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On the Trail of the Habsburgs with Vila Bled

Imperial cities & iconic coffee houses
 
For centuries, the Habsburgs were Central Europe’s most influential rulers. On this self-guided, cultural journey by train along Europe’s first Alpine railway, complete with a detour to alluring Lake Bled, you can delve into their fascinating past as you follow our self-guided walking tours through Vienna, Graz, Ljubljana and Trieste.
On the Trail of the Habsburgs with Vila Bled. 10 nights
On the Trail of the Habsburgs with Vila Bled. 10 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A rail holiday from Vienna to Trieste

Ruling over an empire that stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Russian border, the Habsburgs were for centuries Central Europe’s most influential rulers. Their legacy lives on in the form of splendid architecture epitomised by their vast palaces and opulent summer residences, and in the pioneering railway which connects Vienna, Graz, Ljubljana and Trieste.  
Besides their common imperial past, these fascinating cities are united by their shared role in Europe’s first coffee craze. Whether or not it was the Ottoman army who introduced the Habsburgs to coffee (legend has it that the retreating army left behind sacks of beans in Vienna in the 17th century), but coffee houses soon became an integral part of the empire, convivial places purposely designed for lingering. On this holiday, there’s plenty of time to indulge in the delights of the Kaffeehaus, and to succumb to the many other charms of these four captivating cities and sublime Lake Bled.

The city that put coffee in our cups
What have the Habsburgs ever done for us, asks Chris Leadbeater, as he delves into the history of Trieste, Italy's 'unheralded' but fascinating northern port-city. Read the full article >
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • Arrival in Vienna
    Night 1: at Hotel Kaiserhof (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of exploration.
  • Explore Vienna
    Austria’s sophisticated capital is a city which needs little introduction. The former headquarters of the Habsburgs, Vienna is a place with a taste for the finer things in life, be they the exquisite orchestral performances given in the prestigious Musikverein or cups of freshly ground coffee sipped amid the gleaming interiors of a traditional Kaffeehaus. With a full day here, there’s time to take in all of the city’s major sights: see the many works of art and architectural treasures of the Hofburg Palace, described as a ‘city within a city’; wonder at the no-expense-spared Baroque Schloss Schönbrunn, in whose Hall of Mirrors the six-year-old Mozart astonished the Empress Maria-Theresa with his precocious talents; and make the trip to the Spanish Riding School to see the famous ballet-dancing horses in action.
  • Vienna to Graz
    Leaving Vienna, you follow the trail of imperial ambition south to Graz, on the ground-breaking railway line commissioned by Emperor Franz Josef. Completed in 1854, the UNESCO-listed Semmeringbahn is a monumental feat of engineering, whisking passengers through the mountains by means of a spectacular series of tunnels and double-decker viaducts. Once in Graz, you spend two nights at the Hotel zum Dom, ideally located for seeing the city’s unique blend of ancient and modern sights.
  • Explore Graz
    Often described as a ‘Vienna in miniature’, Austria’s second city has plenty to interest the visitor, yet remains relatively undiscovered. As well as the wonderfully preserved Old Town, iconic Clock Tower, ornate Gothic cathedral and postcard-perfect hill-top castle, Graz is also home to a futuristic art gallery known locally as ‘the friendly alien’, and the Murinsel – an artificial, floating island-cum-bridge where you can enjoy a coffee as the river rushes by.
  • Graz to Ljubljana
    Today’s rail journey sees you continue south through Mitteleuropa, crossing the border from Austria into Slovenia.
    Your destination is Ljubljana, a welcoming city with a diverse cultural heritage. You stay at the Allegro Hotel, a characterful boutique hotel housed in a restored medieval house. We also work with the stylish Angel Hotel, as well as the friendly Pension Slamic.
  • Explore Ljubljana
    Slovenia's verdant capital rivals Vienna as a pocket-sized, easily navigated city shaped by the Art Nouveau and Viennese architects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Key sights include the intriguing Triple Bridge and panoramic 12th-century castle, but the best way to get to know Ljubljana is simply to stroll its narrow, traffic-free streets, take a boat tour along the willow-lined Ljubljanica River which flows through the middle of the city, or visit the vibrant farmers' market held in the heart of the Old Town (closed Sundays).
  • Ljubljana to Bled
    A one-hour train journey followed by a taxi transfer brings you to Lake Bled, one of Slovenia's best-known landmarks, and the Hotel Vila Bled, where you spend two nights.
  • Explore Lake Bled
    You may wish simply to enjoy the idyllic location, perhaps strolling along the lake's shores to panoramic Bled Castle or hiring a boat to row across the lake to ring the ‘wishing bell’ on the island in the middle of the lake.

