Join Christopher Wentworth-Stanley, ‘Our Man in Vienna’, opera buff and art historian, for a fascinating festive itinerary combining the great twin-capitals of the Habsburg Empire. We begin in Budapest, a city with a turbulent history as proud royal capital, joint imperial capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Soviet satellite state and then cradle of the peaceful Velvet Revolution. Christopher will then share his entertainingly encyclopaedic knowledge of neighbouring Vienna, as we spend the second part of the week in the city of Mozart, Haydn, Brahms and Beethoven, enjoying majestic art and architecture as well as traditional Sacher Torte and strudel…
Day 1 - Arrival
Depart Heathrow with BA at 08.05am; arrive Budapest at 11.35, and transfer to the 4 star Hotel Prestige (www.prestigehotelbudaspest.com), located in Pest, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Chain Bridge. It is housed within a 19th century neo-classical town house and has an impressive inner courtyard at its heart.
Day 2 – Pest and boat trip down the Danube
Our visit will start with an introductory tour of Pest, the commercial centre of the city. We will see St. Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes Square, the Great Synagogue – the largest in Europe – and the Parliament. After lunch, see the city from the Danube with a 70-minute cruise, including an audio history of the sights along the riverbanks. We will disembark at Margaret Island for a 90-minute interlude: the wooded island park is home to an overgrown chapel, Franciscan ruins and a fountain that dances to music.
Day 3- Buda
Today we will cross the Danube to the district of old Buda. We will have a walking tour of the castle area before visiting the Hungarian National Gallery with works by Hungarian artists from the mediaeval period until today.
Day 4 – The Central Market Hall
The morning is free, you may wish to explore the Central Market Hall packed with Hungarian delicacies, from Tokaji wine to paprika sausages or pack your swimmers for a trip to the famous neo-baroque style Szechenyi Bath. We will then travel to Vienna where we stay for the remainder of the holiday at the Hotel Kaiserhof (https://wien.hotel-kaiserhof.at) .
Day 5 - Vienna
We enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of the impressive State buildings that line the Ring, including the Houses of Parliament, the University, the Burgtheater and the State Opera House. We leave the coach and walk through the historic centre to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Mozart House, which is now a museum dedicated to the composer’s life in the city. After lunch we will visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum to see the Old Masters there.
Day 6 – Leopold Museum and the Hofburg
Today we visit the Leopold Museum with important collections of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. This afternoon we have a guided tour of the Hofburg, the seat of the Hapsburgs. This was the centre of court life, a city within a city, providing employment for thousands.
Day 7- The Belvedere Palace
We will visit the Belvedere Palace this morning. This lavish Baroque palace was built as the official residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy and today it holds an important art collection which spans many periods. It is best known for works by the artists closely associated with the Vienna Secession and here we see Klimt’s The Kiss (1908), which represents this golden age in the cultural history of the city. There
Day 8 Return to Vienna
After a free morning, we depart the hotel for our return flight from Vienna with BA at 3.10pm; we arrive at Heathrow at 4.45pm.
HOW TO BOOK: Call 020 7593 2284 or email Katie Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: £2,998 per person including flights, transfers, accommodation, all meals with wine, all excursions and entrance fees. Single supplement £400