Fairytale Bavaria & Five-Star Danube Cruise
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Bavaria's magnificent castles, mysterious forests and magical mountains are the backdrop to this majestic tour, uncovering many hidden gems in the historic kingdom of Bavaria. Discover fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle and ride the Bavarian Zugspitz Mountain Railway, from our base in the charming village of Fussen.
We meet at London's St Pancras International this morning in time for the Eurostar service to Paris. Here we cross the city and catch the local train to Stuttgart for a night at the Maritim Hotel.
This morning we journey to Füssen by rail, where we will spend the next two nights at the Luitpold Park Hotel. This afternoon we enjoy an excursion to two of the finest Bavarian castles, beginning at honeycoloured Hohenschwangau (Castle of the High Swan County) Castle before visiting glorious Neuschwanstein Castle. The most famous of all King Ludwig II's castles, Neuschwanstein bristles with towers and spires. The building is a fantastic imitation of a medieval castle; one which was equipped with some revolutionary modern conveniences for its time.
Today we ascend the tallest mountain in Germany, the noble Zugspitze. To reach the summit, we first board the remarkable Zugspitze Railway, then the final leg of this journey is taken by cable car. On our descent back down, we stop at beautiful Lake Eibsee before returning to Füssen.
Following breakfast, we drive to Munich for the train to Budapest. On arriving in Budapest, we meet the Amadeus Queen or Silver II and are welcomed with a cocktail in the lounge before dinner. Later take in the illuminated sights as we sail around the city. We are also treated to a performance from a local Hungarian folk band in the lounge.
This morning we enjoy a guided coach tour, introducing us to Budapest's main sights. We pass impressive buildings and monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the neo-Gothic Parliament building, the magnificent State Opera House and St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion.
We return to the ship for lunch, after which you have some free time before we begin cruising to Bratislava. Our departure time means we arrive at the scenic Danube Bend just as the sun sets. This section of the river has a long and fascinating history and from the sun deck or panoramic windows in the bar, you'll be able to see castle ruins, churches, pretty houses hidden in the hills and dense forests, all soaked in the golden glow of twilight.
Your morning is at leisure aboard before we moor up early this afternoon. After lunch, we set out on a guided coach tour of Slovakian capital. Located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, Bratislava straddles the Danube which neatly divides the city into two parts; the Baroque Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the new city. This picture-postcard city destination historic Gothic buildings, several universities, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic centre features delightful cobbled stoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, pastel 18th century rococo buildings and street cafés galore. Following our excursion, we return to the ship for another delicious, 5-course dinner.
After a calm night of cruising, we arrive into glorious Vienna, for a comprehensive sightseeing tour. This is a chance to relish in Austria's Imperial heritage, one full of tradition and rich in architectural, artistic and musical heritage. You'll see many of Vienna's finest ornate buildings, including the impressive Hofburg Palace. This vast complex of buildings demonstrates the awesome power and wealth commanded by the Habsburgs. You'll also take in the impressive Opera House, one of the leading opera venues in the world, as well as the grand Parliament Building. Tonight a real treat awaits us on board, where after dinner we are joined by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for an exclusive, private recital. Be whisked away by the music as you immerse yourself in this singularly exceptional experience, as the Vienna Philharmonic is one of the most popular and skilled orchestras in the world.
Today we reach Austria's Wachau Valley, a famous wine-making region. We arrive in the idyllic village of Dürnstein where you have time at leisure. As we sit down to lunch on board we begin cruising along the picturesque Wachau Valley, an extremely scenic area with green valleys and vineyards rising up from the river, picturesque riverside towns, and commanding fortresses with sweeping views. We then journey by coach to Melk Abbey, enjoying entrance to this 11th century Benedictine Abbey which stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube and is home to the Abbey Church, considered one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps.
On Day 8 we disembark in Linz, where you have a choice of excursions. You could head further into the countryside for a day spent amidst the spectacular scenery of the Austrian lakes. Make stops in UNESCO listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its traditional pastel-coloured houses perched on the tiny plain between the mountains and Hallstättersee Lake, as well as Mondsee. This pretty town is set on the lake of the same name, and its most famous sight is the 15th-century parish church, which featured in the wedding scenes of 'The Sound of Music'.
Otherwise, travel by coach to Salzburg, via Mondsee, one of Austria's most famous cities and known as the birth place of Mozart. A guided sightseeing tour reveals the city's internationally renowned Baroque architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We rejoin the ship in Passau
Regensberg is our port of call this morning, which we explore on foot. This medieval town contains many buildings that testify to its history as a trading centre and to its influence on the whole region from the 9th century onwards. Back on board tonight, we attend the Captain's gala dinner, a chance to don our evening-wear and celebrate our cruise experience.
On Day 11 we disembark after breakfast to start the journey back home via Cologne, where we spend the night. On Day 12 we complete our journey back to London.
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.
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Explore the mountains and castles of Bavaria and cruise down the gentle Danube