Vienna - Bruegel 450 in The Imperial City

Prices from £1,860


18 Nov 2018 - 22 Nov 2018
Duration: 4 nights
Ref: 18VIEN
With: Thomas Abbott


Prices from £1,860
Single Supplement: £280
Deposit: £200

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In 2019, lovers of Northern Renaissance art celebrate the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c. 1525/30-1569) widely regarded as the 16th century’s greatest Netherlandish painter. To mark the occasion the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna is dedicating the world’s first ever major monograph exhibition to the artist. Just over forty paintings by Brueghel’s own hand have been preserved to this day. With twelve panels, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna owns by far the largest collection. This is due not least to the fact that in the 16th century, Habsburg collectors had already recognised the exceptional quality and originality of Brueghel’s imagery and endeavoured to acquire his prestigious works.

Vienna, the residence of the Habsburg Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire since 1556, showcases not only much loved Brueghel masterpieces but also offers the inspiring opportunity to set his art into the context of his century. We explore the famous and breathtaking collection of Habsburg treasures in the Kunstkammer, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Hofburg as well as little known yet outstanding gems like the collection of the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts with works by Hieronymus Bosch and Titian. Last but not least, we will explore the city’s unrivalled and splendid cityscape with its gleaming patchwork of mediaeval alleys and Renaissance squares, of Baroque palaces and Secession cafés. Such sights make Vienna a metropolis of unique charm, where the spirit of Austria’s great Royal and Imperial tradition can still be felt.


Tom Abbott is an independent art and architectural historian. He graduated in Psychology and Art History at Carleton College, Minnesota, and studied at the Louvre School of Art History in Paris. He is a specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th. In 1987 he moved to Berlin leading tours mainly in Germany, specialising in the German capital.

DAY 1:

Morning flight with BA from London Heathrow to Vienna. Transfer by coach to your four-star hotel in the centre of Vienna. In the afternoon a short introductory walk through the heart of the city will lead us to the famous Zuckerbäckerei Demel, purveyors to the imperial court, for "Kaffee und Kuchen".

DAY 2:

Leisurely morning walk to explore some of Vienna’s most stunning private city palaces of the 18th century including the Palais Kinsky, built by the leading baroque architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt. The Treasury in the Hofburg also awaits us with the insignia and jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown and the Holy Lance. In the afternoon we will visit the Cathedral of St Stephen, focusing on the red-marble tomb of Emperor Frederick III, followed by the newly restored Winter Palais of Prince Eugene, the hugely successful military commander who brought an end to the hostilities between the Holy Roman and the Ottoman Empire.

DAY 3:

18th-century splendour is the theme of the morning: in the Imperial Crypt — principal place of entombment for members of the House of Habsburg — we focus on the exuberant Rococo sarcophagi of Emperor Charles VI and his wife Empress Maria Theresia. The nearby Hofburg Palace houses the Imperial Library built by Johann Fischer von Erlach where we will explore the splendid State Hall and its collections. The afternoon will be spent enjoying some of the highlights in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, avidly collected by Habsburg princes over four centuries.

DAY 4:

Today’s morning walk will take us to the Secession building by Joseph Maria Olbrich, an icon of the Vienna Secessionists, a group of rebel artists who broke away from the long-established fine arts tradition. One such institution was the neighbouring Academy of Fine Arts whose small but outstanding collection of Old Masters is an unretrieved treasure trove. Continue to the Kunsthistorisches Museum for an in-depth visit of the Brueghel exhibition. The rest of the day is free for independent exploration.

DAY 5:

Our final visit will take us to the lavishly decorated Palais Liechtenstein. Apart from a stunning trompe-l’œil ceiling by Andrea Pozzo the palace presents a spectacular private art collection, including the pietradura Badminton Cabinet, the world’s most expensive piece of furniture, acquired by Prince Liechtenstein in 2004 for a mere 19 million pounds. After lunch, coach transfer to the airport for a late afternoon flight, returning to London Heathrow at c. 6.30pm.


Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

This tour involves a fair amount of walking on level ground and well-paved streets. Museum and site visit require prolonged periods of standing without the possibility of a rest.

Please note that all our Study Tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps and inclines. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participents' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and / or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking.


Twin/double share: £1860 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £280
Price of the tour without flights: £1720 per person
Deposit: £200 per person


  • Scheduled return flights (Economy class) with British Airways between London Heathrow and Vienna
  • Transfers and excursions in Austria by private coach
  • Four nights B&B in the charming and traditional four-star Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth ( in the centre of Vienna –– situated in a quiet street in the immediate vicinity of St Stephen’s Cathedral, within easy walking distance of all the sights –– hotel bar and spacious lounge
  • Two dinners and two lunches
  • Guided visits to monuments and museums listed in the programme
  • Services of the lecturer and a tour manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • Small group between 12 and 22 participants


  • Two dinners and four lunches
  • Transport between home and London Heathrow
  • Travel insurance. We strongly advise you to be covered by adequate travel insurance

Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth***

Only a few steps away from Vienna’s best known landmark, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and close to The State Opera and Hofburg Imperial Palace, the hotel’s outstanding location is a perfect base for exploring Vienna. This hotel dates back to 1860 and its style reflects the historic charm of traditional Vienna with the amenities of a modern hotel.


  • Satellite TV
  • Telephone
  • Radio
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Free WiFi
  • Air conditioning