Join travel through the mountainous landscapes of Switzerland aboard the world-famous Glacier Express with a luxurious cruise along the Danube River on this exciting adventure that captures the beauty of Central Europe.
About the Tour
Relax on the shores of Lake Geneva, take a ride aboard one of the world’s most scenic rail lines, sail the waters of Lake Achensee, explore some of Central Europe’s alluring cities and towns, and cruise along the blue Danube River on this memorable 13-day journey. Begin with travel aboard Europe’s sleek Eurostar and local train networks from London to Vevey, located near the scenic shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. From here, an incredible journey beckons as we set out aboard the Glacier Express, traveling through the majestic Swiss Alps en route to Chur. As we cross the border, relish in the charms of Tyrolean Austria in Innsbruck and in the town of Seespitz on the shores of Lake Achensee before boarding our luxury Amadeus ship for a 7-night cruise along the Danube River. Our voyage takes us on an evening cruise around Budapest, allowing us to soak in the evening glow of the city, ahead of sailing to ports of call like Bratislava, Vienna, the Wachau Valley, Linz and Regensburg. Explore the best of these destinations with fascinating guided tours, and enjoy plenty of time to sightsee independently on this thoughtfully crafted vacation - the first of its kind to pair a world-famous rail journey with a fantastic river cruise.
- Rail travel on Eurostar and local rail networks
- Two scenic rail excursions: Glacier Express and the Achensee Railway
- Hotel accommodations for 5 nights
- 28 meals, including a captain’s gala dinner
- 7-night cruise aboard the Amadeus Queen, Silver II or Imperial
- Cully vineyards excursion, including a wine tasting
- Lake Achensee cruise
- Illuminated cruise around Budapest, including a performance by a Hungarian folk band
- Budapest sightseeing tour
- Danube Bend cruise
- Bratislava motorcoach tour
- Vienna city sightseeing excursion
- Private onboard performance by Vienna's Philharmonic Orchestra
- Wachau Valley visit, including entrance to Melk Abbey
- Optional excursions in Salzburg and the Austrian countryside
- Regensburg walking tour
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St. Pancras
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional Tour Escort
Day 1 - London to Switzerland by Train
Arrive in London and make your way to our designated Departure Office in London St. Pancras. Join your fellow travelers and Tour Escort as you board the Eurostar to Paris. Switching trains, the journey continues south through France, passing national parks and weaving through cities like Dijon and Bourg-en-Bresse before crossing the Swiss border and arriving in Vevey, Switzerland. We are transferred to our 4-star hotel, located close to the shores of Lake Geneva, on arrival. Overnight Vevey. (D)
Day 2 - Lake Geneva
Our day begins with a short walk from the hotel to the Vevey train station, where we board a local train bound for Cully in the Lavaux region. This charming region has been producing wine since the age of the Romans; however, it wasn’t until the 11th century that the production started to boom. In Cully, terraced vineyards rise from the shores of Lake Geneva and buildings dating back to the 16th century dot the streets. Long stone walls that were built in medieval times form the border of terraces, and what a beautiful sight they are combined with scenes of the lake and the Swiss Alps. We enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards from a lovely local land train before visiting a nearby winery for a talk and a wine tasting. We return to Vevey by rail later this afternoon, where the rest of your day is at leisure. Perhaps take a stroll along the promenade to admire the views and to see the giant silver fork protruding from the lake or visit Chaplin’s World, a museum dedicated to Charlie Chaplin. Overnight Vevey. (B)
Day 3 - The Glacier Express to Chur
After breakfast, we embark on what is undoubtedly one of the highlights of our journey, a ride on the iconic Glacier Express. Affectionately referred to as “the slowest express train in the world,” the train makes its way through breathtaking Swiss mountain landscapes, allowing you to soak in sprawling Alpine panoramas. The climax of our journey comes as we cross the famous Landwasser Viaduct and traverse the terrain of the upper Rhine Valley. The train climbs steadily up and over the Oberalp Pass, the peak of the route, then spirals downwards past countless villages before reaching the town of Chur. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel* for the night. Overnight Chur. (B, D)
Day 4 - Innsbruck
Our journey continues this morning as we travel by rail to Innsbruck, Austria. 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 historical and cultural past, boasting wonderful Renaissance and Baroque buildings, as well as traditional Tyrolean architecture. After checking into our hotel, the rest of your day is free to explore or relax. You may wish to wander through Old Town, where the narrow streets are lined with expertly preserved medieval buildings, some of which are up to 500 years old. The Hofburg, a brilliant white Habsburg palace in the center of Innsbruck, is another favorite of visitors. Overnight Innsbruck. (B, D)
