Eastern Europe in Depth

Trip Code: WMSVC

Why we love it

Experience peasant life on a full-day tour through the countryside of Maramures, Romania's most traditional and colourful region. Don't be surprised if you see horse-drawn carts along the road, Learn spooky stories while travelling through beautiful Transylvania, famous for its medieval fortified churches and as the birthplace of the inspiration for the world's most famous vampire, Dracula, A home-stay with a local family in the Saxon/Roma town of Viscri will expose you to Romanian hospitality and some finger-licking home-cooked grub, Discover the incredible biodiversity of Romania’s remote Danube Delta. Take a boat through this unique ecosystem to where the river meets the Black Sea, and observe the traditional daily life of its remote communities, Moldova is famous for its wine, so sample the local tipple during a guided tour of Mileștii Mici, sitting on top of 200km of underground cellar tunnels, making it the largest quality wine collection in the world, Become one of the few travellers to visit Transnistria, a breakaway republic in eastern Moldova, where Soviet values are still upheld and locals continue their fight for independence, Explore Ukraine’s atmospheric abandoned Chernobyl Exclusion Zone on a guided tour, wander the eerie streets and among the buildings of the ghost town of Pripyat. Since the devastating nuclear disaster of 1986, nature has taken over the city, and wolves, foxes and other wildlife have been seen walking down the main streets

Is this trip right for me?

Please remember that on the Chernobyl day tour you will be exposed to some radioactivity. Given the short amount of time you'll spend in the area, radiation levels shouldn't be harmful or unsafe (just don't go touching lots of stuff). Long-sleeved clothes and closed shoes are essential. Still, if this is of concern to you, you are free to opt out of this activity. Please also note that the army effectively regulates visits to Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, so last minute alterations can impact the itinerary.

The security situation in Transnistria is unpredictable as the region is not under Moldovan control, and tensions may be heightened reflecting developments in eastern Ukraine. Many Western countries do not have an embassy or consulate in Moldova. Usually embassies in Russia or Romania provide consular assistance to travellers in Moldova, however they do not have any recourse inside the territory of Transnistria, and will only be of very limited or no assistance in the case of an emergency. Medical care is almost non-existent in Transnistria, especially for non-citizens. Please choose carefully when shopping for your travel health insurance, and make sure it is valid in Transnistria. Please also be aware that international credit/debit cards and traveller's cheques are not accepted anywhere in Transnistria.

Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited on this trip (over 40°C). It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, please note that hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

As this is a combination of 2 trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Bucharest.

Important information

CHERNOBYL
Please remember that on the Chernobyl day tour you will be exposed to some radioactivity. Given the short amount of time you'll spend in the area, radiation levels shouldn't be harmful or unsafe (just don't go touching lots of stuff). Long-sleeved clothes and closed shoes are essential. Still, if this is of concern to you, you are free to opt out of this activity. Please also note that the army effectively regulates visits to Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, so last minute alterations can impact the itinerary.

TRANSNISTRIA
The security situation in Transnistria is unpredictable as the region is not under Moldovan control, and tensions may be heightened reflecting developments in eastern Ukraine. Many Western countries do not have an embassy or consulate in Moldova. Usually embassies in Russia or Romania provide consular assistance to travellers in Moldova, however they do not have any recourse inside the territory of Transnistria, and will only be of very limited or no assistance in the case of an emergency. Medical care is almost non-existent in Transnistria, especially for non-citizens. Please choose carefully when shopping for your travel health insurance, and make sure it is valid in Transnistria. Please also be aware that international credit/debit cards and traveller's cheques are not accepted anywhere in Transnistria.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Day 13 Comrat
- Day 19 Overnight Train
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.

COMBINATION TRIP
As this is a combination of 2 trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Bucharest.

What to bring/pack

PACKING
On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list., https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light., WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day., IMAGES FROM HOME
During our trip, there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos/postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country, etc.

Physical rating

 
2

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate.

