Vienna in Depth

A leisurely exploration of the superb architecture, fascinating history and culture, and the glorious music and food of one of the world’s truly great cities! Our tour includes all the major sights, such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the State Opera, and the Habsburg Dynasty’s Schönbrunn and Belvedere Palaces, as well as fabulous museums and monuments associated with painters such as Bruegel and Klimt and musicians such as Mozart and Schubert. The tour host will be historian Jacques R. Pauwels, PhD, who will lecture on the history and culture of Vienna and Austria in general.

Historian Jacques Pauwels will be your tour host. Jacques has published books in no less than seven languages, including: Beneath the Dust of Time: A History of the Names of Peoples and Places (Battlebridge Publications. London, 2009), The Great Class War 1914-1918 (James Lorimer, Toronto, 2016), and Big Business and Hitler (James Lorimer, Toronto, 2017).

BOOKING INFORMATION

June 09 - 19, 2018

$3,775 from Toronto

Land Only: $2,640 Single Room Supplement: $375 (limited availability)

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VIEW TERMS & CONDITIONS DOWNLOAD PDF OF ITINERARY

*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


ITINERARY

Day 1 - Saturday, June 09:

Early evening departure from Toronto on Austrian Airlines’ non-stop flight to Vienna. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.

Day 2 - Sunday, June 10:

Morning arrival in Vienna, and transfer to the city centre by private coach. En route, we briefly visit the famous Prater Amusement Park with its gigantic Ferris Wheel as well as the Hundertwasser Haus, a spectacular creation by the controversial Austrian artist/architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Then we check into the centrally located first-class/four-star Hotel Johann Strauss (excellent customers reviews can be read on Trip Advisor). Free time to settle in and get some rest after your overnight flight. In late afternoon, short introductory walk to view some important monuments in the immediate vicinity of our hotel, such as the impressive baroque Charles Church, the Musikverein building, and the Secession Exhibition Hall. Dinner in our hotel or in a nearby restaurant.

Day 3 - Monday, June 11:

After breakfast, walking tour of the historical city centre, with sights such as the State Opera; the monument to Mozart; Heroes’ Square (Heldenplatz) with the Neue Burg, from whose balcony Hitler proclaimed the “Anschluss” of Austria in March 1938, a dramatic moment in Austrian history, to be commented on by your historian/tour guide; the Hofburg residence of the Habsburg Emperors; Michael’s Square (Michaeler Platz), with foundations of Roman Vienna, known as Vindobona, as well as outstanding ancient and modern architecture; the upscale pedestrian shopping district of Kaertner Strasse and Graben, and the magnificent Gothic St. Stephen's Cathedral. Mid-morning coffee break in the historical Café Demel with its 19th-century décor, conjuring up the pre-WW I era when the Habsburgs still ruled this part of Europe! Afternoon free to explore Vienna on your own. This evening, dinner in a typical restaurant.

Day 4 - Tuesday, June 12:

This morning we first explore the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s fabulous food market, then enjoy a streetcar ride to admire the grandiose monuments along the Ring Boulevard, such as the Austrian Parliament, the City Hall, the university, and the City Park. Resuming our walking tour of the historical city centre, we pause at the Monument Against War and Fascism on our way to the Capuchin Crypt, the mausoleum of the Habsburg Dynasty, with the elaborate tombs of e.g. Empress Maria-Theresa, Emperor Francis-Joseph, Crown Prince Rudolph, and Maria-Louise, Napoleon’s second wife and the mother of his only son, the Duke of Reichstadt; the latter used to be here, but was moved to Paris to rest with his father in the Invalides – your guide will explain! The gourmets among us may want to conclude this busy program with a piece of Sachertorte, a world-famous Viennese variation on the death-by-chocolate theme, in the café of the hotel Sacher, located just behind the State Opera; it is also an excellent, though not inexpensive, choice for lunch! Rest of the day at leisure.

Day 5 - Wednesday, June 13:

A very special day, devoted to the music of Vienna, with hostess, Canadian musicologist (and Vienna-resident) Dr. Rita Steblin, one of the world’s top expert on Schubert, Bach, and other composers – she even revealed the true identity of Beethoven’s “immortal beloved”! We first visit Vienna’s Central Cemetery, with the tombs of famous composers such as Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, and Strauss. Returning to central Vienna, we visit the Figaro Haus, where Mozart composed his famous opera, and Schubert’s birthplace/museum. (Rita would also love to take us to the Museum of Musical Instruments, but it will probably still be closed for renovations.) This evening, dinner in a restaurant featuring Balkan specialties, accompanied by traditional music!

