschwitz/Birkenau Most beautiful - Budapest & Prague Best nightlife - Vienna & Budapest Best hotel - Vienna

My Contiki was: Phenomenal-Rich in history, culture, food and good times -Best time of my life!

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24 May 2014 - 5 June 2014

  • Jessica
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled July 2013
  • 25
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 7 Countries

Amazing Cities, Beautiful Sights, Great People

Overall, this was a phenomenal journey! I would definitely recommend it to MOST. If you're interested in culture, history, communism, WWII, sightseeing, etc. then this is your trip. If you are ONLY interested in alcohol and sex, maybe not so much. You can definitely get your drink on, but you need to think about if you really want to visit Auschwitz when you're hungover and if you really want to have a splitting headache when you're on a two hour bike tour of Prague. If you just want to drink and sleep, not your trip. Overall tips: Poland is cheap - if you need to get gifts, get them in Poland! Always have snacks on hand, i.e. granola bars, because there are some days when we are just go-go-go and end up starving! Fly into Berlin and fly out of Warsaw, don't bother with the transfer from Warsaw to Berlin. And as always, be on time to everything. The group WILL leave you and we will probably laugh about it, too. Don't be that person. As far as the hotels go, they were all satisfactory and within reasonable distance to major centers. Those, like Austria and Budapest, which were not centrally located had easy public transportation. The only hotel location that was not satisfactory was in Berlin - a mile walk to the U-bahn station. Fine during the day, but a little sketchy at night. More Specific Tips... Germany: In Berlin, definitely do the daytime walking tour but the Eye Spy tour is a glorified pub crawl of two rather crappy bars. The Communist-themed bar was a let-down, mostly just red. The next place we went was disgusting. Next to the Berliner Dom, the Lustgarten has a great fountain that's perfect to cool off in. Don't waste your time with a big sit-down lunch in Dresden; grab a sandwich to go because you don't have long. Czech Republic: In Prague, the walking tour is long but necessary. I skipped the bunker tour and didn't regret it. Definitely do the traditional Czech evening - in fact, do all the optional dinners. Aside from a good time, they're a bonding experience with the group. Kutna Hora is very small and the bone church is all there is so don't expect much. Get rid of your Czech crowns here. If you stop at the really strange amusement park/truck stop in the Czech Republic, just go over to the mall and get KFC. You won't be able to eat at the restaurants in the complex within the allotted hour. Austria: In Vienna, enjoy your evening at Prater and definitely do some rides! And get the little sugared donuts. Climbing the Stephansdom was interesting, but there's just a small room at the top with some windows. History buffs should check out the Kaisergruft. Definitely take the Schnapps tour because it's cheap and you get three (or more) small shots as well as a trip to Schonbrunn Palace. The Mozart evening was fun, but don't feel bad if you decide to skip it. Definitely go to Tel Aviv Beach at night in Vienna - open air bars along with river! Save your Euros because Slovakia uses them, too, and you'll be there for two lunches. Hungary: Definitely do the river cruise. Hungarian Parliament was beautiful, but you could skip it and not miss too much. The tour guide does bring you to Saint Stephen's Basilica, too, which is a good take-off point for the day. Go to Szechenyi for the baths but be prepared for a confusing system there - try and read about it online first. Go to the Shoes on the Danube Promenade, too - they're across from Parliament but hard to get to. Walk down the river away from Parliament and you'll see some pathways down to the riverfront. Tram 2 is easy to remember and a quick trip back to the Mercure. ChaChaCha offered a chill night out, but the place next to it is better. When getting in a Budapest taxi, set the price ahead of time. Poland: In Krakow, do the salt mine tour extra, but understand that the mine is very much a tourist attraction. Beware if you have an elevator phobia though. Krakow is a great laidback town without a lot of big sites. The walking tour gets the necessary sites out of the way, then head to Old Town and visit the Cloth Hall for shopping. Definitely eat at Marmolada and get the fried meat pierogies - best I've ever had. Krakow is the only city I didn't take a taxi or public transport in because the hotel is so close! In Auschwitz, just be prepared for the emotions. In Czestochowa, go to the left inside the abbey to find the painting, but don't expect to get close. This is more of a really pretty and maybe miraculous bathroom stop. Still, definitely go inside and find the painting - it only takes ten minutes. In Warsaw, visit the Warsaw Rising museum, but other than that there's not a whole lot to see. Just enjoy the Old Town and have a nice, long lunch. Visit the PoleArt store that's in the square with the mermaid fountain. Don't skip out on your last night out because I think you'd regret it. Enjoy your last hurrah :)

