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European Odyssey by First Class Rail

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Travel through 10 countries in 15 days

First Class Rail travel throughout your journey

4 & 5 star accommodation throughout your holiday

Scenic rail journeys including the Arlberg Pass through austria

Departures available throughout the year and tailor-made to suit your holiday requirements

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European Odyssey First Class Rail

Holiday Highlights

Discover the Wonders of Europe by Rail

Cologne is like a living textbook on history and architecture: drifting about town you’ll stumble upon an ancient Roman wall, medieval churches galore, nondescript postwar buildings, avant-garde structures and a new post-modern quarter right on the Rhine.

Dresden enthrals visitors with a synthesis of the arts, including world-renowned orchestras and choirs, fascinating buildings and art treasures, and impressive museums.

The magnificent city of Prague charms you with its lovely Old Town and its attractive squares and narrow streets.
Among the highlights of this beautiful city are the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle,
the Josefov Jewish Quarter and Wenceslas Square.

Krakow is the former capital of Poland and still one of the country’s most important cities. It’s also considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe thanks to the excellent preservation of its buildings and its rich artistic and cultural heritage.

In Slovakia’s southwest, Bratislava is its lively capital city with winding streets and small but impressive buildings situated on both banks of the Danube.

The delightful Austrian capital of Vienna is steeped in European history and full of fascinating buildings within the inner ring of the city, along with the evocative ferris wheel synonymous with the film ‘The Third Man’.

There is plenty of variety in Zurich. A city where nature is always close to urban life. You can find the hip district next to the old town, as this city continually juxtaposes itself. Stroll along the river to the sparkling lake and admire the mountain views.

The European Odyssey by First Class rail lets you experience a wide variety of destinations and countries, each with their own history, culture, architecture and lifestyle. This 14 night / 15 day holiday takes you through England, Belgium, Germany, Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and France.

European Odyssey: Holiday Itinerary

Day 1 – London to Cologne

Your holiday begins this morning as you stroll into the beautifully restored London St Pancras International station. Take your time to admire the magnificent glass roof and then sit back, relax and watch the countryside glide past as you travel by Eurostar to Brussels at speeds of up to 186mph.

Once you arrive at Brussels station, change trains to continue your onwards journey to Germany along the scenic Rhine Gorge to Cologne. On arrival, check in for your overnight stay at the comfortable, ideally located Hotel Mondial am Dom (4 star). You might have time to visit the world-famous cathedral with spectacular views from the top. Perhaps later you could stroll through the old town or alongside the river Rhine and have dinner at one of the traditional, welcoming brewery taverns.

Day 2 – Cologne to Dresden

Today, you make your way back to Cologne station to continue your journey east to Dresden. On arrival at Dresden main station it is just over 1 kilometre on foot or a short taxi ride (payable locally) to your hotel for the next 2 nights, the well-regarded Hotel NH Altmarkt (4 star). Spend the afternoon familiarising yourself with your new surroundings.

Tonight, perhaps enjoy some traditional German cuisine. Choose one of the romantic spots on the “Elbhang” (the hillside along the river) for this. In the baroque palace in the inner Neustadt area you can taste the specialties of neighboring Bohemia, and in fashionable locations in the outer part of Neustadt you can find culinary offerings from all over the world. Warm summer days are best to spend at one of the many beer gardens along the Elbe.

Days 3 - Free time in Dresden

Dresden’s beauty is undisputed, it reveals itself to visitors at first glance and is characterised by an irresistible combination of romantic landscape, baroque architecture and one of the most beautiful historic city centres in Germany. Take the time to visit some of the sites, including the Frauenkirche and the Old Masters, the Blue Wonder and the Green Vault; the stunning banks of the Elbe and the popular Wilhelminian district and the baroque Old Town. Dresden’s historic centre is located on the left bank of the Elbe River. The row of buildings lining up on the riverfront are considered the city’s “showcase” with splendid Renaissance, Baroque, and 19th century architecture.

Day 4 - Dresden to Prague

Today after breakfast you might like to further explore the contrasting city of Dresden. Then later, you make your way back to the station, where you board your direct service to the Czech Republic. On arrival at Prague HL N station make your own way to your hotel for the next three nights, the highly-rated Appia Hotel Residence (4 star).

Days 5 - 6 - Exploring Prague

Enjoy two full days in this gorgeous city. Why not head for the lovely Old Town with its attractive squares and narrow streets? Among the highlights of this beautiful city are the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the Josefov Jewish Quarter and Wenceslas Square. Pay a visit to the Dancing House on the bank of the Vltava River, one of the first expressions of modern architecture in the post-socialistic Czech Republic. If you already know these popular places, it is time to get deeper into the Prague corners. Plan a stroll through the Vinohrady Quarter, which combines historicist villas, functionalism and cubism. Have a rest in the gardens of Prague Castle or plan a picnic under the bronze rider in Vítkov.

