Imperial Cities & Danube Cruise
Save £100pp on selected cabin upgrades when you book on or before 15th October 2019
Begin your Imperial adventure early and explore the multi-faceted histories of two European giants, Berlin and Prague. From Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, to landmarks that have had much significance within our lifetimes, experience centuries in just a few days.
From London St Pancras, we take the Eurostar to Brussels followed by the train to Berlin, travelling via Cologne. We spend the first night of our tour here at the Maritim Berlin Hotel.
This morning we embark on a guided tour of Berlin, soaking up the sights of this once divided city including the incredible Brandenburg Gate, a monument important to Berliners because of what it represents; the gate was part of a city that was heavily bombed and fiercely fought over prior to the surrender of Germany in 1945 but the arch survived with only a few bullet holes. We'll also see a section of the Berlin Wall as well as the Reichstag, meeting place of the current German parliament. Later we continue our journey to Prague by rail.
Enjoy a guided tour of Prague, starting at Hradcany Castle, the largest medieval complex in Europe. We also walk across the 14th- century Charles Bridge, and pass the Gothic spires of St Vitus' Cathedral, where entrance is included. The rest of your day is at leisure before dinner at the hotel. We recommend a visit to one of the city's 'hospodys' or beer houses, taverns that serve some of the world's finest beers.
Following a buffet breakfast, we join the rail service to Budapest. 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 and walking 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 magnifi cent 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, passing through the splendid Danube Bend along the way. 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 and walking tour of the 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 destination boasts historic Gothic buildings, several universities, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic centre features delightful cobblestoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, 18th-century rococo buildings and street cafés galore. Following our excursion, you have plenty of free time to explore.
After a calm night of cruising, we arrive into glorious Vienna for a 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 most ornate buildings, including 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. After dinner we are joined by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for a private recital. Be whisked away by the music and immerse yourself in this singularly exceptional experience.
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 after breakfast, we disembark in Passau 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.
Embrace the magic of the blue Danube, and discover the imperial cities of Central Europe.