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Fairytale Bavaria & Delights of the Danube

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
12 days From $4,295 $3,895 per person
4.0 stars(2 reviews)

A route of deep forests, mountainside castles, and pretty riverside towns whose history is written across the ages beckons on this journey through fairytale Bavaria and along the gentle Danube River

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
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2024 Tour code: BYR24

About the tour

When imagining a fairytale backdrop, the picture includes castles, mysterious forests, beautiful mountains peeking over treetops, and medieval cities seemingly untouched by the hands of time. We have composed a journey framed by just these images, bringing storybook Europe to life one magnificent destination at a time. This 12-day rail and cruise expedition highlights the romance of Bavaria and then takes to the Danube, sailing through countries like Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria before returning to Germany.

Uncover hidden gems while exploring on land in Bavaria from our base in the charming village of Füssen. Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles are breathtaking, and the views from the Zugspitz Railroad, as it ascends the tallest mountain in Germany, will leave you in awe. After transferring to Budapest by train, we join our nimble yet luxurious river cruiser in exploring the Danube's best ports of call. Enjoy time to explore Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna. Sail through the magical Wachau Valley to Melk Abbey, and delight in the opportunity to Austria's enchanting towns and villages. Anchor for the final time in Regensburg with the knowledge that Central Europe's most majestic sites were yours to behold on this memorable adventure.



What’s included


Day 1 - To Stuttgart

Meet your group and Tour Manager at London's St Pancras International this morning in time for the Eurostar service to Paris. Here we cross the city and catch the local train to Stuttgart for a night at the Maritim Hotel. 

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Free time in Füssen

This morning we journey to Füssen by rail, spending the next three nights at the Luitpold Park Hotel. Upon arrival, you have free time to explore a little bit of this classic Bavarian town. Perched on the banks of the Lech River, Füssen offers a snapshot of Bavarian life, with its pretty squares and its cobbled streets.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Neuschwanstein Castle & Hohenschwangau Castle

Today sees us venture out into the nearby countryside for an enthralling excursion to two of the finest castles in Bavaria. We begin at the honey-colored Hohenschwangau (Castle of the High Swan County), before visiting glorious Neuschwanstein Castle. The most famous of all King Ludwig II's castles, Neuschwanstein bristles with towers and spires. The building is a fantastic imitation of a medieval castle; one which was equipped with some very modern conveniences for its time. 

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Journey on the Zugspitze Railroad

Today we ascend the tallest mountain in Germany, the noble Zugspitze. To reach the summit, we first board the remarkable Zugspitze Railroad, then the final leg of this journey is taken by cable car. On our descent back down, we stop at beautiful Lake Eibsee before returning to Füssen. 

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - To Budapest and Boarding your Ship

Following breakfast, we drive to Munich to board the train to Budapest. On arriving in Budapest, we meet the Amadeus Imperial and are welcomed with a cocktail in the lounge before dinner. Later take in the illuminated sights as we sail around the city. We are also treated to a performance from a local Hungarian folk band in the lounge. 

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Discovering Budapest

This morning we enjoy a guided coach and walking 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, the magnificent State Opera House and St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church, and Fishermen's Bastion. We return to the ship for lunch, after which you have some free time before we begin cruising to Bratislava, passing through the splendid Danube Bend along the way. This section of the river has a long and fascinating history and from the sun deck or panoramic windows in the bar, you'll be able to see castle ruins, churches, pretty houses hidden in the hills and dense forests, all soaked in the golden glow of twilight. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Arrival in Bratislava

Your morning is at leisure aboard before we moor up early this afternoon. After lunch, we set out on a guided coach tour of the Slovakian capital. Located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, Bratislava straddles the Danube which neatly divides the city into two parts; the Baroque Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the new city. This picture-postcard city destination boasts historic Gothic buildings, several universities, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic center features delightful cobbled stoned roads, pedestrianized plazas, pastel 18th-century rococo buildings and street cafés galore. Following our excursion, we return to the ship for another delicious, 5-course dinner. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - The history and music of Vienna

After a calm night of cruising, we arrive into glorious Vienna for a sightseeing tour. This is a chance to relish in Austria's Imperial heritage, one full of tradition and rich in architectural, artistic and musical heritage. You'll see many of Vienna's most ornate buildings, including the impressive Opera House - one of the leading opera venues in the world, as well as the grand Parliament Building. Tonight a real treat awaits us. After dinner we are joined by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for a private recital. Be whisked away by the music and immerse yourself in this singularly exceptional experience. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 9 - Wachau Valley & Melk Abbey

Today we reach Austria's Wachau Valley, a famous wine-making region. We arrive in the idyllic village of Dürnstein where you have time at leisure. As we sit down to lunch on board, we begin cruising along the picturesque Wachau Valley, an extremely scenic area with green valleys and vineyards rising up from the river, picturesque riverside towns, and commanding fortresses with sweeping views. We then journey by coach to Melk Abbey, enjoying entrance to this 11th-century Benedictine Abbey which stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. It is also home to the Abbey Church, considered one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Austria

We disembark in Linz this morning, where you have a choice of excursions. You could head further into the countryside for a day spent amidst the spectacular scenery of the Austrian lakes. Make stops at UNESCO listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its traditional pastel-colored houses, Hallstättersee Lake, and Mondsee. This pretty town is set on the lake of the same name and its most famous sight is the 15th-century parish church, which featured in the wedding scenes of 'The Sound of Music'. Otherwise, travel by coach to Salzburg, via Mondsee, one of Austria's most famous cities and known as the birthplace of Mozart. A guided sightseeing tour reveals the city's internationally renowned Baroque architecture, a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage site. We rejoin the ship in Passau.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 11 - Regensburg

Regensberg is our port of call this morning, which we explore on foot. This medieval town contains many buildings that testify to its history as a trading center and to its influence on the whole region from the 9th century onwards. Back on board tonight, we attend the Captain's gala dinner, a chance to don our evening-wear and celebrate our cruise experience. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Homeward Bound

After breakfast, we disembark in Passau where you will be transferred to Munich Airport for your flight back home. 

Please note: Airport transfers will depart the ship around 12pm ariving at Munich airport around 2pm. If flights are earlier than 5.00pm it is recommended guests take a private transfer.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

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 vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Best Western Plus, Füssen

Best Western Plus, Füssen

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Maritim Hotel, Stuttgart

Maritim Hotel, Stuttgart

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Zugspitze Railway


MS Amadeus Imperial

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4.0 stars4.0 / 5 · 2 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Sandra Thoman

4 stars

Submitted 3/Aug

The cruise itself was great. 5 stars. It was before the cruise that was the problem. Only got tickets and itinerary 5 days before the trip and that's only because our tour guide contacted me and I told her I hadn't received them and she worked the problem. Would like to tour with Great Rail Journeys again if I can figure out how to work with them directly...not through VBR.

Collected by Trustpilot

Stephen B, Montgomery, AL

4 stars

Submitted 10 May 2018

It was a great trip.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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