Family Vacation to Europe: Medieval Castles, Storybook Villages, Majestic Alps

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Total Trip:

9 Days
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Countries Visited:

Czech Republic, Austria
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Places Visited:

Prague, Český Krumlov, Berchtesgaden, Vienna
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Your custom family vacation to Central Europe takes your family through the storybook villages and majestic landscapes from Prague to Vienna, where fairy tales were created, castles are real, and the majesty of daily life continues to grow. You feel the soft dough between your fingers, before twisting it into a pretzel and placing it on a sheet. The cave walls around you are covered in ice, and it looks like you have

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Day 1

A Storybook Land

Prague’s skyline is over 1,100 years old. The spires tower over the old city, higher than the church domes. The castle stands atop the hillside overlooking the historic reaches of the city and the Vltava River. A mixture of Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau buildings create an architectural gem, encompassing the preserved city center. The cobblestones pave the laneways, winding in and out of antique buildings. The alleyways become narrow, before opening to a view of the famous clock tower in Old Town Square.

The statues on the Charles Bridge decorate the centuries old edifice standing above the gentle current of the river. The family arrives at the Václav Havel Airport, where your private transfer is waiting. The aroma of fresh dumplings and beef stew drift out of restaurant doors blending into the buildings. Locals walk around with cups of fresh ice cream from Mysak, with tempting flavors topping delicious cakes. Your family settles into the city that the kids say looks like a place fresh out of their storybooks.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Dinner

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Day 2

Magic of the Past

In the morning, the traditional aromas of the Czech Republic fill the streets. Golden honey and dark fruit jellies brush pieces of rye bread and yeast rolls with indulgent sweetness. The kids love the idea of honey on toast. After breakfast, your guide meets the family in the hotel lobby and leads you on a privately guided tour of Prague’s magnificent streets, ending at the world’s oldest clock tower. The Astronomical Clock was constructed in the 15th-century and continues to work brilliantly. The pastel colors of the buildings stand underneath red-shingled roofs. The spires of Tyn church cast shadows over the square, pointing in the direction of the clock.

The architecture in some cases dates back to the 11th-century. Every hour, on the hour, the clock tower comes to life. Images of the 12 Apostles, along with other figures of city and biblical history, parade across the clock’s face. The gilded statues decorating the Town Hall façade add to the luster of the clock. The kids watch in marvel, noticing the way the clock hands move along the clock’s layered circles, creating an astronomical aspect for the timepiece. The cool morning air begins to fade. The Charles Bridge frames the walkway from the historic city center to the Palace on the hill. The kids can’t help but talk about how they are that close to a real castle.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Inside Telltale Walls

It is a joy in the morning to look over at the kids, and listen to them retell the events of the day before. They spread the fruity jam over their toast, their eyes wide with wonderment, and ask if you remember how massive the castle looked from below. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you away from the charm of Prague, stopping at the sensational walled city of Český Krumlov. The city absorbs the family, taking you all back to the 14th-century, with a labyrinth of perfectly preserved cobbled lanes lining Renaissance homes. The Vltava River arches around the city, brushing against the rugged base of the Český Krumlov Castle, whose origins date back to the 13th-century.

The cool air lifts off of the flowing river. The buildings shade the avenues. Your guide points out the sensational frescoes decorating the historical buildings. The kids are enthralled with the castle, consisting of 40 buildings in total, including palaces, castle courts, and a park. Inside the Schwarzenberg Portrait Gallery, the walls are decorated with artwork commemorating the poised aristocracy of Bohemia. The checkered floors stand out from the pristine walls peeking around the oil paintings. The sheer size of each painting grabs the children’s attention, especially when they notice the regal prince atop a powerful horse.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Too Unique to be Real

In the morning, the kids are surrounded by a traditional German breakfast. The table is laden with cheeses and fresh baked breads, perfect jams, and a number of cured meat. Berchtesgaden is a region in Bavaria, Germany surrounded by six remarkable mountain ranges. The landscape has inspired myths and legends famous throughout the state and Germany as a whole. The kids listen to the stories with focus, wondering which parts could be true. The splendor of the region comes into full effect after breakfast, when you arrive at the Eishöle Ice Cave.

