Leave London in the afternoon and arrive in beautiful Austria the following morning. This fairytale rail journey winds between mountains, forests and castles, with time to explore the sparkling alpine slopes and cosy cafes of Innsbruck, the fascinating history and meandering streets of Saltzburg, and the grandeur and galleries of Vienna.
Take a funicular and cable car up Innsbruck’s Nordkette mountains, and breathe air as pure as spring water, see where Mozart was born and Maria Von Trapp sang in Saltzburg, and enjoy Vienna’s 19th century coffee houses, museums and palaces. Return via Brussels, with wonderful memories of sparkling rivers, gilded palaces and awe-inspiring mountains.
On Friday nights from late December to mid-April (but not 25 January to 25 February) the Paris-Munich City Night Line sleeper train is extended to Innsbruck, arriving at 09:46, with no need to change at Munich.
(No sleeper train between Paris Munich from 25 January to 25 February due to engineering works)
Go from the champagne bar of St Pancras to the heart of Paris in under three hours.
Check-in at The Eurostar terminal is smooth and simple, with e-ticket machines and a brisk security scan. Queues are usually short, though there may be a slight delay at rush-hour and weekends.
Check-in is open until 30 minutes before departure, and once checked in, there is a large passenger lounge with wifi and plug sockets, shops and cafes including WH Smith and Costa Coffee and comfortable seating, with a travelator which delivers passengers directly to the platform, and makes it easy to manoeuvre luggage. There’s also a lift if you prefer.
There is a buffet car on board the train, and an optional executive upgrade means food service at your table, a quieter carriage, more spacious seats and a plug socket and free wifi.
The Eurostar sets off from the beautifully refurbished St Pancras station, speeds through the countryside and takes just twenty minutes to dash through the Channel Tunnel and emerge in France. The journey is deceptively fast- the comfortable train rockets trough Kent, beneath the channel and emerges in France in the time it takes to queue at an airport.
The train arrives at the Gare du Nord in Paris after two hours and fifteen minutes.
Leave in the afternoon and the Eurostar will pull into the Gare Du Nord two hours and fifteen minutes later, in time for cocktail hour.
Days 1 - 2
Make your way to the Gare De L'Est, which is just a fifteen minute walk away, or you can take a taxi from the front of Gare Du Nord, and take the overnight train down to Munich on the excellent City Night Line service. Before setting off to the Gare De L'Est you could have dinner at one of the excellent brasseries opposite Gare Du Nord or even take a picnic on the train.
Days 2 - 3
The following day, day 3, wander the old town and see the legendary Golden Roof and the wonderful Hofburg Palace. Or visit the breathtaking Bergisel ski jump and Landsmuseum, which houses the Tirol panorama, depicting the French invasion.
Days 3 - 4
Salzburg is a city steeped in history, full of magical architecture and fairy tale legends. Spend the day wandering the streets of the old town and visiting the castle that perches high above the city. Have lunch at the famous Café Tomaselli, or one of Salzburg's other grand old coffee houses.
In the late afternoon of day 4 take a modern, smooth Railjet train to Vienna- the journey takes around 2hrs 30 minutes, and passes seamlessly through rolling green fields, forests and mountains. Check in to your hotel and go for dinner at historic Café Sperl, followed by a drink at the 25 Hours Hotel.
Days 4 - 6
Explore the museums, galleries and palaces of glorious Vienna. See the Opera House, the great 19th century galleries, the Hofburg Palace and the quaint Old Town, stopping at the Hotel Sacher for its famous torte- or wander the cafes and boutiques of the cool 7th district, then head to the Naschmarkt for fresh food and funky eating places as night falls.
Days 6 - 7
Return to Vienna Westbahnhopf to board the overnight Euronight sleeper train to Cologne on the first stage of your journey to Brussels. Choose either a 4 or 6 berth compartment or a more luxurious 2 or 3 berth sleeping car. Perhaps take a picnic and a nice bottle of wine for the journey. You arrive in Cologne in time for breakfast, which is included in the price.
Take a morning train to Brussels. You could take a picnic for the journey on either an ICE or Thalys train if you think you'll be too hungry to enjoy a late lunch in Brussels. The trains, which are fast and modern, have buffet cars too.
If arriving from Prague the first available train is at 07.43
If arriving from Vienna connect with the 11.43 ICE service.
After breakfast, take the tram to the Atomium, and admire this astonishing 1950s comic-book structure and the view back into Brussels from the highest sphere. Back in town, enjoy lunch at Art Nouveau bar Cirio before returning to catch a late-afternoon Eurostar for the journey home. Arrive back at St Pancras early evening, in time for any onward connection.
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