Delights of the Danube (Rail & Cruise) DLR21
|Resort:||Delights of the Danube (Rail & Cruise) DLR21|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
Experience the magic of the Danube as we cruise comfortably through Imperial Vienna and Budapest. Step back in time as we explore the Ottoman and Habsburg empires, with plenty of opportunities to taste the regional specialties – a real treat for all the senses.
Day 1 – London to Nuremberg
Begin today at London St Pancras, where you’ll meet your Tour Manager as well of the rest of your group, to start your journey to Europe. Board the Eurostar travelling to Brussels, then change for the service to Nuremberg, via Cologne.
Day 2 – Continue by rail to Budapest
We make the short walk back to Nuremberg station for the train to Vienna, changing for the final leg of our journey. Arriving in Budapest, we meet the Amadeus Silver II or Queen and are welcomed with a cocktail in the lounge before dinner. Perhaps take some time to relax with your feet up, and to refresh after your journey. Later take in the illuminated sights as we sail around the city on a memorable night cruise.
Day 3 – 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.
Day 4 – 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 and walking 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 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 cafs galore. Following our excursion, you have plenty of free time to explore.
Day 5 – 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 mrecital. Be whisked away by the music and immerse yourself in this msingularly exceptional experience.
Days 6-7 – Melk Abbey & Salzburg or the Austrian Lake District
Today we reach Austria’s Wachau Valley, a famous wine-making region. We arrive in the idyllic village of Drnstein 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.
On Day 7 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-coloured houses, Hallstttersee 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.
Days 8-9 – Regensburg and homeward bound
Regensburg 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 centre which had a huge infl uence 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.
On Day 9 after breakfast, we disembark in Passau to start the journey back to the UK by rail.