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Following the Traces of the Habsburgs


© Ungarisches Tourismusamt

© Prague Information Service

© Tourismus Salzburg

 

Day 1: Budapest
Arrival in the much admired metropolis of the east.
Welcome to Budapest!

Budapest… Pearl of the Danube
Budapest, Hungary’s largest city, is full of life, with many notable things to see. Once a part of the so called double monarchy of Austria and Hungary, it took over many of the attributes of the capitol of the time, Vienna, not only in life style but also in its architecture. Of course, one of the highlights of this city on the Danube is the river itself. Much of the beauty and charm of Budapest is due to the magnificent panorama that the Danube forms with the noble buildings on its shores. There are several views across the river which are known the world over, for example that of the Parliament.

The driver of your limousine will await you in the arrival hall and take you to your accommodations.

After a welcome drink at the hotel, you have the chance to take a first exploring walk through the inner city.

A stroll along the best known promenade of the city, the “Vaci utca”, is highly recommended.

You may want to make a stop for refreshment in the famous Gerbeaud coffee house and sample their delicious pastries. Farther along is the Duna Korso, with a wonderful panorama of the Buda side of the city with the castle district.

You will end the day with a cosy dinner in a typical restaurant in the inner city.

 

Day 2: Budapest
Breakfast.

After breakfast, we start our exploration of the Habsburg empire with a tour of the city, or perhaps we should say two cities “Buda and Pest”.

A passion for music can be felt in Budapest. Hungarian music is ably represented by famous composers like Liszt, Bartok, Kodaly, Lehar, etc and by the many great musicians the city has produced.

Your licensed tour guide will take you to Heroes Square, with the Millenium Column in the center.

The square is flanked by many neoclassical buildings; the “Mücsarock” gallery and the Museum of Visual Arts, home to one of the richest collections in Europe. In addition, you will see the Chains and Freedom Bridge, the Parliament (the city’s landmark) and the Basilica of St. Steven, dedicated to Istvan, the first Christian king of Hungary. The church contains many wonderful paintings on glass, and other paintings and sculptures.

Lunch on your own.

Fortified by the meal, you will go on to the world famous castle district: the royal castle which today houses the National Gallery and St Matthew’s Church with its Fisherman’s Bastion.

On Gellert Hill, you will view the Freedom Statue and the citadel and enjoy a fabulous panorama of the Danube below.

To crown the day, there will be dinner with folklore in a Csardas in Budapest.

 

Day 3: Budapest/Bratislava
Breakfast – check out.

After breakfast, you will travel north from Budapest through the enchanting landscape of the so called Danube Knee.

The first stop is in the small baroque city of Szentendre.
Just to stroll through Szentendre is an unforgettable experience. From the Templon Ter, the highest point in the city, there is a breathtaking vista of the city and the Danube.
The history of the Roman Catholic church on the square reaches back to the 13th century.

No matter which direction you take from there, you will stumble over a museum.
The Karoly-Ferenczy Museum was originally built as a Serbian Orthodox school over two hundred years ago. Close by is the Margit-Kovacs Museum displaying many unique ceramic creations.
The history of the building is interesting in that it started as a storage house for salt, then was used as a postal station and then a trading house before becoming a museum.

As the next stop, we invite you to visit a really different exhibition.
On the Dumsa Jeno utca  parallel to the Danube is Hungary’s first and largest Marzipan museum whose enchanting figures were made by members of the well known Szabo confectioner dynasty.  Here you can view the life size chocolate statue of Michael Jackson and other curiosities made of marzipan.

Lunch on your own, then on to Visegrad with its imposing castle ruins and to the famous cathedral of Esztergom.

Late in the afternoon we will arrive in Bratislava.

Bratislava… Capitol of Slovakia
Bratislava is an old border city with many bridges, and its principal landmark for centuries has been the castle named the “Hrad”. The city lies in the southwest of Slovakia close to the point where the borders of Slovakia, Hungary and Austria meet.

A city tour will let you immerse yourself in the history of Bratislava.
Savor a walk through the historic old city and breathe in the atmosphere of centuries old streets, squares and buildings.

Charming Bratislava – a walk will reveal to you the luster of the old town center: the Primates Palace, Michael’s Gate, the Franciscan church, the, Academia Istropolitana, St. Martin’s Cathedral, the old city hall, the central square, the opera and more.

We will take you through the beautiful squares, sleepy alleys and inner courts where you can discover hidden treasures. The enchanting gothic or baroque facades, churches or chapels often hide a core from the Middle Ages.

