Gdansk • Warsaw • Krakow • Auschwitz-Birkenau • Wroclaw • Cesky Krumlov • Prague

 Join Bill Altaffer, one of the world’s most traveled people, on an imaginative and comprehensive exploration of famous and not-so-famous sites in Poland and Czech Republic. Range from Hitler’s secret headquarters, the Wolf’s Lair, to baroque cathedrals, royal palaces, medieval castles, surviving synagogues, sobering Holocaust sites, and the gorgeous Leopoldine Hall in Wroclaw’s 17th century university building. Float down rivers, enjoy home-cooked meals, and experience nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites on this fantastic 23-day voyage through history.

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Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Take a tour of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery
    Enjoy a tasting and learning about the history and secrets behind the making of Pilsner Urquell lager before exploring the modern bottling plant and the historic brewery cellars...
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  • Descend into the amazing salt mine
    Enjoy a guided tour of the UNESCO-listed Wieliczka Salt Mines, with 700 years of history; over the centuries miners have carved and decorated intricate salt caverns....
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  • Explore medieval Malbork Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Visit the huge and beautiful UNESCO-listed medieval fortress of Malbork, built in the 13th century by the Order of Teutonic Knights....
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  • Pay your respects at Auschwitz
    Spend some time at the UNESCO site of Auschwitz, a symbol of horror and genocide and a ghastly reminder of the inhumanity of which humans are capable....
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • 30 years of Central and East Europe travel experience
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • Fodor’s Travel Intelligence blog praised MIR for expertise in planning custom trips for travelers exploring their roots in Central and East Europe
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-2: Gdansk, Poland

In Gdansk, Poland’s thousand-year-old maritime city on the Pomeranian Coast of the Baltic Sea, visit the Solidarity Shipyard, inseparable from the trade union Solidarity and its leader, Lech Walesa. Visit the 13th century Oliwa Cathedral, and enjoy a concert on its 18th century Wulff organ, whose carved figures move to the music.


  • Dlugi tag, or Long Market, the Main Town district’s most important street since the 16th century
  • Solidarity Shipyards, where the 1980 strikes were the beginning of the end for communism
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Days 3-4: Lidzbark Warminski

Explore UNESCO-listed medieval Malbork Castle, headquarters of the Teutonic Knights. Arrive in Lidzbark Warminski in northeastern Poland’s lovely Mazurian Lakes District, a place of outstanding beauty. Visit the Wolf’s Lair, the English name for Hitler’s secret fortified Eastern Front command post during WWII.


  • Malbork Castle, “the supreme example of the medieval brick castle,” according to UNESCO
  • Lidzbark Warminski’s massive brick Gothic Bishop’s Palace, built in the early 15th century
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Days 5-6: Warsaw

En route to Warsaw, stop in Zelazowa Wola, Chopin’s birthplace. Arriving in Warsaw, enjoy a walking tour of UNESCO-listed Old Warsaw, meticulously reconstructed after its destruction during WWII. Discover the former Warsaw Ghetto, and the Umschlagplatz where the Gestapo had the Jews assemble to be sent to Treblinka.

Continue to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument, the beginning of “Memory Lane,” a trail of black marble stones commemorating the events and the people of the uprising. Later, visit the home of a local family for a dinner of traditional Polish favorites.


  • House that Chopin was born in, transformed into a museum and a monument to the composer’s life
  • Nieborow Palace, housing a museum of interiors featuring sculpture, paintings, metalwork, porcelain and household objects from the 17th to 19th centuries
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Days 7-10: Krakow • Wieliczka • Pleniny National Park

Hop a day train to Krakow, and stroll the Old Town, admiring the medieval Main Market Square, Rynek Glowny, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Ojcow National Park, encompassing 180-million-year-old limestone formations; and the UNESCO-listed Wieliczka Salt Mine, where early miner/sculptors carved out beautiful chambers and chapels.

Explore the Chabowka Rolling Stock Museum, containing over 90 vintage locomotives, steam engines, freight wagons and carriages. Float leisurely down the River Dunajec on a handmade raft poled by two gorale (Polish highlanders) in traditional costume.


  • Krakow’s medieval Market Square
  • Wawel Castle, seat of Polish kings for hundreds of years
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Days 11-13: Wroclaw

On the way to Wroclaw, stop at the Martyrdom Museum at Auschwitz, a ghastly reminder of the inhumanity that humans are capable of. Continuing on, Wroclaw’s delicate baroque architecture blends in with the atmosphere of a vibrant European city center. Admire incredible Leopoldine Hall, a gorgeous baroque confection of hanging plaster sculptures, frescoes in coral and turquoise and dark wooden pews.


  • Sausages, breads, brandies, honey, and condiments, from the medieval recipes of the Benedictine monastery of Tyniec
  • Polish town of Oswiecim, whose German name, Auschwitz, has become a symbol of horror and genocide
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Days 14-16: Prague, Czech Republic

Called the “Hundred-Spired City,” Prague’s beautifully-preserved Gothic, baroque and neoclassical churches and palaces make it one of the great cities of Europe. Visit Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world, and its Lobkowicz Palace, with a fabulous new permanent exhibit, the Princely Collections, which includes seven centuries of paintings, arms, original musical scores and instruments. Join a river cruise featuring live music, dinner and wonderful views from the water.


  • Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world, and the symbol of Prague
  • Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle, recently returned to an American-born scion of the family, William Lobkowicz
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Days 17-18: Karlovy Vary

Continue to Karlovy Vary, an elegant spa town whose pastel mansions stand shoulder-to-shoulder, ornamented with statuary, iron filigree and fabulous detail. Drive to the Ostrov Chateau and Park, established in the early 13th century. Ostrov was an important mining center during the Middle Ages.


  • Diana Observation Tower above Karlovy Vary
  • Ostrov Chateau and Park, set at the confluence of the Bystrice and Jachymovsky rivers
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Days 19-20: Cesky Krumlov

En route to Cesky Krumlov, stop in Plzen for a tour of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Pilsner style beer has been brewed here since the 13th century. Enjoy a family-hosted meal nearby. Cesky Krumlov is a small, beautifully-preserved medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of its structures were built from the 14th to the 17th centuries, in a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque styles.


  • Tour and tasting at the Pilsner Urquell Brewery
  • Family-hosted meal at Farma Moulisovych close to Plzen
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Days 21-23: Prague

Head back to Prague today via the gardens of the lovely Hluboka Castle, originally built as a fortification in the mid 13th century. Enjoy dinner at the home of a Prague family, and an evening performance at the Krizik fountain. Visit the Koneprusy Caves, with their unusual opal-bearing formations and 400-million-year-old calcite rocks.


  • Hluboka Castle, which over time evolved from a Gothic castle to a Renaissance chateau Home-cooked dinner with a family
  • Performance at the Krizik fountain, built for the 1891 World's Fair
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices

Trip itinerary currently not available.  

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What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in well-located four star hotels in the major cities and best available hotels elsewhere.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary, including in private homes. A few meals are not included so that you may enjoy a chance to experiment on your own.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager (with a minimum of 6 passengers) with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Transportation throughout itinerary by private van or motorcoach (size of vehicle depends on group size), and by air.
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in Eastern or Central Europe or the Balkans before or after your tour. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of our private travel suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This trip is moderately active, and rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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