My Contiki was: unforgettable-educational-inspiring

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5 July 2013 - 18 July 2013

  • Explorer1272909
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled August 2011
  • Level 1 Traveller
  • 1 Contikis
  • 5 Countries

Eastern Road Review

Overall very good value. However,with Berlin being the 1st impression, the hotel and meal could have been a bit better. All others were very good. Especially the hotel in Warsaw! I would have rather started the tour at a hotel closer to the airport if we weren't going to be in a good area anyway. The bike tour in Prague was a little disappointing. The streets were way too crowded, and the walking tour covered all the basics anyway. Loved the dinner cruise in Budapest! Thought this was one of the most interesting cities, and would definitely make a trip back. Would liked to have had a crash course in public transportation for those who don't have it in their native city :) Tour manager and bus driver were excellent! Very knowledgeable! I would definitely recommend this trip to all single people. We were the only married couple on our tour which was a little disappointing, but not a deal breaker. Would like more actual Pub crawls, not Club crawls. All local guides were wonderful, sights were great, very glad we chose this part of he world.

My Contiki was: --

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18 August 2011 - 30 August 2011

  • Ephilpot
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled May 2013
  • 24
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 6 Countries

Eastern Road Review

The Eastern Road tour was great way to see a bit of Eastern Europe. I loved the bike tour in Prague & the boat cruise in Hungry is a worthwhile optional extra. Even with having 2 night stops in most places, it's pretty full on, but heaps of fun. There's a good split between partying & seeing the sights. Joe our tour manager was awesome, definitely was key in making our trip as good as it was.

My Contiki was: Fun-Eastern Europe Beautiful-Fast-paced

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25 May 2013 - 6 June 2013

  • Ricky S.
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled June 2014
  • 30
  • Level 3 Traveller
  • 3 Contikis
  • 11 Countries

Willkommen! Kocham!

I had a fantastic time on this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone! I had a great group and the most amazing tour manager, Tasha, who knew exactly how to serve everyone (culture vultures, foodies, partiers, shoppers - Tasha had all the answers to make every traveller happy). Pete the driver was courteous & transported us everywhere safely, helping with translation in every city. 5/6 hotels you'll stay in are great - the only "mediocre" one is the one in Berlin (no AC, bad Wifi, not particularly easy to access from public transport). As this was my first impression I was worried that the rest of the accommodations would be similar to that of Berlin but fortunately it only went uphill from there. The hotel in Vienna was my personal favourite (even if the Wifi wasn't good) and the breakfast I enjoyed there was the best breakfast I've ever eaten. My group was incredible - I called ourselves "sophisticated by day, wild by night" and each member of the group seemed to embrace the diverse range of interests and backgrounds of those on tour. All 6 cities are magnificent - everything in Prague is spellbinding, Prater in Vienna was a welcome surprise, Budapest was beautiful (if not very warm - bring summer attire!), everywhere was stupendous. Bring an umbrella as it will rain but it never rained for longer than 15 or so minutes at a time. One of the most important aspects of the trip is the pilgrimage to Auschwitz. This alone was worth the entire trip. You'll eat lots of meat, sausage... some of the meals are better than others, but you'll never go hungry as there are McDonalds, KFC, and kebab stands everywhere. DO THIS TRIP, you'll be happy you did! :)

