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  • Vienna, Styrian Alps, Slovenia and Venice: a rail tour of southern Alps, Lakes and waterways

    Lake Bled

    Ljubljana

    Graz

    Vienna

    Venice

    Vienna, Styrian Alps, Slovenia and Venice: a rail tour of southern Alps, Lakes and waterways

     
    12 nights/13 days
    Vienna – Graz – Ljubljana – Lake Bled - Venice

    This luxury rail touring holiday offers you Vienna and Venice, two magnificent cities at the start and end of this progression through the southern Alps of Styria, into the lakes and mountains landscape of Slovenia and picturesque Lake Bled, also visiting the charming cities of Graz and Ljubljana.
    This rail holiday starts with your arrival in Vienna, either by train or by air. Vienna, on the banks of the River Danube and at the heart of central European history since the Roman times. Vienna never fails to impress and satisfy the visitor eager for historical and cultural references. ‘Dream and reality’ still resonate and your days in Vienna can be filled with a mixture of galleries, museums, opera, concerts or eating and drinking in a ‘Heuriger’ in the Vienna Woods. The history of Vienna can be witnessed in the Roman Museum, the Neidhart frescoes dating from the 1400s, the mediaeval Basiliskenhaus, the Imperial Palace and the numerous Jugendstil buildings, and of course in the City of Vienna museum. Upon leaving Vienna, your train speeds south passing spa towns towards the jagged peaks of the Styrian Alps, travelling along the scenic Semmering route, which was the first mountain railway in Europe to be built with a standard gauge track, and the attractive Styrian capital, Graz. The history of Graz is very much bound to that of central Europe, the rule of the Habsburgs and the cultural identity of its both German and Slovene populations. Its charming old town is a harmonious blend of building of different epochs and styles and reflect the borderland that Graz occupies between things Germanic, Italian and Balkan. Into picturesque Slovenia, a small, westerly Slav nation bordered by Austria, Croatia and Italy and known for its beautiful scenery of mountains, forests and lakes. Its capital Ljubljana has an elegant feel with its Baroque houses, painted in shades of pink, rose, yellow and cream lining the Ljubljanica River, crossed by characterful bridges with echoes of Venice. Squares, green spaces, tree-lined streets and outdoor restaurants give Ljubljana an air of gaiety and relaxation. From the capital, it’s a short but scenic train journey to picturesque Lake Bled where you spend two nights before travelling to Venice, la Serenissima. Return home by overnight sleeper train or by air.

    Click the tabs above to find out more, or click here to download a pdf with full details of this rail touring holiday.

     
    Sample Prices
    Out by rail, return by rail

    Rail from London and throughout back to London
    Standard class on Eurostar, double cabin on sleeper train from Cologne to Vienna and from Venice to Paris, and second class on all other trains
    Stay at 4-star hotels (Hotel Kaiserhof Vienna, Palais-Hotel Erzherhog Johann Graz, Antiq Palace Hotel and Spa Ljunljana, Villa Bled, Lake Bled and Hotel Bisanzio Venice)
    Prices from £2,620 per person
    Supplement: Standard premier on Eurostar, double cabin on sleeper trains and first class on all other trains £270 per person.
    Please note Ljubljana to Lesce-Bled is only offers a standard class carriage.
    Out and back by air, rail in between
    Scheduled flight to Vienna and returning from Venice and second class rail travel between places
    Stay at 4-star hotels (Hotel Kaiserhof Vienna, Palais-Hotel Erzherhog Johann Graz, Antiq Palace Hotel and Spa Ljunljana, Villa Bled, Lake Bled and Hotel Bisanzio Venice)
    Prices from £2,280 per person
    Supplement: First class rail £90 per person.
    Please note Ljubljana to Lesce-Bled is only offers a standard class carriage
    Hotel supplements
    Stay at the 5* Hotel Bristol Vienna rather than the 4* Hotel Kaiserhof. Supplement: £90 per person for 2 nights
    Stay at the 5* Ca’Sagredo Hotel Venice rather than 4* Hotel Bisanzio. Supplement: £230 per person for 3 nights
    What’s included
    Scheduled flights from the UK to Vienna and Venice to the UK OR rail travel from London to Vienna and back from Venice (first class can be booked as a supplement).
    First or second-class travel on all trains
    Double sleeper compartment on sleeper trains (if travelling by rail from the UK)
    2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Vienna
    1 night’s bed and breakfast in Graz
    2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Ljubljana
    2 nights’ bed and breakfast on Lake Bled
    3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Venice
    Transfers in Venice
    What’s not included?
    Transfers in any other location
    Click the tabs above to view our suggested day-by-day touring itinerary and to find out more about the hotels featured. 

    Click the tabs above to find out more, or click here to download a pdf with full details of this rail touring holiday.

