Discover what turned these former Habsburg and Prussian cities into four of Europe's greatest destinations.
About the Tour
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.
Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.
- Rail travel onboard the high-speed Eurostar
- Rail travel on Europe's local rail networks
- Scenic rail excursion on The Children's Railway
- Hotel accommodations for 12 nights
- 17 meals, including 12 breakfasts and 5 dinners, including a farewell meal in Berlin
- City tours of Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Berlin
- Schönbrunn Palace guided tour
- Apfelstrudel and coffee in a traditional Viennese Cafe
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - To Frankfurt
This morning, we begin our voyage towards Central Europe on the Eurostar from from St Pancras International to Brussels. We continue from Brussels in First Class to the city of Frankfurt, where we spend the night. (D)
Day 2 - On to Austria
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 Hotel. (B, D)
Day 3 - 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 within 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)
Day 4 - 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 5 - 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. Tonight, enjoy dinner in a Traditional Hungarian restaurant before embarking on a spectacular 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. (B, D)
Day 6 - 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 honor 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 7 - At Leisure in Budapest
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 marvelous Gellért thermal bath which was built in 1918. Alternatively, simply stroll through historic streets, admiring the magnificent architecture and old-world grandeur. (B)
Days 8 - 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 Vienna House Andels Prague. 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 9 & 10 - 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 10 are spent at leisure to continue exploring the stunning city of Prague. (Day 9 & 10 - B)
Day 11 & 12 - Prague to Berlin
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. (Day 11 - B, D; Day 12 - B)
Day 13 - Depart Berlin
After breakfast this morning, you are free to depart Berlin at your leisure. (B)
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 while 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 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 hairdryer, 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.
Vienna House Andels, Prague
The 4-Star Vienna House is in Prague's 'Andel' district, making it easy to explore the gorgeous Czech capital. The hotel is surrounded by trendy shops and boutiques and is also within walking distance from Prague's Old Town.
Perhaps visit the synergy club fitness and wellness center, which includes a sauna and whirlpool, perfect after a busy day touring the city. Other amenities include a gym and free Wi-Fi.
Courtyard by Marriott, Prague
Enjoy this ideally-located hotel downtown with excellent service and stylish accommodations. Set only minutes from historic Zizkov, this hotel boasts easy access to the city's top attractions, including Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and Wenceslas Square.
NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
This 4-Star hotel is based in the historic center of Berlin, close to the infamous "Checkpoint Charlie", and is a brilliant base for exploring the sights. Situated just short walk from Friedrichstraße, Berlin's major shopping district, Alexanderplatz and Berlin Cathedral. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi during your stay, and to unwind you can enjoy some time in the "wellness area", which includes a sauna and steam room (massage treatments payable locally). You could also take advantage of the on-site gym, which includes cardio machines, treadmills and more.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France, as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which are arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers traveling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
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 honor. This line takes us through some beautiful areas of woodland in the hills above Buda, and presents some magnificent views of the city.
Tour Dates & Prices
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We offer Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. Please ask a rail specialist for details.