Central European tour  -  On the Trail of the Habsburg Monarchy

 

10 days, 9 nights
ARRIVAL POINT - Venice Apt
DEPARTURE POINT - Vienna Apt                               
MIN NUMBER OF GUESTS: 2
 DESCRIPTION
This ten-day tour transports you into the heart of Central Europe. Arriving in Venice, you will be swept away by its romantic atmosphere and magnificent architecture. Travel in a private water taxi along the “streets of water”, admiring the palaces and churches.
From Venice, we travel into Slovenia, and arrive to Portoroz, a modern resort, once an important Habsburg’s destination. Then travel to the city of Idrija, famous for exquisite lace and a fascinating mercury mine, which was once one of the largest in Europe. Visit the living history museum at Idrija’s 500 year-old mercury mine. Enjoy the cultural capital, Ljubljana and picturesque Lake Bled with Slovenia`s only island and discover the spectacular underground world of the Postojna limestone cave.
The tour proceeds to Opatija, an elegant tourist destination, lying at the centre of the Croatian Riviera with beautiful preserved beaches and warm Adriatic Sea.
We end the tour in charming Vienna and see it’s wonderful historical sights from a boat journey on the Mighty Danube River.
Along the way, enjoy sophisticated meals in distinguished European restaurants and luxuriate each night, in an elegant hotel.
 
 HIGHLIGHTS
• Venice -visit to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, “behind the scenes” sightseeing , exquisite restaurants and accommodation
• Wine tasting in Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s very own Tuscany
• Visit to WWI museum in Kobarid, an award winning exhibition of the Isonzo Front, the events of which are related to the adventures as told by Hemingway
• Visit to Idrija with one of the world’s biggest mercury mines, preserved and now transformed, into a tourist attraction
• Enjoy the charming Capital, Ljubljana, and head to Slovenia's gem, Lake Bled, located in the heart of the Julian Alps
• Discover Opatija (Croatia), Habsburg's elite place to retreat and relax, and experience a boat ride in the Kvarner Bay
• Visit Slovenia’s largest limestone cave system, Postojna
• Discover lovely Graz with its Old Town, the Schlossberg and Clock Tower 
• Experience Vienna in a most memorable way; stay in The Sacher Hotel, taste the “Tafelspitz” dish, enjoy a boat journey on the Danube River, visit Schoenbrunn and enjoy a concert of Mozart’s music
 Venice  Salzburg
Opatija Postojna cave Goriska Brda
 Vienna Ljubljana
 
ITINERARY
DAY 1 / FRIDAY - VENICE APT
• Afternoon arrivals to Venice airport
• Private transfers by water taxis (car) to the hotel
• Accommodation at Danieli hotel, 5*
• Gourmet dinner at Il Fiori restaurant
DANIELI HOTEL 5*, (D)
 
DAY 2 / SATURDAY - VENICE
MORNING
• A full day excursion of Venice and some of it’s Islands
• Guided sight-seeing of Venice (St Mark's Square, St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, Rialto Bridge…)
• Time for coffee
• Private water taxi ride to Murano Island
• Visit to Murano Glassworks
AFTERNOON
• Lunch on the Island
• Travel to Burano Island by water taxi
• Visit to Burano Lace museum
• Time to sight-see around the island
• Boat ride to Torcello Island
• Visit to Torcello Basilica
• Dinner at Locanda di Cipriani restaurant
• Depart by private water taxis to the hotel, overnight
DANIELI HOTEL 5*, (B,L,D)
Sightseeing of Venice includes all the important monuments from St. Mark’s Square to the Rialto Bridge. Visit St. Mark's Square and learn the history that lies behind the walls of its most famous landmarks; St Mark’s Basilica and its Byzantine heritage, the Doge's Palace and its adjoining prisons that retain true secrets. You will start to comprehend how a city built on swamps became one of the most enlightened cities in the western world.
Time for lunch at Murano island. After lunch a water taxi will take you to the islands of Murano and Burano after passing the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Public Gardens, Sant’Elena and the Lido. Murano Island is famous worldwide for its glassblowing industry. Visit a glassworks and learn the secrets of this art. Next stop is Burano, a picturesque island famous not only for its precious laces, but also for the brightly painted fishermen’s houses.
Continuing to Torcello island, the farthest and oldest populated region of Venice. Today's main attraction is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in 639 with much eleventh and 12th century Byzantine work, including mosaics, surviving. Torcello is also home to the Devil's Bridge, known as the Ponte del Diavolo.
In the evening, enjoy a gourmet dinner at Locanda di Cipriani restaurant, which has welcomed many distinguished and famous guests over its 60 years of history: Royalty, Stars, Artists, Heads of State, and among others, the legendary Ernest Hemingway.
DAY 3 / SUNDAY - VENICE - PORTOROZ
• Free morning or visiting museums and exhibitions (optional)
AFTERNOON
• Light lunch at the hotel
• Depart by private water taxis to Tronchetto island
• Depart by private bus to Slovenia
• Arrival to Portoroz
• Accommodation in Kempinski GH Palace
• Sightseeing of the charming coastal town
• Gourmand dinner at the hotel`s restaurant
KEMPINSKI GH PALACE HOTEL 5* Superior (B,L,D)
 
