IMPERIAL CITIES OF EUROPE WITH SLOVENIA
Discover the imperial cities of Europe with us and continue your journey to beautiful Slovenia. Over the centuries, the fortunes of Central Europe have followed the destiny of two great empires: the Holy Roman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their capitals, developed under the aegis of absolute power, reflect royal favor – and enormous public works gave rise to some of the old continent’s most remarkable buildings and historical centers.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN VIENNA
Arrival at Vienna airport, meet with the guide, and transfer to the hotel. Free time and accommodation.
DAY 2: VIENNA
After breakfast, you will get to know the first of the imperial cities of Europe. We will take a drive along the Ring, which surrounds the city center. Along the famous landmark street, imposing 19th-century buildings are lined up one after the other, testifying to the former power of the Danube monarchy with important public monuments.
The most famous are undoubtedly the Imperial Hofburg, the Palace of Parliament, the State Opera House, the neo-Gothic Votive Church, and the Town Hall. Among them is also the famous Art History Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum).
Later, we will spend most of the day in the city center. We pass the magnificent Hofburg complex, the Imperial Apartments, where Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth last stayed. His famous Winterhalter portrait adorns one of the rooms. Next, we visit the Treasury with its famous collection of jewels, including the crowns of the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Imperial Crown. In addition to the crown jewels, the Knights of the Golden Fleece treasure is also on display.
After a lunch break, we will visit Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is one of Austria’s most important cultural monuments. Together with its gardens, it reflects the tastes, interests, and spiritual world of the Habsburg rulers, who used the palace as a summer residence from the 18th century until 1918.
On your way, you will also see St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Augustinian Church in the center of the city. Both churches are closely linked to the Habsburg dynasty, as both contain the tombs of some of its prominent members. Almost all the Habsburgs who ruled Austria between the 17th and 20th centuries are buried in the Capuchin Monastery. During our walk through the city, we will stop at the numerous monuments erected to commemorate each of the rulers of the dynasty (Franz I, Franz II, Maria Theresa, Joseph II, and Franz Joseph). Free time and overnight.
DAY 3: VIENNA – PRAGUE
After breakfast, drive to the famous Klosterneuburg Monastery, which stands on a hill above the Danube, a few kilometers north of Vienna. Although the monastery was founded by the Babenberg dynasty, its present appearance is mainly Baroque. The credit for this transformation goes to Emperor Charles VI, who wanted to compete with the Spanish Escorial by remodeling the monastery. Although the project was never completed, the image is still remarkable. After the excursion, we will head across the Danube to the Czech Republic. Arrival in Prague in the afternoon. Free time and overnight in Prague.
DAY 4: PRAGUE
After breakfast, we will take a bus high above the left bank of the Vltava River and stroll past the magnificent Černín and Loreto palaces, two of Prague’s most important Baroque monuments. Next, we will visit the most important building in the Hradčani district, Prague Castle, for centuries the seat of the Czech rulers.
The massive complex was built from the time of the medieval Czech kings to the Baroque era, with the finishing touches by Slovenian Jože Plečnik. We will visit the imposing Gothic St. Vid Cathedral, where many important Czech rulers are buried, and the Old Royal Palace, with the monumental Vladislav Hall.
You can admire Plečnik’s landscaping in the castle courtyards while strolling along Zlata Street. After the visit, we will descend the Vltava to the Baroque church of St. Nicholas in Mala Strana with its colorful interior. After crossing the Charles Bridge, we will reach the Old Town and walk to the Old Town Square, dominated by the Town Hall with its famous astrological clock, the Baroque Kinsky Palace, and the Týn Church.
From St. Nicholas Church, belonging to the Hussite Congregation, we will reach the Jewish quarter of Josefov, which, with its synagogues and cemetery, testifies to the centuries-old Jewish presence in Prague. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Prague.
DAY 5: PRAGUE – BUDAPEST
In the morning departure to the last city on the list of the imperial cities of Europe – Budapest. On the way, we will also stop in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and the political, economic, and cultural center of the country. Among the numerous monuments of the city, we will pass by St. Martin’s Cathedral, rebuilt in the 15th century with its present appearance.
For three centuries, Hungarian kings were crowned here, as Bratislava became the capital of the remnants of Hungary after the Turkish conquest of Buda. Free time in the old town, adorned with numerous baroque palaces, and later continue to Budapest. Arrival in the afternoon. Overnight in Budapest.
DAY 6: BUDAPEST
We will start our tour of the city of Buda in the picturesque Fishermen’s Fortress, we will see the St. Stephen’s Monument and the Baroque Plague Column. We will also see the neo-Gothic Matthias Church, where many Hungarian kings were crowned.
