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10 Days in Central Europe

CORONAVIRUS: OUR UPDATES AND TRAVEL POLICIES

Our favorite European capital cities all together in one trip!  From the majestic riverside city of Budapest with its thermal springs and castles, to the old-world charm of Prague's narrow alleyways and cathedrals, before finishing up in the modern uber-gay Berlin, jam-packed with history.  As some of the world's gay "must visit" hotspots, these cities make it easy to balance out some day time scenic exploring with night time fun.  Uncover this region's lively history, soak in outdoor hot springs, take in the views by train alongside the Elbe & Vlatava rivers, hike to the hilltop castles, and much more in these 10 days through the heart of Europe.    

The charming streets, fascinating museums, and impressive architecture are some of the highlights of this trip, making it a city-focused active trip with plenty of walking involved.  

Days 1, 2, and 3 - BUDAPEST

Budapest is a visually stunning city with impressive castles sprinkled around the city, unique streets full of charm of a long ago era, and even natural outdoor hot pools too.  We'll start our trip together here at 4:00pm on day 1 and head out onto the river for a 4-course dinner cruise complete with music and all the best riverfront scenery.  It's the best vantage point to see the Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, and Hungarian Parliament all lit up.  The next morning we'll be joined by a local guide who will take us on a walking tour of the city's highlights before leaving us to explore the city on our own, whether you're into the hot springs, exploring castles, jumping on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the city, or taking in the old town sights.  At night, Budapest has many different nightlife options including lots of gay bars, clubs, and saunas too.

Included Activities: Dinner cruise on the Danube River • 3-hour walking tour of Budapest

Optional Activities: Szechenyi baths • House of Terror Museum • Wine, cheese, and charcuterie tasting • Ruin bar walk

Days 4, 5, and 6 - PRAGUE

On Day 4 we'll take a 1 hour flight from Hungary to our next country on the trip, Czech Republic.  Prague has long been known as a city of beauty, and one of Europe's favorite nightlife cities too!  It's famous for it's old town full of history, and as a lively city where everyone is out in the streets throughout the day, socializing over a pint or coffee.  Our local gay-friendly guide here will take us to their favorite spots around the city to make sure we're all set up to enjoy the city both during the day and night.  At night the city stays very alive as it lives up to its reputation for fun into the wee hours.  We're here for 3 nights of exploring and fun together before continuing north to our 3rd country of the trip!

Included Activities: 3-hour walking tour of Prague

Optional Activities: Ghost & Legends of old town walking tour • Prague Castle • Petrin Lookout Tower • Beer Spa • Prague National Museum • Classical/black light shows

Days 7, 8, 9, and 10 - BERLIN

On day 7 of the trip we'll hop on a 4.5 hour train across the European countryside, past the Elbe & Vlatava rivers to our final stop of the trip - Berlin!  Berlin itself has a tonne of history going back thousands of years and even into modern times and it's all on display in this city that's also know as one of the world's gay hotspots.  The culture of the city can be found in the many impressive museums, galleries, nightlife, and even just wandering the streets.  After 3 days of exploring the day and night life that Berlin has to offer, our trip comes to an end on the 10th day but if your schedule allows, consider staying a bit longer in this part of Europe to experience even more!

Included Activities: Hop-on Hop-off Bus (2 day pass)

Optional Activities: Berlin Memorial • Museum Island • Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.

BUDAPEST: Hotel Rum

This amazing hotel is smack in the middle of the best part of the city. It was newly reopened from renovations in 2017 and results are extraordinary. The contrast having modern comforts surrounded by centuries of history creates a feeling of home in a city full of wonder.

PRAGUE: Mosaic House Hotel

Once again centrally located for exploration (both at night and day), Mosaic House Design Hotel is a stylish hotel with striking design & artistic elements, and houses a cafe in a former theatre hall, a library, and a courtyard garden, and indoor/outdoor art installations

BERLIN: Henri Hotel

Located on Meinekestraße in the heart of Berlin Kurfurstendamm, in the middle of the former west of the city, in a side street to famous Ku'damm. It was always a melting pot of urban life, a cross between an urban boulevard and a Bohemian neighbourhood. A shopping area with luxury outlets and small, exclusive boutiques jostle happily here with restaurants, bars, music clubs and theatres.  Oozing with character, and perfectly situated for exploring Berlin.

*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all Detours trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels, and will never downgrade.

The Climate

September is a fantastic time to be in this part of the world!  Plenty of sunshine is expected, as well as very comfortable temperatures with daytime high's around the low 70's F / 20's C. 

The People and LGBTQ+ Communnity

But are these places gay friendly?  All three of these cities have differing levels of LGBTQ acceptance, but there are vibrant gay communities in each and we have only ever felt welcome in all.  Berlin is famous for its extremely open culture of "unique" gay nightlife, and Prague is one of the world's gay hotspots.  With the exception of Berlin, these aren't places you'll find fully public displays of affection, but all are places that you can feel comfortable telling the locals, or visiting gay bars, or requesting one bed for you and your partner.  

