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Berlin, Budapest, Prague
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Cities in Central Europe

Berlin Hotel: Hotel Regent Berlin

With its great location between Museum Island and the Brandenburg Gate, the Hotel Regent Berlin delivers on its luxury hotel promise.

Berlin Dining

Lokal is a tiny locavore restaurant in an East Berlin neighborhood with excellent vegetables, excellent fish, and excellent fish. Your 15-minute taxi ride from Unter den Linden definitely will be rewarded.

Hasir Hackescher Markt is your solution to finding great Turkish food in a city with a large and vibrant Turkish population. This was the best meal our group found in Berlin. We chose the location in Mitte: Oranienburger Str. 4-5.

Fassbender & Rausch is the ultimate chocolate experience.

Dressler is a dependable place on Unter den Linden for a hot breakfast.

Die Maultsche is a rare example near Unter den Linden of a low-key neighborhood place for a quick bite. Try specialties from the Swabian region.

Berlin Travel Tips

Before you travel, go online to arrange your visit to the Reichstag Dome. Be sure to print out your travel papers and take them with you.

Buy the three-day Berlin Pass. (When we visited in 2015, it was possible to buy the Pass online or in-person in Berlin. Either way, you will still need to pick it up.)

Use the Pass for the one-hour boat tour (you will not need the longer tours).
Even with the Pass, you should go online to print out timed-entry admissions at the Pergamonmuseum and the Neuesmuseum. (The Pass will get you in the short lines.) Both museums are very large, so unless you have all day, focus on highlights.

The Bauhaus Archive is also a museum. This is well worth the taxi ride.

The Tiergarten is an amazing urban park, full of surprises. Try an early-morning walk.

Berlin Jewish Themes

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a must-see for all visitors to Berlin.

Another must-see is the Jewish Museum, with particular focus on the controversial Daniel Liebeskind design.

Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt (Museum Otto Weidt Workshop for the Blind). This was our top small-museum find in Berlin. The owner of a small broom and brush factory, Otto Weidt, employed mainly blind and deaf Jews during World War II. Life stories tell of efforts by Otto Weidt to protect his workers from persecution and deportation.

Do not miss the neighborhood of courtyards in the immediate vicinity of the Workshop. Now up-and-coming, this was an historic Jewish neighborhood:

A glass plate in a small part of the surface of Bebelplatz in Mitte has a view below of empty bookcases, enough to hold some 20,000 books. This, in fact, is a very moving memorial because it calls attention to the Nazi book burning at that site on May 10, 1933.

For a deeper look at Jewish history in Berlin, contact Milk and Honey tours. If Jewish history is your primary interest for the tour, make that clear in advance of the tour day.

Day Trips from Berlin

The nearby town of Potsdam is the favored day trip, with palaces, history, and nature.

Day Trips by Rail: There are many possible choices, but Liepzig is an easy and rewarding destination for a musical pilgrimage. Do not miss St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche) where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as the cantor. The monument to Felix Mendelssohn in front of this church was destroyed by the Nazis in 1936 and rebuilt in 2008. St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche) also has associations with Bach and the weekly Montagsgebet (Monday prayer) held here in the 1980s became the starting point of demonstrations against the East German regime. Leipzig has a charming market square plus a gigantic railway station, which is an historic destination and shopping mall in and of itself.

Budapest Hotel: Hotel Palazzo Zichy Budapest
This is a fully-renovated former palace in a well-located but quiet little corner of Budapest.

Budapest Dining

Borbíróság offers Hungarian dining and wine selections behind the Central Market.

Café Intenzo offers a fine, unhurried Hungarian dining experience either inside or in an outdoor courtyard.

Fausto Ristorante and Fausto Osteria (we ate in the osteria). Chef Fausto Di Vora brings a wonderful Italian dining experience to Budapest.

Raj Ráchel is a renowned pastry chef in the Budapest Jewish tradition. We tried her Flodni, a layered dessert with ground poppy seeds, chopped apple, walnut paste and plum jam, at one of her three cafes. Café Noe is in the Jewish Quarter at Wesselenyi Str. 13.

Dunapark Café, in a residential neighborhood, evokes Budapest in the 1930s. Great for people-watching.

Budapest Must-Sees: Castle Hill and especially Matthias Church, as well as the Central Market.

Budapest Jewish Themes

The Dohány Street Synagogue, also known as The Great Synagogue, is a must-see.

The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial to Jews who were killed by fascists in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away.

For a deeper look, contact Milk and Honey tours. If Jewish history is your primary interest for the tour, make that clear in advance of the tour day.

Prague Hotel: The centrally-located Hotel Paris is in an elegant art nouveau building.

Prague Dining

Kampa Park is an upscale restaurant with a riverside location to die for near the Charles Bridge.

U Kroka is worth the taxi ride for local food in a neighborhood not discovered by tourists.

Prague Must-Sees: Castle Hill, Old Town Square, and Charles Bridge.

We also would add the Kafka Museum to the list of top recommendations.

Prague Jewish Themes

Every visitor to Prague should visit the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Old-New Synagogue. There also are other sites in the old Jewish Quarter (Josefov) for those who want to go deeper.

Last edited May 2015