Austria & Czech Republic Grand Tour
Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord station, either in standard or Standard Premier class. On arrival in Paris, transfer to Paris Est and board the onward train to Stuttgart Hbf. On arrival in Stuttgart, change trains and board the onward train to Salzburg Hbf station. On arrival in Salzburg, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay.
DAY 2 & 3
The city of Salzburg is the northern gateway to Austria from the German Bavarian border, and is split into two halves across the Salzach river. Nestled on the edge of the foothills of the Alps, it is surrounded by stunning scenery, broken up by sights such as the imposing Hohensalzburg fortress atop the Mönchsberg, which can be reached by a funicular railway.
The storybook Altstadt or ‘old town’ has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1996, with some of the Alps oldest Baroque buildings preserved among its streets. Here you’ll find the DomQuartier museum complex that takes in St Peter’s Abbey, the Archbishop’s Palace and the domed Archbishop’s Cathedral. Take time to stroll through its main thoroughfare, the narrow Getreidegasse, full of shops selling everything from musical instruments and antiques to Mozart kugeln chocolates or Sound of Music memorabilia.
Salzburg is famous as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with his former residence now a thriving museum of exhibits for the thousands of music lovers that visit the city. With such an illustrious musical connection, the city plays host to its own annual festival with concerts of chamber music, opera and orchestral pieces by the composer taking place either in his namesake square, Mozartplatz or in any of its many concert halls.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Linz Hbf station. On arrival in Linz, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay, with the rest of your day at leisure.
Situated by the River Danube, Linz is Austria’s third largest city, and although it is sometimes overlooked by its more famous neighbours, it has a very distinct character of its own and some unexpected and progressive attractions to explore.
The Old Town has a charming blend of old and new buildings, the highlight being the bustling Hauptplatz with its Town Hall dating back to the 16th Century. After walking through its cobblestone streets, take a break at one of the cafes in the square and sample some traditional Linzer Torte cake with a coffee.
A short walk away over the Nibelungenbrucke you will find the Ars Electronica Centre. Dubbed ‘ the museum of the future’, it’s the melting pot for new technology, media and art, with numerous exhibitions and events, and its unique Deep Space 3D projection area that can make you think you’re flying down a ski run or being shot into space! The building is stunningly lit up at night, so maybe take the time in the evening to take a harbour cruise along the Danube where you’ll also see one of Europe’s largest collections of graffiti art painted onto over 300 buildings around its harbour.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Vienna Hbf station. On arrival in Vienna, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay, with the rest of your day at leisure.
DAY 7 & 8
Situated on the River Danube, Vienna is surrounded by the Imperial architecture of the Habsburg dynasty, from their summer residence at Schonbrunn Palace and baroque Belvedere Palace, to the Hofsburg palace, home to the Vienna Boys Choir, the prancing Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School, and the treasures of the Kaiserappartements (Imperial Apartments).
Vienna is known as the City of Music, counting classical composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler among its former illustrious residents, and this reflects in the number of incredible venues performing their works, such as the Staatsoper, the Musicverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the many stages of the Konzerthaus. For art lovers, the Kunsthistorisches Museum on the Ringstrasse is host to the Imperial art collection, full of priceless masterpieces by Old Masters. More treasures can be found at the Museums Quartier, converted from the former Imperial stables, including 19th and 20th century Austrian art at the Leopold Museum, contemporary art at MUMOK and the Naturhistoriches Museum. The Viennese have a fine appreciation for their food and drink, so take time during your visit to sample the spectacular cakes served in their coffee houses, the Wiener schnitzel and goulash and the delicacies of their elegant restaurants.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Prague Hlavni station. On arrival in Prague, transfer to your hotel for the 1st night of your stay, with the rest of your day at leisure.
DAY 10 & 11
Once the capital of a communist country behind the Iron Curtain, Prague was opened to the world’s appreciation after 1989’s Velvet Revolution led by activist and former president Vaclav Havel. With a millennium of history behind it, the city’s the 14th century Charles Bridge heaves sometimes heaves under the mass of its new influx of visitors.
Prague is a city of beautiful architecture, where Gothic and baroque buildings sit alongside elegant Art Nouveau and more jarring Cubist facades, and this extends to the city’s museums, from the Mucha Museum dedicated to works of Art Nouveau, and the Veletržní Palác, which houses works by famous 20th Century Cubists and Surrealists.
Away from its most famous landmarks, Prague offers a maze of hidden courtyards and cobbled lanes for travellers to get lost in, and the more you explore, the more you’ll stumble across enchanting ancient chapels, quiet cafes and old fashioned bars, where you can sample some of the highest quality beer in the world made by internationally famous brands such as Budvar and Urquell, as well as equally tasty tipples from local microbreweries.
Check out of your hotel and board an early morning train to Munich Hbf station. On arrival in Munich, transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Check out of your hotel and transfer to Munich Hbf station for your return journey to Frankfurt Main Hbf. On arrival in Frankfurt, change trains and board your return train to Brussels Midi. On arrival in Brussels, change trains for your return Eurostar train to St Pancras International.