The Cuisine

The traditional food in this part of the world could be generally described as "heavy", but hey, you're on vacation!  Bratwurst, stews, goulash, meats, schnitzel, etc.  It's definitely not a salad culture here, but in these modern times with "modern" diets most restaurants now have options for vegetarians as well.  We'll eat well on this trip - don't worry.  Detours doesn't believe in limiting your choices by including all of your meals at pre-decided restaurants as part of the trip package. Instead, we include all of your breakfasts to start your day off, then we explore all of the different restaurant options available for lunch and dinner. This way we can eat when we want, where we want, and spend what we want! Your trip leader definitely has their favorite spots so if you'd like some advice on the best in each location, just check with them.

What to Bring

Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can always pick up a replacement once you arrive Europe. 

Money

While credit cards are commonly used in this part of the world, it's always good to have some local cash on hand.  Here's a brief idea of what to expect in each spot along the way:

  • Budapest (Hungary) - The official currency here is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) and that's what we suggest bringing with you for your first few days.  Credit cards are widely accepted, but Euros are only accepted with high exchange rates.
  • Prague (Czech Republic) - The official currency here is the Czech Crown (CZK) and similar to Hungary, we suggest bringing a bit of this too.  Again, credit cards are widely accepted so don't bring much cash, but it's good to have a small amount on you.
  • Berlin (Germany) - The official currency here is the Euro (EUR) and again we suggest having some Euros on you too.  Basically, everywhere will accept credit cards so just a small amount of cash is good to have on hand.
Tipping

While tipping isn't a native custom in these destinations, those working in the tourism industry all over the world have come to expect gratuities when providing good service.  This extends to local guides, restaurant wait staff, bus drivers, and your Detours trip leader.  Of course the actual amount is left up to your discretion, if you've been provided excellent service we suggest leaving around 15% for restaurant/wait staff as well as the local equivalent of a few dollars to bus drivers and luggage porters, as well as around $10-15 USD per day for local guides and your Detours trip leader.

Trip Leaders

All Detours trips are led by one of our own Detours trip leaders.  They're there with you every day and their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Europe for.  Consider them like a friendly concierge that's traveling along with you.  All of our trip leaders are gay and all are well-traveled and experienced in the destination they're leading in, so they'll be a great part of your experience!

Alarm Clocks

We've got NO scheduled early mornings on this trip, which will be music to the ears of the night owls!  A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in Europe should come from the sound of church bells in the distance, or maybe a local festival in the streets. 

Your Group

Overall, we've found that approximately 60% of the travelers on trips join solo, while the other 40% or so join with their partner or a friend, and 90% of our travelers are in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country!   Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life! We welcome both men and women onto our trips although it’s important to know that almost all groups are 100% gay men.

Solo Travelers

No problem! Don’t worry, lots of our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solo travelers. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room for no extra charge, or you can have your own room for a reasonable surcharge. 

Communicating to Home

There is WiFi at every hotel we stay at and most restaurants that we eat in. Alternatively, if your mobile phone is "unlocked" you can pick up a local SIM card which is quite affordable.

Electrical Outlets

All countries on this trip use the European plug known as a "type C" and "type F" plug, the same as most European countries and several other places in the world. The voltage is 230V with 50 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its acceptable range

What's included? • All Taxes • All group transport between itinerary destinations • Intra-Europe flight from Budapest to Prague • Train travel from Prague to Berlin • Accommodations for your 10-day Detours experience • Two 3-hour guided walking tour: in Budapest and Prague • 48hr hop-on-hop-off bus pass in Berlin • All full breakfasts • Welcome dinner and drinks • Knowledgeable and fun Detours leader • 

What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the those listed above • International Airfare • Arrival/departure airport transfers • Optional gratuities

Additional spending budget?  Your big-ticket items are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary dramatically with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $800 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $1200 USD at the higher end for the splurgers.  While there are many ATMs available, we suggest arriving to Budapest with approximately 80,000 Hungarian Forint  (approx $200 USD) for those places that don't accept credit cards.



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Trip Reviews

Enrique S. - USA

April 30, 2022

BEST GAY TOUR EVER! 

The first thing I have to mention is the awesome leadership of our Tour Leader who inaugurated the Eastern Europe tour with us:

BRANDON FOLKES! He learned the tour on the fly from Dan who was unable to lead this tour. What BRANDON put together with Dan's help was a truly awesome experience in THREE amazing cities and three of the finest hotels I have ever been in! The walking tours were fascinating and entertaining, the restaurants he chose for us were nothing short of fabulous! There are so many activities to choose from - but Brandon was always there to help you decide which one to take advantage of.

I learned one thing, you do not have to go on every activity. You can chose your own pace and spend time wandering through each city and then return to the group for those amazing dinner spots! And after that, Brandon would allow everyone to chose which bars, night clubs to go, with the group or to explore by oneself. He would send us links to each place and let us decide. No pressure ever - ever! Except your own push to squeeze every second of fun out of each day.

Brandon's leadership and concern for every single traveler made this experience one that I will remember for a very long time.

I loved this tour so much, I might just do it again in the future! After all, these cities have so much more to offer than I ever dreamed of!~

Oh yeah, and I think I made some friends along the way!

So just DO IT and GO with DETOURS!

Duane P. - USA

April 29, 2022

Had a wonderful ten days in Budapest, Prague, and Berlin with Detours Travel. It was amazing from beginning to end. Great group of new friends and Brandon was an incredible group leader. He made sure everyone was able to do what they wanted and arranged everything we wanted to do. He arranged great tours and restaurants throughout. Could not have asked for a better trip. Will definitely travel with Detours again!!

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