My Contiki was: eye-opening-incredible-perfect

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28 June 2014 - 10 July 2014

  • Explorer1251542
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled May 2011
  • Level 3 Traveller
  • 3 Contikis
  • 8 Countries

Great Experience: Be Adventurous

I wrote this review 2011 shortly after going on this Eastern Road tour, so it is possible some of this information is outdated. I still wanted to post it, since none of the current reviews are this thorough. I will start with an overview of the trip and then detail each optional trip. The only optional trips I would absolutely skip are the Eye Spy Berlin and the Vienna Concert. All others are worthwhile. Accommodations: The hotels were all decent. About half of them had air conditioning. Most were within 20 minutes via public transportation or walking of the city center. If you are a couple, the guide works hard to get you a double bed. My biggest complaint about the rooms, were the uncomfortable beds, but that’s just my opinion. Transportation: You should expect to do a lot of walking when in each city. The public transportation is easy to use in most cities. Stick with a group if you are unsure about using the public transportation alone. The coach rides between cities are about 4 to 6 hours with a few stops for food. The coaches are very modern with air conditioning, a bathroom, reclining seats, and curtains. The roads are all very good with the exception of a few roads in Poland. Do not take the coach from Warsaw to Berlin if you can help it. Food: The provided meals and optional meals are all very good. On your trip you will experience a lot of salty meat and potatoes. The food is good and there is variety if you look for it. Vegetarian meals are available. Try the local specialties in each city to get a truly cultured experience. None of the food I had on the trip was bad. Be adventurous. Optional Trips Berlin historical walking tour: This is a long and thorough walking tour of Berlin’s many sites. It lasted about 4 hours for us. The guide was good and kept it interesting. It is well worth the 9 Euros. I would recommend this to everyone who hasn’t spent a lot of time in Berlin. Eye spy Berlin: This was not worth the 16 Euros. It was with the same guide, but it involved much less. It was about 45 minutes of history. We then got a free drink at two lousy bars. You can see more and get more by skipping this optional. It is just disappointingly little for the amount of money it costs. Traditional Czech evening: This was a fun dinner that is worth doing. The food was very good. The singing and dancing felt a little cheesy, but that didn’t stop it from being enjoyable. Sit with a group of newly made friends and enjoy good conversations over good food. Vienna classical concert & dinner: This was disappointing for the price. The food was very good, but concert did not feel very grand. It was in a far off corner of the palace in a small side room. The seating was removable stackable chairs, and the orchestra was only about 10 people. The music was of average quality. The whole thing felt overpriced. With only one night in Vienna, you can find much better things to do than this. River cruise with dinner: This was a lot of fun and worth the money. Dinner is an all-you-can-eat buffet, which provides the variety that most people need at this point in the trip. The city is beautiful from the water, and the boat has an open air upper deck. This is a fun night that I can definitely recommend. Group photo: I didn’t get a copy of this. With digital cameras, I don’t know why you would pay for a professional picture. You can easily get pictures with your own camera of the people you want to remember. It is a beautiful place for a picture though. In either case, you’ll enjoy the area. Parliament tour: I didn’t do this tour. I just didn’t feel like it was worth the time and money. The people who did it seemed to enjoy it. It’s up to you. Salt mines tour: This was very interesting. It is currently the top attraction in Krakow for a reason. It is not very dark or cramped, so most people should be okay with it. It is worth the money, so I recommend it. They aren’t too strict on taking pictures either. Schindler’s factory visit: This is a large interactive museum. It’s well worth the 6 Euros it costs. The tour guide went too slow and covered too little in my opinion, so I would try to break off of the group if you can. There’s a lot of history to see while you’re there, so don’t get too absorbed with the Schindler’s List movie information. Air Travel: (This is based on my experiences.) British Airways is a terrible airline. Avoid them if at all possible. They are responsible for all of the worst parts of my trip. No seat reservations, lost luggage, large surprise fees, rude and unhelpful staff, ect. I flew 4 flights with them on my European journey and there were issues with every flight.

