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Grand Imperial Cities

4.6 stars(33 reviews)
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Four 'must-see' cities on one rail tour

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
13 days From £2,095 per person

2022 Tour code: HUC22

About the tour

Discover the culture and history of Europe's grandest cities, Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Berlin. With guided tours, delicious local favours and unique experiences, including a railway run entirely by schoolchildren, this once turbulent region is brought to life as you journey across four countries.


What’s included


Days 1-3 - London and Vienna

We begin our journey aboard the Eurostar, travelling from London St Pancras to Brussels. We continue by rail to Frankfurt for the night. On Day 2, we take the train south through Germany, crossing the Austrian border on our way to Vienna, the magnificent city of Mozart. We spend the next three nights in the Austrian capital.

Day 3 features a guided sightseeing tour that showcases the city's Imperial architecture on the famous Ringstrasse - a wide avenue that encircles the Old City- as well as the impressive Hofburg Palace, built by the indomitable Hapsburgs. We also see the impressive Opera House and Vienna's grand Parliament building. Afterwards, we make our way to spectacular Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Imperial family, sitting down to a slice of cake and cup of Austrian coffee in an elegant café followed by free time to stroll through Schönbrunn's elaborate gardens.

  • Day 1 - Eurostar Meal (First Class only), Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 3 - Breakfast
Day 4 - Free day in Vienna

You're free to explore at your own pace. Vienna's glorious Gothic cathedral, the Stephansdom, is located at the very centre of the city. By climbing the 553 steps to the top of the cathedral you'll be rewarded with one of the best views of the city. Alternatively, a ride on the giant Ferris wheel in Prater Gardens offers a more laid back way to achieve a superb view across the city.

  • Breakfast
Day 5-7 - Budapest and the Children's Railway

Leaving Vienna by train, we journey on to Budapest, a city of two halves divided by the mighty River Danube and sewn together by a collection of beautiful bridges. The flatter, lively region of Pest looks across the water to its older, historical neighbour, the hilly Buda, which rises up away from the banks of the river. Budapest was once the joint capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and tonight we experience the city from a different perspective, enjoying dinner at a traditional restaurant before an illuminated night-time tour by coach. Tracing the Danube south, our evening is filled with stunning views of the city after dark, including the famous Szechenyi Chain Bridge, and spectacular Gellert Hill.

Day 6's guided coach tour introduces us to Budapest's other main sights. We pass impressive buildings and monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the Neo-Gothic Parliament building, designed to look like the Palace of Westminster, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church, and Fishermen's Bastion. Later we enjoy a ride on the Children's Railway, a service operated by Hungarian schoolchildren that runs through the woods set in the hills above Buda. With free time on Day 7, you could unwind with a visit to one of the public yet ornate bath houses dotted around the city, such as the Art Deco Gellért thermal baths.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast
  • Day 7 - Breakfast
Children’s Railway
Days 8-10 - Prague

We depart Budapest by train, travelling through Slovakia to the Czech Republic. We arrive in Prague for three nights amid the copper-domed churches of 'The City of a Hundred Spires'.

A guided walking tour through the narrow streets of the Old Town on Day 9 reveals some of Prague's most famous sights. We begin at Hradcany Castle, the largest medieval complex in Europe, before strolling across the 14th-century Charles Bridge to admire the 75 statues built along its walls and views of the Gothic spires of St Vitus' Cathedral in the distance. We also stop at the city's renowned astronomical clock.

This afternoon, and Day 10, are free for you to continue exploring. Gourmet restaurants, cocktail bars and trendy cafés are easy to find. If you are looking for something more authentic, you can feast on pork and dumplings washed down with beer in a traditional pub. Afterwards, take a leisurely amble along the Vltava River or cruise gently through the city, perhaps the most relaxing way to see the sights.

  • Day 8 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 9 - Breakfast
  • Day 10 - Breakfast
Days 11-13 - Berlin and London

Heading through the Bohemian countryside into Germany, we follow the route of the River Elbe on our way to Berlin. On arrival, we head out on a guided walking tour of this once divided city. We soak in the main sights including the incredible Brandenburg Gate and a section of the Berlin Wall, which once divided East and West Berlin.

Day 12 is free to keep sightseeing. You could take in the Reichstag or Checkpoint Charlie, or alternatively, visit Potsdam, former seat of the Prussian monarchs and home to both Park Sanssouci, a Baroque flower garden, and the elegant Sanssouci Palace. Boarding a high-speed train to Cologne on Day 13, we continue by rail to Brussels where we join the Eurostar service travelling back to London St Pancras.

  • Day 11 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 12 - Breakfast
  • Day 13 - Breakfast, Eurostar meal (First Class only)

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.

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.


NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie

NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin

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Continental Hotel, Budapest

Continental Hotel, Budapest

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Vienna House Andel's Prague

Vienna House Andel's Prague, Prague

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Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel

Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel, Vienna

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The Children's Railway

Enhance your holiday


Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections


4.6 stars4.6 / 5 · 33 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Ms A Townsend

5 stars

Submitted 11 Oct 2019

Excellent service and value for money. A full action packed holiday with lots to see and do. We experienced a problem with the trains one day and our agent was superb dealing with everything in an efficient and professional manner. This is our 5th hol with GRJ and would definitely use them again

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr P Dennett

4 stars

Submitted 03 Oct 2019

Continental Hotel in Budapest was not up to standard - Very cramped room. Sticking in the "punting" trip on our way to Berlin was a complete waste of time - why would I want to spend 6 hours sitting on a motor coach. We should have gone straight to Berlin by train and that would mean we'd have arrived at the hotel in good time. Arrived at the Maritim Berlin late to be greeted by a lobby full of conference attendees; our bags NOT in our room and the restaurant closed - total chaos! Every other parts of the holiday was 5+.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys


4 stars

Submitted 15 Nov 2018

We had a great time. We would liked more free time. Our tours were ok, but I had a hard time understanding the women tour speakers.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr D Storer

5 stars

Submitted 09 Nov 2018

Excellent accommodation, guides and Tour Leader.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs L Duncombe

5 stars

Submitted 08 Nov 2018

Very enjoyable ,interesting and informative

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Dr C Clipstone

4 stars

Submitted 04 Oct 2018

Everything with the general exception of evening meals was excellent. The evening meals were only average...especially as most were in 4 star hotels. The train carriage from Budapest to Prague was barely third class, especially the bathroom (no door lock, no soap, no paper towels and by the end of the journey no toilet paper. Shocking for first class Brian, the tour manager was excellent - organizing 43 well travelled and independent people was a challenge he met exceptionally well The hotels were generally good. The one in Budapest was in a run down area but was itself good even if the rooms were small. The one in Prague was a tram/underground ride from the center. The Vienna hotel was a standard Renaissance hotel and the bar was expensive (29 euros for two good quality gin and tonics!) In each hotel the breakfasts were of high quality but evening meals, as I said above, were not of the same standard. This is possibly because we were in with all other guests for breakfasts whereas dinners were catered for us specifically. One extra day in Berlin could have been useful and we were rushed to get to see everything.

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Europe & UK by Rail 2021

Europe & UK by Rail 2021

The definitive guide to our 2021 summer & winter rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe. When ordering for postal delivery, you will only receive our collection of European holidays. If you are interested in UK holidays, please download an ebrochure below.

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Grand Imperial Cities

Four 'must-see' cities on one rail tour


Luke Simpson
Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
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