The cave was discovered in the 19th-century, revealing a network of caverns more than 24 miles in length. The cold air encompasses the mountainside. Narrow passageways open into gigantic halls. Icy stalactites morph into spectacular sculptures decorating the interior. Small ice curtains drape over smaller corridors. Once the kids see the way the lights bounce off of the walls, refracted in the ice-crystals, they don’t even notice the cold. The cave descends into the earth more than 439 feet. The entire network of caves seems to have been conjured out of a fairytale, too odd to be real, but so unique it is enchanting.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

The Hills Are Alive

In the morning, you cross into Austria for the day, still inside the encircling mountain ranges of the Berchtesgaden region. In the summer, the greenery is lush, casting a blanket of emerald across the mountains and valleys. In the winter, powdery white snow drapes over the landscape. Your guide leads you into Salzburg, a charming city on the banks of the Salzach River. The city was the birthplace of Mozart and maintains a classic ambiance in the wide cobblestone boulevards underneath the picturesque Hohensalzburg Castle.

The songs of The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews come to life in the city, where the true story of the Von Trapp family took place. Your guide leads you to the Mirabell Gardens, 18th-century grounds with a Baroque design. The statues symbolize the four elements of fire, air, earth, and water and decorate the fountains. When the family begins to sing “Do-Re-Mi,” in the film, the horse fountain trickles and spouts with water. The kids can’t help but hum the song out loud. The neoclassical façade of the palace borders the garden, adding to the opulent atmosphere. The vibrant flowers and grasses of the garden radiate against foothills surrounding the city.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Surrounded by Earth

After breakfast, your guide leads you to the remarkable setting of the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine. The exterior of the mountain is rugged, with limestone colors topping the foothills shaded with greenery. The mountains reflect in the pristine waters below. The air is crisp and scented with evergreen. The kids are both eager and anxious to step into the mines, unsure of what they will find inside. The history of the mine dates back to the 12th-century but became a state-run mine in the 16th-century. When you arrive on the shores of Mirror Lake, you step into a flat, shallow boat to explore the waterways. The low-hanging craggy roof has stripes of orange and brown.

The salt lake glistens in the lights hung around the cavern. Near the large gallery known as the cathedral, you spot a wooden slide that once helped move goods from top to bottom. Now you and the kids can step onto the slide, under the guidance of a local guide, and feel the wind in your hair as you glide down the rugged hillside to the floor below. After your tour of the historic mines, you make your way through the village to begin your introduction into the traditions of pretzel making, which date back to the 5th-century.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

Same Palace, Different Visions

The beauty of Vienna lies in its understated elegance alongside the banks of the Danube River. The city marked the gateway between West and East Europe for hundreds of years, housing the Habsburg Empire. Today it maintains a connection to its musical, and imperial, history. Horse drawn carriages promenade through the streets. Street-side cafes showcase delectable coffees and irresistible strudels. When you reach Schonbrunn Palace, you find an 18th-century Baroque building containing 1,441 rooms. The kids view the palace differently, joining a separate tour through the children’s museum, which offers an interactive experience into the history of the palace and the former summer residence.

The vast gardens create a park-like ambiance. The honey yellow façade shines over the cobbled forecourt. In the gardens, the Gloriette reflects on the glassy pond. The Gloriette is a nearly 200 foot tall hill crowned with a glass and stone atrium. The serenity of the gardens and grandeur of Emperor Franz Josephs’ Study takes you into the tastes of the stately affairs. The modest furnishings of the study contrast the exquisite décor of the Audience Chamber, showcasing the preference of the emperor as opposed to the family’s understanding of its need to entertain.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Experiencing Grace

In the morning, the aroma of fresh apple strudel and rich coffee drifts out of the local cafes. The black stone of St. Stephen’s Cathedral enhances the luster of the late Romanesque architecture. After breakfast, your guide leads you to the celebrated equestrian school on the grounds of Vienna’s Hofburg Castle. The school was erected in the 16th-century, with the introduction of Lipizzaner horses to the city. Inside the grounds, the air is cooler than the castle courtyard. Stone pillars encircle an earthy arena.  A row of chandeliers dangles above the display, adding extra light and elegance to the room.