Day 5 - Lake Achensee
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel ahead of our excursion aboard the superb Achensee Railway today, traveling to Seespitz. The trip begins by mainline rail, traveling to Jenbach, where we board one of the heritage steam trains that have run constantly since 1889. The train makes its way through areas of unparalleled beauty, allowing us to admire the emerald waters of Lake Achensee and the forested peaks of the Karwendel Mountains. Disembarking in Seespitz, we take a relaxing cruise across the crystal-clear waters toward Pertisau on the western shores of the lake. With free time here, perhaps visit Karwendel Alpine Park, the largest national park in Austria, or set out on one of the walking trails around the lake. Affectionately called the “Sea of Tirol” by locals, Lake Achensee is a wonderful place to try your hand at water activities, including windsurfing, kayaking or even scuba diving. This evening, we return to Innsbruck by rail. Overnight Innsbruck. (B)
Day 6 - Innsbruck to Budapest by Train/Ship Embarkation
We depart Innsbruck today, first making the rail journey to Salzburg, then changing trains and continuing to Budapest. The day of travel presents some of Austria’s most famous cities, including Vienna, as the train presses on toward the Hungarian capital. On arrival in Budapest, we are transferred to the harbor, where we are welcomed aboard our Amadeus ship with a cocktail in the lounge. This evening, take in the illuminated sights of this city on a leisurely cruise that highlights famous sights in both Buda and Pest from the dark water of the Danube. During our tour, we sail past impressive riverside attractions such as the Parliament building, Buda's Castle Quarter, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Gellért Hill, with its Liberty Statue standing proud above spotlights. Following a delicious welcome dinner, a local Hungarian folk band treats us to an enchanting performance as we cruise. Overnight ship. (B, D)
Day 7 - Budapest
A guided coach tour presents the main sights of Budapest this morning. We pass imposing buildings and beautiful monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the neo-Gothic Parliament building, the magnificent State Opera House and St. Stephen's Basilica. We also venture to Buda Castle, where Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion are just a sampling of the beautiful sites that lie within the Castle District. We return to the ship for lunch, after which you have some free time before we begin our cruise to Bratislava, passing through the splendid Danube Bend along the way. This section of the river has a long and fascinating history and is known to be one of the most scenic portions of the Danube. From the sun deck or the panoramic windows in the bar, marvel at sights of ancient churches, castle ruins, beautiful towns that date back centuries and handsome houses concealed amongst the hills and dense forests. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Bratislava
We moor in Bratislava this morning, embarking on a guided coach tour of the Slovakian capital after lunch aboard the ship. Bratislava is yet another city that is neatly divided by the Danube and includes two distinct sections: the Baroque Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the new city. This postcard-perfect destination boasts historic Gothic buildings, several universities, myriad museums and galleries, and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere, despite its historic nature. As we explore the historic center, soak in the ambiance created by delightful cobblestoned roads, pedestrianized plazas and 18th-century Rococo buildings. Street cafés are peppered along the narrow streets and are the ideal place to get an authentic taste of the city; try traditional Slovak dishes such as bryndzové halušky (dumplings with sheep's cheese) or pierogi. Following our excursion, we are returned to the ship, where a delicious five-course dinner awaits. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Vienna
We continue our gentle cruise down the Danube overnight, and this morning, the ship arrives in the glorious city of Vienna, where we are treated to a comprehensive sightseeing tour. The tour starts at Südtiroler Platz and takes us along the Ringstrasse, the city’s historic inner ring-shaped boulevard. It is here that many of the city’s most beautiful buildings and popular attractions are located. We first visit the impressive Vienna State Opera, one of the most acclaimed opera houses in the world and home to the famous "Opera Ball," a high-class annual event that has been a staple of Viennese society for 200 years. Continuing, we see the Museums of Fine Art and Natural History, the neo-classical Parliament building, the acclaimed Burgtheater and the striking City Hall, where the legendary Life Ball takes place.
