Eastern Europe: Budapest, Krakow and Prague
$4,295 + Airfare
Jul 8 – Jul 20
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Budapest, Krakow, Prague, Auschwitz, Cesky Krumlov
|Optional group flight there:||
New York (JFK) to Budapest
|Optional group flight back:||
Prague to New York (JFK)
Take the road less traveled and explore three of the most culturally and historically rich cities of Eastern Europe: Budapest, Krakow and Prague. There are hidden treasures around every corner in these imperial cities, from the thermal baths in Budapest, to the quaint streets of Krakow and the magical fairytale city of Prague. Discover the fascinating history of Eastern Europe during the Nazi and Communist occupations to understand the devastation of the 20th century and see how these elegant cities have been reborn. This trip offers a unique and exotic experience to a stunning part of Europe for those travelers looking to venture off the beaten path!
On this trip you will
- Explore the Buda Castle District and climb the tower to the top of St. Matthias Church for breathtaking views over the Danube River
- Visit the stunningly iconic Parliament building in Budapest to understand Hungarian heritage and national pride
- Learn about the communist history of Hungary at Statue Park and the “House of Terror” museum
- Take an adventurous climbing and crawling tour through the longest cave system in Hungary*
- Spend the afternoon relaxing at the famous thermal baths in Budapest
- Marvel at the beauty of Krakow–from the bustling Old Town Square to the charming side streets adorned with pastel buildings
- Learn how to make authentic Polish cuisine in a hands on pierogi cooking class
- Experience sobering WWII history at the Auschwitz concentration camp
- Learn the legend of the fire-breathing dragon that protects the Wawel Castle
- Hangout on the river banks of the Vistula enjoying the beautiful summer air in Krakow
- Bike the streets of Prague to see the highlights including the Old Town, New Town, and Jewish Quarter
- Take a dinner cruise along the Vltava river with a live jazz band performing on board
- Stroll over the Charles Bridge in Prague, admiring the architectural wonders of this gothic city
- Sign the famous John Lennon wall
- Take in the view of the UNESCO world heritage site, Old Town Square from the top of the medieval Astronomical Clock
- Visit the fairytale bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov and go rafting down the river*
- Dance the night away at a club in Prague
*Rafting and Caving will be optional excursions
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK-JFK
DAYS 2-5: BUDAPEST
This Hungarian capital may be one of Europe’s most understatedly beautiful cities. Dive into the rich cultural center of Budapest, from the communist history of Statue Park, to the Hungarian heritage and pride at the Parliament building. We will have a guided tour around the city’s charming castle district, enjoying some of the best views looking down on this stunning city split into two sides by the Danube River. Seeking some adventure? You’ll have the option to explore the multi-level labyrinth under the city by climbing and crawling through underground caves stretching almost 20 miles long!
No trip to Budapest would be complete without an afternoon spent relaxing in the summer sun at the legendary thermal baths. Bathe in the largest thermal spa in Europe and marvel at the stunning Neo-Baroque architecture surrounding the grand outdoor pools. After our final dinner in Budapest, we will climb up to the top of Gellert Hill for a magnificent view of the city lit up below.
DAYS 5-9: KRAKOW
Next we’ll head to the charming city of Krakow! Fall in love with Poland and enjoy all of the sights just a short walk from our hotel including the largest medieval town square in Europe and the colorful Florianska, the main shopping street in Krakow. When wandering down the cobbled streets gets you hungry, prepare to indulge in some delicious cuisines. Of course, the pierogis will be plentiful, and we’ll even have a chance to make our very own at a pierogi cooking class! We’ll visit the majestic Wawel Castle and go underground to the legendary Dragon’s Den. We’ll get a brief introduction to World War II history in Kazimierz, the Jewish District which was an independent city until the 19th century, and even stop for a snack at a cafe that was made famous by the movie “Schindler’s List.” Then we’ll have a first-hand look at the Holocaust on our tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau, an experience that will surely stay with you for the rest of your life. This visit to the infamous Nazi concentration camps gives us an opportunity to reflect on a very dark chapter in history. We’ll end our time in Krakow soaking up the sun in the town square, shopping for souvenirs in the Cloth Hall, and climbing St. Mary’s bell tower for a fantastic view of the city.