My Contiki was: --

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19 May 2011 - 31 May 2011

  • Urban Gallivanter
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled September 2014
  • 28
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 6 Countries

The best way to see Eastern Europe

This tour was great. I didn't take this tour to party, I took this tour to learn and experience the culture. We had some wonderful local guides and our driver and tour manager were great. I would recommend this because you learn about recent history and its amazing how people living today still remember the effects of world war II and communism. I think this part of the country is so beautiful and everyone should visit at some point in their life. I plan to go back to these places in the future because I loved it so much. The accommodations were great, my only complaint is the food. The breakfast was fine but when it came to lunches and dinner you feel obligated to go because you want to hang with the group, but the food was horrible. You are much better off finding a restaurant and spending a bit more on a good meal. Contiki needs to find better restaurants because these were pathetic. If you are a vegan, vegetarian, or do not eat pork you are out of luck and do not waste your time you will be starving. The alternative meals were extremely bad (fried cheese & french fries). There is good food out there but don't expect it with the Contiki inclusive meals. I did go out a few times and the nightlife was ok but be aware in Prague because the tour manager took people to a strip club and if that isn't your thing ensure you know your way back to the hotel.

My Contiki was: --

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6 September 2014 - 18 September 2014

  • mk0603
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled May 2012
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 7 Countries

Great first impression with contiki

This was my first trip with contiki, I've never joined a youth trip like this one and I have to say it was a great first impression. Yes people on this trip and my next ones are very young, however when you are travelling, the age gap doesn't really matter as everyone is just trying to have a good time and we are sharing the same experience with each other. We had a great tour manager, she is extremely professional, helpful with a youthful spirit. She brings a lot of energy to us and she hung out with us on most night, same as the bus driver. Food is just alright but that's the Eastern European Cuisine for you...meat and potatoe everyday...don't have high expectation on it if that's not your type of diet. Vegetarians beware as easter european don't believe in no meat meals so your dish will always be less impressive than the meat lovers... Hotels are quite good for this trip, Ibis and Noveltels are the staples, they are much better than the old hotels in Italy though. Rooms in Europe are always small so don't try to compare them with the ones in North America. Overall, amazing trip, great itinerary and met a lot of cool people. =}

My Contiki was: Fun-Youthful-Delightful

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10 May 2012 - 23 May 2012

  • Suzy
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled June 2014
  • 29
  • Level 3 Traveller
  • 3 Contikis
  • 15 Countries

