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2020 Edinburgh, the Highlands & Islands with European Gems rail and river experience with Travelmarvel

23 days

2020 Edinburgh, the Highlands & Islands with European Gems rail and river experience with Travelmarvel

Your overall experience

Explore the beauty of Scotland with Travelmarvel on a 9 day rail journey from Edinburgh, before joining a 14 night premium river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest.




- Eight nights in premium accommodation

- 14 nights cruising on a premium Travelmarvel river ship

- Services of a Great Rail Journeys Tour Escort, Travelmarvel Cruise Director, Entertainment & Activities Coordinators, and expert local guides - 57 meals – 22 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 22 dinners

- Daily bottled water, tea and coffee, as well as soft drink, beer and local wine during lunch and dinner on your cruise - Transfers, port charges and tipping included Trip Highlights

- Enjoy a scenic rail journey on the West Highland Line

- Navigate Neptune’s Staircase and cruise Loch Linnhe

- Ride the famous Jacobite Steam Train

- Traverse Scotland on the picturesque Kyle Line

- Cruise to Loch Ness and visit Urquhart Castle

- Enjoy a traditional Scottish evening in Edinburgh

- Explore World Heritage-listed Augustusburg Castle in Brühl, former home to the archbishop-elector Clemens August

- Immerse yourself in German culture as you’re welcomed into the home of a local Miltenberg family for coffee and cake

- Enjoy a festive night of Bavarian beer, food and folk dancing

- Sample local delicacies on a tour of the Vienna Naschmarkt


Day 1. Arrive Edinburgh Today you will arrive in Scotland’s much-loved capital, Edinburgh. Discover its fascinating history, unsurpassed beauty and warm, friendly locals. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your centrally located hotel, situated close to the station. Edinburgh, Apex Hotel Waterloo Place D

Day 2. Edinburgh, West Highland Line, Ballachulish Travel along a hillside ledge overlooking Gare Loch before entering the spectacular Highlands, an idyllic, remote and untouched landscape. The incredible route skirts the western banks of Loch Lomond and climbs quickly from Crianlarich to Upper Tyndrum and wild Rannoch Moor, a dramatic region of peat bogs, streams and ancient forests that are only visible from the comfort of your train. Mighty mountains provide an imposing backdrop to the journey on the approach to Fort William. On arrival, transfer to the nearby village of Ballachulish. Three Nights, Ballachulish, Isles of Glencoe Hotel or Ballachulish Hotel BD Insider Experience All aboard for Glasgow this morning, before changing trains for a journey on one of the world’s most incredible railway lines, the West Highland Line.

Day 3. Ballachulish, Isle of Mull, Duart Castle Heading through the small islands and across to Mull, the incredible picture-postcard views are truly awe-inspiring. Think rugged coastline; hills rising sharply from the water’s edge, endless greens, purples and browns of the moorland; and jagged, exposed rock faces. On approach to the island, you’ll notice a lonely castle above the sea cliffs. This is Duart Castle, ancestral home of the Maclean Clan. Visit the castle, taking in its eclectic rooms and stunning views. Later, return to Ballachulish. BD Insider Experience Venture to the town of Oban where you’ll board a ferry and cruise to Craignure on the Isle of Mull.

Day 4. Ballachulish, Neptune’s Staircase, Loch Linnhe Today you’ll travel by coach to Neptune’s Staircase. Situated on the Caledonian Canal, the 22-ton lock gates were originally hand-powered, but are now operated by hydraulics. It takes approximately one-and-a-half hours to pass from one end of the staircase to the other, where water overcomes gravity and nature to climb the hillside. Pass the stunning mountain landscapes of Glencoe before returning to your hotel. Tonight enjoy a traditional Scottish dinner. BD Insider Experience Explore Neptune’s Staircase, an impressive flight of eight locks operated by a team of at least three lock keepers. Insider Experience Enjoy a cruise on the picturesque waters of Loch Linnhe.

Day 5. Ballachulish, Jacobite Steam Train, Inverness Departing from Fort William, journeying past Ben Nevis on your steam train before climbing into the mountains around Glenfinnan, a town famous as the rallying point for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s assault on the British throne. At Glenfinnan, reach the line’s most picturesque section and one of Britain’s most iconic engineering works – the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct. A magical experience, it’s no wonder this train was featured as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films. As you head towards Mallaig, we drop down to the sea’s edge and the landscape opens up with the first views of the rugged ‘Small Isles’ – Rum, Eigg and Muck – which hang close offshore and tease in and out of view near the journey’s end. After a lunch stop, it’s time to return to Fort William by coach. From there, you’ll then continue by road along the banks of Loch Ness to the city of Inverness, capital of the Highlands. Three Nights, Inverness Palace Hotel and Spa BD Insider Experience Join the Jacobite Steam Train for a journey to Mallaig on the final leg of the West Highland Line.