    Vienna, Styrian Alps, Slovenia and Venice: a rail tour of southern Alps, Lakes and waterways

     
    Day-by-Day itinerary
    Vienna – Graz – Ljubljana – Lake Bled – Venice
    DAY ONE: Travel from London to Cologne

    Your holiday begins by departing from London after lunch on a Eurostar service to Brussels. Change trains here and continue to Cologne where you will arrive 2 hours later. Once in Cologne, time for something to eat near the Dom, before you continue your journey to Vienna on an overnight sleeper train.
    DAY TWO: Arrival in Vienna
    You will arrive in Vienna in the early morning and will spend two nights here. Drop your bags off at your hotel and begin exploring the city.
    DAY THREE: Vienna
    Vienna, on the banks of the River Danube, has been at the heart of central European history since the Roman times. Vienna never fails to impress and satisfy the visitor eager for historical and cultural references. ‘Dream and reality’ still resonate and your days in Vienna can be filled with a mixture of galleries, museums, opera, concerts or eating and drinking in a ‘Heuriger’ in the Vienna Woods. The history of Vienna can be witnessed in the Roman Museum, the Neidhart frescoes dating from the 1400s, the mediaeval Basiliskenhaus, the Imperial Palace and the numerous Jugendstil buildings, and of course in the City of Vienna museum. The Hofburg contains numerous national collections from the Crown Jewels to the Imperial armoury. Take time to listen to the Mozart Orchestra playing in the Musikverein, and to enjoy coffee and cake at Demel’s. A fun way to see the sights of the city is to take a tram around the Ringstrasse, hopping off and on as you want.
    DAY FOUR: Vienna to Graz
    Depart your hotel mid-morning and board a direct train to Graz. This will take approximately 2 hours 30 minutes and you can enjoy the scenery along the way. Upon leaving Vienna, your train speeds south passing spa towns towards the jagged peaks of the Styrian Alps, along the famous Semmering route, a UNESCO world heritage site and conceived as a feat of ‘landscape gardening’, attempting a harmonious blend of nature and technology, and the attractive Styrian capital, Graz. The history of Graz is very much bound to that of central Europe, the rule of the Habsburgs and the cultural identity of its both German and Slovene populations. Its charming old town is a harmonious blend of building of different epochs and styles and reflect the borderland that Graz occupies between things Germanic, Italian and Balkan. Highlights of the city are the 473m-high Schlossberg that overlooks the city (and reached by a funicular), the 300-year-old clock tower and the 16th century bell tower. Other notable sites to visit are the Town Hall, the Cathedral, the Gemaltes Haus, the Armoury and the Kunsthaus, built in 2003, an example of ‘blob architecture’ and known as the ‘friendly alien’.
    DAY FIVE: Graz to Ljubljana by train
    Check out of your hotel after breakfast and board a direct service from Graz to Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. The landscape is pleasant with its rolling fields and forested hills and particularly scenic between Grobelno and Ljubljana when the route follows the Sava river, a tributary of the Danube. This journey will take approximately 3 and a half hours. Check-in to your hotel in Ljubljana for two nights.
    DAY SIX: Ljubljana
    You have a full day to explore Ljubljana. Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, has as its symbol the Ljubljana dragon, and is visible in the city’s coat of arms, the bridge over the river Ljubljanica and on the top of the castle tower. Castle Hill is a good place to start your tour and it can be reached by funicular or a 20-minute uphill hike. Once at the top, visit Ljubljana Castle and enjoy the views over the city from the castle watchtower. Afterwards, come back down and explore the area around the main square in the city, Preseren Square and the Central Market area. Discover the Old Town or take a stroll along the River Ljubljanica crossing notable bridges such as Dragon Bridge, Butchers’ Bridge, the Triple Bridge, the Fish Footbridge and the Cobbler’s Bridge. Many of the buildings are Baroque in the Italian style There are also lots of museums of interest, which include the City Museum focusing on Ljubljana’s history, culture and politics as well as the National Museum of Slovenia and the Museum of Modern Art. The botanical garden covers almost six acres and is the oldest cultural, scientific and educational organisation in the country.
    DAY SEVEN: Ljubljana to Lake Bled
    Today you travel to Lake Bled by train which takes just under one hour to cover the 55 kms. Your hotel is located about a 15-minute taxi journey from the rail station. Spend two nights on Lake Bled.
    DAY EIGHT: Lake Bled
    Lake Bled is a popular Slovenian resort thanks to its emerald-green water, picture-postcard church and mediaeval castle. The tiny Bled island, tear-shaped towards the western side of the lake, adds a fairy-tale quality to the already picturesque surroundings. Lake Bled is fairly small in size measuring 2km by 1380m. Enjoy a walk along the shore taking in the breath-taking scenery as you go, hire a boat or swim in the lake, whose waters are warmed by thermal springs. There are bathing areas on the northern and western shores. Sights to visit include Bled Castle, which is perched 100m above the lake on a steep cliff. The castle dates back to the 11th century and houses a museum collection which details the lake’s history. Travel by gondola to the tiny Bled island which boasts the lovely Church of the Assumption with a gold baroque altar and fragments of 15th Century frescos, and a small museum. Around 4kms from Bled is the Vintgar Gorge with a 1,600m wooden walkway that crosses over rapids and waterfalls before reaching the 13m high Sum Waterfall. Whilst on Lake Bled, be sure to sample the famous vanilla cream pastry, a speciality of the region.
    DAY NINE: Lake Bled to Venice
    An early morning train will take you from Lake Bled to Venice with an easy change of trains in Villach (Austria). You will arrive in just under 6 hours. On arrival to Venice, we include a private water transfer from the train station to your hotel.
    DAYS TEN AND ELEVEN: Venice
    Spend three nights exploring Venice, the “floating city”. Take the time to discover the alleyways, canals and piazzas as well as the lively wine bars and restaurants on offer. Cultural highlights include St Mark’s Square where you can ascend the Campanile by lift for a panorama over Venice and the Lido. Also to be visited is the Doge’s Palace, reflecting powerful and affluent periods of the Venetian democracy as well as the Basilica di San Marco. Take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal and walk across the Bridge of Sighs. Perhaps catch one of the local water taxis to explore the islands of the lagoon. Burano, island of lace-making and fishermen, is impressively picturesque whilst on Murano master craftsmen offer demonstrations of glass-making before you enter their shops. A visit to both these islands is thoroughly recommended to provide an alternative view of Venice. The Accademia, the Museo Correr and the Guggenheim all provide a wealth of art for viewing. The Renaissance and Baroque churches that have somehow been squeezed into all corners of this city are architectural masterpieces and include the Church of the Redentore, the Church of Santa Maria della Salute and San Giorgio Maggiore. Take time to savour Venetian delicacies such as clams, sardines and cuttlefish and enjoy a coffee at Florian’s in St Mark’s Square.
    DAY TWELVE: Travel to Paris by sleeper train
    You have most of this day to continue your exploration of Venice before being taken by private water taxi back to Santa Lucia station. Here, you catch the overnight sleeper train to Paris, leaving at around 8.00pm. The sleeper train offers a simple but time effective means of covering a large distance. We include a private twin cabin for your comfort.
    DAY THIRTEEN: Paris back to London
    You arrive into Paris Gare de Nord just after 09:30. With a change of stations in Paris, catch a lunchtime Eurostar back to London.
    Click the ‘Hotel Information’ tab to find out more about the hotels featured in this touring itinerary.