    If you are travelling between May and mid-October, you could also choose to walk to the Vintgar Gorge. Paths lead alongside the lake, then through a string of small villages and finally through woodland to the gorge (small entrance fee payable), a series of boardwalks and bridges lead you spectacularly upstream along the entire length of the gorge. A gentle country trail then leads you back to Lake Bled. (16km, 5hrs)
  • Bled to Trieste
    You start by returning to Ljubljana, where you change trains. As you cross the Slovenian Karst and make your way towards your final destination, the Italian port-city of Trieste, the sense of being at the crossroads of Europe intensifies – especially when you pass through the former Iron Curtain border at Sežana, featured in Ian Fleming’s From Russia with Love. From here, your route leads into the heart of Prosecco country before finally arriving in Trieste, where your final two nights are spent at the Savoia Excelsior Palace, a magnificent hotel on the seafront. We can also offer the historic Grand Hotel Duchi d'Aosta, situated on Trieste's main piazza.
  • Explore Trieste
    Declared a free port in 1719, Trieste has long been a melting pot of cultures, languages and ethnicities, a juncture of east and west and gateway to the rest of the Habsburgs’ lands. You’ll feel it in the incredible variety of architecture – Orthodox cathedrals rub shoulders with ancient Roman remains and Italianate squares – and in the ubiquitous coffee houses, remnants from the days when this coastal city was the trading heart of a mighty empire (even today Trieste remains the headquarters of coffee giants Illy). Spend your full day here exploring the impressive neoclassical buildings and boulevards of the medieval core; the huge Piazza Unità d'Italia and Canal Grande, both of which bear more than a passing resemblance to their more famous counterparts in Venice; Viale Joyce – a street named for the Irish author James Joyce, who made Trieste his home for many years; and the nearby Miramare Castle, a 19th-century Gothic masterpiece situated on a rocky outcrop.
 

Accommodation

All five hotels are very well located for exploring.

Please note: most beds in Austrian hotels are normally one large base with two mattresses/duvets. We refer to these as 'Austrian Twins' and they are locally regarded to serve requests for both double and twin bedded rooms. Separate twin beds or traditional double beds with one large mattress are rare and cannot be guaranteed.

Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer an alternative hotel, as shown below. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you. Wherever you stay in Trieste, we recommend adding extra nights to visit Miramare Castle.
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 

Prices for 2020

We are in the process of updating our prices for 2020. If you’d like to book now, please contact us – we’ll be happy to provide a quotation.
Get in touch >
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 10 nights: 01 April 2019 - 31 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 12 Apr 2019 £1330 £525
    13 - 25 Apr 2019 # £1375 £530
    26 - 30 Apr 2019 £1405 £540
    1 May - 25 Sep 2019 # £1430 £545
    26 - 30 Sep 2019 £1405 £540
    1 - 10 Oct 2019 £1375 £530
    11 - 23 Oct 2019 § £1330 £525
    3rd & 4th person discount -£15
    Single traveller supplement £15

    Includes accommodation, meals, travel between hotels and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus a detailed information pack, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    # ADD £35pp/n (£40pn in a single room) if staying in Vienna 18-21 Apr; 30 May-1 Jun; 7-9 Jun; 20-25 Jun; 18-20 Sep 2019
    § ADD £120pp/n (£150pn in a single room) if staying in Trieste 11-12 Oct 2019

    Included travel: Vienna-Graz-Lesce Bled-Ljubljana-Trieste by rail and return transfer Lesce Bled-Vila Bled

