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Imperial Cities by Rail: Vienna, Prague & Berlin

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10 days From £1,499 £1,399 per person
4.4 stars(109 reviews)
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Explore the contrasts of three great cultural and historic European capitals on one fascinating holiday

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Save £100pp on Europe 2024 last-minute holidays, when you book by 30th June 2024.

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Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: 24EUS

About the tour

Delve into the imperial past and modern energy of three fantastic, contrasting European capitals.

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

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

Discover fascinating Berlin, the German capital with a unique and emotive past that has undergone a transformation into a vibrant and friendly city.

Unforgettable experiences

Uncover the elegance of cultured Vienna
Uncover the elegance of cultured 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.
Tour the charming medieval centre of Prague
Tour the charming medieval centre of Prague
Stroll through gorgeous streets and across the historic Charles Bridge in the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, discovering the majestic history of its ancient castle complex.
Experience vibrant and historic Berlin
Experience vibrant and historic Berlin
Learn about the turbulent past of Germany’s sprawling capital on a guided tour and discover how it has reinvented itself into a welcoming and lively city that does not shy away from its history.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Nuremberg

You meet your fellow travellers this morning at London St Pancras International, ready to board the Eurostar to Brussels. You continue by standard class rail to Frankfurt, from where you travel through lush countryside, past charming towns of romantic timber-framed buildings and alongside the winding Main river, arriving in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg in the evening.

You have dinner at your hotel this evening. Situated close to the station, the hotel is ideally located for an overnight stop in historic Nuremberg, with its Old Town dotted with medieval buildings and surrounded by fortifications.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Vienna Calling

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, you travel by train through Bavaria, crossing the Danube at Regensburg. This beautiful river guides you towards Austria and its grand capital, Vienna. Arriving in the afternoon, you have time to explore at your leisure after checking into your hotel, the rooms of which are stylishly decorated, reflecting the elegance of Vienna.

As the former capital of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna is a great city to wander round, with stately Baroque buildings appearing around almost every corner. Strolling northerly from the 14th-century Augustinian Church with its grand altar and close connection to the Habsburgs, you enter Josefsplatz. This opulent square was named in honour of Emperor Franz Josef II and is lined on three sides by elegant Baroque halls.

You regroup in the evening to enjoy a meal at a local Austrian restaurant.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Exploring elegant Vienna

Today, you embark on a guided tour that showcases Vienna's imperial architecture, including the Ringstrasse - an impressive boulevard encircling the Old City. Numerous grand buildings line the road, 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.

The rest of the day is spent at leisure either putting your newly acquired knowledge to use or relaxing in one of the city's sizeable green spaces. You may want to use the Hop On/Hop Off buses that cover the city's main sights as there is no need to pre-book.

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 may wish to indulge in tasty local specialities such as a Wiener schnitzel with a beer or a glass of chilled Grüner Veltliner wine.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Free day in 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 fascinating city.

The sprawling Schönbrunn Palace overlooks extensive decorative gardens, at the end of which is a 200ft hill topped with an 18th-century gloriette. 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 opened 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 (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 Vienna's skyline, head to the Prater gardens. In this vast park, you can ride the Wiener Riesenrad - a giant Ferris wheel 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.

Tonight, you are free to dine at your leisure in one of the city's many excellent restaurants.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Arrival in charming Prague

You leave Vienna this morning by train, heading to the neighbouring Czech Republic, or Czechia as it is now known. Passing sweeping fields, sleepy towns and verdant forests, you travel through Brno, the country's second city, and Pardubice with its large train station, before arriving in Prague in the early afternoon.

A tour guide introduces you to the beautiful 'City of a Hundred Spires', around which copper-domed churches shimmer beside the curving Vltava river. Following the ornately decorated façades of grand buildings, you are led 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 renowned astronomical clock. Installed in 1410, it's one of the oldest working pieces of its type.

You have dinner tonight in your 4-Star hotel, located near Prague castle. This well-appointed hotel has three restaurants, a café, a flower shop and a wellness centre.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - A tour of Prague’s castle district

This morning, you embark on a guided walking tour to some of the city's most famous sights.

The exploration takes you to Prague Castle, which is the largest medieval complex in Europe, dating from the 9th century. Bursting with history, the most eye-catching building is the huge Gothic St Vitus Cathedral, the south entrance of which is adorned with golden mosaics. Behind a 17th-century red Baroque façade is one of Prague's oldest buildings, St George's Basilica, reputedly dating from 920 AD. At the north-eastern edge of the complex is the charmingly quaint Golden Lane. The diminutive and colourful medieval houses were occupied by defenders of the castle and artisans such as goldsmiths, who gave the street its name.

With the tour concluding near the castle, you might like to start your free afternoon with a stroll across the Charles Bridge, looking at the 75 decorative statues that populate its walls.

On a stroll round Josefov, Prague's thought-provoking Jewish Quarter which relays the long history of Jewish Prague, you can expect to uncover many buildings that have their own stories to tell. You might want to view the Old New Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in Europe, or the appropriately named Spanish Synagogue with an exterior evoking Andalucía's Alhambra.

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Journey to Berlin, a city of contrast

You leave Prague this morning by train, following the River Elbe out of the Czech Republic. You enter a wonderful wilderness of sandstone cliffs blanketed by rich forests near the German border that remains with you most of the way to Dresden. On the Czech side, this beautiful area is called Bohemian Switzerland, while the Germans refer to it as Saxon Switzerland - both due to the impressive landscape being perceived as similar to stunning Swiss scenery.

You arrive in Berlin in mid-afternoon and check in to your landmark hotel overlooking Alexanderplatz. Considered the heart of Berlin since the Middle Ages, this large square became the nerve centre of East Berlin during the Cold War. Today, it is a lively and ideal location from where to explore this fascinating and friendly city.

