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Grand Alpine Explorer & The Classic Blue Danube Cruise

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14 days From $5,995 per person
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Combine the legendary Glacier Express with a magical cruise along the Danube river.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2024 Tour code: EWR24

About the tour

Discover incredible mountain scenery on a spectacular First Class holiday through Europe. As we glide through the majestic Swiss Alps on the world-renowned Glacier Express, we enjoy unrivalled views of the awe-inspiring landscapes that surround us.  Experience the incredible sights and flavours of Bavaria on a beer tour of historic Munich and marvel at the glorious fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle - which inspired Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Indulge in a sublime Mozart concert dinner in the composer's hometown of Salzburg, and delight in a tour of this beautiful Austrian city with a singing guide. Finally, travel to the 'Top of Europe' on the breathtaking Jungfrau Express to witness an eternally snowy panorama of peaks and the ethereal Aletsch Glacier at Europe's highest railway station. This holiday is a perfect blend of beauty and culture as we ride on mountain railways, discover charming towns, and sail along the mighty Danube river from Regensburg to Budapest.

 

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

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

Info - Travel Options

We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid. (Look for S - Standard Class and F - First Class)

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

Ship

MS Amadeus Imperial

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