Midday arrival into Bratislava, where you will be met by your private car, driver and guide for your transfer to the deluxe hotel in the center of the city and in the heart of the historic district.
Essential Slovakia (9 days)
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||Kempinski River Park||Breakfast||
This morning, your guide will meet you for a tour of Bratislava. First you will enjoy a walk along the banks of the Danube where you will see the famous Old and New Bridges as well as fragments of the old city walls. You may step briefly inside St. Martin’s Cathedral, the site of the coronation of the Austrian emperors. You will continue past the Presidential Palace and the Squares of Peace and Freedom, until you reach the Bratislava castle, with its fantastic views over the city. Later this morning you may continue on foot through the Old Town district and the former palace of the Archbishop of Esztergom – renowned for its beautiful tapestries.
Exeter Extraordinary Experience
This afternoon, your guide will take you on a backstage tour of the National Theater. Opera has a long tradition in Slovakia as Italian and Austrian opera companies used to come to perform in Bratislava, the “suburb” of the Imperial Capitals of Budapest and Vienna. The beautiful Neo-Classical building was designed in 1885-86 by two Austrian architects, Hermann Helner and Ferdinand Fellner that build theaters in many other European cities. Today, the theater has its own opera, drama and ballet ensembles and belongs to the top opera venues in Europe.
Opera, Ballet or Symphony Performance at the National Theater (subject to change according to schedule. This performance may be moved to another night or venue. Theater transfers are not included.)
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Today in the morning your guide and driver will meet you in the lobby for a full day trip outside of the city. If weather permits you will first embark on a cruise and sail upstream to the ruins of the Devin Castle sitting imposingly on a cliff over the confluence of the Danube and the river Morava.
Your trip will continue by car through the valleys of the Little Carpathians dotted with picturesque little villages. You will visit two villages – Pezinok and Modra that have a long tradition of wine making and ceramic production. You will be invited to an old vintner’s house to learn about the history of local viticulture and Modra Majolika manufacture where you will observe how the hand made ceramic is made. You will have a chance to create your own piece on the potter’s wheel.
If time allows, you may wish to continue to see the impressive Cerveny Kamen castle whose history goes back to the 13th century when a gothic fortress was built here. From the 16th century Cerveny Kamen belonged to one of the wealthiest families in the region, the Palffys, who extended the existing renaissance castle and built an impressive baroque chateau. You may tour the interior of the Castle, the living quarters with historic furniture and the original castle pharmacy.
In the evening, return to Bratislava.
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Today, your guide and driver will take you to explore the West of Slovakia. First you will travel 90 km to the spa town of Piestany, famous for its treatment of rheumatic conditions with sulfuric mud. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere as you walk down the beautiful Colonnade Bridge leading to the spa island. If you are interested, you may visit the Museum of Balneology where you can learn about the history of the traditional healing methods from Piestany that were first recorded in the 15th century.
On the way back to Bratislava this afternoon, you will stop for a tour of Trnava, the oldest town of Slovakia. This town is often called the “Rome of Slovakia” due to the number of religious sites. You should not miss the University Church of St. John the Baptist, the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the Synagogue built in Byzantine-Moorish style that now houses a small Museum of Jewish Culture. A visit to the Museum of West Slovakia will give you an insight into the history of this region. The museum includes a wonderful collection of historical books, weapons from the Turkish war, examples of historical furniture and many interesting archeological items.
Evening return to Bratislava.
Strbske Pleso, Slovakia
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Today, meet your guide and driver for your journey to the north of the country, the High Tatra Mountains. First you will travel via Nitra to Banska Bystrica. Thanks to the mining of gold, silver and copper, the town became the economic and cultural center of the West Slovakia. As you walk through the historic center you will see impressive burgher houses, churches and the town hall.
In the evening, arrival into Strbske Pleso and check-in at your hotel.
Strbske Pleso, Slovakia
||Kempinski High Tatra||Breakfast||
The National Park of High Tatra is a beautiful preserve that makes for a perfect destination for active travelers. Many of the tourist resorts are inter-connected by light rail and the mountains offer a wide array of hiking paths of various level of difficulty.
Today enjoy a hiking tour on your own.
Strbske Pleso, Slovakia
Today, check-out of your hotel and meet your driver to continue your trip. Today you will drive to Kosice, the biggest town of Eastern Slovakia.
