Arrivals day in Venice where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Hotel Danieli (or similar) hotel for two nights.
The hotel enjoys a fantastic location beside the Grand Canal and is a short walk from St. Mark's Square. This evening we will enjoy a Welcome Dinner with your fellow passengers.
Venice is a truly captivating city of romance, its unrivalled beauty takes your breath away, for first time visitors and regulars alike.
We have the opportunity to take a walking tour around the highlights of this spectacular city. Walk through the winding lanes beside the Grand Canal to St.Mark's Square, which for 1,000 years was the heart of Venetian life. We also see St.Mark's Basilica and stroll through Rialto Market.
Alternatively, you can spend the day exploring this magnificent city at your leisure, maybe taking an iconic gondola ride in the basin of St.Mark's and along the Grand Canal or a stroll through the artist district of Dorsoduro.
Today we join our private train, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, for a lunchtime departure from Venice Santa Lucia Station as we travel through the scenic countryside of Italy and Austria en-route to Prague.
Prague is one of the most beautifully preserved cities in Europe. It spans the Vltava River and is dominated by the 9th century Prague Castle, a stunning sight that can be seen almost anywhere in the city. Our tour takes in the Old Town Square with its many historic buildings and Astronomical Clock, the historic 14th century Charles Bridge and the Jewish Quarter.
We join a vintage tram to travel through the city up the hill to Prague Castle and the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral. The castle and its surrounding architectural gems occupy a hillside overlooking the city and river. Lunch will be served overlooking the architectural treasures of this 'City of a Hundred Spires.'
This afternoon we will take a relaxing cruise up the Vltava river by private boat with cocktails on board.
This morning in Prague is at leisure for you to discover the hidden treasures of this wonderful city. Stroll the medieval cobbled streets, relax in the ancient squares and admire the many architectural treasures of this ‘City of a Hundred Spires’. At lunchtime we re-board the Golden Eagle Danube Express as we head northwards into Germany.
Our first stop late afternoon is in the south-eastern German town of Zittau, famous for being on the Löbau–Zittau railway which was originally opened in 1848, making it one of the oldest railways in Germany. We travel on the Zittau Schmalspurbahn (narrow gauge) heritage steam railway that is used to take passengers up to the picturesque mountain spa resort towns of Kurort Oybin and Kurort Jonsdorf in the Zittau Mountains. On our return we will enjoy a barbecue dinner at Zittau locomotive depot.
Whilst enjoying breakfast on board, we will arrive into Berlin for a full day's programme. After years of division, Berlin has risen once again to become one of Europe's most glamorous capital cities, with superb museums, fine churches, wide boulevards and a thriving cultural life. You have the choice this morning to see the city either by bicycle or by bus. Both tours include highlights of both East and West Berlin and the Reichstag, the famous Renaissance style building that once again houses Germany's parliament. After the tour we visit the notorious Checkpoint Charlie and museum.
This afternoon our Freedom of Choice option includes taking in more of the city’s sights, including the infamous East Side Gallery, inside an authentic East German vehicle (the VEB Trabant), or simply explore more of the city at your own leisure.
Together with neighbouring Gdynia and Sopot, Gdansk forms a large metropolitan area called Trójmiasto (Tricity). This coastal region has an important place in Polish consciousness as the actual location of the start of World War Two on the 1st September 1939 and where the fall of Communism in Central Europe began. This is also where the famous Solidarity movement started for the protection of worker's rights, which later became the symbol of resistance against the government.
We spend the morning exploring the waterfront town of Sopot before enjoying the rest of the day in Gdansk. Our visit will include a tour of the remarkable European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk, which presents the 20th century history of the political changes leading to the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union. We also enjoy an organ concert at Oliwa Cathedral and a visit to Dlugi Targ (Long Market), one of the most beautiful streets of old Gdansk.
The seat of the Teutonic State from the 13th century, Malbork is home to the legendary Teutonic Knights. This morning you our Freedom of Choice options to either explore Malbork castle, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site or a cruise along the Elblag canal to Ostróda; the only place in the world where boats appear to ‘sail on grass’.
This afternoon, we’ll steam through the afternoon to southern Poland.
Once a royal capital with an extraordinary history, and now a lively university town with fashionable bars and restaurants, Krakow is a fascinating city with beautiful monuments and an exuberant atmosphere.
As a Freedom of Choice option you can choose to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and museum or the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a unique venue full of chambers excavated and sculpted in rock salt. Descend the 360 steps in to the mines and be amazed at the devotion of the miners who carved the incredible Chapel of Salt. The whole complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This afternoon you can take in the highlights of the city including Rynek Glowny, which is Europe's largest medieval square.
Capital of the Polish mountains, Zakopane is Poland’s best known alpine summer resort, full of magnificent wooden architecture from the 19th century as well as stunning views and opportunities to explore the surrounding wilderness. We will begin the day with a gentle trip through the gorges of the beautiful Dunajec River by raft, accompanied by a characterful guide come storyteller. A tour of Zakopane itself, followed by a cable car ride to Kasprowy Wierch or Gubalowka mountains will allow us to admire the splendid panorama of Tatras.
This evening a visit to Chabówka to visit the heritage railway museum will top off the day.
Wake this morning in Vienna. This stunning city enthrals visitors with its rich heritage. A seductive metropolis of elaborate palaces, renowned coffee houses, classical music and enchanting opera. Today’s programme will allow you to sample the lively Naschmarkt, home to over 100 food and antique stalls, the famous Schönbrunn Palace, or free time to explore yourself.
This afternoon, we have time for a leisurely walking tour of the city centre followed by a private concert at the House of Mozart, featuring the Vienna Supreme Orchestra.
This evening there will be a private concert in the fabulous City Palace featuring members of the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
A morning arrival into Keszthely, which is located at the western end of Lake Balaton. Here there is a visit to the baroque Festetics Palace built on castle ruins in 1745 and expanded 150 years later. We’ll also take a relaxing boat cruise on the calm waters of Lake Balaton. Back onboard, the train skirts the southern shore of Lake Balaton and lunch is served during the journey to our final destination, Budapest.
There is a welcome reception in the Royal Waiting Room at Budapest Nyugati station before transferring for a two-night stay at the five-star Four Seasons Gresham Palace (or similar), located centrally, opposite the renowned Chain Bridge.
Budapest is a melting pot of European cultures and history, with stunning architecture and fascinating sites. The old city of Buda and the imposing Royal Palace, dominates the city with stunning views across the Danube to the commercial heart of Pest.
Our city tour includes the Royal Palace, St. Mathias Church and a panoramic view of the city from Gellert Hill. We will also see the Citadel, the Opera House, St Stephen’s Cathedral, Heroes Square and the City Park.
The rest of the day is at leisure so you can stroll along the banks of the Danube, visit the historic Great Market Hall with its endless variety of delicious foods and wines or head to one of the city’s famous thermal baths for a rejuvenating dip. Alternatively you can relax at the hotel and indulge in the hotel’s luxurious spa with infinity-edge pool or make use of the state-of-the-art fitness centre.
Following breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for onward departure transfers. There is also an option to extend your stay in Budapest for additional nights to explore more of this fascinating city.