Tailormade tour Prague, Vienna and Budapest: a trio of central European cities rail tour Central and Eastern Europe

11 nights/12 days

Prague • Vienna • Budapest • Munich

This luxury rail touring holiday encompasses a trio of central European cities: Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Each city bears witness to some of the most striking events in the history of Europe and boasts an abundance of fascinating sights and places to visit including imperial palaces, ancient castles and iconic architecture. Each city exhibits its common historic links yet has an incredible character and vibrancy of its own.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,850 per person.

Luxury touring holiday by train to Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a trio of central European cities plus Munich and overnight train from Zurich to Prague

Highlights

Zurich • Prague • Vienna • Budapest • Munich

Day by day

Begin your holiday by travelling to Zurich by rail. You will catch the Eurostar from London to Paris and after changing stations, carry on to Zurich on a direct service which takes a further 4 hours. Once in Zurich, time to have supper near the station before continuing your journey on the EuroNight overnight sleeper train to Prague. Or, fly from London to Prague (this makes a total of 9 nights if you fly out and back).

You will arrive in Prague mid-morning if travelling by sleeper train. Check into your hotel in Prague for 3 nights.

You have two full days in Prague to take in the 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. Prague’s rich cultural heritage can be experienced in visits to any number of museums in the city: Czech museum of music, Mucha museum, Frank Kafka museum, Antonin Dvorak museum, the Narodni museum and the City of Prague museum. Be sure to taste traditional pork or beef and dumplings at a typical Old Town restaurant.

After a leisurely final breakfast in Prague, depart on a mid-morning direct train service to Vienna where you will arrive four hours later. Stay in Vienna for 3 nights.

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 you may wish to explore the city’s inextricable relationship 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.

Depart your hotel in the morning and take a direct train from Vienna to Budapest. This journey takes under 3 hours, following the course of the River Danube, and you will arrive in the afternoon. Stay in Budapest for 3 nights.

Enjoy two full days in Budapest exploring the tree-lined boulevards of Pest and the cobbled hilly streets of Buda. The city straddles a curve in the River Danube and is packed with interesting sights to visit on foot but also easily reached by underground. Visit the Castle District in Buda where you can find mediaeval buildings such as the Royal Palace which has been rebuilt several times over the past seven centuries and houses the National Gallery, Budapest Historical Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. You can also visit the 13th Century St Matthias Church and the neo-Gothic Fishermen’s Bastion nearby. The world-famous Gellért Thermal Baths are highly favoured by locals and tourists alike. Margaret Island is a pretty park situated in the middle of the Danube reachable by tram or bus. It boasts more than 10,000 trees, beautiful gardens and a swimming pool. Linking Buda to Pest is the magnificent Chain Bridge built in the mid-19th Century. On the east of the river, you will find Pest which is home to historical buildings such as the neo-Gothic, vast, Parliament which houses the Hungarian crown jewels. Your second day in Budapest gives ample time to explore another building not to miss. The Hungarian State Opera House offers a guided tour and opera performances. On two-mile long, tree-lined Andrassy út you will find elegant shops and houses, Heroes Square and the Museum of Fine Arts. The thermal springs of Budapest have been enjoyed since Roman times and baths are to be found in both Buda and in Pest, where the Szechenyi Baths are one of the largest bathing complexes in Europe, with outdoor and indoor pools, built in modern Renaissance style.

After breakfast in Budapest, board the Railjet train in the morning and you will arrive in Munich less than seven hours later. The route takes you back through Vienna, on to Linz and Salzburg. Watch out for the Salzburg fortress on your left-hand side as you cross the River Salzach shortly after departing from Salzburg station. Stay overnight in Munich. Or, if you prefer, fly back to London from Budapest.

Enjoy a full German breakfast at your hotel before you check out and begin your journey back to London. You will take a train from Munich to Brussels with an easy change of trains in Frankfurt before boarding the Eurostar to London St Pancras.

Holiday price guide From about £1,850 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £340 per person.

Holiday Code EEBR04

Luxury touring holiday by train to Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a trio of central European cities plus Munich and overnight train from Zurich to Prague

Holiday price guide From about £1,850 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £340 per person.

Holiday Code EEBR04

Our prices include ● Rail travel from London to Prague and back via Munich (first class can be booked as a supplement).
● First or second-class travel on all trains
● Double deluxe sleeper compartment on Euronight sleeper train from Zurich to Prague
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Hotel BoHo, Prague
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Hotel Kaiserhof, Vienna
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Deluxe double room at the Prestige Hotel, Budapest
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Hotel Torbrau, Munich
● 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/Hungarian forint/Czech koruna 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers between station and hotels in any cities
● Scheduled flights from the UK to Prague and Budapest to the UK

Holiday price guide From about £1,850 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £340 per person.

Holiday Code EEBR04

Luxury touring holiday by train to Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a trio of central European cities plus Munich and overnight train from Zurich to Prague

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 to Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a trio of central European cities plus Munich and overnight train from Zurich to Prague

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 to Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a trio of central European cities plus Munich and overnight train from Zurich to Prague

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

Luxury touring holiday by train to Prague, Vienna and Budapest, a trio of central European cities plus Munich and overnight train from Zurich to Prague

Highlights of Hungary

Budapest, with its coffee houses and thermal baths, as well of course as its wonderful cobbled Old Town, and the mansions, palace and sheer grandiosity of Castle Hill; Sopron one of the most charming medieval cities in Europe, and a gateway to the stunning Lover Hills; Esztergom, seat of Roman Catholicism in Hungary, and site of the country’s most important basilica; Visegrad, with its hilltop medieval castle overlooking the Danube Bend; the baroque architecture and wine cellars of Eger; Hortobagy, a tiny village at the heart of Hungary’s puszta, the country’s original Wild West; the Great Plains cultural capital of Szeged, full of Art Nouveau masterpieces; the vineyards of Villany; Pecs, with its Turkish feel and fabulous museums and mosques, galleries and Roman tombs; Lake Balaton, full of water sports resorts; Heviz, Europe’s largest thermal lake; Sumeg, home to one of Hungary’s most imposing castles; Danube river cruises; Veszprem, with its perfectly preserved castle district.

Travel around Hungary

Public transport is well developed in Hungary, with efficient bus and, in many cities and towns, trolleybus services. Budapest, Szeged, Miskolc and Debrecen also have trams, and there's a three-line metro (underground or subway) system and a suburban railway known as the HÉV in the capital. Hungary's bus network is a good - and sometimes necessary - alternative to the trains, with train travel on the Great Plain in Southern Transdanubia normally involving several time-consuming changes.

Facts in brief

Capital Budapest
Airport Ferihegy International Airport in Budapest
Size 35,000 sq. miles
Population 9.7 million
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