Day 7 - Prague to Krakow

Today you make your way to the nearby Prague HL N station station and bid farewell to the city as you join the rail service to Krakow. Sit back and admire the views as you travel southwards through the changing scenery of Poland. On arrival at Krakow Glowny station, make your way to your hotel for the next three nights, the popular and welcoming Queen Boutique Hotel (4 star).

Days 8 - 9 - At leisure in Krakow – option to visit Auschwitz or the Salt Mines

You have two full days to discover the charming city of Krakow and its surrounding region. You might start by taking a stroll through the Old Town which contains soaring churches, impressive museums and the vast Rynek Główny, Europe’s largest market square. The glorious ensemble of Wawel Castle and Cathedral is widely regarded as the most important collection of buildings in Poland, perched on the top of a hill, immediately south of the Old Town and is a must-see attraction.

Krakow is the base to visit the UNESCO listed Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, a sobering tribute to the people that perished there during the Holocaust. The camp was originally designed for Polish political prisoners but became the most notorious camp of World War II because an estimated 1.6 million people of 27 nationalities were killed by the Nazis here.

A different option during your time in Krakow is the Wieliczka Salt Mine, the oldest operational mines in Europe and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can take a tour of the site with an English-speaking guide. Highlights here include the intricate carvings in the underground chambers, such as a cathedral and perhaps Krakow’s most famous son, Pope John Paul II.

Bratislava

Day 10 - Krakow to Bratislava

After a leisurely final morning in Krakow, you say goodbye to Poland as you board your direct service to Slovakia. On arrival at Bratislava Hlavna Stanica station, you are making your own arrangements to your accommodation for the next two nights, the charming Marrol’s Boutique Hotel (5 star).

Day 11 - Exploring Bratislava

Despite sitting in the centre of Europe, Slovakia has only recently become a popular destination amongst tourists. Bratislava is a great place for a city break because of its interesting history, beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture, delicious local cuisine, high-quality wine, and stylish shopping arcades. Bratislava presents a welcoming atmosphere, without the pitfalls of many other big cities. It’s a destination where you can unwind, let go of daily worries and just relax. Everything is reachable and conveniently located. One moment, you can bask in the awe-inspiring view of the magnificent cathedral. The next, you can satisfy your palate with traditional or modern culinary delights, followed by a freshly made espresso in any of the numerous cozy cafes nestled in scenic narrow streets and plazas. The city centre’s historic wine cellars provide a unique wine tasting experience.

Day 12 - Onwards to Vienna

After breakfast, this morning you return to the station and bid farewell to Slovakia. Here you board your train as you make the short journey to Austria and the wonderful city of Vienna. On arrival at Vienna station make your own way to your hotel for the next two nights, the welcoming Hotel Harmonie (4 star), well-located in the centre of Vienna and with easy access to all the city’s principal attractions.

Day 13 - Vienna

Enjoy two full days to explore Vienna and visit some of the buildings and monuments that tell the story of this delightful European city. You might like to try and see the famous Spanish Riding School or head for Prater Park with its ferris wheel which featured in the film ‘The Third Man’ with Orson Welles. Alternatively discover the magnificent Baroque Belvedere Palace and the grandiose buildings that line the ‘Ringstrasse’, the fascinating inner ring road that you can travel along by tram. When you are ready for a break you should definitely try out one of Vienna’s traditional coffee houses to enjoy a Viennese coffee and cake. Then there are attractions further afield such as the evocative Schonbrünn Palace.

Day 14 – Vienna to Zurich through the Tirol, Alps and Arlberg Pass

Today after a leisurely breakfast make your way back to Vienna’s central station to board the high-speed Rail Jet service to Zurich. Sit back in your comfortable seat as the stunning Tirolean and Alpine scenery of Austria unfurls before you. Your journey takes you south past the attractive city of Salzburg and the ski capital of Innsbruck before you continue westwards through the dramatic scenery of the Arlberg Pass, its highest point is over 4,000 feet above sea level. During your journey make your way to the restaurant car (payable locally) so you can gaze out upon a landscape of steep mountains and verdant valleys over lunch, before you loop past Feldkrch’s hilltop castle. The train trundles through sleepy Liechtenstein (with only 4 stations in total and a refreshing speed limit), so you can enjoy the passing scenery, before you enter Switzerland and continue past Lake Zurich to the city itself. It is a short walk or tram ride to your hotel for the next night, the comfortable and welcoming Hotel Helmhaus (4 star). This evening you have the opportunity to explore the wonderfully enchanting city of Zurich and perhaps enjoy an evening meal in one of the fine restaurants of the Old Town.

Day 15 - Zurich to London - Homeward Bound

After an early breakfast, why not make a whistle-stop tour of Zurich? Most of the city’s sights lie within the compact area on either side of the River Limmat, between the main station (Hauptbahnhof) and Lake Zurich. The churches and burgher houses of the Old Town are clustered here, as are the elegant shops along Bahnhofstrasse. The baroque Rathaus (Town Hall), Zurich’s most impressive churches – the Grossmünster, Fraumünster – and the city’s oldest, St Peterskirche (its clock face is the largest in Europe), all lie within a short distance of the River Limmat, near the point where it opens onto the lake. Then you return to the station you board the TGV to whisk you back to Paris. Watch the rolling hills flash past or reminisce on the wonders of the past few days. Your private taxi transfer takes you to the Gare du Nord before the last part of your journey. Let the train take the strain as you stretch out and relax over a light meal and drinks in your Standard Premier Class seat. At 186mph the landscape is a blur at times, though memories abide as you return to London St. Pancras for the final stage of your journey home.