Second European Adventure

Eastern Road was the second Contiki tour for my husband and I. We loved the European Discovery trip a bit more than Eastern Road, but have no regrets and had a fabulous time. One major difference is that with Eastern Road, many of the cities aren't as well known as say Rome or Paris and doesn't have major attractions like the Colosseum or Eiffel Tower, but this trip we felt was best enjoyed through taking in the culture of the city, the food & drinks, & the history (more so pertaining to WWI & WWII). We also really enjoyed having 2 nights in each city with more of a relaxed itinerary. I'd have to say that Prague was most beautiful, especially at night. Budapest is a great city, easy to get around, lots to see, & great food. Krakow was a wonderful surprise. Easy to walk everywhere & great atmosphere. All of the included meals on this trip were great and at decent restaurants, some with traditional music. All of the hotels were nice & clean and close enough to the city center to either walk, take a tram/train, or a cheap taxi. They all had decent to great wifi. ME TIME OPTIONALS: Berlin Walking Tour: skipped because we walked around the day before and saw most of the sights and wanted to check out other things (the Jewish Museum in Berlin is incredible and worth going out of your way to visit) EyeSpy Tour: also skipped, heard mixed reviews from the group. Traditional Czech Evening: Live music & dancing. Fun atmosphere. A plate full of duck, sauerkraut, dumplings, cranberries, ambiguous meat patty... basically a pile of meat with a few sides. Very filling. Nuclear Bunker Tour: Could have been uninteresting and boring, but the guides were entertaining and interesting and we also had a Communist dress-up photo-shoot. Schnapps museum: skipped to have more time walking around the city. Viennese Classical Concert & Dinner: skipped to see a different concert in St. Stephen's. Less than half of the group attended, mixed reviews. Budapest Dinner Cruise: Great buffet. Gorgeous view of Budapest at night. The lights are stunning. Good time socializing with the group. A must. Parliament Tour: The architecture and interior of the building is stunning. The tour is boring. I tend to take in everything visually and not retain much historical information, but I found the building worth seeing. You might only be there once. Salt Mines Tour: Be prepared to walk 100 + meters underground for 2-3 hours. Aside from that, it's super interesting, unlike anything I've ever seen. Lick the wall. Polish Pierogi Night: Excellent food. Demonstration of pierogi making was fun. Overall great dinner. Other extras: Bike tour in Prague: My husband enjoyed this way more than I did. Prague is crowded. The streets are cobbled. I couldn't enjoy the city on a bike because I was too concerned with not hitting a pothole in the cobblestone, not hitting a pedestrian or the bike in front of me or other random bikers, not getting hit by a tram, getting thru the 6 second tram lights, and your face will jiggle the entire ride also. Wasn't my fav. Auschwitz/ Birkenau: Moving. Eye-opening. Sad. A place you will never forget with history that should never be forgotten. Walking/bus tours: The best walking/bus tour was in Prague, mostly because we had a fantastic tour guide that was interesting and engaging. The guides in Budapest, Krakow, & Warsaw were a little dry. We did a bit of them then would cut off on our own. Our Tour Manager, Tasha, was fantastic. Very easy-going and organized. She created great handouts called "Tasha in Your Pocket" which we used many of her recommendations for museums, restaurants, & sights. Super helpful. Pete, our bus driver, was very friendly also. After doing two European tours, personally nothing has yet to compare to Paris, but these cities were very enjoyable and beautiful. Berlin and Warsaw were my least favorite. Berlin doesn't have quite the grandeur and beauty of other European cities and much of the architecture is very blocky and rigid, but the history is compelling and there are many monuments & wonderful museums (Pergamon & Jewish Museum were excellent). The public transportation was the worst in Warsaw, couldn't find any tram or bus maps. The city is quite spread out and we spend the majority of our time in the Old Square. Did eat twice at Zapiecek's, a fantastic traditional polish restaurant, worthwhile! Being married and a bit older than most of our tour mates, we tended to split off on our own more so than most of the group. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend this trip. And most of all, to travel without expectation. Then everything will be a surprise and a new experience. My biggest pet peeve was to hear people whine about how something wasn't as they thought, 'why they didn't have free wifi at a cafe in Slovakia or that the caesar salad they ordered wasn't the correct caesar salad...' Traveling is an adventure. So why leave home, travel hundreds of miles, spend lots of money, and have the same expectations as you do at home? Contiki's motto is all about NO REGRETS. We experienced amazing cities, visited 7 countries, ate delicious food, met 50+ new people, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in eastern Europe!

My Contiki was: easy pace-great food-good memories

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28 June 2014 - 10 July 2014

  • Casey
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled May 2013
  • 20
  • Level 1 Traveller
  • 1 Contikis
  • 5 Countries

A wonderful mix of Europe

From dancing on bars to sipping beers in ancient courtyards this tour is a mix of the old and the new. Plenty of opportunities to party and so much history to appreciate. This tour does go into more somber areas and history of Europe but it is history to be remembered. Going to Auschwitz and Birkenau was incredibly hard but so moving. All together the tour was amazing and our tour manager made the whole trip something to remember forever.

My Contiki was: Party-History-Memorable

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25 May 2013 - 6 June 2013

  • Maia1986
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled July 2011
  • 24
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 5 Countries

Amazing

A fabulous trip! Beautiful countries, great history, food and friends! Accommodation was great overall, way above what I thought a Contiki would be! Awesome people from all age groups. I would totally recommend this trip. A GREAT way to travel Eastern Europe if you're on your own!