Indulge in a lazy morning with espresso, or head to exhibitions and museums. After lunch the tour continues in to Slovenia, accommodating in Portoroz, once an important retreat and relaxing place of the Habsburg elite. 
Visit the town of Piran which has preserved the medieval layout with narrow streets and compact houses, giving the area a typical Mediterranean look. It is also a hometown to Giuseppe Tartini, a violinist, composer and music pedagogue, who wrote over 300 compositions, many of which belong to the finest musical creations of the 18th Century.
DAY 4/ MONDAY, PORTOROZ - LIPICA - OPATIJA, CROATIA
MORNING
• Visit to Hrastovlje church - world’s best preserved “Dance of Death” frescoes from 16th century
• Visit the Lipica Stud farm
• Lunch
AFTERNOON
• Depart to Opatija
• Accommodation at Milenij hotel
• Time to relax or take a walk around Opatija
• Dinner at Le Mandrac /Kukuriku restaurant
• Return to the hotel, overnight
MILENIJ HOTEL 5* (B,L,D)
This morning tour the most outstanding 15th century Death Dance or Danse macabre frescoes at Hrastovlje church, among world’s best preserved paintings of this well-known medieval theme.
Continue to Lipica stud farm, the cradle of Lipizzaner horse with over four centuries tradition of breeding and selecting thoroughbred horses. The Kras region, also referred to Slovene Tuscany is a home of carst prosciutto and Teran red wine.
Leaving Slovenia behind, the tour proceeds to Opatija, lying in the centre of the Riviera, and having the longest tradition in tourism in Croatia (since 1844). Located in a favourable geographical position, Opatija offers accessible warm seas to many locations within Central Europe. Combined with lush vegetation and a pleasant climate this explains the origins and rapid development of tourism in the late 19th century. Built at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, it has to this day maintained  a harmony with the countryside. Cultivated parks, an illuminated seaside promenade (known as “lungomare” being 12 km long), well-maintained beaches and fountains, form the backdrop to villas and hotels.
DAY 5 / TUESDAY / OPATIJA - POSTOJNA - IDRIJA
MORNING
• Boat ride along the Riviera of Opatija
• Depart to Postojna
AFTERNOON
• Arrive at Postojna
• Lunch
• Enter Postojna caves
• Depart to Idrija
• Sightseeing in Idrija (lace museum or historic mercury mine )
• Accommodation in Kendov Dvorec (Kenda manor)
• Dinner in Kendov Dvorec (Kenda manor)
KENDOV DVOREC/KENDA MANOR 5*, RELAIS & CHATEAUX
Morning sightseeing of Opatija, concluding the stay with a boat ride along the Opatija’s Riviera.
On the way to Idrija, we visit the Postojna Caves and take the train through the underground world of the largest cave in the Karst region. Postojna Caves consist of 20 km of wondrously sculpted galleries, chambers and halls. Explore the magnificent caverns and glistening stalactite formations and you will soon understand why this is the most visited tourist cave in Europe.
The tour continues to the town of Idrija, which spans both the Upper Idrijca River basin and the picturesque mountains, representing a transition between the subalpine and Karst regions. It was here in 1490 that a rich deposit of mercury ore was discovered.
Today, Idrija’s famous mercury mine, which was once the second largest mercury mine in the world, has now closed after 500 years, and a living history museum remains on the site.  Head to Anthony's Shaft to see the oldest part of the mercury mine; the miners' chapel dating back to the 18th century; and view a video about the way the miners once lived. Idrija is also famed for its centuries-old lacemaking tradition; this craft has been practiced here for 300 years and can be witnessed as part of the tour. Wrap up the visit with lunch in an exquisite restaurant and sample traditional Idrija Zlikrofi, “pockets” made from dough and filled with potatoes, onion, smoked ham and spices.
DAY 6 /WEDNESDAY / IDRIJA - LJUBLJANA -BLED
MORNING
• Depart to Ljubljana
• Accommodation in GH Union / Antiq
• Guided sight seeing of Ljubljana city
AFTERNOON
• Light lunch
• Depart to Bled
• Sight-seeing of Bled (Pletna boat ride to the island, castle and museum, horse-drawn carriage ride around the lake - optional)
• Depart to Predoslje
• Gourmand dinner at Danilo restaurant
• Depart to Ljubljana, overnight
GH UNION 4*/ANTIQ HOTEL 4* (B,L,D)