Following our tour, enjoy some time to explore at your own pace before returning to the ship for dinner. Following our chef-prepared meal, we are treated to an exclusive private recital by musicians from Vienna's Philharmonic Orchestra. Immerse yourself in the music as we are serenaded by members of one of the most skilled orchestras in the world. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Wachau Valley
Today we reach Austria's Wachau Valley, a famous wine-making region. We arrive in the idyllic town of Dürnstein, where the morning is yours to sightsee at leisure. You may wish to visit the ruins of Dürnstein Castle or to seek out the beautiful monasteries throughout the town. If family-owned wineries and vineyards are more your speed, your options abound. Later, we rejoin the ship and savor lunch as we cruise through the Wachau Valley, a scenic region characterized by tiered vineyards, picturesque riverside towns and commanding fortresses. The ship continues to Emmersdorf, where on arrival, we journey by coach to Melk Abbey. Entrance is included to this 11th-century Benedictine Abbey, and you have ample time to explore its stunning interior and to marvel at the wonderful views of the Danube from its gardens. Wander through the Abbey Museum, the library and church, and do not miss the stunning Marble Hall. The Abbey Park, featuring a beautiful baroque garden pavilion and well-kept English gardens, is a highlight of any visit. We rejoin the ship this evening and enjoy dinner as we begin sailing toward Linz. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Linz
This morning we disembark in Linz, where you have a choice of excursions: You could head into the countryside for a day amidst the spectacular Austrian lakes or continue by coach to Salzburg. Traveling to the countryside presents UNESCO-listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages, thanks to its traditional, pastel-hued homes. We also visit the charming town of Mondsee, which is set on the lake of the same name and is home to the 15th-century parish church that was featured in “The Sound of Music.” The excursion to Salzburg also makes a stop in Mondsee; however, the true highlight of the excursion is a guided sightseeing tour of Salzburg, one of Austria's most famous cities and the birthplace of Mozart. As you travel through the historic center of the city, uncover the renowned Baroque architecture that makes Salzburg a UNESCO World Heritage site. After your chosen excursion, rejoin the ship in Passau and enjoy an evening of relaxation as the ship sets sail for Regensburg. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 12 - Regensburg
Regensburg is our port of call this morning, and on arrival, we explore on foot. This medieval town is the oldest on the Danube and contains well-preserved buildings that testify to its history as a prosperous trading center. Our walking tour takes us around Regensburg's beautiful Old Town, where points of interest include the Porta Praetoria, the Old Town Hall and the medieval patrician houses - the ancient homes of wealthy landowners - with their impressive towers. Continue your explorations independently, perhaps crossing the 12th-century stone bridge or walking through Haidplatz to gaze upon the colorful buildings. Back on board tonight, don your finest evening wear for the captain's gala dinner, a memorable celebration of a trip well spent. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 13 - Tour Conclusion
We disembark the ship after breakfast this morning, bidding farewell to Regensburg. We board our train at Passau Station and travel to Frankfurt, where we switch trains and continue to Brussels before boarding the Eurostar to London St. Pancras. On arrival, your journey through Europe comes to a close. (B)
*Romantik Hotel Stern, Chur
A traditionally Swiss hotel, the 4-star Romantik Hotel Stern has been a hallmark of Swiss vacations for over 300 years. This hotel is located in central Chur, just a short walk from the train station, and offers the perfect blend of rustic heritage and modern convenience. At the Romantik Hotel Stern, there is a well-established onsite restaurant that specializes in traditional Swiss fare and a deep wine cellar that includes the region’s largest selection of wines. There is a rooftop terrace from which to enjoy the surrounding scenery, as well. Each room is complete with contemporary furnishings, free Wi-fi Internet, digital TV and more.
