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Austria's Heartland

18 October 2023

7 days from £2,850pp

Enter the heart of Austria where you will discover 25,000 years of history and culture with our expert guest lecturer Dr Ulrike Ziegler. Take in the magnificent architecture at Cistercian abbey or at the Klosterneuberg Monastery and enjoy the art at the Hutteldorf Otto Wagner Museum that boasts the Art Nouveau style of architecture.
The historical and cultural heartbeat of Austria began to pulse 25,000 years ago in an area roughly located between Linz and Vienna, in the present-day states of Upper and Lower Austria. Its main artery, the river Danube, has carved out a picturesque landscape, from the narrow Wachau valley dominated by bountiful vineyards and orchards, to the wide Vienna basin where the forested highlands of the Vienna Woods are bounded by the Danube. After the fall of Roman power, the region was reorganised by the Carolingians who established a march, or borderland, at the eastern outpost of the Frankish Empire named the Marcha Orientalis or ‘Ostarrichi’ (Austria). The noble Babenberg family, enfeoffed with ‘Ostarrichi’ in 976, further cultivated the land through the foundation of well-endowed abbeys such as Heiligenkreuz and Klosterneuburg, where the seat of government was initially established. Later relocated to Vienna, Austria was elevated to the rank of an independent duchy in 1156. The Babenberg dukes of Austria fostered a Vienna that further flourished under successors from the House of Habsburg but before long, the expansion of the Ottoman Empire developed into a constant threat for all of Austria’s eastern lands. The Battle of Vienna in 1683 marked a turning point in the success of the Ottomans, who were forced to retreat, and a building boom rolled across Austria. Ancient abbeys like St Florian, Melk and Klosterneuburg, now in a deplorable state, were rebuilt in awe-inspiring Baroque dimensions and decoration. The dawn of the 19th century heralded a new artistic era: glorious historicist architecture, from the neo-Gothic Castle Franzensburg in Laxenburg, to the spectacular buildings of the Vienna Ringstrasse, shaped not just the capital but also neighbouring St. Pölten. At the turn of the 20th century, both cities began to temper this eclectic aesthetic with the new Art Nouveau style, becoming prominent proponents of the movement’s art and architecture. This new Art Pursuits Abroad study tour spans a period of 1000 years and reveals a broad selection of treasures, from a secluded Romanesque abbey to splendid Art Nouveau artefacts and architecture and explores the genesis of art and culture in Austria’s heartland.

Your Accommodation

Your Accommodation

CityHotel Design and Classic, St. Pölten


The four star Cityhotel D&C is located in the heart of St. Pölten. In just a few minutes you can be in the middle of the colourful hustle and bustle of the baroque city centre with its countless shops, cafés, and cultural institutions. You can enjoy fine dining and Lower Austrian hospitality in the bar and restaurant and relax in the hotel’s wellness oasis. 

Room Facilities & Amenities
  • En suite bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • TV
  • Safe
  • Hairdryer

Hotel Beethoven, Vienna


The 4-star Hotel Beethoven lies ensconced in culture and cuisine on the “bohemian“ Naschmarkt, opposite the Papagenotor at Theater an der Wien, just a few minutes’ walk from the Opera, the Musikverein, the Museumsquartier, the most traditional Viennese coffeehouses and shopping streets. 4-star hotel situated on Vienna’s Naschmarkt The location of the 4-star Hotel Garni on the Naschmarkt lets lovers of Vienna dive right into the typical Viennese lifestyle. The market, with its dozens of little stalls and selection of fresh fruit, vegetables and specialities, is a colourful and lively snapshot of Vienna, which is even more varied on Saturdays, with the farmer’s and flea market. In addition to the restaurants and cafés around the Naschmarkt, a trendy restaurant and bar scene has developed in the market area. Coupled to culture The culturally committed Ludwig family, which owns the hotel, sponsors numerous Viennese cultural institutions, such as the Albertina, the Mumok and the Musikverein and inspires lovers of Vienna to special cultural delights: invitations to previews, exhibition openings, museum visits and preferential ticket orders at the Musikverein.

Room Facilities & Amenities
  • Telephone
  • Minibar
  • Satellite TV
  • Hairdryer 
  • USB Power socket 
  • Coffee and tea making facilities 
  • Slippers and bathrobe