DAYS 9-13: PRAGUE
Our final destination will be the capital of the Czech Republic. Upon arrival in Prague, you’ll be transported into a fairytale city so magical you’ll feel like you stepped inside a story book! We’ll bike through the streets of this medieval city to the Old Town Square and famous Astronomical Clock, cross the river with a beautiful view of the Charles Bridge, sign the John Lennon wall, and discover why this is one of the hottest destinations in Eastern Europe! We’ll enjoy delicious Czech food such as goulash and bread dumplings and even sample fried cheese at some critically acclaimed restaurants that have been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. We’ll head up to the Prague Castle District to watch the changing of the guard, visit the impressive architecture of St. Vitus Cathedral, and wander down the adorable “Golden Lane,” a street of tiny, colorful houses dating back to the 15th century where goldsmiths and artisans once lived. We’ll float down the river on a jazz dinner cruise, allowing us to enjoy the view of Prague from a different perspective. Take a day trip to Cesky Krumlov, where we will climb the bell tower for incredible views of the red roofed houses, wander the charming bohemian town, and even have the opportunity to kayak or raft the river that cuts through the village!
DAY 13: RETURN FLIGHT HOME TO THE USA
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Budapest we stay in a hotel centrally located next to the main train station. In Krakow we stay within 5 minutes walking distance of the Old Town Square and right off the main shopping street. In Prague we stay in New Town, a short walk to Wenceslas Square and easy access to main metro lines.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore three of the hottest Eastern European cities. On this trip, they are able to venture off the beaten path to discover cultures that are so unique and different from countries that most travelers visit in Western Europe.
What is unique about this program?
From an afternoon spent bathing at the thermal baths in Budapest to an up close and personal look at the horrors of the Holocaust in Auschwitz and an opportunity to explore both the most popular Bohemian city of Prague and a smaller Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov, this program provides unique insider access to the hottest destinations in Eastern Europe.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, rail passes, lunches, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our Europe programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
In Budapest, we will appreciate the delicious paprika seasoning that is used in typical Hungarian dishes. Goulash is plentiful in Budapest, which is similar to a beef stew or hearty soup. Many meals are accompanied with rice or small pastas on the side. And if you’re really interested in eating like a local, you will have a chance to sample the famous langos! This mouth watering snack is fried dough topped with sour cream, cheese, and any other delicious toppings you choose. Students will also have an opportunity to eat at the Central Market Hall, which has a number of different food stalls with delectable choices- something for everyone!
Polish cuisine is best known for pierogi- amazing dumplings filled with any combination of cheese, potato, meat, and veggies. Not only will we eat authentic pierogis, but we will learn how to make them homemade at a Polish cooking class. Another classic Polish snack is potato pancakes, which are similar to a latke or large, flattened hash brown and can be topped with anything from sour cream to goulash or mushroom sauce. Our time in this city wouldn’t be complete without a taste of something all the locals are eating, and in Krakow that’s “zapiekanka.” These open-faced toasted baguettes topped with cheese, meat, veggies, or all of the above are famous in Kazimierz! We will also enjoy a spectacular 3 course meal in Krakow at one of the city’s most famous restaurants on our final night there.
Last but not least in Prague, we will dine on the finest goulash, bread dumplings, and beer cheese in all the land! The goulash here is a hearty dish, differing from the soup version in Budapest, and often comes with a beloved ball of dough on the side to soak up the creamy sauce. We will try these Czech specialities at a critically acclaimed beer hall for an authentic dining experience in Prague. Last but not least, we will stand beside the locals in Wenceslas Square tasting savory Czech sausages and the famous fried cheese!
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Budapest, Krakow, and Prague. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city and set a clear meeting time and place before the group splits up. We will have the chance to go clubbing on this trip in Prague, where our counselors will be present at all times.
What kind of Visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Europe is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!