    Click the tabs above to find out more, or click here to download a pdf with full details of this rail touring holiday.

    Hotel information

     
    These are our personally selected, luxury hotels that are featured in this touring holiday. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations – please contact us for full details.
    Vienna
    Hotel Bristol - 5-star

    Hotel Bristol occupies a fantastic location opposite the State Opera House. Guests can enjoy traditional Austrian grandeur in features such as velvet furnishings and intricate chandeliers and experience the highest standard of luxury in every guest room.
    Hotel Kaiserhof – 4-star
    Hotel Kaiserhof Vienna is situated a few steps away from Naschmarkt and the State Opera House. The hotel is family-owned and enjoys 74 comfortable rooms and suites.
    Graz
    Palais-Hotel Erzherzog Johann – 4-star

    Palais-Hotel Erzherzog Johann is in a central location within easy reach of the sights such as Schlossberg mountain and old quarter. The hotel is a converted 18th century palace with a traditional feel on the inside.
    Ljubljana
    Antiq Palace Hotel and Spa – 4-star

    Antiq Palace Hotel and Spa is situated on a quiet side street in the old town of Ljubljana. The 16th century building is home to 18 rooms and suites. Rooms have chandeliers, parquet flooring and remnants of original frescoes from 16th century.
    Lake Bled
    Vila Bled – 4-star

    Vila Bled is in a superb setting perched above the lake offering fantastic views. The hotel is reminiscent of the 1950se and enjoys period furniture and grand hallways. The hotel offers a private boathouse where you can rent a complimentary rowing boat, tennis court and small spa.
    Venice
    Ca’Sagredo Hotel – 5-star

    Ca’Sagredo Hotel is situated on the banks of the Grand Canal, close to the Rialto market. This elegant hotel enjoys a restaurant with panoramic terrace, cosy bar and just 42 rooms and suites.
    Hotel Bisanzio – 4-star
    Hotel Bisanzio is well-located around 300 metres from St Mark’s Square. This 16th century palazzo offers comfortable rooms with parquet flooring and Murano glass lamps.

    Click the tabs above to find out more, or click here to download a pdf with full details of this rail touring holiday.

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