In the course of our stay we explore the city’s superb artistic heritage, from the late 19th and early 20th-century masterpieces housed in the Baroque Belvedere Palace to the magnificent treasures housed in the Schatzkammer (Treasury). We visit the impressive Imperial Library, or Prunksaal and enjoy a private visit to the Musikverein, home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a special private lunch at the 17th-century Schloss Ludwigstorff on the banks of the Danube. A fitting finale.
There will also be the option to see the opera Andrea Chenier by Umberto Giordano at the Wiener Staatsoper.
London – Vienna
Depart London Heathrow on a British Airways morning flight to Vienna. Transfer into the city and check into the luxury Hotel Bristol, located next to the Vienna State Opera House, where three nights are spent. Afternoon orientation walk including a visit to the impressive Romanesque and Gothic St. Stephens Cathedral. Welcome drinks with an introduction by Douglas Skeggs followed by dinner at the Hotel Sacher which is a short walk from the hotel.
Morning visit to the Vienna Secession Building which was constructed by Joseph Maria Olbrich in a modern Art Nouveau style in 1897/8 and remains one of the best-known buildings in Vienna. The leafwork dome (“golden cabbage”) is the symbol of the Secession, which was an artistic movement in 1896, during which Gustav Klimt and a number of other artists quit the conservative Künstlerhaus and founded a new art association. See the famous Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt on display in the Seccession Building.
Continue to Schloss Belvedere, Prince Eugène of Savoy’s summer palace, which is considered one of the finest examples of late baroque architecture in Europe. Visit the Belverdere (upper) Palace, which houses a superb collection of 19th and 20th century paintings, including works by Klimt, Renoir and Schiele. Here, in the Great Hall, The Staatsvertrag or Austrian Independence Treaty was signed by the Allied occupying powers (France, United Kingdom, United States and Soviet Union) and the Austrian Government in 1955.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon visit to the Musikverein for a private guided tour. Home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Musikverein is widely considered one of the greatest concert halls in the world. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner under own arrangements.
Optional evening opera performance of Andrea Chenier by Umberto Giordano at the Wiener Staatsoper.
Morning visit to the Leopold Museum, home to one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art, featuring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl. Continue to the Ceremonial Hall of the Prunksaal (Imperial Library), considered one of the finest examples of a Baroque library, containing some 200,000 works and magnificently decorated with a glorious fresco by Daniel Gran.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon visit to the Treasuries (Schatzkammer) where the twenty-one rooms contain magnificent Imperial gems, relics of the Holy Roman Empire, the Imperial crown, coronation regalia, valuable Habsburg jewellery, and splendid liturgical objects, relics and vestments from the Imperial court, as well as an outstanding collection of porcelain.
Continue to the Hofburg Palace created in a variety of differing styles by the Habsburgs between the 13th and 19th centuries. Visit the Silver Collection, a unique collection of cultural and historical importance, comprising objects and items that were required for the court household.
Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Private evening viewing of the Bruegel Exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum which marks the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c 1525/30-1569). Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Vienna – London
Optional morning visit to the Albertina museum which houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with approximately 65,000 drawings and approximately 1 million old master prints, as well as more modern graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings.
Drive out of Vienna (with luggage) to the spa town of Bad Deutsch Altenburg where we enjoy a very special private visit and lunch at the 17th-century Schloss Ludwigstorff as guests of the owners, Mr and Mrs Manfred Rhomberg. Transfer to Vienna Airport for a later afternoon British Airways flight to London Heathrow.