Poland and Czech Republic
Program Snap Shot
Program length: 11 days
All Inclusive Price: From $4,795
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Full Program Itinerary
|Day One – Fly to Warsaw|
|Today we will board your international flight from USA to Warsaw, Poland.|
|Day Two – Warsaw|
|Upon arrival from their international flight (New York to Warsaw), students and leaders are generally excited, exhilarated and fatigued, so it is fitting that our adventure begins with an enjoyably relaxed lunch.
Following lunch, we’ll be introduced to this important, fascinating and historic city via an expertly guided tour through the distinctively medieval Old Town Warsaw. Experiencing the architecture and history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a tremendous way to quickly reveal the best of what Warsaw has to offer visiting guests. You’ll marvel at spectacular attractions such as:
But that’s not all — don’t forget the Warsaw Mermaid Monument, which has a history rich in folklore (it’s even on the city’s shield). This is a great spot to snap memorable pics with all your new travel buddies. These photos will forever remind you of this lovely place and how you began your incredible adventure together.
After your thorough city tour, loads of learning and countless selfies, it’ll be time for an unforgettable welcome dinner.
Tonight, you’ll overnight in Warsaw.
|Day Three – WarsawYour day begins with a very European continental breakfast provided by your hotel.
Then, your first adventure will help you discover the history of Polish Jews during a guided Tour through the POLIN Museum. Your expert, knowledgeable guide will facilitate this journey through a thousand years of Polish history, as told by its Jewish residents.
After the POLIN Museum, you’ll take a break and digest all you’ve learned so far as you enjoy lunch.
This afternoon, you’ll visit the stunning and historic National Theatre, where your tour will give you a glimpse of the arts and culture that have sustained and inspired residents of Warsaw for centuries.
Tonight, you’ll enjoy dinner before returning to your accommodation for the night.
|Day Four – Warsaw|
|Your 3rd day in Warsaw begins with a nice continental breakfast provided by the hotel, which you will need, because today is a big day! Despite the years that have passed, you’ll notice that much of what you see in Warsaw is the result of damage from the war. In many ways, the brutality of the war echoes throughout this city and in Polish culture. Today brings history and modern life into sharp contrast. You’ll kick things off this morning with a Jewish Walking Tour through the Warsaw Ghetto. As you visit the major sites of importance throughout the Old Town, you’ll hear riveting real-life stories of World War II, starting with the terrible Siege of Warsaw from September 1939. As you walk through narrow cobblestone streets you’ll discover hidden scars left by the Warsaw Uprising, and you’ll hear tales of heroic Varsovians amidst the immeasurable tragedy of the Ghetto. You’ll walk down the Royal Route and Saski Park (or, Saxon Garden). You’ll visit Grzybowski and Krasiński Squares. As you touch the historic and weathered stone and steel, as you contemplate the lives, suffering and stories these memorials represent, don’t underestimate the powerful connections you can make at these imposing monuments:
We’ll lighten the mood as we decompress and enjoy Lunch, and take some free time in the afternoon. Then, our Friday night will center around a very special and memorable Sabbat service at the Congregation Beit Warszawa, followed by Dinner. We’ll get a good night’s sleep on this, our last night in Warsaw.
|Day Five – Krakow|
|Today is a big travel day, but before we say goodbye to Warsaw we’ll fuel up on the hotel’s continental breakfast. Then, we’re off to Kraków which is a 4-hour drive by bus. As soon as we arrive in the city, we’ll have lunch.
Then, we’ll discover the beauty of Kraków’s medieval Old Town with an expertly guided tour. Old Town Kraków is the city’s biggest attractions and you’ll see why as we wander around the Main Market Square and admire the Renaissance era Sukiennice (historic Cloth Hall), once a major centre of international trade. If we wander long enough, you’ll hear the famous trumpet signal, Hejnał Mariacki, played from high atop Saint Mary’s Basilica, which was constructed to commemorate an attack by the Tartars in the 13th-century. Inside Saint Mary’s Basilica, you’ll see the awe-inspiring wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss. Then we’ll stroll to Wawel Hill, home to Royal Castle, which was the cultural centre of Poland until the 16th century. Here, you’ll also find Kraków’s spectacular Wawel Cathedral. Since the 14th century this extraordinary cathedral bore witness of the coronations (and funerals) of every monarch.
Our afternoon of discovery will conclude with a wonderful dinner, and then we’ll check into our hotel for a good night’s sleep.
|Day Six – Krakow|
|Our day will begin with a traditional continental breakfast provided by hotel.
