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Delights of the Danube

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You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
11 days From £2,595 £2,445 per person
4.2 stars(65 reviews)
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Rail & Cruise

Sail from Hungary, through Austria, and into Germany along one of Europe’s most diverse rivers, exploring its wealth of culture, grand architecture, and picturesque towns.

Save up to £150pp

Save up to £150pp on selected 2024 Europe, British Isles and Cruise holidays, when you book by 10th May 2024.

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2024 Tour code: DLR24

About the tour

Experience the magic of the Danube as we cruise comfortably to Imperial Vienna and Budapest. Step back in time to explore the Ottoman and Habsburg empires. Walk among eclectic architecture in Budapest, enjoy a private music recital in Vienna and ignite the senses with plenty of local flavour.

Interested in this tour but haven't found a date that works for you?
You might also like our similar tour The Classic Blue Danube!

Unforgettable experiences

Budapest
Budapest
Immerse yourself in the sensational ‘Pearl of the Danube’ - Budapest - with a guided tour of its striking castle, stunning buildings, and impressive monuments.
Vienna
Vienna
Discover the Baroque streets and imperial palaces of Vienna on a sightseeing tour.
Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey
Sail through the verdant valleys and vineyards of the beautiful Wachau Valley before visiting the 11th-century Melk Abbey with beautiful views across the Danube.
Salzburg
Salzburg
Explore the spectacular Austrian lakes or the creative culture of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart.
Bratislava
Bratislava
Admire ornate buildings, fascinating museums, and interesting galleries on a guided tour of Bratislava, the Slovakian capital.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To bustling Frankfurt

Our holiday begins as we meet at London St Pancras to begin our journey. We ride the Eurostar to Brussels, then continue by rail to Frankfurt, the financial capital of Germany, where we spend our first night. This lively city is renowned for its attractive Romerplatz, an old trading square where merchants used to sell their goods and where you can find the historic Rathaus building.

*If you would like to travel by air, view our Fly & Cruise option here.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Discovering Frankfurt and to lively Linz

We begin our day with a guided tour of Frankfurt, discovering its rich history, culture and landmarks. As well as the Romerplatz, we see some of the city's captivating buildings including the Cathedral, St Paul's church and Alte Opera Haus. This afternoon, we journey by rail and get our first glimpse of the Bavarian alps as we travel through Munich to the town of Linz, which sits on the Danube and is known for its gorgeous old town as well as its mix of baroque and modern architecture. We spend the night here amongst the vibrant atmosphere with picturesque views.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Discovering Linz and to Budapest where we board our luxurious ship

On a guided tour of Linz this morning, we explore its baroque old town and experience why it's described as 'upper Austria's culture and art capital'. This afternoon, we travel by rail to the mesmerising city of Budapest. Our luxurious ship awaits us here, where we're greeted with a refreshing cocktail in the lounge. After settling into your wonderful cabin and familiarising ourselves with our magnificent ship, we indulge in our first dinner on board before enjoying the enchanting ambience of a traditional Hungarian Folklore troupe.

Once the sun sets, we begin a magical night-time cruise along the Danube River, taking in the illuminated sights of Budapest. From the Gothic-style Parliament building to Buda castle, the state buildings that line the banks on both sides are all sensationally lit up, as well as the stunning Chain Bridge. Whether you choose to relax in the cosy lounge or take in the panoramic views from the sun deck, Budapest's elegant scenery is a spectacular start to our cruise.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Discovering striking Budapest

This morning, we delve deeper into Budapest's beauty and history that we saw last night. On a sightseeing tour of this captivating city, known as the 'Pearl of the Danube', we explore its impressive buildings and monuments. From St Stephen's Basilica to Heroes Square and Fisherman's Bastion, each sight is more remarkable than the last. After lunch on board, you can explore the city further at your leisure before we set sail to Bratislava.

As we sail upstream through the evening we navigate the scenic Danube bend. This section of the river has a long and fascinating history and from the sun deck or panoramic windows in the bar, you'll have the best view as we pass the village of Visegrad famous for its hilltop castle and Esztergom, the former capital of Hungary.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Glorious Bratislava

After a morning of relaxing sailing through scenic landscapes of rolling hills and endless fields, we arrive in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, welcomed by its castle overlooking the river. We set out on a fascinating guided tour after lunch. Bratislava is divided neatly into two parts by the waters of the Danube, and we have time to get to know both the Baroque Old Town and the newer city. As we explore the enchanting streets, we're immersed in the vibrancy of the city, which has dramatic historic buildings, Baroque palaces and a wealth of fantastic museums and galleries.

Following our tour, you have plenty of free time to explore the tangle of cobblestoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, 18th-century Rococo buildings, and street cafés.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Imperial Vienna

After a calm night of cruising, we arrive in glorious Vienna for a sightseeing tour. This is a chance to relish in Austria's Imperial culture, one full of tradition and rich in architectural, artistic and musical heritage. Making our way to Ringstrasse boulevard, we see many of Vienna's most ornate buildings including the impressive Opera House (one of the leading opera venues in the world), and the grand Parliament Building.

After our tour, there's time to wander around at leisure and soak up the magnificent atmosphere of Vienna. You could indulge in the famous Sacher Torte, a Viennese delight, at one of the cosy coffee shops. Alternatively, you could explore the city centre and marvel at St. Stephen's Cathedral, or delve into one of the numerous museums the city has to offer.

