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Budapest and Vienna air/hotel, $937

Explore medieval castles and remnants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with this winter package.
Image: Hungarian soldiers attend an official ceremony in front of the parliament building in Budapest.
Hungarian soldiers are seen attending an official ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hungary's uprising against Soviet rule.Pawel Kopczynski / Reuters file

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, six nights' accommodations, airport-hotel transfers, intercity train transportation, and breakfast daily from $937 per person — plus taxes of up to $360.

When: Through Dec. 13, 2007, and Jan. 2-Mar. 17, 2008.

The fine print: Departure taxes and fuel surcharges depend on the departure city and are an additional $275-$360 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $229. Priced for midweek travel; add $25 per person each way for weekend travel. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: No deadline, based on availability.

Gateways: Boston; add $25 for Philadelphia; $35 for New York City; $57 for Atlanta; $72 for Chicago; $135 for Dallas; $161 for Portland; $170 for L.A; additional cities available.

Contact: Sophisticated Traveler, Inc.,,

Why it's a deal: A recent search on Kayak yielded a round-trip multicity fare between New York City, Budapest, and Vienna of $550 for early December (Austrian Airlines). For about $387 more, this package from Sophisticated Traveler, which specializes in trips to Central Europe, covers the international airfare plus six nights' accommodations, intercity train transportation, and airport-hotel transfers for far less than you would pay booking these components individually.

Trip details: The package includes round-trip airfare on a Star Alliance carrier, such as Lufthansa, Austrian Air, or United, and six nights' accommodations, with three nights each in Budapest and Vienna. After you land, get cozy at the four-star Carlton Hotel Budapest, a modern hotel at the foot of the famous Fisherman's Bastion and steps away from the romantic castle quarter.

Located on the Buda side of the city, the hotel is within walking distance of Budapest's central shopping and business districts as well as the magnificent Chain Bridge. Hotel upgrades are available for an additional $18-$105 per person per night, depending on room occupancy and travel dates. You may lengthen your stay in Budapest for an extra $50 per person per night.

After a roughly three-hour ride to Vienna in an express train's first-class car, you can unwind at the modern, recently renovated four-star Hotel Artis Wien. With grand imperial palaces and winding alleyways, the charming former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is a major European cultural center. Popular sights include the sprawling Hofburg, a medieval chapel used as a primary residence for the Hapsburg dynasty, and Karlskirche, the largest baroque cathedral north of the Alps. Hotel upgrades range from $10 - $118 per person and accommodation can be extended for $50 per person per night.

Temperatures for late fall and winter travel to Austria and Hungary typically range from the high-20s to mid-40s in Fahrenheit, so pack plenty of layers and a warm coat. For more tips on what to do in the area, visit the official tourism Web sites for Austria and Hungary. And before you go, check the latest exchange rate, the local time, and the weather forecast at