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Grand Alpine Explorer & Delights of the Danube

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14 days From £4,495 £4,095 per person
4.7 stars(3 reviews)
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Tour & Cruise

Combine the legendary Glacier Express with a magical cruise along the Danube river.

Save £400pp

Save £400pp on River Cruise 2024 holidays, when you book by 31st May 2024.

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2024 Tour code: WER24

About the tour

As we glide through the majestic Swiss Alps on the iconic Glacier Express, we enjoy unrivalled views of the awe-inspiring landscapes that surround us. This holiday is a perfect blend of beauty and culture as we ride on mountain railways, discover charming towns, and sail the Danube river from Budapest to Regensburg.

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You might also like our similar tour Grand Alpine Explorer and The Classic Blue Danube!

Unforgettable Experiences

Glacier Express
Glacier Express
Journey on the Glacier Express, climbing the Oberalp Pass among charming Alpine villages.
Budapest
Budapest
Immerse yourself in the sensational ‘Pearl of the Danube’ - Budapest - with a guided tour that includes its striking castle, stunning buildings, and impressive monuments.
Vienna
Vienna
Discover the Baroque streets and imperial palaces of Vienna as well as the impressive Opera House on a sightseeing tour.
Bratislava
Bratislava
Admire ornate buildings, fascinating museums, and interesting galleries on a guided tour of Bratislava, the Slovakian capital.
Innsbruck
Innsbruck
Stay in magnificent Innsbruck with a stunning Alpine backdrop, charming architecture, and breathtaking natural beauty.
Lavaux Region
Lavaux Region
Visit Switzerland’s beautiful Lavaux region, famous for its terraced vineyards, and enjoy a tasting of world-class wines.
Wachau Valley
Wachau Valley
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.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To beautiful Lake Geneva

Meeting at London St Pancras, our holiday begins as we board the Eurostar to Paris. We continue by rail to Lake Geneva, where we spend the next two nights.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - The magical Lavaux wine region

Our day begins with a local train to Cully in the Lavaux region, where terraced vineyards rise majestically from the shores of Lake Geneva. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with sun-drenched slopes, historic villages, and panoramic views.

We journey through the enchanting landscape on a charming local land train before visiting a nearby winery for a fascinating talk from the owner as well as indulging in a fantastic wine tasting with some nibbles.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - The iconic Glacier Express and scenic Davos

Today, we board the magnificent Glacier Express. Our panoramic journey takes us through undeniably Swiss scenes of green meadows, dense, evergreen forests and snow-capped mountains, ambling along the beautiful Rhine Valley aboard 'The Slowest Express Train in the World'. We spiral up the mountains, crossing vast viaducts, burrowing through tunnels and rising above the clouds on our way to Davos.

After we arrive and check into our hotel, you can explore our new base. The highest town in the Alps, Davos is known for its serene lakes and scenic landscapes.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Delightful Innsbruck

This morning we travel by rail to Innsbruck. Located in the Inn Valley and set against the dramatic backdrop of the Alps, Innsbruck is known for its imperial buildings and quaint Old Town. Magnificently preserved, this area still reflects the Tyrolean capital's historic and cultural past, boasting wonderful Renaissance and Baroque buildings, as well as traditional Tyrolean architecture. After checking into our hotel, the rest of our evening is free to explore or relax.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 – The scenic Achenseebahn Railway

Today, we journey on the Achenseebahn railway marvelling at the beauty of Austria's Tyrol region. As we wind our way through the region aboard the fabulous train, we pass quaint Tyrolean towns, lush meadows, and majestic peaks.

Our destination is the enchanting ski resort of Mayrhofen, where you can explore at your leisure. The town's picturesque streets are paved with cobblestones and lined with delightful shops, lovely restaurants, and cosy pavement cafes.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - To Budapest where we board our luxurious ship

Today 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 7 – 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 8 - 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 9 – 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 10 - 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 11 – 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 12 – 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 13 – To vibrant Cologne

After breakfast, it's time to disembark 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.

**Please Note: For departure 04/07/2024, will be overnight in Boppard instead, and have a guided tour of the city instead of visiting Cologne the following day.

*For departure 09/06/2024 we will overnight at the Mecure Wiesbaden in Wiesbaden (Standard Class) and have a guided tour of the city the following day.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 - 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 architecture.

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.

Hotels

Hotel Stern, Chur

Hotel Stern, Chur

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Hotel Penz, Innsbruck

Hotel Penz, Innsbruck

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Astra Hotel, Vevey

Astra Hotel, Vevey

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Trains

Achenseebahn Railway
Eurostar
The Glacier Express
TGV

Ship

MS Amadeus Imperial

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.7 stars4.7 / 5 · 3 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (2)
  2. 4 stars
    (1)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Happy customer

5 stars

Submitted 28 Sep 2023

Amazing experience with knowledgeable tour manager. Incredible architecture and stunning vistas, beautiful ship, thoroughly spoiled!!!

Collected by Trustpilot

Diana

5 stars

Submitted 06 Aug 2023

Good experience, lots of trains and great cruise up the Danube.

Collected by Trustpilot

Susan

4 stars

Submitted 02 Oct 2022

Danube cruise perfect - staff /room /food great Train journey a little frantic at times / early starts not sure we needed this as we are on holiday. courier - fine / Hotels fine though hardly there enough to appreciate the breakfast on some...

Collected by Trustpilot

River Cruise Holidays 2025

River Cruise Holidays 2025

Experience the magic of cruising along some of Europe’s most picturesque waterways. Glide serenely along the romantic Rhine, explore the blue Danube or meander through the enchanting Douro Valley. With our river cruises, you’ll drift through beautiful landscapes and historic towns.

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