Day 6. Inverness, Loch Ness This morning enjoy some time at leisure to familiarise yourself with Inverness. This afternoon, you’ll travel to the tranquil waters of Loch Ness, as famous for its ‘monster’ as much as for its beauty. Enjoy an Insider Experience then return by coach to Inverness. BD Insider Experience Enjoy a cruise on Loch Ness and soak up the myth and mystery before disembarking at the picturesque 13th-century ruins of Urquhart Castle.

Day 7. Inverness, Kyle Line, Eilean Donan Castle Enjoy countless photo opportunities as your train winds through wooded hillsides and over sparse moors, climbing over the highlands and past charming loch-side and seaside towns. The tracks rise and fall over hills and valleys, travelling at low speed throughout most of the journey, giving you time to soak up the terrific views. The train sweeps one way and the next, following a route dictated by politicians and powerful landowners as much as by civil engineers. During the final part of the journey, pass the picturesque white-washed houses in the village of Plockton. Arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh, the end of the line, located across a short stretch of water from the Isle of Skye. Afterwards, make a visit to Eilean Donan Castle, situated on a tiny island in Loch Duich, it is joined to the mainland by a small bridge. The island was part of the Macrae Clan’s territory and in the 13th century they built Eilean Donan Castle, which was initially designed to defend the clan’s land from invading Vikings but which actually saw more battles between the warring Scottish clans. BD Insider Experience Enjoy one of the most breathtaking railway journeys in Europe, the Kyle Line.

Day 8. Inverness, Edinburgh Leaving Inverness behind this morning, you’ll travel south by rail through the Cairngorms and via the towns of Aviemore and Kingussie, as well as the burgh of Pitlochry, before arriving back in Edinburgh. Transfer from the railway station to your hotel then enjoy an Insider Experience for dinner this evening. Edinburgh, Radisson Blu Hotel BD Insider Experience Enjoy the opportunity to try some traditional Scottish fare for dinner (haggis, anyone?). You’ll also listen to a chorus of bagpipes and drums during a Scottish-themed evening to mark the end of your journey.

Day 9. Depart Edinburgh, Arrive Amsterdam, Embark Ship After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your included flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam. Upon arrival in Amsterdam today, transfer to your premium river ship. After settling in, perhaps grab a map and explore the canal-crossed streets lined with unique tall and narrow buildings that epitomise this carefree, cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a myriad of great shopping opportunities, stopping to see the traditional blue and white Delftware pottery and making sure to visit one of the many artisan cheese makers or chocolatiers found in the traditional tall houses that line the canal shores. You might like to visit the bustling Dam Square and Madame Tussauds to see this famous wax museum’s lifelike exhibits, or art lovers might want to explore the city’s thriving art scene, being sure to stop in at the Van Gogh Museum. Board your river ship, which remains docked overnight within easy strolling distance of the iconic sights. This evening meet your Cruise Director, Entertainment and Activities Coordinator and fellow passengers at a Captain’s Welcome Reception. Afterwards perhaps discover some of Amsterdam’s sights by night. 14 Nights, aboard your premium Travelmarvel river ship BD

Day 10. Amsterdam, Utrecht Perhaps the best way to get to know Amsterdam is aboard a glass-top boat. Today, you’ll join a local guide who will regale you with stories of daily life as you glide through the city’s maze of waterways. Back on land, enjoy time in Museum Square and have your photo taken in front of the ‘I amsterdam’ sign at the Rijksmuseum. Later, travel by coach via Rembrandt’s Windmill to Utrecht, , and join back up with your river ship. Your ship will set off along the Rhine as you prepare for tonight’s special Gala Dinner. BLD

Day 11. Cologne, Brühl As you cruise into the riverside city of Cologne, the sheer magnitude of the history of the region becomes apparent as your Cruise Director tells of how the twin spires of the famous cathedral, the Kölner Dom, took over six centuries to complete. Head to the Sun Deck as this magnificent architectural masterpiece comes into view and marvel at the tenacity of its craftsmen and builders. Disembark your ship in Cologne and take the short drive to Brühl. After your Insider Experience, return to Cologne and enjoy free time to discover over 2,000 years of history in the Old City. BLD Insider Experience Imagine what life would have been like in the times of archbishop-elector Clemens August on a visit to the World Heritage-listed Augustusburg Castle. On a tour of the 18th-century castle, learn enthralling stories of its infamous former resident and enjoy a walk through the perfectly landscaped parks and gardens surrounding the castle.

