Tailormade tour Highlights of Berlin, Prague and Vienna rail tour Central and Eastern Europe

8 nights/9 days

Berlin • Prague • Vienna

This rail touring holiday offers highlights of three historical central and Eastern European cities in a total of eight nights: Berlin, Prague and Vienna. Begin your rail holiday in Germany, exploring its capital, Berlin, before travelling south to Prague and the ancient capital of Bohemia. Your third destination is the capital of Austria and once focal city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,770 per person.

Luxury touring holiday by train offering highlights of Berlin, Prague and Vienna including a journey on the overnight sleeper train from Vienna to Cologne

Highlights

Berlin • Prague • Vienna

Day by day

Begin your holiday by travelling to Berlin by air or by rail. If you opt to travel by rail, you catch an early morning Eurostar from London to Brussels. After a change of trains in Brussels, carry on to Cologne, where you will change trains once more before arriving in Berlin in the evening. Check in to your hotel for 2 nights. If you travel out and back by air, the holiday duration is 7 nights in total.

You have one full day to explore Berlin at your leisure. Berlin has a fascinating history stretching back hundreds of yours although it is really for its more recent history that it is best known. Berlin has been at the epicentre of two world wars and the Cold War in the course of the 20th Century and is now the capital of a re-united Germany. Its rich history means that there is a vast amount to discover. Major attractions include The Reichstag, German Parliament, which was built in the 19th century and destroyed in 1933 and Brandenburg Gate, which was inspired by the Acropolis in Athens, and at the head of the long boulevard, Unter den Linden (named after the rows of linden trees planted almost 400 years ago). Another important cultural place of interest is Museum Island where 5 museums are located. These include the Pergamon Museum which houses 3 separate collections; the Museum of Antiquities (from Greece and Rome), the Museum of Near Eastern Antiquities and the Museum of Islamic Art as well as Neues Museum which hosts Egyptian and prehistoric items. Apart from all the museums that the city has to offer, Berlin is also home to one of the oldest zoos in Germany situated in Tiergarten park. Why not take a stroll by the Landwehr Canal which is seven miles in length which will take you through some of the cities sights including Kreuzberg’s café-lined embankments and part of Tiergarten Park. Berlin is a very large city and covers an area of just under 900 sq kms.

After two nights in Berlin, depart your hotel and board a direct train to Prague. The last stop in Germany is the pretty spa town of Bad Schandau and the first stop in Czech Republic is Decin where you can observe the Decin Castle. The river views continue as the train runs along the river Vlatava. On the approach to Prague, you may be able to spot Prague’s old town cathedral towers in the distance. You spend two nights in Prague.

You have one full day in Prague to take in the city’s cultural highlights. Take a stroll across Charles Bridge as it spans the River Vltava and links the old town with the Mala Strana (lesser or little town) and continue uphill towards Prague Castle, one of the city’s most popular sights. St Vitus Cathedral is near to the castle and can be seen from around the city. Spend another day exploring Prague’s old town where you can enjoy Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock (dating from 1410 and the oldest astronomical clock in the world that is still working) and Wenceslas Square. Prague enjoys a cultural reputation of immense stature in Europe and there are numerous opera and concert performances that can be booked. Unique to Prague is the Laterna Magika where classical principles of non-verbal theatre mingle with dance, film images and black light theatre.

The service from Prague to Vienna takes about four hours. You can arrive in Vienna mid-afternoon and then check-in to your hotel. You spend three nights in Vienna.

You have two full days to explore Vienna at leisure. Vienna, on the banks of the River Danube, has been at the heart of central European history since the Roman times. Vienna never fails to impress and satisfy the visitor eager for historical and cultural references. ‘Dream and reality’ still resonate and your days in Vienna can be filled with a mixture of galleries, museums, opera, concerts or eating and drinking in a ‘Heuriger’ in the Vienna Woods. The history of Vienna can be witnessed in the Roman Museum, the Neidhart frescoes dating from the 1400s, the mediaeval Basiliskenhaus, the Imperial Palace and the numerous Jugendstil buildings, and of course in the City of Vienna museum. The Hofburg contains numerous national collections from the Crown Jewels to the Imperial armoury. On your second day in Vienna, perhaps explore the city’s inextricable link with music. Take time to listen to the Mozart Orchestra playing in the Musikverein, and to enjoy coffee and cake at Demel’s. A fun way to see the sights of the city is to take a tram around the Ringstrasse, hopping off and on as you want.

