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Glacier Express & Danube Cruise

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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.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20232024
13 days From $5,195 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2023 Tour code: GR-WERA-23

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary: Budapest - Passau

Some departures run a reversed itinerary – View reversed Passau - Budapest itinerary (GR-EWRA-23)

Itinerary: Passau - Budapest

You are viewing the reversed itinerary – switch back to Budapest - Passau itinerary (GR-WERA-23)

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 Montreux, Switzerland. We are transferred to our 4-star hotel, located close to the shores of Lake Geneva, on arrival. Overnight Montreux. 

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Lake Geneva

Our day begins with a short walk from the hotel to the Montreux 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 Montreux by rail later this afternoon, where the rest of your day is at leisure. Overnight Montreux. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
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. 

*Hotel may vary depending on departure date.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Lake Achensee

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel ahead of our excursion aboard the superb Zillertalbahn Railway today, traveling to Mayrhofen. In the heart of the breath taking Tyrol region of Austria, the Zillertalbahn wends its way across the shimmering meadows, along the valleys and under the mountains. Cheerful red carriages and engine are easy to spot, as the Zillertalbahn crawls like a bright caterpillar across the Ziller valley floor offering a glimpse into the distinct charm of Austria's verdant countryside. Beginning at the jolly market town of Jenbach near the shimmering Achen Lake, the Zillertalbahn snakes its way through the enchanting small Tyrolean towns and villages on its way to the ski resort of Mayrhofen. Enjoy time at leisure here before returning to Innsbruck. Overnight Innsbruck.

Includes
  • Breakfast
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 1 - London and Lake Geneva

We meet at our Departure Office in London St Pancras to board the Eurostar to Paris. We continue by train Vevey, in Switzerland, before transferring to our hotel for 2 nights, close to the shores of Lake Geneva.

 

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Cully

Today, we take a local train to Cully in the Lavaux region, where terraced vineyards rise from the shores of Lake Geneva. We enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards from on board a charming local land train before visiting a nearby winery for a talk and a wine tasting. Later, we return to Vevey by rail where the rest of your day is free to relax.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 – The Glacier Express

After breakfast this morning, we embark on what is undoubtedly one the highlights of our holiday, enjoying a journey on the iconic Glacier Express. Affectionately referred to as 'the slowest express train in the world', we wonder at the panoramic views across sprawling Alpine landscapes as the train makes its way through quintessentially Swiss mountain scenery.

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. Here, we transfer to our hotel* for the night.

*Hotel may vary depending on departure date.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Innsbruck

We have a free morning before we travel to Innsbruck this afternoon and check into our hotel for the next 2 nights.

Day 5 – Zillertalbahn

We take a trip on the superb Zillertalbahn Railway, travelling to Mayerhofen. We wend our way across lush meadows, along valleys and under mountains. Our train's cheerful red carriages crawl like a bright caterpillar across the Ziller valley floor, offering a glimpse into the distinct charm of Austria's verdant countryside. Beginning near shimmering Achen Lake, the Zillertalbahn takes us past enchanting Tyrolean towns and villages on our way to the ski resort of Mayrhofen.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Passau

Our destination today is Passau. After breakfast we make our way to Innsbruck station where we board a train to Passau, via Linz. On arrival, we meet the Amadeus Silver II, Silver III and Star and are welcomed with a cocktail in the lounge before dinner. This evening we enjoy a delicious welcome dinner and set sail.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – Regensburg

This morning we enjoy our first breakfast and free time on board, before we disembark in Regensburg in the afternoon. On arrival we take a walking tour around Regensburg's beautiful Old Town introducing us to the city's history, from the Roman era to the present. We will see all the most important sights including the Stone Bridge, the Cathedral, the Porta Praetoria, the Old Town Hall, and the patrician houses with their impressive towers. Afterwards we enjoy free time to explore this beautiful city before returning to our ship for a delicious 5-course meal, as we leave Regensburg behind and continue sailing to Passau.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 – Passau and Linz

We disembark in Passau this morning, where you have a choice of excursions: you could head into the countryside for a day amidst the spectacular Austrian lakes, making stops in UNESCO-listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its pastel-coloured houses, as well as 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 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 here reveals the city's renowned Baroque architecture that makes it a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage site. We join the ship again in Passau.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - 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 and is home to the Abbey Church, considered one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Vienna

After a calm night of cruising, we arrive in glorious Vienna for a comprehensive sightseeing tour. The tour starts at Südtiroler Platz and takes us along the Ringstrasse boulevard, where we see many of the popular tourist attractions. Firstly, we take a look at the impressive Vienna State Opera, one of the most acclaimed opera houses in the world and home to the famous "Opera Ball" which takes place every year. Next, we see the monumental buildings of the Museums of Fine Art and Natural History, the neo-classical Parliament, the acclaimed Burgtheater, and the striking City Hall, where the legendary Life Ball takes place. Tonight, after dinner, a real treat awaits us on board as we are joined by musicians from Vienna's Philharmonic Orchestra for an exclusive, private recital. Be whisked away by the music and immerse yourself in this singularly exceptional experience as we're serenaded by members of one of the most skilled orchestras in the world.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 – Bratislava

This morning we moor in Bratislava, setting out after lunch for a guided coach tour of the Slovakian capital. Bratislava straddles the Danube, neatly dividing the city into 2 parts; the Baroque Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the new city. This picture-postcard destination boasts historic Gothic buildings, several universities, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic centre features delightful cobblestoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, 18th-century Rococo buildings and street cafés galore where you can try Slovak dishes such as bryndzové halušky (dumplings with sheep's cheese) or pierogis. Following our excursion, we return to the ship for another delicious 5-course dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Budapest

We cruise to Budapest today, 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. On arrival 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, the magnificent State Opera House and St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion. This evening we take in the illuminated sights, as we sail around the city.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 – Budapest

Today, we disembark in Budapest and travel by rail to Munich. Here, we transfer by rail to Stuttgart, checking into our hotel for the night.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 - London

Today we leave Stuttgart behind and catch the train to Cologne, before we transfer to London St Pancras on the Eurostar.

Includes
  • 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.

Hotels

Romantik Hotel Stern, Chur

Romantik Hotel Stern, Chur

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Hotel Grauer Bär, Innsbruck

Hotel Grauer Bär, Innsbruck

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Hotel Alpina

Hotel Alpina, Klosters

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Astra Hotel, Vevey

Astra Hotel, Vevey

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Trains

Eurostar
The Glacier Express
TGV
Zillertalbahn

Ships

MS Amadeus Silver II
MS Amadeus Silver III
MS Amadeus Star

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Reviews

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Kathleen S Fowler

5 stars

Submitted 17/Oct

This was a wonderful adventure. It was very well organized with an interesting itinerary, lovely hotels, good food, inter train travel and a lovely cruise and a beautiful ship. We had a great tour director. Everything was well thought out, all the excursions were included and we were well taken care of. I highly recommend this rail and cruise trip.

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