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Imperial Cities: Prague, Vienna and Budapest

8 days From £1,299 £1,249 per person
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Enjoy a fly-rail tour to three of central Europe’s most impressive capital cities, bursting with culture, historic architecture and delicious cuisine

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Save up to £100pp on selected Europe 2024 holidays when you book by 31st October 2023.

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Book your Europe or British Isles holiday by midnight Wed 18th October and be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a free Springtime Tulips & Keukenhof Gardens river cruise for two, with our sister company Great Rail journeys.

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Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: 24ECF

About the tour

Explore the fascinating cities of Prague, Vienna and Budapest on a fly-rail adventure to encounter their rich heritage of art, history and culture while viewing world-class castles, palaces and museums.

Fly to Prague and experience the medieval charm of the Czech capital, a magical city of exquisite architecture and a fondness for the fantastical and quirky.

Uncover the timeless elegance of Vienna - the seat of the mighty Habsburg dynasty - and enjoy views of majestic palaces and grand, ornate buildings.

Savour the delights of Hungary's capital, Budapest, during an evening cruise on the Danube with panoramic views of the city's buildings illuminated against the night sky.

Unforgettable experiences

Discover the medieval sights of charming Prague
Discover the medieval sights of charming Prague
Tour the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’ and view spellbinding locations including the largest medieval castle complex in Europe, magnificent churches and the renowned astronomical clock.
Enjoy a guided tour of elegant Vienna
Enjoy a guided tour of elegant Vienna
As the seat of dynasties and empires, Austria’s capital has long played an important role in European history, evidenced by the stunning architecture you will witness along the Ringstrasse and in its many palaces.
Experience the beauty of Budapest on an evening Danube cruise
Experience the beauty of Budapest on an evening Danube cruise
See the sparkling Danube from a new perspective as you enjoy an evening cruise while Budapest’s majestic illuminated buildings cast a magical glow on the river.

What’s included


Day 1 – Flight to Prague

Meeting your Tour Manager and fellow travellers at London Heathrow, you fly to the Czech capital's Václav Havel airport. After transferring to your 4-Star hotel near Prague Castle you have time to relax before gathering for your first meal together - a three-course dinner in the hotel's restaurant.

The impressive hotel that boasts views of the castle has a range of facilities to help you unwind, including a Wellness Club with a Finnish sauna, steam bath, whirlpool and fitness centre. The Dejvická metro station and tram stops are a few steps from the front door, providing convenient access to the historic centre of the Czech capital. Known since the 1990s as the Czech Republic, the country has recently adopted the new name of Czechia.

  • Dinner
Day 2 – Discovering the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’

This morning you get to see many cultural and architectural highlights of Prague on a guided tour of the 'City of a Hundred Spires'.

The exploration takes you to Prague Castle - the largest medieval complex in Europe - dating from the 9th century. History abounds here and the most eye-catching building is the huge Gothic St Vitus Cathedral, the south entrance of which is embellished with golden mosaics. Behind a 17th-century red Baroque façade is St George's Basilica, one of Prague's oldest buildings reputedly dating from 920 AD. At the north-eastern edge of the complex is the quaint Golden Lane, lined with small colourful medieval houses.

Crossing the medieval stone Charles Bridge spanning the Vltava River, adorned by 30 statues, you follow the ornately decorated façades of grand buildings to the Old Town Square, the focal point of Prague life since the 12th century. One of the most fascinating features of the square is the astronomical clock. Installed in 1410, it's one of the oldest working pieces of its type.

With the afternoon free to continue exploring Prague at your leisure, you could head to the Petřín Lookout Tower. A funicular from Újezd transports passengers through beautiful parkland to a cast-iron observation tower resembling the Eiffel Tower - and the views from here across Prague's iconic skyline and the winding Vltava river are spectacular.

You dine independently tonight, so may wish to visit one of the city's many fine eateries for some hearty and delicious Czech food, maybe with a portion of the almost ubiquitous and welcome potato dumplings (bramborové knedlíky) and a glass of frothy beer.

  • Breakfast
Day 3 – Free day exploring the Czech capital

Prague and its many districts offer a wide array of appealing options on a free day. For a relaxing morning, you may wish to take a gentle cruise on the Vltava to view the sights from a different perspective. 

The Czech capital excels in the quirky and fantastical and this is reflected in the works of one of its favourite sons, writer Franz Kafka. There are various statues of Kafka in Prague, including a rotating, kinetic representation of his head, and one inspired by his short story 'Description of a Struggle' near the Spanish Synagogue.

With an exterior evoking Andalucía's Alhambra and an interior influenced by Moorish design, the Spanish Synagogue is appropriately named. This is just one of the beautiful locations in Josefov, Prague's thought-provoking Jewish Quarter which relays the long history of Jewish Prague. On a stroll round here, you can expect to uncover many buildings that have their own stories to tell, including the Old New Synagogue, which is the oldest active synagogue in Europe.

After seeing the sights, you have the chance to relax at one of the city's gourmet restaurants, cocktail bars or trendy cafés on your own. If you're looking for something more authentic, you can feast on pork and dumplings washed down with beer in a traditional pub, or 'hospody', on one of the Old Town's many charming lanes. U Medvídků is purported to be the oldest pub-restaurant in Prague, dating from 1466, while the convivial U Zlatého Tygra beer hall has been frequented by writers and global politicians.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Vienna Calling

You leave Prague this morning by train, heading to neighbouring Austria. Passing sweeping fields, sleepy towns and verdant forests, you journey through Pardubice and Czechia's second city, Brno, before arriving in Vienna in the early afternoon.