Next, we will stroll past the Government Palace through the Castle Quarter to the Budavári Palota, former residence of the Hungarian kings and today home to several museums and national cultural institutions. After a visit to the picturesque Matthias Fountain, we will enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Pest and the bridges over the Danube connecting bustling Pest with Buda.
We will cross the Danube over the Szechenyi Lánchid (Chain Bridge), built in the mid-19th century and one of the symbols of the city. We will then drive to Pest, stroll along the main street of the promenade, Vaci, and see the exterior of the magnificent Országház Parliament complex on Kossuth Lajos Square, considered one of Budapest’s greatest architectural achievements and inspired by the British Houses of Parliament.
We will then drive to the monumental Hősök Heroes’ Square, built to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the arrival of the Hungarians on the Pannonian Plain. The monument celebrates the great figures of Hungarian history and is an important urban landmark in Budapest. Overnight in Budapest.
From Vienna, Prague and Budapest…
…to the Slovenian vineyards
DAY 7: BUDAPEST – MARIBOR
In the morning departure to Slovenia, to the city of Maribor. Maribor is a charming city with rich historical and cultural roots, dating back to the Middle Ages.
Arrival in Maribor and in the afternoon, on a guided tour, you will get to know the city that was the European Capital of Culture in 2012. For that reason, it is on the list of visits when the question arises of what to visit in Slovenia. You will see the main city square, the Renaissance-style Town Hall, and the famous vine that is included in the Guinness World Records Book as the oldest grapevine in the world, which still bears fruit annually. Overnight in the Styria region.
DAY 8: MARIBOR – PTUJ – JERUZALEM – LJUBLJANA
We continue exploring the region with a visit to Slovenia’s oldest city, Ptuj. Not many cities have been as successful as Ptuj in preserving their medieval architectural design. A stroll through the city will lead you to Roman monuments and magnificent medieval facades.
Cobblestone streets and squares will lead you to one of the most majestic castles in Slovenia that offers a view over the roof tiles of medieval monasteries, churches, and other buildings. Being in the wine region, we will visit a small settlement in the eastern part of the Slovenian hills, Jeruzalem, in the middle of the most beautiful wine terraces. You will have the possibility to taste the local wine in one of the cellars and simply enjoy nature where time passes differently. Later we continue to the capital. Overnight in Ljubljana.
DAY 9: LJUBLJANA
Breakfast. You will have the opportunity to see the capital. You will stroll through the central square of Ljubljana Prešeren Square, where the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, the Cathedral of Ljubljana or St. Nicholas Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Ljubljana, the Three Bridges across the Ljubljanica River and the Ljubljana Castle are located. The medieval castle with Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance architectural elements is located on top of the castle hill, which dominates the city center.
Ljubljana has numerous art galleries and museums that you will have the possibility to see, among which are the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery, and the Gallery of Modern Art. The city center also houses works by the famous Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, whose works were recognized by Unesco in 2021. Before ending the day, we recommend trying the local food in one of the city’s restaurants, many of them positioned in the central part. Overnight in Ljubljana.
DAY 10: LJUBLJANA – BLED – BOHINJ – LJUBLJANA
On your journey through the imperial cities of Europe and Slovenia, you will visit the alpine world with the two most famous lakes in the country. The first stop will be Lake Bled, with the island in the middle. You will have the possibility to take a ride on the typical boat called Pletna, which takes visitors to its island. Later you will visit the Bled Castle, positioned over the lake as a natural bodyguard. In the afternoon you will continue to Bohinj, home to the largest natural lake in the country. It is located in the heart of the Triglav National Park and is considered a Slovenian natural landmark. After the visit return to Ljubljana and overnight.
DAY 11: LJUBLJANA – POSTOJNA – PIRAN – LJUBLJANA
After breakfast, departure in the direction of the Slovenian coast. Halfway there will be a stop to visit one of the Slovenian pride – the extravagant Postojna Cave. The largest cave in Europe open for tourism shows you magnificent stalactite sculptures and a varied animal world. The visit is on foot and on a little train. On the way out you will see the Predjama Castle, an irrefutable medieval marvel more than 800 years old, positioned on a vertical wall 123 meters high.
In the afternoon arrival at the Slovenian coast and visit the fishing village Piran. Near the salt pans, the city influenced by the Republic of Venice and Austria-Hungary invites with monuments that differ greatly from those of the Slovenian hinterland. You will see Tartini Square, named after the famous Piran native, violinist, and composer Giuseppe Tartini, Tartini’s house, first mentioned in 1384 and one of the oldest in the city, the Municipal Palace, the Loggia and the Benečanka, among others. Return to Ljubljana and overnight.
DAY 12: LJUBLJANA – DEPARTURE
Breakfast and transfer to the airport to catch your return flight. End of the trip.
and let us know whether this route looks interesting or if you wish to adapt it according to your desire.
IMPERIAL CITIES OF EUROPE WITH SLOVENIA
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