Then, we’re off to explore the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kazimierz, the Jewish district of Kraków. Here, you’ll see Jewish history from a new perspective. This museum exists for two reasons: 1) to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and 2) to celebrate the Jewish culture of Polish Galicia. This innovative and unique institution is a registered charity in Poland, with a mission dedicated to challenging the stereotypes and misconceptions typically associated with the Jewish past in Poland, and educating both Poles and Jews about their own histories, while encouraging them to be ever mindful of the future.
Following this fascinating morning of cultural immersion, we’ll be ready for a delicious lunch in Kazimierz, after which we’ll visit the Remuh Synagogue, which has been the centrepiece of the Jewish community here since the late 15th century. When the Remuh Synagogue was built, Kazimierz was a suburban village outside Kraków, on the right bank of the Vistula River, south of the Royal Castle on the Wawel Hill. Following a great Kraków fire in 1495, King Jan I Albert transferred the city’s substantial Jewish community to this village, which quickly became the main Jewish neighbourhood in the region and one of the largest Jewish communities in Poland.
Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner before returning to the hotel for a good night’s sleep, which we’ll need because tomorrow is a very big day.
|Day Seven – Krakow|
|We’ll need all our energy for this, one of the most intense days of our entire European experience, so everyone will fill up on the continental breakfast provided by hotel.
Today we will have a full-day excursion to Auschwitz-Birkenau, which has become a primary symbol of the Holocaust. Known today as the most notorious “Death Camp” operated by the Third Reich. Auschwitz was a network of concentration and extermination camps built in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany. Its enduring remains stand as undeniable proof of the cruelty, terror and unimaginable genocide that took place here. The original fences, wooden watchtowers, bunkhouses and railway ramps have been preserved. The museum’s haunting collection contains original documents, suitcases, shoes and many other belongings of murdered prisoners.
Then, in the home of the Kornreich family of Oświęcim, the Jewish Museum educates visitors about the Jewish history of Oświęcim. Through the core exhibition, visitors can explore the lives of the Jews of Oświęcim through photographs, artifacts and survivor testimony.
Today will include lunch and dinner as part of the program.
|Day Eight – Krakow|
|Following our continental breakfast, we’ll visit the Kraków Jewish Community Centre. As a model of service to the Jewish community, the progressive programs of JCC Kraków are continually reshaped in response to the needs of the developing, multi-generational, and varied Jewish community of Kraków. Various clubs engage members of similar ages and interests, while Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations bring together the entire community. The JCC also cooperates with other Jewish institutions from across Poland, such as the Jewish Culture Festival. Programs such as this are aimed at creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, in which any member of the community can find something to meet their personal needs.
We’ll enjoy lunch, before visiting Oskar Schindler‘s fascinating Enamel Factory (made famous in Steven Spielberg’s epic and important film, “Schindler’s List”). This former metal item factory in Kraków, has become host to two museums: the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków and a branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków,
Following the visit we will havedinner, and we’ll get a good night’s rest for tomorrow’s bus trip to Prague.
|Day Nine – Prague|
|We’ll rise and shine as we enjoy our “Farewell, Poland” breakfast, continental style, at our hotel.
Next, it’s a travel day, so we’ll board our bus for the drive to the Czech Republic. It’s a 7-hour trip to Prague, so we’ll stop in for lunch along the way.
Upon arrival, we’ll check into our hotel. Then we’re off to dinner in the old city for a taste of Prague
|Day Ten – Prague|
|We will awaken in the beautiful city of Prague and enjoy a traditional continental breakfast provided by hotel.
We’ll begin our exploration of the city with a tour the massive Prague Castle, or Pražský hrad, which is the biggest ancient castle in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. There’s a lot to see here, and our morning will be filled with the wonders of this magnificent structure.
Lunch today will be in the old city followed by an afternoon walking tour of Prague’s spectacular Old Town Square (arguably one of the most beautiful historic cities in all of Europe) and the Jewish Quarter (which traces the history of what was once the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe). The Jewish Quarter tour presents a moving story that embraces the history, traditions and legends of the Jewish people in Prague, from their early settlements in the 10th century, through their enforced isolation, the poverty of the pogrom refugees, and the horrors of the 20th century.
Tonight’s dinner will be our farewell dinner. But the farewell celebration doesn’t end there! Our European adventure concludes with an unforgettable creative spectacle at the awesome Image Black-Light Theatre.
|Day Eleven – Fly to USA|
|This morning we’ll rise early and enjoy our final traditional, European-style continental breakfast.
Once we load our bags onto the bus we’ll bid Prague, the Czech Republic and Europe farewell as we head to the airport to board our flight home. But we will return to our families and friends filled with incredible stories, a rich new understanding of the legacy of Europe’s Jewish people, and some major bragging rights!