Day 12. Rhine Gorge, Rüdesheim Though the colours of the Rhine Gorge change according to the season, the steep slopes and vineyards are always a beautiful sight to behold. As are Lorelei Rock and Pfalzgrafenstein Castle which, contrary to their surrounds, have remained largely unchanged over the centuries. Dock in Rüdesheim, and board the Winzerexpress mini-train, bound for Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Admire delicate songbird boxes and curious musical dolls. Later, stroll back to your river ship, via alleys lined with shops and cafes, perhaps stopping for a decadent Rüdesheimer coffee along the way. BLD

Day 13. Miltenberg Today, you are welcomed to the Main River, known as “the snake” because of its meandering path through Germany. Although the Main is one of the longest rivers in Germany it is somewhat sleepier than the Rhine. With its banks spotted with quaint and colourful villages, this section of your cruise is sure to yield plenty of picture-perfect moments. Disembark your river ship and explore the evocative town of Miltenberg, seemingly stuck in time, with many of its half-timbered buildings dating from the 15th to 18th century. Later this evening, enjoy a superb dinner on board before settling in to the lounge to watch the glittering lights of medieval towns and villages glide past as you cruise through the night. Witness a feat of engineering as you pass through a handful of the canal’s 34 locks. BLD Insider Experience Get a rare glimpse into local life as you are welcomed into the home of a friendly Miltenberg family. Enjoy coffee and cake made fresh for you by your gracious hosts, who are eager to share with you stories of their town’s history and way of life.

Day 14. Würzburg After an early breakfast, board a coach and travel through the green rolling hills and rich vineyards which sit on the fringe of the pretty town of Würzburg. The architectural beauty that defines Würzburg is on show today as you admire its magnificent baroque palace. A walk through the Court Garden is a delight, with its terraced gardens and water basin encircled by stunning yew trees. After lunch, you might like to enhance your journey even further with an excursion to medieval Rothenburg. On arrival embark on a walking tour and discover the magical Christmas museum and shop, as well as narrow cobblestone streets and alleys, overlooked by imposing towers and ramparts. With all guests back on board this evening, sit down to dinner with your fellow travellers as your ship cruises towards the Bavarian town of Bamberg. BLD

Day 15. Bamberg Spend a leisurely morning cruising along the last stretch of the Main River before arriving at Bamberg. One of the few German cities that wasn’t destroyed during World War II, this pretty World Heritage-listed city beckons this morning. Enjoy a guided tour, during which you’ll gaze upon such sights as the Old Town Hall and the Bamberg Cathedral, followed by some free time to explore. A visit to one of the historic taverns is perhaps the best place to get a taste for the local Bavarian culture where you’ll find locals enjoying pretzels and steins of smoked ale. Later on this evening, your ship will reach the Main-Danube Canal. BLD

Day 16. Nuremberg The site of Hitler’s now infamous Nuremberg rallies, held annually from 1927 to 1938, Nuremberg played a pivotal role for the Nazis during World War II. Learn about the city’s Nazi era as you see such sights as the Zeppelin Field and the Palace of Justice. You will find that Nuremberg is also a great place to explore, as you wander the cobblestone streets discovering hidden boutiques and artisan stores that surround the town square. Finish your day cruising through the Main-Danube Canal, crossing Europe’s Continental Divide - 435 metres above sea level) thanks to the canal’s 16 stair-step locks. BLD

Day 17. Regensburg Having reached the Danube River overnight, Regensburg awaits at the meeting point of the Danube and Regen rivers. Join the guided walking tour which highlights the medieval city’s story through the ages. There are plenty of well-preserved sights to see as Regensburg was lucky to escape most of the devastating bombings of World War II. See the ancient Stone Bridge, which gracefully arches across the water, as well as the Old Town Hall, the World Heritage-listed city centre and the Porta Pretoria – ancient gates to a Roman fort built in AD179. You will spend the entire day in this charming city docked right in the heart of town, so another option is to organise a packed lunch and a bicycle and enjoy the freedom as you head out to explore the city or surrounding countryside on your own terms. Re-board your river ship for lunch, or perhaps grab something yourself at a local restaurant or cafe, then spend the rest of the day at leisure. BLD Insider Experience This evening, enjoy an authentic Bavarian experience on board as you sample local beer and snacks, accompanied by traditional folk music, song and dance.

