Grand Imperial Cities
Discover what turned these former Habsburg and Prussian cities into four of Europe's greatest destinations.
From castles and cathedrals to famed bridges and amazing sites that recall the past, this tour provides a rich opportunity to delve deep into Central Europe. The journey begins in Germany, where a quick overnight in Cologne allows us to get our toes wet in the culture of the region. Using a mixture of high-speed and scenic train routes, we move on to explore the intricacies of Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Berlin. In each city, we enjoy a thoughtful mixture of scheduled tours and time for independent exploration - a combination that allows each guest to get the most of the experience. See the sites, feel the history and enjoy exciting extras along the way, including a dinner cruise along the Danube, as you make your way through these former Habsburg and Prussian cities.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel throughout and all coach transfers
- 12 nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast each day and 8 dinners, including 1 farewell meal in Berlin
- City tours of Vienna, Prague and Berlin
- A guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace
- Sachertorte and coffee in a traditional Viennese Cafe
- A city tour of Budapest with a journey on the Children's Railway
- Evening dinner cruise on the Danube
- The services of a professional Tour Manager from start to finish
Day 1 - Depart USA for London
Embark on your international flight to London from your U.S. gateway. (International flight not included in tour price.)
Day 2 - To Cologne
Meet your group and Tour Manager at our dedicated departure office where we begin our voyage towards Central Europe on the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Brussels. We continue from Brussels in First Class to Frankfurt, where we spend the night. (D)
Day 3 - On to Austria
We continue traveling south through Germany, passing through some of the country's magnificent cities, including Bonn, Frankfurt and Nuremberg as we make our way south 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 Hotel. (B, D)
Day 4 - Vienna
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 of Vienna. Our tour takes us past 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 pass 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 beautifully landscaped parkland. We enjoy a slice of the famous Apfelstudel and coffee in an elegant Viennese cafe before a guided tour of the palace, followed by time to stroll through its elaborate gardens. (B, D)
Day 5 - At Leisure in Vienna
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. (B)
Day 6 - Vienna to Budapest
We leave Vienna, traveling by rail across the border into Hungary. Our destination is Budapest, a city of two 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. The city and its buildings have been restored to their very best in what is now one of Europe's finest, grandest and most picturesque cities. We spend the next three nights here at the Hotel Continental. You have some time this afternoon to begin exploring Budapest at leisure before we dine together in a local restaurant where we receive a Tokaj wine reception on arrival. (B, D)
Day 7 - Budapest & the Children's Railroad
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 school children 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. (B)
Day 8 - Evening on the Danube
Today is free for you to explore Budapest at leisure; take the opportunity to view some of the city's main sights or simply stroll through historic streets, admiring the magnificent architecture and old world grandeur. Tonight we experience the city from a different perspective with a dinner cruise on the Danube and an evening coach tour of the illuminated city sights, including the Chain Bridge and spectacular view from Gellert Hill. (B, D)
Days 9 - Budapest to Prague
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 Courtyard by Marriott Flora. In 'the city of a hundred spires', where copper-domed churches line the banks of the River Vltava and where architectural styles from across Europe blend together to create one of the continent's most beautiful cities. (B, D)
Days 10 & 11 - Sightseeing in Prague
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 11, is spent at leisure to continue exploring the stunning city of Prague.. (Day 10 - B, D, Day 11 - B)
Day 12 & 13 - Prague to Berlin
This morning we leave Prague, heading northwards through the Bohemian countryside into Germany, tracing the winding route of the River Elbe through a region known as Saxon Switzerland on our way to Berlin. Here we stay for two nights at the Maritim Hotel Berlin. On the morning of Day 13, embark on a fascinating sightseeing tour of this once divided city. We soak in the main sights of Berlin, including the incredible Brandenburg Gate, a section of the Berlin Wall which once divided East and West Berlin, as well as the Reichstag, the meeting place of the current German parliament. Tonight, we enjoy a farewell meal at our hotel. (Day 12 - B, Day 13 - B, D)
Day 14 - Berlin to London
Bidding farewell to mainland Europe, we travel high-speed to Brussels, via Cologne, where we join the Eurostar service to St Pancras International. On arrival in London, your tour concludes. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
The Children's Railway
Discover the wonderful Children's Railway in Budapest on this excellent tour. Known as the 'Gyermekvasút', this beautifully scenic line opened in 1948, and is run by Hungarian schoolchildren between the ages of 10 and 14, who consider working on the line to be a great honour. This line takes us through some beautiful areas of woodland in the hills above Buda, and presents some magnificent views of the city.
Imperial Riding School Renaissance, Vienna
Situated a stone's throw away from beautiful Schloss Belvedere and close to many public transport links, the 4-Star Imperial Riding School Renaissance Vienna Hotel is our base whilst in Vienna. The hotel offers some excellent amenities, including a swimming pool, a sauna, a solarium, and a fitness center. There are also a selection of fine restaurants and bars, serving anything a fine selection of traditional Austrian cuisine. There is also a seasonal restaurant, the City Garden, which offers delicious barbeque. The rooms are pleasantly decorated in neutral colors, and come well equipped with air-conditioning, an en-suite bathroom, an in-room safe, a hair dryer, a television, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Continental Hotel, Budapest
The 4-Star Continental Hotel in Budapest is located in the downtown area of the city. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, indoor and outdoor pool, jacuzzi and spa. Rooms are decorated in an art deco style and feature individually controlled air conditioning, a telephone, television, minibar, safe and hairdryer.
Courtyard by Marriott Flora, Prague
The 4-Star Courtyard by Marriott Flora is located in the upmarket Vinohrady area of Prague. The hotel is located 400 metres from Flora Metro station from where Wenceslas Square is a 5 minute journey away. There is also a tram stop 300 metres from the hotel from where direct trams leave to the city centre.
Maritim Hotel Berlin, Berlin
The 4-Star Maritim Hotel Berlin is situated close to Potzdamer Platz and not far from all the main sights of central Berlin, such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. Designed in the style of the 'golden 20's' the hotel marries classic ambience with modern comforts. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, saunas, solarium and fitness room. The rooms come with individual climate control, a telephone, television, minibar and a hairdryer.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|1st May 2019||$3,935||Please call for availability.|
|22nd May 2019||$4,095||Book Now|
|5th June 2019||$3,335||Book Now|
|12th June 2019||$4,095||Book Now|
|28th August 2019||$3,335||Book Now|
|4th September 2019||$3,935||Book Now|
|25th September 2019||$3,335||Book Now|
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: Departs 1st May 2019 from $3,935 - Please call for availability 22nd May 2019 ($4,095), 5th June 2019 ($3,335), 12th June 2019 ($4,095), 28th August 2019 ($3,335), 4th September 2019 ($3,935), 25th September 2019 ($3,335)
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