    Pay locally for taxis between other railway stations and hotels.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Kaiserhof, Vienna
    Junior suite: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £38
    Hotel zum Dom – Palais Inzaghi, Graz
    Comfort 'Inzaghi': 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £12
    Suite: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £18
    Vila Bled, Bled
    Suite with lake view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £30
    Suite with park view: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £12
    Allegro Hotel, Ljubljana
    Superior: 01 Apr - 30 Apr 2019 £6
    Superior: 01 May - 30 Sep 2019 £10
    Superior: 01 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £6
    Superior suite: 01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £50
    Savoia Excelsior Palace, Trieste
    Deluxe with sea view & balcony: 01 Apr - 10 Oct 2019 £25
    Deluxe with sea view & balcony: 11 Oct - 12 Oct 2019 £40
    Deluxe with sea view & balcony: 13 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £25

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel Kaiserhof, Vienna (B&B) Double room Single room
    15 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 # £102 £144
    01 Jul - 31 Aug 2019 £97 £133
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 # £102 £144
    # ADD £35pp/n (£40pn in a single room) if staying in Vienna 18-21 Apr; 30 May-1 Jun; 7-9 Jun; 20-25 Jun; 18-20 Sep 2019
    Hotel zum Dom – Palais Inzaghi, Graz (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2019 £75 £103
    01 May - 30 Jun 2019 £82 £110
    01 Jul - 31 Aug 2019 £75 £103
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2019 £82 £110
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £75 £103
    Vila Bled, Bled (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 £114 £196
    Allegro Hotel, Ljubljana (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 29 Apr 2019 £65 £85
    30 Apr - 30 Sep 2019 £75 £100
    01 Oct - 29 Oct 2019 £65 £85
    Savoia Excelsior Palace, Trieste (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 29 Oct 2019 £80 £135
    Add £120pp/n (£150pn in a single room) if staying in Trieste 11-12 Oct 2019
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Vienna (return from Trieste or Venice Marco Polo)

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying into Munich and out of Milan. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Vienna Eurowings 
    Return route Airline
    Venice - Birmingham (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Vienna easyJet 
    Return route Airline
    Venice Marco Polo - Bristol easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Vienna easyJet,  jet2 
    Return route Airline
    Venice Marco Polo - Edinburgh easyJet,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Vienna British Airways,  easyJet 
    Return route Airline
    Venice Marco Polo - Gatwick British Airways,  easyJet,  TUI 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Vienna Austrian Airlines,  British Airways 
    Return route Airline
    Trieste - Heathrow (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Venice Marco Polo - Heathrow British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Vienna easyJet 
    Return route Airline
    Venice Marco Polo - Luton easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London Southend - Vienna Flybe 
    Return route Airline
    Venice Marco Polo - London Southend Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Vienna Eurowings,  Ryanair 
    Return route Airline
    Trieste - Stansted Ryanair 
    Venice Marco Polo - Stansted Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Vienna Austrian Airlines,  easyJet 
    Return route Airline
    Venice Marco Polo - Manchester easyJet,  jet2,  TUI 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying into Munich and out of Milan. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    own travel arrangements from the airport to the hotel pay locally flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    own travel arrangements from the hotel to the airport pay locally flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying to Vienna & back from Venice Marco Polo

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    own travel arrangements from the airport to the hotel pay locally flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    bus Trieste to Venice airport (1h50) £9 varies - contact us
    rail Trieste to Venice Mestre station (1h55) £22 1300
What is included
  • 10 nights
  • 1 dinner
    10 breakfasts
  • city maps and notes for walking tours
  • detailed cultural information
  • rail travel Vienna-Graz-Ljubljana-Lesce-Trieste
  • return transfer Lesce-Vila Bled
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • The information that we send to you 2-3 weeks before your holiday includes practical information about each stage of your journey so that you can travel confidently from one hotel to another, recommendations for places to visit and eat out in each place, plus cultural information about the area. Where applicable, we also provide notes for a self-guided walking tour of most cities, and some large towns. Sample travel pack >
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Austria, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • (Austrian) German is the most commonly spoken language. The currency is the Euro. Austrian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Slovenia, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is Slovene, although Italian is spoken by many people along the border with Italy. The currency is the Euro. Slovenian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 11/12/2019 9:33:52 AM