You can absorb the many new impressions of the day during supper at a comfortable restaurant.

 

Day 4: Bratislava/Prague
Breakfast – check out.

Today we travel on to Prague.

Our route takes us through the southern parts of Bohemia and Moravia, through endless scenic hilly landscapes.

Prague… the Golden City, the city of a hundred towers
Prague is the capitol of the Czech Republic and the economic and cultural heart of the country.  It is a city of music, romance and nostalgia. On the left bank of the Moldau River, Prague Castle, the city’s landmark, looms over the city. The old and new parts of the city stretch along the right bank, and the historical old city with its medieval churches belongs to the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage sites. The silhouette of Prague is an unforgettable sight.
Experience the famous Hradzin castle, St. Veits Cathedral, Charles Bridge, the Golden Alley and the Old City Ring, and absorb the city’s diversity.

A welcome drink will await you upon arrival at your hotel.

Lunch on your own, followed by a free afternoon.

Saunter through the narrow picturesque alleys of the old city. If you are after artistic inspiration, then you will love Prague. Many artists succumbed to the magic of Prague, among them Mozart, Kafka and Shakespeare.

In the evening, we will bring you up the Letna Mountain to the Hanavsky Pavilion to enjoy a gorgeous view of the city while drinking a glass of sparkling wine.

We will then take you to a typical restaurant to sample Czech cuisine, traditional music and the local beers or Moravian wine! Afterwards, we will drive to the fairgrounds for an unforgettable spectacle: water shoots up into the night sky from more than 1000 jets, illuminated by countless spotlights and accompanied by music.

 

Day 5: Prague
Breakfast.

After breakfast, your driver will be waiting to take you on a tour of the city to introduce you to the many sights: the lively, Vysehrad Castle, Charles Square and the National Theater.
Then up one of the hills on which Prague was built to the Strahow Monastery, the Loreto Sanctuary and to Hradzin Castle.
You will explore the beauties of the castle on foot: the seat of the President, St. Veits Cathedral and of course the Golden Alley with the house of Franz Kafka.

Next on the plan is a two hour cruise on the Moldau including lunch.

After the cruise, there will be a tour on foot through the old city with its narrow streets, historic squares and beautiful houses.

The walk will take you by Wenzel Square, the Powder Tower, the parish hall and the Jewish Quarter. The historical King’s Way will lead you to the Charles Bridge with the stone figures, one of the most beautiful sights of Prague. From here you have a view of the river Moldau and the castle.

Would you like to taste the atmosphere of Czech, Moravian and Slovakian folklore?
We invite you to a typical cosy restaurant for an evening of live music, traditional folk dances and the local beer and wine.

 

Day 6: Prague
Breakfast.

After breakfast we start with an excursion to Karlstein Castle, which lies about 22 miles southwest of Prague.
The castle, built in the gothic style, was the residence of Emperor Karl the Fourth, and is now the depository for the treasures from his coronation and other relics.
There will be a tour of the castle, and afterwards you may visit some of the many stores below the castle.

Lunch in one of the restaurants.

In the afternoon, a visit to the glass factory in Nizbor, where you can see how Czech crystal glass (cut glass) is created.

There will be time to shop, and every customer receives a small memento.

Journey back to your hotel in Prague.

In the evening, we invite you to an original cultural experience: the traditional Czech Black Theater in the old city.
The Animato Theater, located since 2000 in the late baroque Savarin palace in 10 Na Prikope Street, is only 200 meters from Wenzel Square in the city center. The chambers in the palace are splendid.

For dinner you are on your own.

 

Day 7: Prague/Passau/ Salzburg
Breakfast - check out.

After three wonderful days in the Golden City of Prague, we continue our trip in the direction of Salzburg through the Bohemian Forest stopping for a look at the city of Passau.

Passau… the young, old city on three rivers
Passau was built where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers come together, and this Three River Corner has a unique landscape. Just as unique is the backdrop of the old city, created by master craftsmen from Italy after the city was destroyed by fire in the 17th century and dominated by the three domed Cathedral of St. Stephen. Most of the city’s sights such as churches, museums, City Hall and the Residence are to be found in the old city. Picturesque squares, crooked alleys and romantic promenades on the river bank invite you to explore and tarry. The Veste Oberhaus Castle in the north and the pilgrimage church Mariahilf in the south are enthroned over the rivers.

You will have time to eat lunch before we travel on to Salzburg.