On the way to Kosice, you may visit the medieval Spiš settlements that are part of the UNESCO world heritage. First you will stop in Kežmarok where you can see a beautifully preserved wooden protestant church that boasts an impressive altar. Continue to Levoča that used to be the capital of this region. Here you may visit the beautiful gothic Town Hall and stroll around the charming square with beautiful Renaissance and Baroque houses. You may also enter the unique St. James Church to admire its impressive 18-piece altar.
Last stop before your arrival to Košice will be the Spiš Castle, an impressive fortified complex that dates back to the 11th century.
Evening arrival into Košice and check-in at your hotel in the center.
Today, meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel for a tour of Košice. This lively and yet laid back town is Slovakia’s second largest town. With a university, theater and philharmonic orchestra it offers plenty of cultural experiences. Enjoy a stroll through the beautifully reconstructed historic center where you can see the impressive baroque Plague Column and the Gothic St. Elizabeth’s Church dominating the Main Square. If you are interested, your guide will also show you Kosice’s Orthodox Synagogue.
After your walk through the center, your guide will take you out of the city to visit the Slovak Karst. The highlights of this beautiful Natural Preserve are its more than 4,000 caves. The most impressive ones, listed as UNESCO natural heritage, feature amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations. Enjoy a tour of one of the caves and dress warmly as in the summer the temperature inside are much lower than outside.
If time allows, you may wish to stop at one of the Chateaux in the area. The Betliar Manor is small but features a beautiful library. Another wonderful castle is Krasna Horka with interesting interiors and furnishings.
Evening return to Košice.
Today check-out of your hotel and meet your driver for a transfer to:
Experiences have not been selected at this time
A sample itinerary for FIT touring in Slovakia.
For 25 years, Exeter International has established itself as the leading deluxe specialist operator to Central and Eastern Europe, Russia & Central Asia. We use our intimate regional knowledge and expertise to create unique, often limited access travel experiences. Our multi-national, multi-lingual specialists craft authentic insider experiences, created with imagination. When you book with Exeter International you can expect the top guides in each city pre-reserved weeks in advance, matched to your preferences. Our specialists have also been recognized by the Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure top agent list since their inception.
Insider TipContact your Virtuoso Advisor for more information.
Terms & Conditions
Visas & Passports –
Russia requires visas of United States citizens and Exeter International will arrange for the invitation required for a visa upon
booking. Each traveler will be responsible for one passport photo, a completed visa form, one photo copy of the information pages of his/her passport, the invitation, and the visa processing fee. If the traveler would like, Exeter International will obtain all visas at additional cost. Each traveler is responsible for his/her own passport, which must be valid for six (6) months after the completion of the participant’s tour. Exeter International is not responsible for the refusal of a visa to any traveler by any consulate. In the event of visa refusal, any and all expenses/cancellation fees shall be borne by the traveler.
Payment Policies - Deposit Requirements
Small Group Tours - Deposits ($500) per person, for group tours are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and are non-refundable and nontransferable. We will hold your reservation for one week after you book your tour without a deposit. Some special programs (cruises and trains) may have different deposit policies.
Independent Programs -
A 10% or $250 per person (whichever is greater) non-refundable deposit is required to confirm an independent travel program. No Services are confirmed prior to deposit being received.
Payment Policies – Final Payment
Final payment is due 60 days prior to the commencement of travel. If final payment is not received 60 days prior to departure, your reservation will automatically be canceled. Some special programs (cruises and trains) may have different final payment policies.
Prices and Services – All taxes are included in program prices.
Payments must be made in Tampa, FL to Exeter International at least eight weeks prior to departure and are accepted by check, cash or credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card for credit card payment. Please note that payment for any services a traveler wishes to add once travel commences must be made in United States Dollars to the Exeter International local representative. We cannot accept personal checks or travelers checks overseas.
The tour cost assumes double occupancy in all hotels. Single supplements will be calculated based on exact dates of travel. We reserve the right to substitute hotels of equal or superior quality.
Transfers & Vehicles –
Exeter International will supply its travelers with personal transportation to and from all train stations, airports and ports, as described in the tour description. Baggage assistance is included for one piece of luggage per person, but tour participants should be prepared to handle their own bags at certain times during the tour. Please read carefully the Exeter International Travel Tips publication. We cannot guarantee air-conditioned vehicles in some cities. Touring and transfers will be by regular 4 passenger cars unless you have specifically ordered a
luxury car for your tour.
