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Grand Alpine Explorer & Delights of the Danube

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14 days From $5,995 $5,495 per person
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Experience the legendary Glacier Express before embarking on a magical cruise discovering the cultures and beauty along the Danube river

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
Save Up to $500

Offer Ends August 7th: Save up to $500 per person on 2025 Vacations, offer varies by tour. Prices as marked online.

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2025 Tour code: WER25

About the tour

As we glide through the majestic Swiss Alps on the iconic Glacier Express, we enjoy unrivalled views of the awe-inspiring landscapes that surround us. This vacation is a perfect blend of beauty and culture as we ride on mountain railways, discover charming towns, and sail the Danube river from Budapest to Regensburg.

Unforgettable Experiences

The renowned Glacier Express
The renowned Glacier Express
Embark on one of the world’s greatest rail experiences with a journey through astonishing snow-capped peaks and alpine valleys as we travel in panoramic carriages to Chur.
Experience the beauty of Budapest
Experience the beauty of Budapest
Immerse yourself in the sensational ‘Pearl of the Danube’ with a guided tour that includes its striking castle, stunning buildings, and impressive monuments.
Savor the Lavaux region
Savor the Lavaux region
Visit this beautiful region in Switzerland, famous for its terraced vineyards, and enjoy a tasting of world-class wines.
Enjoy a tour of elegant Vienna
Enjoy a tour of elegant Vienna
Discover the Baroque streets and imperial palaces of this noble city and enjoy time at leisure where you can discover Viennese coffeehouse culture.
Relax in picturesque Innsbruck
Relax in picturesque Innsbruck
Stay in this magnificent city with a stunning Alpine backdrop, charming architecture, and breathtaking natural beauty.
Discover Bratislava
Discover Bratislava
Admire ornate buildings, fascinating museums, and interesting galleries on a guided tour of the Slovakian capital.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To beautiful Lake Geneva

Meeting at London St Pancras, our vacation begins as we board the Eurostar to Paris. We continue by rail to Lake Geneva, where we spend the next two nights.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - The magical Lavaux wine region

Our day begins with a local train to Cully in the Lavaux region, where terraced vineyards rise majestically from the shores of Lake Geneva. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with sun-drenched slopes, historic villages, and panoramic views.

We journey through the enchanting landscape on a charming local land train before visiting a nearby winery for a fascinating talk from the owner as well as indulging in a fantastic wine tasting with some nibbles.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - The iconic Glacier Express and charming Chur

Today, we board the magnificent Glacier Express. Our panoramic journey takes us through undeniably Swiss scenes of green meadows, dense, evergreen forests and snow-capped mountains, ambling along the beautiful Rhine Valley aboard 'The Slowest Express Train in the World'. We spiral up the mountains, crossing vast viaducts, burrowing through tunnels and rising above the clouds on our way to Chur.

As we arrive and check into our hotel, you can explore the rich history, culture, and sights of Switzerland's oldest village, before dinner this evening. Wander the Altstadt - the Old Town - to discover the authentic restaurants and relaxed bars that add to the town's lovely atmosphere.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Delightful Innsbruck

This morning, we travel by rail to Innsbruck. 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 historic and cultural past, boasting wonderful Renaissance and Baroque buildings, as well as traditional Tyrolean architecture. After checking into our hotel, the rest of our evening is free to explore or relax.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - The scenic Zillertalbahn Railway

Today, we journey on the Zillertalbahn railway marveling at the beauty of Austria's Tyrol region. As we wind our way through the region aboard the fabulous train, we pass quaint Tyrolean towns, lush meadows, and majestic peaks.

Our destination is the enchanting ski resort of Mayrhofen, where you can explore at your leisure. The town's picturesque streets are paved with cobblestones and lined with delightful shops, lovely restaurants, and cozy pavement cafes.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - To Budapest where we board our luxurious ship

Today we travel by rail to the mesmerizing city of Budapest. Our luxurious ship awaits us here, where we're greeted with a refreshing cocktail in the lounge. After settling into your wonderful cabin and familiarizing ourselves with our magnificent ship, we indulge in our first dinner on board before enjoying the enchanting ambience of a traditional Hungarian Folklore troupe.

Once the sun sets, we begin a magical night-time cruise along the Danube River, taking in the illuminated sights of Budapest. From the Gothic-style Parliament building to Buda castle, the state buildings that line the banks on both sides are all sensationally lit up, as well as the stunning Chain Bridge. Whether you choose to relax in the cozy lounge or take in the panoramic views from the sun deck, Budapest's elegant scenery is a spectacular start to our cruise.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Discovering striking Budapest

This morning, we delve deeper into Budapest's beauty and history that we saw last night. On a sightseeing tour of this captivating city, known as the 'Pearl of the Danube', we explore its impressive buildings and monuments. From St Stephen's Basilica to Heroes Square and Fisherman's Bastion, each sight is more remarkable than the last. After lunch on board, you can explore the city further at your leisure before we set sail to Bratislava.

As we sail upstream through the evening we navigate the scenic Danube bend. This section of the river has a long and fascinating history and from the sun deck or panoramic windows in the bar, you'll have the best view as we pass the village of Visegrad famous for its hilltop castle and Esztergom, the former capital of Hungary.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Glorious Bratislava

After a morning of relaxing sailing through scenic landscapes of rolling hills and endless fields, we arrive in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, welcomed by its castle overlooking the river. We set out on a fascinating guided tour after lunch, getting to know the Baroque Old Town and the castle district. As we explore the enchanting streets, we're immersed in the vibrancy of the city, which has dramatic historic buildings, Baroque palaces and a wealth of fantastic museums and galleries.