Salzburg… the city of Mozart, world cultural site, home to Mozart candies and Salzburger Nockerl
This enchanting baroque city welcomes its visitors with the breathtaking backdrop of its mighty fortress. Salzburg was part of the Habsburg empire and played an important role as a cultural center. The capitol of the Austrian state of the same name is defined by its history (especially the baroque) and by its cultural life. The total work of art called Salzburg has long been in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage sites. The town of Mozart’s birth offers many churches, palaces and castles plus a myriad of cultural high points.

Let yourself be entranced by the fascinating flair of the city.
Wander through the many shopping alleys with their artistic courtyards and absorb a bit of Salzburg tradition in one of the many coffee houses!

Arrival at your accommodations.

You will have time for a stroll through the old city before dinner.

 

Day 8:  Salzburg
Breakfast.

After a good breakfast, get ready to discover the fascination of Salzburg with a city tour.

With your licensed tour guide, you will get a first overview of the sights and landmarks of the city.

Large numbers of churches and palaces attest even today to the wealth and influence of the former prince archbishops of Salzburg. Take pleasure in the architecture, the lovely alleyways and the city center with its many attractive shops.

Gaze at the classic sights such as the Mirabell Palace, the dwelling of the Mozart family on the Markartplatz, the theater, the famed Getreidegasse on which the house stands where Mozart was born, the cathedral square, the carillon, St. Peter’s monastery with its famous cemetery, the festival theaters and much more.

How about an organ concert at midday in the Large Hall of the Mozarteum.
(Only Tuesdays).

Lunch on your own.

In the afternoon we will go seeking “White Gold”, as the precious commodity salt was formerly called, in the Salt World of Bad Dürrnberg.
There you will put on protective clothing and take the mine railway into the mountain.
A knowledgeable guide will accompany you through the tunnels and explain how salt was mined. You will then slide down wooden slides even deeper into the mine, a fun adventure for young and old! In the middle of the mountain you will board a raft and have a spectacular ride over the underground salt lake.

Afterwards you will visit the Celtic Museum in Hallein.
The collection illustrates the connections between the time of the Celts and that of the Habsburgs. The museum is one of the largest for Celtic history in Europe. The combination of burial grounds, settlements and salt mining was exceptional in the Iron Age.

In the evening you will become better acquainted with Salzburg’s most famous son at a Mozart Dinner Concert.
You will be transported back to Mozart’s time and eat by candlelight in one of the most beautiful halls of the city as an unforgettable end to your day.

 

Day 9: Salzburg
Breakfast.

Right after breakfast we leave for an excursion through the “Land of Operettas”, the lovely Salzkammergut, with its landscape of lakes and mountains.

Our route takes us through Hof and Fuschl to St. Gilgen, the home town of W.A. Mozart’s mother.

By the next stop in St. Wolfgang you can admire the renowned church with the altar created by Michael Pacher. St. Wolfgang is also home to the world famous Weisses Rössl.

Lunch on your own.

On we go to the “Emperor’s City’ Bad Ischl where history was often made.

Bad Ischl… the imperial city caught between tradition and modernity
The city still retains much of what made it what it was and many buildings from this period are still to be seen. Sights include the Emperor’s Villa, the summer residence of the Emperor Franz Josef and Elisabeth (Sissy), etc.

Warmly recommended is a visit to the famous Zauner Coffee House, with a glorious selection of pastries and cakes and many select coffees to choose from.

Fortified by all the goodies, we travel on to Hallstatt.

Hallstatt… the original – subject of a million photographs – once copied – never equaled
An idyllic location on the lake, many historical buildings. Chinese architects were so taken with Hallstatt that they built a reproduction of this World Cultural Site in the People’s Republic.
The picturesque original owes its beginning to the rich deposits of salt. Mighty salt chambers were discovered there more than 4000 years ago. ‘White Gold’ is still mined today above Hallstatt from the oldest salt mine on earth.
With its history of over 40 centuries, the town has much to be explored: the Celtic burial grounds, the salt mine, the museum of prehistoric times, the houses built over one another due to the limited space, churches, the cemetery with its “Bone House” and the “world’s oldest pipeline”.

On the way back to Salzburg we pass by the storied Krottensee, then through Mondsee with its famous Benedictine church from the 12th century.

Dinner on your own.

 

Day 10: Departure
Breakfast – check out.

What we hope has been a varied and beautiful journey with unforgettable memories has now come to an end.

The driver of your limousine will bring you to the airport or train station.

 

Please consider all of our tour description only as examples.
We will be happy to prepare an individual plan for your journey through any European country.
Our goal is to fulfill all of your personal wishes for your journey!