DAY 1 MADRID – BUDAPEST Meeting in Madrid-Barajas Airport – Terminal 2 at 7:30 A.M. to embark on the Swiss Air flight at 9:30 A.M. Arrival in Budapest at 2:05 P.M. (via Zurich with catering on board). Panoramic tour of the city: the Danube, source of inspiration for numerous artists, separates with its immensity Buda and Pest, two large cities taht today are joined to form one of the most important European capitals. We will visit the Mount Saint Gerard, the Margaret Bridge, Parliament, Andrássy Avenue with the Opera and Heroes Square. Continuation to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.
DAY 2 GöDöLLő – BUDAPEST Breakfast. Departure at 9:15 A.M. for Gödöllő, very popular for being the Baroque residence of the Hapsburgs. It was built in the forties by Antal Grassalkovich and is known for being the Residence of Queen Sissi. This palace, with its 17.000 m2, is the largest in Hungary in baroque style, with few little original furniture since it was sacked in the Second World War by German and Russian troups. We will visit the palace, where we can contemplate the daily life of the royal couple of Franz Joseph and Queen Elisabeth. In the salon of Queen Isabel there is a commemorative exposition opened in 1998, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of her death. Continuation of the tour of Budapest: the Chain Bridge, the main street, the Fishermen’s Bastion, the Matthias Church and the Basilica of Saint Stephen. Lunch. Afternoon free. Typical Hungarian dinner with music and folklore show. After dinner, take a boat ride on the Danube, one of the most enchanting and comfortable ways to enjoy of the panorama of Budapest, since the Danube River crosses the center of the city and is, threfore, a privileged place to contemplate the prettiest monuments in the capital. Return to the hotel. Lodging.
DAY 3 BUDAPEST – EXCURSION TO THE DANUBE BEND (113 km) Breakfast. Departure In the morning to take an unforgettable trip along the Danube, visiting three cities: Esztergom, Visegrad and Szentendre. We begin our walk through Esztergom, the the northern gate of Hungary and the ecclesiastical center of the Catholic Church. We will visit the Largest cathedral in Hungary (burial place for cardinals such as József Mindszenty) and we will admire the views of Slovakia on the other shore of the Danube. We will continue in Visegrad, a village on the edge of the Danube where we will visit the medieval fortress from the 13th century on the peek of the hill. We will pass through the exposition in the different reconstructed rooms of the fortress and we will admire the view most spectacular view of the Danube from the castle. Lunch. Bordering the Danube, we will stop in the city of the artists, Szentendre, picturesque baroque city. We will climb through its alleyways to the panoramic lookout to view the Danube. Return to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.
DAY 4 BUDAPEST – TYHANY – BALATONFÜRED – HÉVÍZ (AREA LAKE BALATON) (264 km) Breakfast. Departure at 9:00 A.M. for Tihany. Arrival in Tihany around 11:00 A.M. This penninsula is situated on the north bank of Lake Balaton, the the most extensive lake in Europe and celebrated for its thermal waters. Tihany is known as the pearl of the region, extending into the Balaton and dividing it into two areas. It is not just the beauty of its nature that makes it attract, but also the marvelous environment of the town with its historical memories. One of its greatest attractions is the Benedictine abbey, founded by Andrés I in 1055 and where he was buried in the Crypt. The record of the foundation of the Abbey, currently conserved in the Abbey of Pannonhalma, contains the first words conserved in the Hungarian language. We continue to Balatonfüred, where we will make a stop in order to be able to stroll along the shore of the Lake. Lunch. Continuation to Hévíz, where we will take a short walk. Arrival to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.
DAY 5 HÉVÍZ – KESZTHELY – PÉCS (159 km) Breakfast. Departure for Keszthely, city that offers a rich artistic heritage represented by lovely baroque castles and traditional houses from the 15th century. City tour. Keszthely is the westernmost town on the lake, and it is especially celebrated for its magnificent Festetics Palace, with more than one hundred rooms, which we will see. Its grandiose Library, which contains 52,000 volumes, and its park, where magnificent concerts are given in summer, stand out. Departure for Pécs. Lunch and city tour in the afternoon. Pécs is the jewel of the South, rewarded as the European Capital of Culture in 2010. We will stroll through the paleochristian tombs, the catacombs, the Cathedral, the pedestrian street and the Synagogue. Dinner and lodging.
DAY 6 PÉCS – SUBOTICA – NOVI SAD – BELGRADE (367 km) Breakfast. Departure for Subotica. Arrival and city tour. Subotica has collected witness of its ecclectic past to generate a very diverse society in terms of ethnicities and religious confessions. It is always a pleasure to lose yourself in its historic center, in which abounds secession style architecture and where you can breath tranquility in the shadow of its many trees. Lunch. Continuation to Novi Sad. On the banks of the Danube River we find Novi Sad, known as the “Athens of Serbia”. The city overflows with culture and refinement, something that is made apparent in its many art galleries, museums, libraries andr theaters. The architectural “pearl” of the city is Petrovaradin Fortress, from the immensity of the Danube can be observed. Inside its walls, we find museums and art galleries, and some days in summer, the most acclaimed music festival of Southeastern Europe. Continuation to Belgrade. Arrival to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.
DAY 7 BELGRADE Breakfast. Day dedicated to taking tour of the capital of Serbia with lunch. Belgrade is one of the oldest cities of Europe, with a history of more than 7000 years. In its agitated past, it has been conquered by 40 armies and 38 times reconstructed from its ruins. We will see the House of Flowers, where Tito, leader of Yugoslavia from the final days of the Second World War until his death, is buried. We can enjoy the Kalemegdan Park and Fortres, symbol of the city. Stone arches, bridges and towers give it an unmistakeably medieval flavor, although many of its parts were reconstructed in the Renaissance and in the 19th century. We will also visit the Temple of Saint Sava, the largest Orthodox Church in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Return to the hotel. Dinner and lodging.
DAY 8 BELGRADE – MADRID Breakfast. Free time until the Transfer to the airport to take the Swiss Air flight that departs at 2:40 P.M. Arrival in Madrid at 7:40 P.M. (via Zurich with catering on board). END OF TRIP