To get a great overview of Berlin, you might like to travel up the 1,200-foot TV tower near Alexanderplatz called the Fernsehturm. It is one of the most recognisable symbols of the city and is visible from many parts of Berlin. Booking is required but the views are incredible.

This evening, you have dinner in your central hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - A tour of historic and welcoming Berlin

This morning, a guided tour helps uncover the fascinating history of Berlin, contrasting it with the city's vibrant present. Berlin is aware of its turbulent past and does not shy away from pointing it out in the hope that it is never repeated.

There are reminders scattered across Berlin, some more prominent than others. The route of the Berlin Wall is still marked today by a double row of cobblestones laid into the streets. One of the longest-remaining parts of this stands alongside the Spree river and has been covered in brightly coloured street art as part of the East Side Gallery. The tour concludes at the Brandenburg Gate - a spectacular 18th-century Neoclassical monument that is the city's oldest surviving gate and now a symbol of unity.

For lunch, you might find time to try a bratwurst or pretzel for an authentic taste of German cuisine, or a currywurst - a favourite of Berliners.

With free time in the afternoon, you might like to visit the Museum Island, home to a range of interesting attractions. The Pergamon Museum houses collections of Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman artefacts, while the interactive DDR Museum allows visitors to gain an insight into life in East Germany.

You are also free to enjoy dinner on your own tonight. The buildings of nearby Nikolai Quarter and Old Berlin showcase the city's pre-1900 history and contain a range of traditional German eateries, while the areas surrounding the railway arches between Hackescher Markt and Alexanderplatz abound with lively restaurants.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - Exploring Berlin at your leisure

Today, you have free time to explore sprawling Berlin at your own pace. The Hop On/Hop Off buses are a great way to visit a number of sights, including Checkpoint Charlie and the Topography of Terror, stood behind a large section of the Berlin Wall. To the north of the city is Bernauer Strasse, along which the Berlin Wall used to run. Many of the modern buildings now have street art referencing this, and the Berlin Wall Memorial can be visited at the western end of the street. Viewing the Wall in this location is incredibly poignant as it brings home how loved ones and neighbours were separated for nearly 30 years.

Elsewhere, you could visit the Charlottenburg Castle. This Baroque palace was constructed at the start of the 1700s, was requested by Frederick I of Prussia of the influential Hohenzollern dynasty and is their only remaining royal residence. It was inspired by designs from western Europe, notably the Palace of Versailles, and sits in spectacular landscaped gardens. Alternatively, you could travel to Potsdam, famed for its palaces and Park Sanssouci, a Baroque flower garden.

After sightseeing, you are free to enjoy dinner by yourselves, and Berlin boasts an impressive range of restaurants catering for all tastes.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 - Homeward bound

This morning, you transfer to Berlin's main railway station to begin your journey home. Travelling across Germany to Cologne, you can look back on this amazing holiday to three of Europe's most impressive cities. Whether it was the classical grandeur of Vienna, the medieval charm and quirkiness of Prague, or the rejuvenated and vibrant Berlin, these locations are likely to live long in the memory.

Boarding the Eurostar in Brussels, you arrive in London St Pancras International in the evening and say farewell to your fellow travelling companions and Tour Manager.

Includes
  • Breakfast

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.

Hotels

Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz, Berlin

Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz, Berlin

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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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Train

Eurostar

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Reviews

4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 109 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (60)
  2. 4 stars
    (40)
  3. 3 stars
    (5)
  4. 2 stars
    (3)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

Patricia Gordon

5 stars

Submitted 17/May

Amazing trip

Collected by Trustpilot

eric aldridge

5 stars

Submitted 13/May

This was our 4th trip with RD. Kathryn was a really great TM and was really patient with some of the less able 'travellers'. The local tour guides were generally okay although both those in Vienna and Prague were somewhat quite 'political' and even 'racial' despite Kathryn's efforts ask them not to be. The guide in Berlin was very good. (I accept their culture may be different to ours). There were minor difficulties with trains but Kathryn handled the changes without a problem. We were bemused by some complaints from 'others' who said they didn't expect so much walking on a 'walking tour' and even more when they struggled with 3 bags despite your instructions for only one piece of luggage (and then moan about it). But in general our fellow travellers were great company and we had a great time. The food, breakfast and dinners, at the hotels was excellent with the exception of the evening meal in Berlin. The food there was poor with the choices of meat, fish or vegetarian. I tried all 3 and the consensus around my group was that it was 'very disappointing'. The location of the hotels was pretty much ideal with the excellent transport system clearly explained and demonstrated by Kathryn. We were advised pre-tour by Kathryn to book any 'extras' before departure. We had already booked Belvedere House, Vienna but we only just managed a booking for the Dome in Berlin. Perhaps I missed it in the tour notes but an earlier warning at time of booking would be useful. Apart from once, all the travellers were punctual and with 30+ this made the large group acceptable (the largest we have travelled with) and gave us some concern pre-tour. We were warned by Kathryn of the consequences if we were late. A great tour and the cities and fellow passengers were brilliant.

Collected by Trustpilot

Jeremy Cadman

4 stars

Submitted 8/May

Excellent tour, excellent tour manager but let down by poor hotel in Berlin. Note: this holiday requires a great deal of walking. This is well advertised but too many cohorts failed to read the brochure.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mrs McGeever

5 stars

Submitted 8/May

Hugely interesting . Only regret rather late return for allowing onward travel.

Collected by Trustpilot

Dave Parkes

5 stars

Submitted 8/May

Well organised, good hotels and a great guide who looked after us from start to finish

Collected by Trustpilot

S Linnett

5 stars

Submitted 8/May

Well organised, interesting, excellent Tour guide/manager.

Collected by Trustpilot

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