In the morning we arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital. Ljubljana is a dynamic, central European city lying in a broad basin between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. Its geographical position has governed its colourful past; it is situated on a natural passage, known as the “Ljubljana Gate,” leading from Central Europe towards the Mediterranean and the East.  From it’s very beginnings, Ljubljana’s culture and lifestyle have been attuned to contemporary trends in Europe, with its residents enjoying the influences from both Central Europe and the Mediterranean. Ljubljana is a vibrant city full of surprises, characterised by this unique fusion of contrasting but complementary influences. It has everything that other larger, contemporary European capitals can boast, but, at the same time, preserves the friendly and relaxed atmosphere of a small town.
To start the sight-seeing tour, ride the funicular up to Ljubljana Castle, which offers sweeping views over the city. There are many other sights to explore in the city; foremost are the stunning buildings designed by the internationally famed architect Joze Plecnik, himself a native of Ljubljana. Plecnik (1872-1957) is considered to be one of the world's most important pioneers of contemporary architecture; his oeuvre left a distinct mark on three central European cities: Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana. His creations dating from the period after 1921, so called "Plecnik's Ljubljana" are considered one of the 20th century's most prominent total works of art.
A short afternoon bus drive transports you to Bled, a picturesque town on the banks of a glacial lake that has drawn pilgrims since ancient times. Enjoy a boat ride on an original historic  gondola-like Pletna to Slovenia's only island and ring the wishing bell in St Mary's church. Visit Bled’s historic castle, perched high above the lakeshore, where you can take in the magnificent views and witness the display of medieval printing techniques.
Conclude the day with a dinner at Danilo restaurant, serving exquisite local food and wine.
DAY 7/ THURSDAY / LJUBLJANA - GRAZ, AUSTRIA
MORNING
• Time at leisure in Ljubljana (shopping, museums..)
• Lunch
AFTERNOON
• Depart to Slovene Steyermark region
• Wine tasting at a renown winery
• Continue to Graz
• Accommodation in Grand Wiesler Hotel Graz
• Dinner at the hotel
GRAND WIESLER HOTEL GRAZ 5* (B,L,D)
Enjoying Ljubljana in the morning for shopping or visiting musems and galleries, the tour continues toward the Slovene Stayermark or “Stajerska” , a land of vineyards. Wine tasting at a winery and continue to Austrian Graz, a cultural and historical city. Overnight in Graz.
DAY 8/ FRIDAY / GRAZ - VIENNA
MORNING
• Sightseeing tour of Graz
• Depart to Vienna
AFTERNOON
• Arrive to Vienna
• Accommodation in Sacher hotel
• Time at leisure
• Dinner at the hotel
SACHER HOTEL 5* (B,L,D)
Morning sight-seeing tour city’s several impressive, Catholic buildings: University, a Catholic mausoleum built and the Minoritenkirche Church was meant to show the dominance of Catholic believe. and was altered once again in Baroque times (again, like the rest of Austria). You will easily spot the "Uhrturm" (clocktower) on the Schlossberg from 1712. This spot offers great views on Graz and allows you to anticipate the large number of people living in the second-biggest city of Graz (around 230,000). Schloss Eggenberg Castle is a local gem of secular baroque architecture. Other significant buildings are the Landhaus and the Zeughaus fortress with Europe’s most extensive collection of early modern (mostly 16th century) armour.
DAY 9 / SATURDAY /VIENNA
MORNING
• Sightseeing in Vienna: Historical City Tour including visit to Schoenbrunn Palace 
• Boat cruise on the Danube River
AFTERNOON
• Lunch on the boat
• Free afternoon for relaxing or shopping
• Dinner in a typical Viannese restaurant
• Vienna Concert
SACHER HOTEL 5* (B,L,D)
 
Enjoy a day in historical Vienna, a metropolis with unique charm, vibrancy and flair. It boasts outstanding infrastructure, is clean and safe, and has all the inspiration that you could wish for in order to discover this wonderful part of Europe.
Be inspired by an atmosphere steeped in history - which also boasts the comforts and assets of a modern city...Wander along narrow, medieval alleyways or across imperial squares, view Schönbrunn Palace and the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) in the footsteps of Sissi and Emperor Franz Josef, and marvel at the majestic architecture along the Ring boulevard. Enjoy the sights of Vienna from the Danube River with an afternoon boat ride.
Vienna has been synonymous with music for centuries, and was home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Johann Strauss. This outstanding musical heritage has been preserved right to the present day. Enjoy some of Mozart’s magnificent music in a concert.
DAY 10 / SUNDAY / AIRPORT VIENNA
• Free morning and private transfer to the airport
 
For additional information and price please contact us at info@unique-slovenia.si.
* Please note that this program is property of Unique Slovenia / Custom Tour Designer. It shall neither be copied nor used without permission.