My Contiki was: --

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28 July 2011 - 9 August 2011

  • Diane
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled August 2011
  • 25
  • Level 3 Traveller
  • 3 Contikis
  • 9 Countries

Tour Review

This was the best vacation I have ever taken! I met the most amazing people on this tour, who I stil keep i touch with and hope to travel with again. Our tour manager, Ali, was great! She gave us a lot of information for every city we visited and she came out with us most nights to the bars/clubs. I loved the mixture of fun/recreation and history on this tour. I was also really surprised how different each city is to one another, yet they are so close together. I am Canadian, and it takes days to drive anywhere that looks new, but one day on the tour we had breakfast in Budapest, lunch in Slovakia, and dinner in Krakow, Poland! The included visit to Auschwitz is something I will remember forever. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Some of the bus days were a little long. I would recommend leaving from Warsaw, instead of going back to Berlin (12+ hours on the coach!). However, Ali had games and music and movies for the ride, and the coach was comfortable so it didn't seem as long as it was. I definitely recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in the history of World War 2, the Holocaust, Communism, or just Eastern Europe.

My Contiki was: --

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4 August 2011 - 16 August 2011

  • Ernie
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled May 2012
  • 32
  • Level 10 Traveller
  • 10 Contikis
  • 28 Countries

Expect the unexpected!

What a great 13 days of Eastern Road! Our tour manager Petula was absolutely great she took care of us! Georgie our bus driver did a great time getting us from cities to cities and around tight corners! Kudos to that team! As for the tour itself, everything you thought about Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow and Warsaw will completely blown your mind away. The stunning beauty each cities beholds will really shock you. The people are friendly and the food and beer are absolutely fantastic! The tour group I was in were some amazing people! Friends for life! My personal favorite city was Budapest! I did not expect too much of the city but why it blew my mind away! Prague was also a great city! Poland and Slovakia are both absolutely beautiful! Berlin and Vienna were also very cool and easy to get around cities. The trams and subways are best way to get around. Try to avoid taxis in Prague they will do anything and everything to rip you off. Becareful of gypsies! They are around in three cities, Berlin, Krakow and Prague.

My Contiki was: --

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10 May 2012 - 23 May 2012

  • Sydney
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled September 2014
  • 20
  • Level 1 Traveller
  • 1 Contikis
  • 5 Countries

Time of my life

Contiki's Eastern Road was far above and beyond everything I expected! So many amazing cities: Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Kutna Hora, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Banska Bystricia, Krakow, Auschwitz and Warsaw. It was the most magnificent setting to make some truly incredible friends with whom I experienced the greatest two weeks of my life. I went on the trip alone, and while there were several couples on the trip I found it easy to click with the group as a lone traveller. For me, the two highlights of the trip were the bike tour around Prague, and the dinner cruise in Budapest. Prague is the most gorgeous place I've ever been, and Budapest lit up at night from the Danube is the kind of view you get once or twice in a lifetime. I was also so lucky to have an awesome tour manager and driver who joked around with us and had tons of suggestions of extra things we could do in our free time. The bus rides always seemed to speed by, so it certainly didn't feel like most of the trip was spent travelling. The only downside to the trip was that I'm a vegetarian and the meat-heavy diet of Eastern Europe wasn't my friend; however, there was always some sort of vegetarian option available. The nightlife was always a plus on the trip too, with the Budapest sparty an occasion I'd absolutely recommend checking out if you have the chance. And the day in Auschwitz was not something to take on lightly, but it was absolutely necessary to see. I think it's rare that such a short trip with a group of strangers could stick with me as much as this has, and will. I made great friends I know I'll keep in touch with and have seen some of the most amazing (physically and historically) places in the world. I'd recommend this trip to anyone who loves history and wants an adventure!

My Contiki was: Eye-opening-Historic-Spectacular

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6 September 2014 - 18 September 2014

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