Please note that due to circumstances beyond the control of Exeter International, the tour may not be deliverable exactly as described (i.e. theater scheduling, hotel occupancy, etc.), BUT Exeter International will substitute scheduled or advertised events, hotels, and restaurants with alternatives of equal or greater value and quality. All hotels, restaurant and airline space is subject to their management’s approval. Exeter International will make every effort to guarantee this package as is, but conditions will sometimes mandate minor changes to the program. Reservations are nontransferable.
Expedited Bookings –
All bookings confirmed less than six weeks before departure will require expedited procedures. The cost for expedited
bookings is $250 per booking.
Expedited Documents –
If final travel documents are required more than four (4) weeks in advance of the departure date, a $50 expedited documents fee applies to the booking. If overnight delivery of documents is required at any time, a fee of $35 will be applied to the booking.
Itinerary Changes –
Once a group or individual travel itinerary has been confirmed, an amendment fee of $100 per revision will be charged. The traveler will also be responsible for any additional expenses that may be incurred due to a voluntary itinerary change.
Cancellation Policies –
Up to 8 weeks prior to departure: Deposit is nonrefundable 8 weeks to 14 days prior to departure: 50% cancellation fee 13 days or less prior to departure: 100% cancellation fee Reservations made at Russian and non-Western hotels are nonrefundable within 30 days of departure. Travelers are liable for airline and hotel cancellation fees as stated in their agreements. For all cruise and train bookings, please refer to the cancellation policies outlined in the specific Terms & Conditions for that program. All cancellations must be received in writing. If Exeter International must cancel your trip, you will be fully refunded.
Guaranteed Departures and Small Groups -
All Exeter International tours are guaranteed departures unless specifically noted with a minimum group size in the tour description. In small groups (less than 8 guests), the guides will act as the tour mangers in each of the cities. For all groups larger than 8 guests a tour manger will meet the group upon arrival in the first city of the tour and travel with this group throughout the duration of the tour. Certain events and meals may be changed slightly for small groups, as described in the brochure.
No Smoking –
For the enjoyment of all passengers, smoking is not allowed on Exeter International buses and cars or while the group is together on tour or at meals.
Exeter International highly recommends that you purchase travel insurance for your trip. This may be purchased directly through Exeter International or through your travel agent.
What is included –
Your tour includes everything that is specifically stated in the tour description. Breakfast (usually buffet) is usually provided daily; lunch and dinner will be provided only as stated in the tour description. Meals always include tea and coffee. Alcoholic beverages and mineral water are not included in meals, unless specifically noted. Visa fees are not included in tour prices.
Exeter International’s Responsibility –
Exeter International reserves the right, but is not obligated, to not accept or retain as a tour passenger any member whose
condition or physical needs or conduct impede the operation of the tour or affect the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of the tour’s other participants. A refund of the unused portion of the tours is the limit of Exeter International’s liability if such a person is asked to leave the tour.
Exeter International acts only on behalf of hotels, restaurants, train lines, boat lines, its owners, operators or contractors (all herein called contractors) providing services in connection with Exeter International’s tours. In the absence of negligence on Exeter International’s part, Exeter International is not responsible for personal injury or property damage or loss arising out of the act or negligence of any direct air carrier, hotel or other person rendering any of the services or accommodations offered herein. The traveler agrees to the foregoing, and also agrees that Exeter International will not be or become liable or responsible for any loss, default, or injury of any person, company, or other legal entity engaged to supply the same. Exeter International accepts no responsibility for losses or expenses due to delays or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strikes, hotel overbooking, social and labor unrest, terrorist activities, war, quarantine, or any other causes, actions or omissions, or conditions over which it has no control.
Additional Terms – Venue for all claims or disputes shall be exclusively in Hillsborough County, Florida, whose Courts, using Florida Law, shall have exclusive jurisdiction. Damage claims against Exeter International shall be limited to the value of the particular item in dispute and not for any incidental, consequential, or special damages. Exeter International assumes responsibility for representations it makes, but not for those made by others and including, but not limited to, any employee of Exeter International or independent travel agent. Payment for reservations on any Exeter International tour shall constitute consent to all the provisions in the General Information and Conditions published herein and is binding on all tour and travel participants.
All tour prices include the cost of planning and operations and are based on the tariffs, fuel costs and exchange rates in effect November 1, 2009 and are subject to change without notice at any time prior to payment in full of tour services.
Exeter International, Inc. is a Florida corporation, licensed, registered and bonded in the State of Florida for the sale of travel products and services.
The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.
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