Further information

Your recommended hotels

COLOGNE

The Hotel Mondial am Dom Cologne MGallery by Sofitel (4 star) is at the heart of Cologne old town.  Cologne Cathedral, the main station, river Rhine, shopping streets, and a wide range of museums and other attractions are just a stone’s throw away. In “Reissdorf im Mondial”, you can enjoy regional dishes and draft beers in the setting of a modern Cologne brewery with views of the cathedral. All of the modern en-suite rooms at this smart hotel feature air conditioning, a minibar, satellite TV and a luxurious bathroom. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel. The stylish hotel also boasts a spa with sauna, steam room and fitness room.

 

DRESDEN

The NH Altmarkt (4 star) lies on the Altmarkt Square in Dresden’s Old Town. Each of the hotels 240 bright and spacious rooms feature classic décor with dark wood interiors and floors, air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy access to the hotels gym and roof terrace. A full breakfast buffet and a selection of Spanish and German meals are served in the elegant restaurant with its beige and red colour schemes. Guests are also welcome to relax in the contemporary-style bar or in the cigar lounge.

 

PRAGUE
The Appia Residences (4 star) is nestled in the peaceful surroundings below Prague castle. The residence enjoys an excellent location – just a 5 minute walk from Charles Bridge and located next to the famous Nerudova street, which was once part of the Royal Route. Guests can relax in the romantic garden and enjoy a hot buffet breakfast served in the ancient breakfast restaurant which boasts unique roof beams. All 21 rooms have oak wooden floors and marble bathrooms. Each room is individually designed and reflects unique character, whilst the deluxe rooms overlook the garden. Free Wi-Fi is readily available throughout the hotel.

 

KRAKOW

The elegant Queen Boutique Hotel (4 star) is located between Krakow’s Old Town and Kazimierz district, close to Wawel Castle. Its facilities include aa three-room restaurant which specialises in Polish and fusion dishes, as well as an on-site spa with sauna which also offers a selection of beauty treatments. All rooms at the Queen Boutique are air-conditioned and come with tea making set. They are decorated with modern details and contrasting bright and dark colours. Each room is soundproofed and come with a safe, minibar and a seating area, in addition to a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi.

 

BRATISLAVA
Marrol’s Boutique Hotel (5 star) enjoys an ideal location in Bratislava city centre, within walking distance of the historical Old Town. WiFi is free of charge throughout the hotel. All 54 air-conditioned rooms at this top-rated and stylish boutique propery have been designed and equipped to offer the maximum comfort and create a perfect experience whether you are travelling for a business or leisure. All rooms and other hotel areas are strictly non-smoking. Free of charge facilities include coffee and tea making facilities, a daily refilled minibar, a Smart TV with free international TV channels and a laptop size safety deposit box. The Jasmine SPA is open exclusively to hotel guests. Maximum capacity of the spa is 6 people and charges need to be paid locally. The hotel restaurant HOUDINI offers a rich buffet breakfast, lunch menu and a la carte menu. The lobby with a fireplace is an inviting place to relax in winter, whereas in summer you can unwind on the terrace. The hotel is within a 5-minute walk from the Old Town Hall, St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Danube Quay. Bratislava Castle is 1.5 km away, Michael’s Tower and the Presidential Palace are also close by.

VIENNA
The family-run Hotel Harmonie (4 star) is ideally located 550 yards from the Servitenviertel, a charming residential area in Vienna’s 9th district. The hotel offers a lounge with a bar and library, a fitness room, a 24-hour mini shop and free Wi-Fi. Entirely re-designed in June 2013 in a dance theme, all 66 rooms at this boutique hotel are fitted with a minibar, tea and coffee facilities, a large work desk, laptop-size safe and up to 42“ large flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The en-suite bathrooms come with a shower, bathrobes and slippers, and there is an ironing board. A rich buffet breakfast is served every morning, and it includes regional organic products. Guests can reach the city centre within a 5-minute tram ride or a 10-minute walk.

 

ZURICH
The stylish and intimate Hotel Helmhaus Zurich (4 star), located in the Old Town dates from the 14th century, and is a minute’s walk from both the Helmhaus Art Museum and tram stop. The air-conditioned, individually decorated rooms have minimalist modern furnishings and oak wood parquet floors, plus free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars; tea and coffeemaking facilities are available on request. A complimentary hot and cold breakfast buffet is offered daily in an artsy dining room. Other amenities include loaner iPads and seasonal welcome drinks.

 

Departure dates

Throughout the year and tailor-made to suit your holiday needs

Holiday duration is 15 days

For information and booking Tel: 01347 825292 or email info@planetrail.co.uk

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