With its artistic heritage, imperial architecture and enticing culture, Vienna is one of Europe's great capitals. On arrival, you're introduced to the city on a guided tour, discovering the famous Ringstrasse, an impressive boulevard encircling the Old City lined with numerous grand buildings - including the Vienna State Opera and the Austrian Parliament.

The centrepiece of this influential avenue is the Hofburg Palace, which symbolises the importance of the Habsburgs who ruled from here between 1273 and 1918. The Habsburgs were one of the most important families in Europe for centuries and ruled over most of east and central Europe as leaders of the Holy Roman Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire. Expanded over the centuries by various emperors, the fascinating Hofburg showcases preeminent examples of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture.

You also stroll amongst the cobbled streets and narrow houses of Vienna's charming Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, before checking in to your hotel and enjoying traditional Austrian food at a local restaurant. Your hotel near the famed Naschmarkt is stylishly decorated, reflecting the elegance of the Austrian capital.

  • Breakfast
Day 5 – Uncovering noble Vienna

After breakfast today, you have a full day to explore Vienna at your own pace - and there are many great sights to see in this glorious city.

The sprawling Schönbrunn Palace overlooks extensive manicured gardens, at the end of which is an 18th-century gloriette on top of a hill. You might like to pay to tour the palace and the grounds, or even visit the world's oldest zoo. Set in 42 acres of the palace's grounds and established in 1752, this is a UNESCO-listed site with some spectacular buildings - including the Baroque monkey house.

Near to the Hofburg Palace, you will find the Spanish Riding School, home to the incredible Lipizzan dancing horses - but please note that pre-booking is required for performances. Vienna's glorious medieval St Stephen's Cathedral is in Stephansplatz, the beating heart of the city. This Gothic masterpiece is famed for its stunning tiled roof and, by climbing to the top, you'll be rewarded with one of the best views of the city.

For a more laid-back way to enjoy the Viennese skyline, take a whirl on the Wiener Riesenrad - a giant Ferris wheel in the Prater gardens that was the tallest in the world for much of the 20th century and, like many places in Vienna, featured prominently in the Orson Welles film The Third Man.

Between sightseeing, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a typical Viennese coffeehouse experience. These elegant cafés serve a range of coffees along with an enticing selection of pastries and cakes, including the delicious Sachertorte. This evening, you are free to choose your own dinner and you may wish to indulge in tasty local specialities such as a Wiener schnitzel with a beer or a glass of chilled Grüner Veltliner wine.

  • Breakfast
Day 6 – An evening Danube cruise in Budapest

With a free morning in Vienna, you could visit Belvedere - a complex of two Baroque palaces from the early 1700s, complete with extensive gardens with fountains and water features, as well as an art gallery containing Gustav Klimt's The Kiss.

In the early afternoon, you leave Austria by train and continue your adventure by heading into Hungary to its capital Budapest that was formed in 1873 when three cities merged. The flatter, lively Pest on the eastern bank of the Danube looks out across the water to the historical and hilly Buda, while the quieter Óbuda sits to the north.

You arrive in the early evening and check in to your Buda hotel overlooking a park and Castle Hill. There is some free time to relax before you are taken to Óbuda for dinner in a traditional restaurant that, combined with its serene surroundings, gives the feeling of being in a pleasant Hungarian village.

After dinner, you embark on a highlight of the holiday as you sail down the Danube on an evening cruise. This is one of the best ways to see this beautiful city as the impressive buildings lining the river such as the Parliament building, Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge are now illuminated, casting a magical glow across the adorable Danube.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – Uncovering the ‘Pearl of the Danube’

Today you get to understand this magnificent city better on a tour showcasing the very best of Budapest. You view impressive buildings and monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the iconic Országház, the neo-Gothic parliament building - a stunning symmetrical structure that pierces the sky with white and red spires. Castle Hill, rising high over the Danube, contains many of the city's most important and historic sites, including the huge Baroque castle. Nearby Matthias Church was constructed in the late 13th century after invading Mongol hordes destroyed the previous church. Today, this Gothic church stands behind Fisherman's Bastion, a swirling late 19th-century structure with smooth circular towers providing incredible views of the river and Pest.

The afternoon and evening are free for you to continue making your own discoveries in Budapest. The city is renowned for its thermal spas. On the Pest side, you could visit the Széchenyi Baths, the largest medicinal bath in Europe, located near Heroes' Square in the City Park. In Buda, the Art Deco Gellért Baths is located near to the bank of the Danube.

Or perhaps treat yourself to some cake and coffee at Café New York. Opened at the end of the 19th century, the café is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful coffee houses in the world, and the elegance of its interiors is nothing short of mesmerising. On the way back to the hotel, it's worth stopping off at the Great Market Hall, where you can shop and people-watch like a local.

Traditional Hungarian snacks include the lángos, a deep-fried flatbread most frequently topped with cheese and sour cream, and the chimney cake, a sweet confection baked on a spit. For dinner tonight, you might opt for the bustling areas surrounding St Stephen's Basilica and Váci Street.

  • Breakfast
Day 8 – Homeward bound

After breakfast this morning, you are transferred to Budapest Ferenc Liszt airport for your flight back home. On the journey, you can reflect on the contrast between these three fantastic cities and their individual charms. From the medieval majesty and delightful quirkiness of Prague to the classical grandeur of Vienna and Budapest's grand buildings beside the Danube, these locations are likely to live long in your memory.

  • Breakfast, Dinner

Additional information

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Mercure Castle Hill

Mercure Castle Hill, Budapest

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Vienna House by Wyndham Diplomat, Prague

Vienna House by Wyndham Diplomat, Prague

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Hotel Ananas Wien, Vienna

Hotel Ananas Wien, Vienna

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