EXPLORING EUROPEAN CITIES
One of the pleasures of travelling in Europe is the ease at which cities can be explored on foot. Your leader will take you on frequent orientation walks, and you will be able to further explore in your own time. We recommend you pack comfortable walking shoes for this trip. Many of our customers are surprised at how much they end up walking, however this is entirely up to you, and public transport to take you back to our accommodation is never far away.

Joining your group

City Hotel Budapest, Dessewffy Utca 36, Budapest, HUNGARY, Phone: +36 14722021

City Hotel Budapest is a new property located in the heart of Budapest, near the famous opera house. The hotel offers a 24 hour reception, a bar and breakfast area, and the rooms include private bathrooms, TV, Wi-Fi access and hairdryer.

Joining instructions

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (airport code BUD) is located 16km southeast of Budapest. Metered taxis are available from arrivals at all terminals. Alternatively you can catch frequent bus number 200E to the metro station at Kőbánya-Kispest, and then continue by metro line M3 to Arany János Utca metro station. Bus 100E is another option, delivering you right in the city centre at Deák Ferenc Tér, from where you can walk to the hotel (15 minutes), or change to metro line M3 for one stop to Arany János Utca metro station. From here it is just a 5 minute walk to City Hotel Budapest.

Exit Arany János Utca metro station and cross the main road (Bajcsy Zsilinszky Utca). Turn left and then right again straight away into narrow Dessewffy Utca. City Hotel Budapest will be on your left after about 400 metres.

If using public transportation and you change from a bus to the metro you will need a transfer ticket (2 physical tickets, validated one by one as you enter the bus/metro station). Make sure you validate your ticket as ticket checks on the metro are common. If in doubt about which ticket type to choose at the vending machine you can also buy your ticket at the tourist info in the airport's arrival hall.

Pre booked arrival transfer from Budapest Airport (BUD): If you have pre booked an arrival transfer your transfer driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall, holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name on it. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +36 302 801 219.

Finishing your trip

Hotel Ukraine, Institutskaya 4, Kyiv, UKRAINE, Phone: +380 445905474

Hotel Ukraine is located right in the heart of the city overlooking Independence Square (the Maidan) and Khreschatyk, in a unique location where culture and history intersects. Many of the city's main attractions are within walking distance from the hotel. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with ensuite facilities, satellite TV and a fridge.

If you are making your own way to any of Kyiv's airports reception will be able to assist you calling a taxi. By public transport to the railway station take metro line 1 (red line) for 4 stops from Khreschatyk station to Vokzalna station (Main Railway station). To Kyiv Borispil International Airport (airport code KBP) you can catch an airport shuttle bus called Sky Bus. Buses depart from the main railway station and also stop at Khreschatyk near our hotel. The easiest way to get to Kyiv Zhuliany International Airport (airport code IEV) is to take a taxi.

Pre booked departure transfer to Kyiv Borispil International Airport (KBP): You will be collected at your accommodation 2 hours and 45 minutes before your flight departure time. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +380 980 675 694.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 19

Lunches included: 4

Dinners included: 3

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

VEGETARIANS
Vegetarians might find the menu selection in Europe less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

BREAKFASTS
There are some continental breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

Climate & seasonal information

SUMMER
Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

SHOULDER SEASON
In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above.

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8677 9186 657

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

FACILITIES
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transportation

TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a local train, watching the scenery roll by from the window of a long distance bus, arriving on a high speed train in the city centre of your next destination, or navigating each city's public transport system. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.

OVERNIGHT SLEEPER TRAINS
Overnight trains in Europe are a comfortable way to travel from one city to another without losing valuable time to explore the destinations. Compartments usually consist of 4 berths (2 bottom bunks and 2 top bunks) with lockable doors, communal bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage (sink and toilet), and plenty of space for luggage. All trains have heating for the colder times of year, however they generally do not have air-conditioning, and windows can't be opened.

LONG TRAVEL DAYS
As we cover lots of ground on this trip, expect some long travel days on local trains and buses. This is an opportunity to mix with the locals and enjoy the scenery out the window. Travel schedules are known to change with little notice. Not all transport may have air conditioning.


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