Day 6 - Thursday, June 14:

Morning visit to the Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum), considered to be one of the world’s finest museums on account of its magnificent architecture and interior decoration plus an amazing art collection that includes treasures from Ancient Egypt and Greek Antiquity to the late 18th century; among the highlights are paintings by the likes of Dürer, Raphael, Bruegel, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Velázquez, and Vermeer. In the afternoon, visit to the Imperial Treasury, located in the Hofburg Palace, where we will admire more Habsburg treasures and insignia, e.g. the imperial crown, insignia and jewels as well as pieces of jewellery once worn by Empress Elisabeth, better known as “Sissi.”

Day 7 - Friday, June 15:

Day entirely at leisure for shopping, enjoying the city on your own, and/or visiting museums such as the Natural History Museum; the Leopold museum, one the largest museums of modern Austrian art, with works by artists such as Kokoschka, Schiele, and Klimt; the interactive House of Music museum; the Modern Art Collection (MUMOK), one of Europe’s most impressive collections of modern art, featuring works by Picasso, Warhol, etc.; the Ephesos Museum, with fascinating objects from this antique metropolis on the Aegean coast of present-day Turkey; and the Museum of Military History, where one can view the automobile in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne, and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, an event that marked the beginning of the Great War.

Day 8 - Saturday, June 16:

This morning we walk via the little-known monument dedicated to Kolschitzky, a hero of the famous Turkish siege of 1683, who introduced coffee to the Viennese, to the magnificent Belvedere Palace, with its fabulous collection of masterpieces by modern Austrian painters such as Klimt and Kokoschka. On the way back to the hotel, we view the Red Army Memorial, where your guide will explain another chapter of Viennese history, the birth of a free, independent, but neutral Austrian state in the wake of WW II. If there is sufficient interest, an optional daytrip (by train) may be arranged to Mozart’s beautiful birthplace, Salzburg.

Day 9 - Sunday, June 17:

This morning, two optional activities may be of interest to tour members: (1) at 9:15, a Schubert-Mass with the Vienna Boys’ Choir in the chapel of the Hofburg Palace, with prices starting around $20; (2) at 11, a performance of the Lipizaner Horses in the world-famous Spanish Riding School, with prices starting around $45 for standing room and around $75 for seats; please advise ASAP if you are interested! 

Day 10 - Monday, June 18:

This morning we first visit the magnificent palace and gardens of Schoenbrunn, the former summer residence of Habsburgs rulers such as Maria-Theresa and Francis-Joseph. Then we enjoy an excursion (by private coach) into the Vienna Woods, with visit to the pretty town of Baden, Heiligenkreuz Abbey, and the hunting lodge at Mayerling, site of the tragic death of Crown Prince Rudolph and his young mistress. Returning to Vienna, we ascend the Kahlenberg Hill for a fabulous view of the city; this is also the site where in 1683 the Turks, who had been besieging Vienna for months, were defeated by Polish King John Sobieski; a small church commemorates this proud moment in Polish as well as Austrian history. In the quaint nearby village of Heiligenstadt, where Beethoven used to live, we enjoy a traditional dinner of local specialties in a “heurigen,” a wine tavern suitably named the “Beethovenhaus.”

Day 11 - Tuesday, June 19:

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and non-stop return flight with Austrian Airlines to Toronto; departure at 10:40 AM, and arrival at 2:10 PM.

ITINERARY PDF

EXPLORE THE AREA

INCLUDED

Return direct flight Toronto-Vienna with Austrian Airlines, including all airport taxes, security fees and fuel surcharges Accommodation based on double occupancy in the four-star/first-class Hotel Johann Strauss; the single room supplement is $375 Breakfast daily and a total of four dinners (or full lunches) All sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary, including admission to museums and monuments mentioned Transfers and sightseeing by private coach and public transportation as indicated in the itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

All items of a personal nature Beverages such as wine/beer/mineral water with dinners, and meals other than those outlined above Travel Insurance, available upon request

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