Private Tour of Hungary & Austria
Hungary & Austria : Musical Tour
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Resting over the banks of the Danube River in northeastern Austria, Vienna, the country’s capital city, is famous for its classical music heritage and reflects an enticing blend of old and new. The historical centre is skyscraper-free and dotted with immaculate, charming little parks. It is also pedestrian friendly and extremely compact, which is convenient as this area contains the bulk of the city’s major tourist highlights. Chief among these are the famous Burgtheater and Opera House and an array of opulent baroque palaces lining the warren of narrow, medieval alleyways which wind their way around the magnificent St Stephen’s Cathedral. Add to this a slew of grand coffee houses and a rich history of classical music (residents included Mozart and Beethoven) and it becomes difficult to imagine a more livable city than the sophisticated metropolis of Vienna.
Formed by the picturesque Danube River, the extraordinarily scenic Wachau Valley is located in Lower Austria, midway between the Austrian towns of Krems and Melk. Known for its beautiful rolling hills and picturesque vineyards, this 40-kilometre-long valley is a prominent tourist destination with many fortresses, castles, monasteries, ruins and baroque architecture to discover. History buffs should not miss the quaint town of Durnstein, the place where King Richard the Lion-Heart of England was held captive. Other not-to-be-missed activities include exploring the recently restored Melk Abbey; visiting Forum Frohner, Krem's impressive contemporary white cube gallery space; or simply soaking up the exquisite landscape by meandering down the river by bike, bus, or boat.
Krems an der Donau
Set at the gateway to Austria’s Wachau region and resting across the banks of the Danube River, Krems an der Donau, known as ‘Krems’ by its locals, boasts incredible heritage architecture, a thriving culinary scene, and phenomenal wine production. Scattered with magnificent ancient castles, exquisitely-decorated monasteries and abbeys, and an impressive array of museums, history and architecture lovers find a wonderland to explore. Gourmands flock to the town to sample its mouth-watering traditional food (don’t miss trying dishes such as Wiener schnitzel, Tafelspitz, Fledermaus and Sachertorte pastry). Situated in a famous wine region of lush valleys, the town creates an amazing selection of wines, most notably its unique Gruner Veltliner and Riesling whites. Make sure to visit the Winzer Krems Estate to enjoy some fantastic tours and tastings.
Located on the banks of the lovely Danube River, Melk is an attractive little town in northern Austria. The town’s main tourist attractions are the impressive eleventh-century Melk Abbey, a vast monastery built high above the town, and the renaissance-era Schallaburg Castle, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens and hosting regular interesting cultural exhibitions. Other attractions include the Abbey Church, with gold-adorned domes; the library, housing medieval manuscripts; and the Marmorsaal, a baroque hall with a spectacular ceiling fresco and red marble walls. Visitors can explore all these architectural wonders as well as Artstetten Castle, Burgruine Hohenegg Castle, and Leiben Castle. Additionally, the Jauerling-Wachau Nature Park provides wonderful opportunities for hiking, picnicking and climbing.
Fondly known as the “Pearl of the Danube”, the unique metropolis of Budapest straddles the banks of this mighty river, occupying perhaps the most dramatic setting of any European capital. Over a thousand years of turbulent history has resulted in an eclectic treasure trove of architectural gems. Roman, Turkish, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and Bauhaus styles are blended together into an architectural goulash that is at once overwhelming and fascinating. Equally diverse are the choices of activities: take a relaxing soak in one of the many sumptuously decorated bathhouses; explore the incredible maze of caves that lie beneath the streets of this ancient city; or take a nostalgic joy ride on the number two tram which tours all the big sights. Throw in some world-class museums, a vibrant nightlife and a sophisticated culinary tradition and it is easy to see why Budapest is fast becoming known as one of Europe’s most underrated cities.
Set near the German border, the famous city of Salzburg is one of the best-preserved city centres in Europe. Its winding cobblestone streets offer a treasure trove of Medieval and Baroque buildings, palaces, concert halls, and monasteries - all set against a picturesque backdrop of the magnificent snow-capped Alps. Visit the house where Mozart was born, and enjoy a packed lineup of operas, concerts and ballets in breathtaking historic halls and venues. The internationally renowned Salzburg Festival, which takes place every summer, provides the ultimate way to enjoy this scene. Fans of the Sound of Music can retrace the characters’ steps backed by stunning scenes and vistas. Make sure to stroll along the beautiful Salzach River, climb up to the spectacular Hohensalzburg fortress, and try the famous, delicious beer brewed at the Augustiner Braustubl, a monastery-run brewery operating since 1621.
Lower Austria is named for its position on the lower section of the Danube, but it is Austria’s northeasternmost state, as well as its largest. It is considered the country’s ‘Cradle of History’ and is liberally dotted with ancient forts, palaces and churches. Architectural highlights include Klosterneuburg Abbey, dating to 1114 and featuring an opulent frescoed interior, and the hilltop Melk Abbey, with its Baroque restorations. Visitors can enjoy hiking and natural beauty in the ‘Waldviertel’ (forest area), savour fine wines in the Weinviertel’ (wine area), or go biking along the Danube River. The spa resort of Baden offers the chance to relax and unwind, while winter brings excellent skiing opportunities in the Alps.
Salzburg is a state in Austria’s mountainous north, touching the border with Germany. The capital of the region, also called Salzburg, is set on the banks on the Salzach river and features striking Baroque architecture such as the Salzburg Cathedral. The atmospheric Getreidegasse is a pedestrianised avenue that has been the city’s beating heart since the 17th century. Stretching from the city hall to the Church of the Hospital, it is flanked with shops and restaurants bearing ornately decorated facades and always bustles with activity. The Hohensalzburg Fortress is a beautifully preserved medieval castle, while the Mozart Geburtshaus pays homage to Salzburg’s most famous son - Amadeus Mozart, a musical prodigy who shot to fame but ultimately suffered a tragic demise. Beyond the metropolitan area, highlights include the Pongau and Pinzgau skiing areas, Nonnberg Abbey, which was famously featured in the Sound of Music, and Fuschlsee, a luxurious lakeside resort surrounded by a nature reserve.