At the end of the tour you can fly back to the UK or you can leave Vienna in the evening on the overnight sleeper train (2 berth cabin included) to Cologne.

Arriving in Cologne in the morning, you transfer to the Brussels train and then on to London by Eurostar.

Holiday price guide From about £1,770 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel. First class and standard premier on Eurostar supplement about £390 per person.

Holiday Code EEBR07

Luxury touring holiday by train offering highlights of Berlin, Prague and Vienna including a journey on the overnight sleeper train from Vienna to Cologne

Holiday price guide From about £1,770 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel. First class and standard premier on Eurostar supplement about £390 per person.

Holiday Code EEBR07

Our prices include ● Rail travel from the UK to Berlin, on to Vienna, and back from Cologne
● Second-class travel on all trains (first class and standard premier on Eurostar can be booked at a supplement)
● Double deluxe sleeper from Vienna to Cologne
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at Hotel de Rome, Berlin
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Hotel BoHo, Prague
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Hotel Kaiserhof, Vienna
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in all cities
● Flights from UK to Berlin, Vienna to UK if you choose to travel by air both ways

Luxury touring holiday by train offering highlights of Berlin, Prague and Vienna including a journey on the overnight sleeper train from Vienna to Cologne

Highlights of Austria

The idyllic pathways along the Danube set the scene for romantic afternoon or evening walks, passing either the city or the hilly green countryside dotted with old castles. Seek out the wine estates and cellars of Grinzing, in order to sample some of the best of Austrian produce in a location beyond compare across Europe. The beautiful, cobbled old town of Innsbruck will introduce you to the indescribable atmosphere of the quaint smaller towns of Austria, and act as your gateway into the untamed, rugged landscape of the Alps. The Bregenz Forest forms one of the main regions in Vorarlberg, and is home to the idyllic villages, tinkling cow bells, and alpine dairies that have become both iconic for the region and synonymous with Austria. The Grossglockner Road is a fantastic 30-mile drive that extends through epic glacial mountain scenery, climbing more than 8,000ft to Austria's highest peak, Mount Grossglockner. The phenomena at Krimml Falls include Europe's highest waterfall, which crashes down from mossy green cliffs over jagged brown rocks. For more of Austria's surprising natural beauty, visit the salt mine and ice caves of Hallstatt, a town of simplistic quaint churches and wooden-panelled houses that cling to the banks of the Hallstatter See. Head back into another of Austria's beautiful cities to see the baroque splendours of Salzburg, before climbing the hill of the Hohensalzburg Castle, the city's crowning glory. Krems an der Donau is a charming university town filled with Heuringen, or traditional wine taverns that seem to blend the iconic Italian love of wine with the rustic, homely establishments of the Alpine countries. The hip town of Linz is full of contemporary architecture, including the gravity-defying Voest Steelworks, which points out towards the undulating horizon. Austria's second city, Graz, has a lovely medieval centre with a buzzing cultural scene. Finally, on every stay in Austria, we would recommend soaking up the peace and serenity available at each of our Austrian hotels; the same peace and serenity that continually makes Austria such a fulfilling holiday destination.

Cultural highlights of Austria

Perhaps begin by exploring Vienna's handsome Gothic churches and the baroque cathedral, which look out over the atmospheric, cobbled streets, the most beautiful of which are situated around the University area of Schottentor. Then stop-off for lunch or a light afternoon snack in one of Vienna's coffee houses, or take one of the trams, straight out of the Third Man, which are a wonderfully romantic way to get about town. Admire the vast imperial facade of Schonbrunn Palace, former seat of the Habsburg Empire, and soak up the sunshine beside the Neptune Fountain in the palace gardens, with the charming arches of the Gloriette as your backdrop. For a taste of the city's intellectual culture, visit the Freud museum or the Kunsthistorisches museum, which houses several paintings by Gustav Klimt. Moving and memorable performances can be watched at Vienna's Spanish Riding School and the Boys’ Choir.

