Three-city European tour features trains, guides -- and savings

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Going on a package tour of Europe doesn’t have to mean boarding a bus and enduring a jam-packed sightseeing schedule. Brendan Vacations offers what it calls “locally hosted” independent trips that include English-speaking guides and train travel between each city.

The company’s seven-day tour of Berlin, Prague and Vienna, for example, offers some down time along with guided sightseeing. On this trip, you spend two or three nights in each city and may start in either direction (Berlin to Vienna or vice versa). Participants hop trains to get from city to city and wander on their own or with their guide. This tour also includes a visit to Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace.

The deal: Brendan Vacations offers a free upgrade to first-class passenger rail on a variety of its locally hosted trips. The upgrade represents a savings of about $90 a person and must be booked by July 13. Use the promotion code “MRL08" for the seven-day Berlin, Prague & Vienna tour.

When: Departure dates are flexible.

Price: Starting at $1,614 a person, double occupancy. It includes airport transfers in Berlin and Vienna, hotel accommodations, daily breakfast, an English-speaking host in each city, high-speed passenger rail transportation from Berlin to Prague and Vienna, sightseeing tours in each city and the Schonbrunn Palace visit. Airfare is not included.

Tested: I checked availability for this trip starting from Berlin on Oct 8. (The Brendan Vacations representative I spoke with says the price varies by time of year, with winter being the least expensive.) After my conversation, I received a detailed itinerary quote with hotel selections, sightseeing suggestions and other details that came to $1,683 a person, based on double occupancy and including the free train upgrade.

Contact: Brendan Vacations, (800) 421-8446