The tour passes through some of the most interesting cities and country towns of Central Europe including Prague, Brno, Krakow and Bratislava. The route which links them together runs through outstanding areas of natural beauty including transfrontier Biosphere Reserves in Karkonosze (Czech Repuplic/Poland) and Tatra (Poland/Slovakia).



Assemble in Krakow, former capital of Poland, steeped in historical association with the development of Central Europe and conveniently connected by air with major European and US cities. We will all gather together for a welcome supper at the hotel.

We tour Krakow, one thousand years old and for many of them Poland's capital city. It is the home of the Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364, where Copernicus studied astronomy. We shall also visit the famous medieval salt mine in Wieliczka, fifteen kilometres from Krakow, a natural as well as a cultural monument. The old city centre of Krakow and the Wieliczka salt mine were placed on the first list of twelve World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1978.

After breakfast we leave Krakow to head south for the Carpathian Mountains. Our destination is the Pieniny National Park, protecting a strikingly picturesque and naturally rich limestone mountain range, cut by the several hundred metres deep gorge of the Dunajec river. We will sail through this gorge on specially prepared wooden rafts. From the Pieniny we make a further short journey to Zakopane, the city at the foot of the Tatra mountain range.

The Tatra form the highest part of the Carpathian range (Gerlach 2654 m), magnificent mountains which are Alpine in character, containing a great diversity of rock formations and abundant nature in a relatively small area. The whole Tatra is protected by National Parks on both sides of the border between Poland and Slovakia. Today will be devoted to a mountain walk in the Tatra. The precise route will respond to factors such as time of year, the weather, and participants' fitness and preferences, but on all occasions you will be accompanied by a qualified mountain guide. The night's lodging will be in the same hotel in Zakopane.

We move on to the southern part of the Tatra, to Smokovec in Slovakia. Those who have experience of mountain walks can make this transfer partially on foot, a splendid route over one of the high saddles. The remainder of the group will travel by coach, with short stops and rambles en route, for example to Bielanska Cave. Overnight stay at a hotel in Smokovec.

A full-day walk in the Tatra. As on Day Four the route will be dictated by circumstances and the time.

We travel south-west, following mountain roads through the beautiful scenery of the Carpathians. On the way we will have chance to visit some interesting places, including the natural monument of Jaskinie Demianowskie, the famous forest reserves near Banska Bystrica, or/and the historic castles of Zvolen and Bojnice. Our destination is Piestany, a well known health resort in the valley of the Wag river.

In the morning we leave Piestany and drive to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. A fast road reduces the journey to one and a half hours, providing us with time to visit the old town of Bratislava, the castle and the cathedral. After lunch we leave Bratislava and continue towards Brno, historical centre of Moravia. Not far from Brno is Slawkow, otherwise known as Austerlitz where in 1805 one of the most tremendous battles in European history was fought. After visiting this historic site we will still have time for evening walk round the beautiful old city in Brno.

In the morning we visit the Morawski Kras (Moravian Karst) Landscape Park, which includes over four hundred caves, underground rivers and lakes. There will be time to see same of these fascinating geological phenomena before we travel on to the Czech capital, Prague, to arrive at our hotel in time for dinner. We will spend the remainder of the evening in 'Gold Prague', one of the most romantic cities in the world.

This day will be devoted to Prague. In the morning we will explore this fasinatinating town accompanied by city guide while the afternoon will be reserved for independent sightseeing.

To the west of Prague is a remarkable landscape made up of old Mesozoic limestone where two Landscape Parks have been created: Czeski Kras (Czech Karst), and Krivokletsko, a World Biosphere Reserve. Today we will explore the typical geological formations of these parks, enjoy the associated rich plant life, and view the impressive castles (Karlstejn!) perched on the limestone outcrops. We return to Prague to spend the evening in the city and sample its renowed cuisine and beer.

We leave Prague and travel north-east to the Karkonosze, the highest mountain range of Sudeten (Sniezka 1602 m) and protected by National Parks on both sides of the Polish-Czech boundary. On the way to Karkonosze we pause in Czeski Raj (Czech Paradise Landscape Park) to view the fantastic forms of weathered sandstone rocks, then continue for lunch in a mountain restaurant typical of the Czech Karkonosze region. We make an afternoon tour in the mountains then in the evening cross into Poland to our overnight lodging on the north side of Karkonosze.

We have a full-day mountain tour in Karkonosze, the northern slopes of which are characterised by post-glacial sculpting, a highly diversified landscape of beautiful rock circus (Sniezne Kotly), lakes and pools. There is a dense network of well-made tracks in Karkonosze so it is easy to adapt the route to participants' preferences and fitness. Overnight stay in the same pension.

In the morning we head eastwards to Gory Stolowe (Table Mountains), a scattered example of plate mountains. Cracked sandstone creates fantastic rock forms; crags, precipices and labyrinths. Two of the most beautiful are accessible to the public. In the afternoon we visit Duszniki, established as a health resort for over two hundred years and where Fryderyk Chopin was treated for consumption.

Today we travel across southern Poland back to Krakow. This is a three hundred kilometre journey which we will break at three small but beautiful historic cities: KIodzko, Paczkow and Nysa. Paczkow is particularly notable because its medieval street pattern and city walls have survived largely intact; it has become known as the Silesian Carcassonne. In the evening we arrive in Krakow.

There may be time for shopping or a contemplative walk in Krakow prior to making air or other connections home. As you leave Krakow your mind will be full of the sights and sounds of Central Europe's great natural and historic treasures. Although you will have seen much we believe you will want to return to these wonderful places.


We stay in comfortable hotels or resthouses sharing two-bedded rooms with adjacent shower/bath and toilet

Full board from arrival in Krakow (dinner) to breakfast on the last day, except for two dinners (in Cracow and Prague) wich will be reserved for participants own preferences. Packed lunches will be provided during mountain excursions.

A comfortable coach throughout.

Maximum twenty, accompanied by Eko-Tourist's tour escort plus local experts, guides.