Following our tour, you have free time to explore the tangle of cobblestoned roads, pedestrianized plazas, 18th-century Rococo buildings, and street cafés.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Exploring imperial Vienna

After a calm night of cruising, we arrive in glorious Vienna for a sightseeing tour. This is a chance to relish in Austria's Imperial culture, one full of tradition and rich in architectural, artistic and musical heritage. Making our way to Ringstrasse boulevard, we see many of Vienna's most ornate buildings including the impressive Opera House (one of the leading opera venues in the world), and the grand Parliament Building.

After our tour, there's time to wander around at leisure and soak up the magnificent atmosphere of Vienna. You could indulge in the famous Sacher Torte, a Viennese delight, at one of the cozy coffee shops. Alternatively, you could explore the city center and marvel at St. Stephen's Cathedral, or delve into one of the numerous museums the city has to offer.

Tonight, a real treat awaits us in the lounge as we're joined by four past members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra who whisk us away with their performances of well-known classical pieces.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Charming Dürnstein, beautiful Wachau Valley, and picturesque Melk Abbey

Austria's Wachau Valley is a famous wine-making region, which makes it the perfect stop on our cruise to sample the renowned local wine. There's free time in the quaint village of Dürnstein to do just that, or simply wander the charming streets, soaking up the fairytale landscapes. From the riverside, we can see the renowned castle where Richard I of England was imprisoned for a time.

This afternoon, we cruise through the scenery of the Wachau Valley during lunch, truly a highlight of the river. This scenic area of green valleys and vineyards is dotted with picturesque riverside towns and commanding fortresses.

Later, we disembark in Emmersdorf to visit Melk Abbey, an 11th-century Benedictine Abbey that stands atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. It's here we see the abbey's church, one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 – The enchanting Austrian Lake District or stunning Salzburg

This morning, we wake up in beautiful Linz where you can choose between a day in the Austrian Lake District, the Salzkammergut, or a visit to Salzburg.

The first option sees us heading into the country for a day in the lakes where we stop at UNESCO-listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its pastel-colored houses. We also visit Hallstätter See Lake and Mondsee, a pretty town set on the lake of the same name and famous for its 15th-century parish church which featured in 'The Sound of Music'.

Alternatively, travel via Mondsee to Salzburg, a beautiful Baroque city on the banks of the Salzach river. During a guided sightseeing tour, we explore Getreidegasse street, famed for its traditional shops with metal signboards the place where Mozart was born. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is filled with stunning Baroque architecture, beautiful churches, quaint squares, and charming alleyways that we admire as we meander through.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Beautiful Passau

Today we enjoy a last cruise through vineyard-covered hills, charming villages, and medieval castles. After lunch, we arrive in the German city of Passau. Sitting at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers, Passau is known as the 'Three Rivers City'. With time at leisure, you could explore the historic Old Town, adorned with colorful baroque buildings and visit St. Stephen's Cathedral with its ornate interior. Delve into Passau's history at the Veste Oberhaus fortress, a 13th-century hilltop fortress offering panoramic views. Or you could indulge in Bavarian cuisine at local cafes and browse through the quaint shops. Tonight, we enjoy our farewell Gala dinner onboard.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 - To cultural Cologne

After breakfast, it's time to disembark and say goodbye to our wonderful crew. We make our way to the railway station and head to Cologne, known for its impressive Gothic cathedral, the largest in Northern Europe. After settling into our hotel there's time to explore this striking city before dinner. Explore the historic Old Town (Altstadt) with its charming narrow streets, traditional breweries, and quaint shops. Or, you could discover cultural gems at museums like the Museum Ludwig or the Lindt Chocolate Museum. For panoramic views of the city, you could climb the KölnTriangle Tower.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 14 - Discovering Cologne and homeward bound

This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Cologne, getting a glimpse of the city's landmarks, including the impressive Gothic cathedral with its intricate spires and magnificent architecture. After our tour, we bid farewell to Cologne and head to the train station. From here, we journey by rail to Brussels where we then board the Eurostar to London St Pancras where we bid farewell to new friends and fellow travelers.

You can then make your way home, taking with you all the memories we've made on our vacation, from tasting renowned wines in the Lavaux region and discovering lovely Innsbruck to experiencing incredible views aboard the Glacier Express and Zillertalbahn railway. We then wandered the fascinating buildings of Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna and explored charming Dürnstein before sailing the stunning Wachau Valley. We also admired the Baroque architecture of Melk Abbey with our journey ending in the beautiful streets of Salzburg, Passau and Cologne.

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.

Hotels

Astra Hotel, Vevey

Astra Hotel, Vevey

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Hotel Penz, Innsbruck

Hotel Penz, Innsbruck

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Trains

EuroCity
The Glacier Express
Zillertalbahn

Ship

MS Amadeus Imperial

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Reviews

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Deborah Massie

4 stars

Submitted 23 Jun 2024

So great to experience the trains without worry. Enjoyed the river cruising. Our room was great on the ship. The hotel at Davos was the best of the land hotels and the hotel at Innsbruck had the best food of any of the places. Thankful for Steven to help us at the trains. He made it so stress free. Liked Hanna, Maria and Andrea. They were so good at watching over us on the ship.

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