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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 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
13 days From $4,625 per person

2021 Tour code: GR-WERA-21

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

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. 

Includes
  • Dinner
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. 

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  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.

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

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

Achenseebahn Railway
Eurostar
The Glacier Express
TGV

Ships

MS Amadeus Queen
MS Amadeus Silver II
MS Amadeus Imperial

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Upgrades

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Global Rail Adventures Brochure

Global Rail Adventures Brochure

The definitive guide to our 2021/22 Global Rail Adventures

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