Facts in brief

Capital Vienna
Airport Vienna is the main transport hub for Austria, but Graz, Linz, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Innsbruck all receive international flights.
Size 32,000 sq. miles
Population 8 million

Luxury touring holiday by train offering highlights of Berlin, Prague and Vienna including a journey on the overnight sleeper train from Vienna to Cologne

Highlights of the Czech Republic

Just under 20 miles out of the centre of Prague is the 14th century Castle Karlstejn. This Gothic fortress was once home to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Moulding to the shape of the hillside, it is split across three terraces, each relating to a different level of importance; at the bottom is the Imperial Palace, then the Marian Town, and finally the Big Tower at the top. The Big Tower was left vacant for God, with just a chapel inside, while the Empress lived in the Marian Tower, and the Emperor and Knights lived in the Imperial Palace. For an authentic taste of traditional Bohemia, head to Cesky Krumlov, situated further along the Vltava River. The town itself has been brilliantly preserved since the 18th century, with terracotta roofs, cobblestone streets, brightly coloured walls, and a stunning Bohemian Castle. The main pleasure of this town comes from simply wandering along its picturesque streets, stopping in local restaurants and cafes for some of the local food. To the east of Prague, is Kutna Hora, a town that began as a Bohemian monastery in the 12th century. The surrounding mountains were rich with silver, which lead the town to flourish. Today, Gothic buildings from a time of German rule are set beside a five-naved cathedral, the Italian Court Royal Residence, the Stone Haus, and the St Barbaras Church, all of which add a further dimension to a trip to the Czech Republic. Built around a hot spring reputed to have healing properties in western Czechia is Karlovy Vary. The colour and quaintness of this town is almost unparalleled across the country. The ice cream colours of each of the houses are brought to life by the dense forested areas all around. The highlights of this town, however, are its opulent spas, first commissioned by Charles IV. Many of these buildings were in part destroyed in the 18th and 19th centuries, but one prominent spa remains, dating back over six centuries. In the south-east of the country, your cultural and geographical exploration will continue, be it in the stunning underground caves and gorges of the Moravian Karst or in the waterside Renaissance palace at Telc.

Cultural highlights of the Czech Republic

One of Europe's most popular cities, Prague is the Czech Republic's capital city. Clustered around the banks of the Vltava River, Prague is also the capital of the historic and charming region of Bohemia, and was once the seat of the Roman Empire. Its streets are rich in both Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the balance of which gives it its unique, enchanting atmosphere. The Charles Bridge is one of its most popular attractions and has crossed from Old Town into Lesser Town for over 600 years. As well as bustling with pedestrians, the Charles Bridge is the workplace of many musicians, artists, and vendors. Prague is a city of many squares, but none are more impressive than the Old Town Square, lined with magnificent townhouses that demonstrate everything from Rococo to Romanesque architecture. From here, you can appreciate the Tyn Cathedral, the St Nicholas Church, as well as the Old Town Hall. On the horizon is Prague Castle, which sprawls out across the city's highest point. Once a wooden fortress, it now encompasses the St Vitus Cathedral, a basilica, a monastery, beautiful gardens, and royal stables. For those looking for something slightly off the beaten path, it is worth seeking out the house in which Kafka lived, as well as the peaceful cemetery in which he was buried.

Facts in brief

Capital Prague
Airport Prague-Ruzyne
Size 78,865km²
Population 10 million

Luxury touring holiday by train offering highlights of Berlin, Prague and Vienna including a journey on the overnight sleeper train from Vienna to Cologne

Highlights of Germany

Berlin’s world-class museums, bustling bars, galleries and monuments; Rugen Island, with its rugged chalk cliffs, windswept beaches, Romantic-era spa architecture and tree-lined country roads; Dresden, with its baroque beauty on the banks of the majestic Elbe; Cologne’s magnificent cathedral; the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg; the sandy dunes of Sylt, a North Sea island with fabulous beaches and surf; the beer halls of Munich, ideally in September during the Oktoberfest; Lubeck, a Hanseatic gem; Muritz National Park, where you can go paddling and camping in a paradise teeming with birds; Bremen, a metropolis in miniature, with lovely red-brick and Art Nouveau architecture; the Alpine resorts of Bavaria, including Berchtesgaden, with dramatic peaks, dreamy lakes and superb walking trails; drive or cruise along the Rhine or Mosel, visiting castles, medieval villages and superb vineyards along the way; the walled medieval towns of Rothenburg and Trier, both with wonderful Christmas markets; the Christmas market at Nuremberg, oldest – and still most picturesque – in the world.

Facts in brief

Capital Berlin
Airport Several airports are served from the UK, including Berlin, Bremen, Cologne-Bonn, Dortmund, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart and Munich.
Size 137,000 sq. miles
Population 82 million
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