Tonight, a real treat awaits us in the lounge as we're joined by four past members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra who whisk us away with their performances of well-known classical pieces.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 – Charming Dürnstein, beautiful Wachau Valley, and picturesque Melk Abbey

Austria's Wachau Valley is a famous wine-making region, which makes it the perfect stop on our cruise to sample the renowned local wine. There's free time in the quaint village of Dürnstein to do just that, or simply wander the charming streets, soaking up the fairytale landscapes. From the riverside, we can see the renowned castle where Richard I of England was imprisoned for a time.

This afternoon, we cruise through the scenery of the Wachau Valley during lunch, truly a highlight of the river. This scenic area of green valleys and vineyards is dotted with picturesque riverside towns and commanding fortresses.

Later, we disembark in Emmersdorf to visit Melk Abbey, an 11th-century Benedictine Abbey that stands atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. It's here we see the abbey's church, one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 – The enchanting Austrian Lake District or stunning Salzburg

This morning we wake up in beautiful Linz where you can choose between a day in the Austrian Lake District, the Salzkammergut, or a visit to Salzburg.

The first option sees us heading into the country for a day in the lakes where we stop at UNESCO-listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its pastel-coloured houses. We also visit Hallstätter See Lake and Mondsee, a pretty town set on the lake of the same name and famous for its 15th-century parish church which featured in 'The Sound of Music'.

Alternatively, travel via Mondsee to Salzburg, a beautiful Baroque city on the banks of the Salzach river. During a guided sightseeing tour, we explore Getreidegasse street, famed for its traditional shops with metal signboards the place where Mozart was born. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is filled with stunning Baroque architecture, beautiful churches, quaint squares, and charming alleyways that we admire as we meander through.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 – Beautiful Passau

Today we enjoy a last cruise through vineyard-covered hills, charming villages, and medieval castles. After lunch, we arrive in the German city of Passau. Sitting at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers, Passau is known as the 'Three Rivers City'. The delightful old town is filled with baroque architecture, including St. Stephen's Cathedral, and lies in the shadow of the Veste Oberhaus, a 13th-century hilltop fortress. Tonight, we enjoy our farewell Gala dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - To vibrant Cologne

After breakfast, it's time to disembark in Passau this morning and say goodbye to our wonderful crew. We make our way to the railway station and head to vibrant Cologne, known for its impressive Gothic cathedral, the largest in Northern Europe. After settling into our hotel there's time to explore this striking city before dinner.

*For departure 09/06/2024 we will overnight at the NH Nuremberg hotel in Nuremberg and have a guided tour of Nuremberg the following day.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Discovering Cologne and Homeward bound

This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Cologne, getting a glimpse of the city's landmarks, including the impressive Gothic cathedral with its intricate spires and magnificent stained glass windows.

After our tour, we bid farewell to vibrant Cologne and head to the train station to make our way home. We journey by rail to Brussels where we then board the Eurostar to London St Pancras. Here, we bid farewell to new friends and fellow travellers.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Info - Travel Options

We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid. (Look for S - Standard Class and F - First Class)

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Train

Eurostar

Ship

MS Amadeus Imperial

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Upgrades

London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 65 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (29)
  2. 4 stars
    (27)
  3. 3 stars
    (4)
  4. 2 stars
    (3)
  5. 1 star
    (2)

Derek White

4 stars

Submitted 21 Sep 2023

As we like rail travel we chose this holiday linking with a river cruise which we enjoy. This was one of your longer journeys, heading towards the cruise from Budapest. There were several holdups on the outward 2 day train journey and there was anxiety that connections would not not be made. Simon, our train courier, was excellent, keeping us up-to-date. Unfortunately we arrived too late for dinner at the NH hotel in Nuremburg and were given sandwiches instead, not a good start as we had set off early that morning. After another held-up journey to Budapest the next day we arrived at the ship late, rather exhausted. The cruise was delightful, accommodation brilliant, staff helpful, food good. We enjoyed visiting such interesting countries though we opted out of the Austrian trips to Salzburg or Austrian lakes and enjoyed a very relaxing cruise from Linz to Passau instead. The recital by the string quartet from the Vienna Philharmonic was a highlight and the musical duo were excellent too. It was unfortunate that on occasions we were moored next to another cruise ship, thereby blocking the view from our cabin. Consequently we did not stay in our cabin on Mozart deck as the moored ship next to ours made it dark. The train journey home was delayed to Brussels so we had to rush to check-in and then we were told Eurostar to St Pancras was delayed by 50 minutes. We therefore missed our rail connections and finally managed to get home by 12.30am on Saturday 9th September. We will recall the cruise and the beautiful ship with pleasure and were fortunate with the weather, but we would not consider long train journeys with various connections again, which were arduous. (We used the Baggage Man which was an excellent service.)

Collected by Trustpilot

Graham

3 stars

Submitted 20 Sep 2023

Ship was well-appointed but itinerary a little disappointing

Collected by Trustpilot

G Harvey

5 stars

Submitted 20 Sep 2023

Excellent!

Collected by Trustpilot

Steve Hipperson

5 stars

Submitted 20 Sep 2023

After an eventful journey to the boat we had a wonderful relaxing holiday.

Collected by Trustpilot

Helen Fergie

4 stars

Submitted 20 Sep 2023

Very nice trip. However a lot of walking and wasn't advised till the end of the trip that I could have paid extra to upgrade cabin. Pity.

Collected by Trustpilot

P Harvey

4 stars

Submitted 17 Sep 2023

Very good. Boat amazing, amazing food with lovely staff.Tour guide absolutely brilliant. A lot of the cruising was in the night though maybe there wasn’t much to look at? The day to the lakes was far too long a day. A lot of walking involved on day excursions. Train journey going took ages not helped by delays.Only a day to get back

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