Four 'must-see' cities on one rail tour
Fascinating grand imperial cities and high-speed intercity train journeys showcase the turbulent history of Central Europe. Discover what turned these former Habsburg and Prussian cities into 4 of modern Europe's greatest destinations.
This morning, we begin our voyage towards Central Europe on the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Brussels. We continue from Brussels in First Class to the city of Frankfurt, where we spend tonight.
On Day 2 we continue traveling south through Germany as we make our way towards the Austrian border. Our journey takes us to Vienna, the magnificent city of Mozart, where we spend the next three nights at the Marriott Imperial Riding School Renaissance.
This morning we enjoy a city tour of Vienna, taking in the city's Imperial architecture on the famous Ringstrasse - a wide avenue that encircles the Old City. We pass many of Vienna's finest ornate buildings, including the impressive Hofburg Palace, a vast complex of buildings that demonstrates the awesome power and wealth commanded by the Habsburgs, who used the palace as their ruling headquarters for six centuries.
We also see the impressive Opera House, one of the leading opera venues in the world, as well as the grand Parliament building. Later today we visit spectacular Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Imperial family, situated within beautifully landscaped parkland. We enjoy a slice of cake and coffee in an elegant Viennese café before a guided tour of the palace, followed by time to stroll through its elaborate gardens.
Today you are free to explore at your own pace. Vienna's glorious Gothic cathedral, the Stephansdom, is located at the very center of the city. By climbing the 553 steps to the top of the cathedral you will 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.
We leave Vienna, traveling by rail across the border into Hungary. Our destination is Budapest, a city of 2 halves divided by the mighty River Danube and sewn together by a collection of beautiful, elegant bridges including the famous Szechenyi Chain Bridge, the first permanent crossing to link the two halves of the city. The flatter, lively region of Pest looks across the water to its older, historical neighbor, the hilly Buda which rises up away from the banks of the river.
Budapest was once the joint capital of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Empire. Tonight we experience the city from a different perspective enjoying a 3 course meal with included drinks in a traditional Hungarian restaurant before embarking on a specular illuminated Budapest by night coach tour, tracing the Danube south. Our enchanting evening is filled with stunning views of the city after dark, including the Chain Bridge and spectacular Gellert Hill.
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 that was designed to resemble the Palace of Westminster, the magnificent State Opera House and St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion. Later we enjoy a ride on the Children's Railroad, a service operated by Hungarian schoolchildren who consider it a great honour to be chosen to help run it. The line runs through beautiful woodland in the hills above Buda and presents wonderful views of the city.
Today is free for you to explore Budapest at leisure; take the opportunity to view some of the city's main sights. Perhaps visit one of the famous spa-houses which are dotted around the city, such as the marvellous Gellért thermal bath which was built in 1918. Alternatively, simply stroll through historic streets, admiring the magnificent architecture and old world grandeur.
We depart Budapest by train, traveling through Slovakia and the city of Bratislava to the Czech Republic. We arrive in Prague and spend three nights at the Vienna House Andels Prague. In 'the city of a hundred spires', copperdomed churches line the banks of the River Vltava and architectural styles from across Europe blend together to create one of Europe's most beautiful cities.
During a guided tour through the narrow streets of the Old Town, we discover some of Prague's most famous sights. We begin at Hradcany Castle, the largest medieval complex in Europe. We also walk across the 14th century Charles Bridge, which has 75 statues along its walls, and pass the Gothic spires of St Vitus' Cathedral. This afternoon, and Day 10, is at leisure to continue exploring the stunning city of Prague.
This morning we leave Prague, heading through the Bohemian countryside into Germany, tracing the route of the River Elbe on our way to Berlin. On arrival in Berlin, we embark on a tour of this once divided city. We soak in the main sights including the incredible Brandenburg Gate, a section of the Berlin Wall, which once divided East and West Berlin. Day 12 is yours at leisure.
Bidding farewell to mainland Europe, we travel by high-speed rail to Brussels, via Cologne, where we join the Eurostar service to St Pancras International. On arrival in London, your tour concludes.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travelers would recommend this tour
based on 51 verified reviews
Excellent tour manager coped the issues thrown her way. Hotel food not so good. would have paid for extra night in Nurnberg and Berlin if that was available. Would have perferred to go direct to Berlin rather than visit Spreewald.
Excellent service and value for money. A full action packed vacation 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
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 vacation was 5+.
For the most part, accommodation was good, cities we visited were fascinating, group was convivial, and tour manager was superb. But food was adequate at best and some of the trips were pointless if not positively irritating - losing time in Berlin by diverting to some random rural setting comes to mind - it was a cities trip specifically marketed as such. If there was a 3,5 stars rating, that would have been a fairer reflection
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.
Excellent accommodation, guides and Tour Leader.
Excellent. Good food, hotels.
Very enjoyable ,interesting and informative
In all the trip was enjoyable
Some early starts and the boat trip could have been better.
Four 'must-see' cities on one rail tour