Day 18. Passau As you enjoy your breakfast this morning on board your river ship, you’ll arrive in the ‘Three Rivers City’ of Passau, where the rivers Inn and Ilz join the Danube. Today you are spoilt for choice. Perhaps take part in a morning walking tour. As you explore, stroll past the city’s colourful buildings that line the riverbank. Discover Passau’s baroque character, owing to the fact it was rebuilt in the style after fires destroyed it in the 1600s. Alternatively, you can use your ship’s onboard bicycles to explore on your own terms. Or you may like to join one of the two optional Enhance Your Journey day trips available. On one, you’ll enjoy a fascinating day excursion to the city of Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic, home to more than 300 historical buildings. The other option is to travel to Salzburg and enjoy a tour of the sights from the classic movie ‘The Sound of Music’, including the famous Wedding Church. Those not undertaking day trips will meet back on board for lunch and spending a relaxing afternoon cruising. BLD

Day 19. Melk, Dürnstein Dock in Melk and join a local guide for a tour through Melk Abbey. Sitting majestically atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube, Melk Abbey has been an active Benedictine monastery since 1089. It is then up to you whether you want to catch the coach back down to the river, or stroll through the forest back to your ship, which departs shortly after lunch. Ensure you are on the Sun Deck or in the Lounge as you cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley, one of the most beautiful and famous in Austria. Continue to the town of Dürnstein, overlooked by castle ruins perched dramatically on a hilltop. It was here that King Richard the Lionheart was held captive when he was caught trying to return to England through mainland Europe after being shipwrecked in the Adriatic at the end of the Third Crusade. Here you have a free afternoon to explore at your own pace. A walk through the cobbled streets would lead to 16th-century town houses and taverns, while surrounding vineyards provide the opportunity to taste some of the local wine or the apricot schnapps for which this lovely little town is known. BLD

Day 20. Vienna Embrace the splendour of the former Habsburg empire in Vienna, a cultural utopia of music, art and food. Discover the sheer elegance of this opulent city as you drive around the Ringstrasse. Learn about some of the city’s most famous buildings – the Vienna State Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts and more – as well as the city’s rich classical music culture and history. Upon arriving in the city centre, join a walking tour for an insider’s view of a number of landmarks, including St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Graben, Hofburg Palace and the Albertina. Perhaps stop and taste for yourself the cafe culture that influences this city so much. This evening you might choose to attend a wonderful concert featuring a range of different music through the ages, including some compositions by Mozart and Strauss as well as music from the movie ‘The Sound of Music. BLD Insider Experience Pay a visit to the Naschmarkt, the most popular food and produce market in Vienna. Browse the fresh produce stalls and sample some local delicacies, including delicious Kaiserschmarrn and Palatschinken.

Day 21. Vienna With a day at leisure today, you decide on how to shape your experience in Vienna. Perhaps visit the Spanish Riding School, or head to the Hofburg area and the Imperial Treasury, brimming with crowns and precious gems. If you’re feeling peckish, perhaps head to a cosy coffee house where you can try a traditional Sachertorte – a chocolate tart with a lush apricot filling. You’ll be spoilt for choice in a city so rich in great cafes, impressive historical buildings and fabulous shopping opportunities, so be sure to ask your expert Cruise Director for any insider tips. Otherwise, embark on an optional excursion. Perhaps visit Schönbrunn Palace, to see one of Austria’s finest examples of baroque architecture. Or cross the border into Slovakia for a tour of Bratislava, discovering a soviet history that only ended in the 1980s. See communist buildings and monuments and learn about life in the soviet era before enjoying free time in Bratislava’s Old Town. BLD

Day 22. Budapest Today, enjoy views of one of the Danube’s most enchanting riverside cities as you arrive into the heart of Hungary’s capital. After breakfast, the history, beauty and charm of Budapest are highlighted as a local guide leads you through the city. See Matthias Church, the Fisherman’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square. Learn about the turbulent history of the regal Buda Castle and take the chance to see the spectacular Hungarian Parliament Building, perched on the edge of the Danube River. For those that wish, there’s an opportunity this afternoon to visit the unique Hospital in the Rock. After a Captain’s Farewell Dinner, set off on a twilight cruise back along the Danube through the glittering heart of Budapest. Pass under the Chain Bridge and glide by the sparkling Hungarian Parliament Building, with Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion lit up in the distance. BLD

Day 23. Disembark Ship, Depart Budapest After breakfast, disembark your river ship and transfer to the airport for your onward flight. B


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*Terms and Conditions apply. Prices are correct as at 10 September 2019. Prices are per person, twin share, include stated savings amounts and an Early Payment Discount of $400 pp. Prices based on EUTCSHS23P: 11 October 2020 (Cat E. Classic Class). ALL OFFERS: All offers are available until sold out. Limited suites/cabins/staterooms on set departures are available and are subject to availability. DEPOSITS & FINAL PAYMENTS: A first non-refundable deposit of $1,000 pp is due within 7 days of booking. EARLY PAYMENT DISCOUNT: Tour must be paid in full 10 months prior to travel. FLY FREE: Flights are based on wholesale airfares in (W) Class with Singapore Airlines or an airline of Travelmarvel's choosing. Includes taxes of up to $300 per person from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. Flights are available ex AKL/CHC or WLG. Once class is sold out surcharges apply. SAVE $1,000 PER COUPLE: Offer is not redeemable for cash and non-transferable.

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