Imperial Cities & Danube Cruise
Save £100pp on selected cabin upgrades when you book on or
before 15th October 2019.
Begin your Imperial adventure early and explore the two European giants of Berlin and Prague. From Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, to landmarks that have had much significance within our lifetimes, experience centuries in just a few days. This tour is operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys.
From London St Pancras, we take the Eurostar to Brussels followed by the train to Berlin, travelling via Cologne. We spend the first night of our tour here at the Maritim Berlin Hotel.
This morning, embark on a guided tour of Berlin, soaking up the sights of this once divided city. Begin at the Brandenburg Gate, a monument important to Berliners because of what it represents; the gate was part of a city that was heavily bombed and fiercely fought over prior to the surrender of Germany in 1945 but the arch survived with only a few bullet holes.
You'll also see a section of the Berlin Wall as well as the Reichstag, meeting place of the current German parliament. Later continue your journey to Prague by rail.
We enjoy a guided tour of the Czech capital today, starting at Hradcany Castle, the largest medieval complex in Europe, and whose elevation allows for unhindered views of the magnificent St Vitus Cathedral. We also walk across the 14th century Charles Bridge, which has 75 statues along its walls, and pass the Gothic spires of St Vitus' Cathedral, into which entrance is included. We stroll around the wonderfully preserved Old Town, and here our guide will introduce the atmospheric Old Town Square, with its astronomical clock and Tyn Church. The rest of your day is at leisure before dinner back at the hotel.
You could see the Lesser Quarter, one of Prague's most historic quarters. Other options include the Petrin Tower, an observation tower offering tremendous views over the city and Prague zoo. If you're looking for a little down time, why not visit one of the city's many gourmet restaurants, cocktail bars or trendy cafés. They are easy to find, and if you're looking for something more authentic, you can feast on pork and dumplings washed down with locally brewed beer in a traditional pub.
Following a buffet breakfast, we join the rail service to Budapest, where we meet the Amadeus Queen. Later take in the illuminated sights as we sail around the city. We are also treated to a performance from a local Hungarian folk band in the lounge.
This morning 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. 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.
We moor up in the afternoon of Day 6. After lunch, we set out on a guided coach 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 cafés galore. Following our excursion, we return to the ship for another delicious 5-course dinner.
After a calm night of cruising, we arrive into glorious Vienna for a comprehensive sightseeing tour. Tonight a real treat awaits us on board, where after dinner we are joined by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for an exclusive, private recital. Be whisked away by the music and immerse yourself in this singularly exceptional experience, as the Vienna Philharmonic is one of the most popular and skilled orchestras in the world.
Today we reach Austria's Wachau Valley, a famous wine-making region. We arrive in the idyllic village of Dürnstein where you have free time. As we sit down to lunch on board, we begin cruising along the Wachau Valley, a scenic area with vineyards rising up from the river, picturesque riverside towns, and commanding fortresses. We then journey by coach to Melk Abbey, enjoying entrance to this 11th century Benedictine Abbey.
On Day 9 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. Make stops in UNESCO listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its traditional, pastel-coloured houses perched between the mountains and Hallstättersee Lake, 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 reveals the city's renowned Baroque architecture, a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage site. We rejoin the ship in Passau.
Regensburg is our port of call this morning, which we explore on foot. Back on board tonight, we attend the Captain's gala dinner. On Day 11 we disembark after breakfast to start the journey back to the UK by rail, or air of you prefer.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Explore Berlin and Prague before cruising the magic of the blue Danube