Vienna - From the Emperor’s Clothes to Klimt’s Kiss

Prices from £1,895


15 Nov 2020 - 19 Nov 2020
Duration: 4 nights
Ref: 20VIEN
With: Thomas Abbott


Prices from £1,895
Single Supplement: £295
Deposit: £200

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Vienna is the capital city of central Europe, with all the political, cultural, and strategic significance that implies. For a century and a half, it endured an Ottoman siege, withstanding and finally turning back the armies of the Sublime Porte. It was the seat of Maria Theresa and Joseph II as Habsburg policy came to dominate the cabinet rooms of Europe, while Austrian music dominated its concert halls: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert made Vienna the most important city in the history of western music. Later, in its imperial twilight, Vienna came to embody Mitteleuropa, that cosmopolitan, multiethnic realm of avant-garde aesthetics and intellectual pluralism, of Klimt, Schiele, Kraus and Freud, that was bloodily extinguished by the twin catastrophes of totalitarianism and war. And yet Vienna, like Austria, has handled its transition to modernity remarkably well. Today’s city, overlaid with a confident self-possession and an enduring civic pride, is a gleaming patchwork of mediaeval alleys and renaissance squares, of baroque palaces and Secession cafés. This tour will visit a number of the irresistible delights that have attracted so many thinkers, artists, and musicians over the centuries, including St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Hofburg Palace and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where we will have two visits to explore its wide-ranging collection. 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 making Vienna a metropolis of unique charm, where the spirit of Austria’s great Royal and Imperial tradition can still be felt.


“Vienna has been inspiring artists, musicians and creative minds for centuries with its unrivalled imperial grandeur.”

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 from London Heathrow to Vienna. Drive to Vienna and stop at the Baroque Belvedere castle, home to ‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt and other masterpieces. Continue to your four star hotel in the centre of Vienna.

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. We conclude our walk with our well-deserved Kaffee und Kuchen at the famous Zuckerbäckerei Demel purveyors to the imperial court, for “Kaffee und Kuchen”. The Treasury in the Hofburg awaits us with the insignia and jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown and the Holy Lance. In the afternoon, we discover the modern and contemporary works in the Albertina, a former Habsburg palace. Our last visit will be to the Cathedral of St Stephen, focusing on the red-marble tomb of Emperor Frederick III.

DAY 3:

This morning will be spent enjoying some of the highlights in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, avidly collected by Habsburg princes over four centuries. The visit today will focus on the decorative arts and artefacts from the ancient world. This afternoon, we explore the library and church in the vast Hofburg Palace complex, once the home of the monarchy and centre of Imperial power that remains the political hub of the democratic Republic of Austria. The Hofburg complex houses the Imperial Library built by Johann Fischer von Erlach where we will discover the splendid State Hall and its collections. Within the Hofburg complex is the Augustinian Church with Antonio Canova’s Cenotaph for Princess Marie-Christine.

DAY 4:

Return to the Kunsthistorisches Museum for a second visit to study the art of northern Europe and the art of southern Europe. After free time for lunch walk to the Secession building by Joseph Maria Olbrich, an icon of the Vienna Secessionists, a group of rebel artists breaking away from the long-established fine arts tradition./p>

DAY 5:

This morning we drive past the magnificent Vienna Ringstrasse, highlighting the pivotal Otto Wagner Postsparkasse Building, an icon of the Viennese Modern. We continue on to the lavishly decorated Palais Liechtenstein for our private visit. 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 free time for lunch, continue to the airport for the flight back to London Heathrow.


Twin/double share: £1895 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £295
Price of the tour without flights: £1695 per person
Deposit: £200 per person


  • Return flights with Austrian from London Heathrow to Vienna
  • Private coach transfers and excursions
  • Four nights’ bed and breakfast in the 4* Hotel Kaiserin Elizabeth in Vienna
  • Two dinners and one lunch
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes.
  • All entrance fees, taxes and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters

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