The school is the center of classical dressage with a double-decker viewing area. The white horses dance proudly around the state, showcasing four centuries of tradition. The stallions are taught various movements, most of which are natural to the horse, including when the rider urges the horse into a straight, supple gait. The kids stare at the show with reverence, impressed by the riders and the horses without any of the earthy arena being kicked into the air. After you witness the inspiring movements of the Spanish Riding School, you step deeper into the charms of the past with movements of your own, taking the family on a private waltz lesson.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Fairytale Farewell

The bright lights of the morning glisten over Vienna and shimmer on the surface of the Danube River. The Vienna State Opera House has a golden shine emanating from its three centuries of history. Music radiates as much from its architecture as it does from its main gallery. The family has traveled between enchanting castles and captivating mountains, witnessing the wonders of the food and the marvels of the past. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts the family to Vienna International Airport for your flight home; the exploration may be over, but the stories of your time in Europe have just begun.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Experience the marvels of the Bavarian Alps inside the Eishole Ice Cave
  • Wander through the stunning Salt Mines of Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden for a unique family adventure
  • Enjoy a private after-hours guided tour of the world famous Vienna Zoo to see the nocturnal animals come to uproarious life
  • Witness the equestrian grandeur and history of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, located inside the Hofburg Castle
  • Revel in the wonderment of grand European history with the kids as they absorb the beauty and grandeur of Hohenwerfen Castle
  • Traverse the streets and countryside around Salzburg, Austria following the footsteps of The Sound of Music 
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Detailed Description

Jade and emerald trees drape the landscape in the summer, and pristine snow casts a cozy glow on the mountains in the winter. History and elegance continue to shine in the wake of imperial majesty. Your 9-day family vacation to Central Europe shows the entire family the marvelous streets and charming rivers, lavish castles and sensational theater filling the cities, villages, and landscape with premier European luxury tours. The adventure begins in Prague, where your private transfer awaits your arrival at the airport. The city emanates its Gothic architectural past, which provides beauty and an undeniable storybook quality. 

The following day, your guide meets you after breakfast to lead you on a walking tour and river cruise exploration of the city. In the afternoon, you can enjoy the pleasures of Prague at your leisure, from visiting the castle to wandering along the narrow antique alleyways. Travel outside of Prague en route to Berchtesgaden, where you come to the charming town of Český Krumlov. Your guide shows you around the historic homes that resemble a postcard or painting. The following day, you venture into the mountains on a guided exploration of the sensational Eishole Ice Cave.

After lunch, you continue the splendid adventure wandering through the Hohenwerfen Castle on a private tour. In the enchanting town of Salzburg, you have a musical introduction to the city with The Sound of Music tour, taking in the sights and scenes from the award winning musical, and providing the afternoon at your leisure to enjoy the city at your preferred pace. In the evening, you can enjoy dinner in a historic restaurant dating back to the 9th-century, with the classical works of Mozart serenading the family. Venture deep into the Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden Salt Mine, where a glimmering salt lake lingers in the caves, before having fun learning to make pretzels.

Your first day in Vienna takes you to the Schonbrunn Palace, where the kids find the magnificent children’s museum as you explore the palace grounds and gardens. Delight in the entertaining and delicious art of strudel making, before taking in a private marionette show. In the evening, your guide leads you to the world famous Vienna Zoo, for a private after-hours tour of the oldest zoo in Europe. After breakfast, you make your way to Hofburg Castle to visit the Royal Spanish Riding School. Enjoy an amusing dance around the room with a family private waltz lesson. On the final day, your private transfer will meet the family at your hotel after breakfast, and escort you to the Vienna International Airport. 

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Starting Price

$2353 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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