*Chur hotel may vary by departure
Hotel Grauer Bär, Innsbruck
The 4-Star Hotel Grauer Bär is located just 150 metres from Innsbruck's historic Old Town and all the main sights, such as the Golden Roof, are just a short walk away. The hotel boasts a restaurant and a wellness area with panoramic views of the surrounding Alps, featuring a swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, solarium and fitness room. The recently renovated rooms also feature television, telephone, minibar and safe.
Hotel Alpina, Klosters
Our base in Klosters is the 4-Star Hotel Alpina, a traditional Swiss hotel which enjoys a wonderful location in the heart of the town, moments from the train station. The hotel boasts extensive spa and wellness facilities, with a swimming pool, sauna, relaxation room, fitness room and beauty studio. Free bikes are available for the use of guests, and the delightful in-house restaurant offers a variety of delicious local dishes. Each of the comfortable guest rooms has its own balcony, a flat-screen television, a safe, complimentary Wi-Fi and tea & coffee making facilities.
Astra Hotel, Vevey
Vevey's 4-Star Astra Hotel has been under the personal supervision of Christophe and his family for over half a century, and their friendly and welcoming service has delighted travelers for many years. Located opposite the railway station and just a short walk from the shores of Lake Geneva, the hotel is an ideal base from which to explore Vevey and the surrounding area.
In Austria, we travel on the Achenseebahn, a nearly 130 year old steam train that has been running constantly since its maiden journey in 1889. The train makes its way through the Inntal Valley from Jenbach to Achensee, travelling 4.2 miles and climbing 440 meters. This route passes through areas of unparalleled beauty, including the emerald waters of Achensee, the Tyrol's largest lake. This line is also in Europe's largest nature reserve, the Karwendel Mountains, filled with stunning mountains and wonderful Alpine scenery. This line holds the title of being the oldest cog railway still in operation in Europe, and some of its carriages date back to the early 1900's.
This train winds its way through the Swiss Alps, traveling through 91 tunnels, and crossing 291 bridges. Relax and enjoy the view through the panoramic windows at your seat, or take in a drink at the bar. You'll have views of snow-capped mountains, canyons, narrow valleys, and rushing waters.
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.
MS Amadeus Queen
Sleek, elegant and comfortable, the MS Amadeus Queen is an excellent river going vessel, offering one of the finest ways to discover the stunning rivers of Europe. Well-maintained facilities, superb service and tasteful cabins all combine to make passengers' time on board the Amadeus Queen a delight. Enjoy the serene scenery as it passes by, through specially designed floor-to- ceiling windows or perhaps from the Sun Deck at the top of the boat, as you relax on loungers and deck chairs with your fellow travelers.
Across the four decks, the ship has a range of amenities available to passengers including a restaurant, a panorama-bar, and a fitness room. A recent addition has seen an indoor pool installed at the rear of the boat. Each room has a television, an en suite bathroom, a mini bar, and a hairdryer, while the suites enjoy a walk-out exterior balcony as well.
MS Amadeus Silver II
Designed with the express purpose of navigating Europe's finest waterways, the MS Amadeus Silver II offers a superb cruising experience. In many ways a floating hotel, the Amadeus Silver II truly makes the most of the rivers it sails upon, combining comfortable and tasteful interiors, with the tranquil beauty of the scenery outside. Run by a friendly crew who place your requirements above all else, your time aboard this special vessel should be as carefree and relaxed as possible.
This ship is made up of 4 decks and features several facilities including an international restaurant, a panoramic bar, a quiet lounge area, a fitness suite and a salon. On the Sun Deck, there are loungers and deck chairs, perfect for sitting and socializing with fellow passengers. Each well- appointed cabin features a television, a walk-in wardrobe, an en-suite toilet, a hairdryer and a minibar.
MS Amadeus Imperial
The MS Amadeus Imperial has been built to offer an effortless combination of the vibrant energy of a river cruise day with an increasingly calm and intimate ship experience.
This ship is made up of 4 decks, and features a number of facilities including an international restaurant, a panoramic bar, a quiet lounge area, a fitness suite and a salon. On the Sun Deck, there are loungers and deck chairs, perfect for sitting and socializing with fellow passengers. Each well- appointed cabin features a television, a walk-in wardrobe, an en-suite toilet, a hairdryer and a minibar.
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