The grand cities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Treasures of the Empire

 

THE JEWELS IN THE EASTERN CROWN
BUDAPEST  |  VIENNA  |  LJUBLJANA  |  TRIESTE  |  VENICE

10-night, first-class journey
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Four-star boutique hotels
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VIP arrival service with private guides and drivers
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Private city walks with local insiders
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Flights from and to  London 
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Departure every day
ONLY £2600*
*per person when two travelling together

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Treasures-map

Step into the grandeur and the elegance of the imperial past of Eastern Europe on Silver Tray’s grand tour of the greatest cities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In each city, local insiders will invite you on private city walks to the most fascinating sights where history really comes alive.

The all-powerful Habsburg emperors and archdukes ruled much of continental Europe from Vienna. They made sure that Budapest had grand cafés with an opulence that rivalled anything in the capital. They made Trieste into one of the most graceful cities in all of Italy (and made sure that it had grand cafés with an opulence that….etc.) In Ljubljana, they created a charming urban gem with grand townhouses that would look at home in Vienna. The empire came to an end when one of the Habsburgs got shot and, in the process, started WWI, but the imperial past is still very much alive in these old cities of the realm.

Your journey starts in Budapest, co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The Habsburgs gave Budapest her elegant look, but just under the surface lurks two millennia of drama: Before the Austrians, Budapest was occupied by the Romans, ruled by the Ottomans, and invaded by the Soviet Union, and they all left their mark. There is Buda with its historic castle district, medieval streets and houses, caves and Roman ruins. And there is lively and elegant Pest with fin de siècle buildings, riverside promenades and café houses.

Then you travel onwards to Vienna, in premium first class on the flagship train of Austrian Railways. Here, the imperial life is still alive, just without either empire or emperors. The palaces are the grandest in Europe. The Vienna Boys’ Choir still sings Sunday Mass in the Hofburg Palace, Lipizzaner stallions still trot in the famed Spanish Riding School, chandeliers still sparkle in the Imperial Apartments, and summer life is still relaxed in the mere 1441 rooms of the Schloss Schönbrunn summer residence.

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Enjoy the stunning views
of the historic Semmerling railway
from the dining car

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From Vienna you journey through the Alps. Enjoy the stunning views from the historic Semmerling railway as you dine in the comfortable dining car. And then arrive to Ljubjlana. Formerly just a small outpost in the empire, this is now the small, but proud capital of Slovenia. And this is an urban gem. A compact, easily navigable capital that shines like a greatest hit of other cities. It is always a pleasure to stroll around this city, with chocolate-box pretty medieval streets up there with Prague, grand townhouses that would charm the Viennese, remarkable Italianate churches, and some of the finest art nouveau you will set eyes on anywhere.

It is only a short distance from Ljubljana to Trieste but getting there can be a hassle. Silver Tray does not believe in hassles, so we simply provide you with a chauffeured car that will whisk you directly to your four-star hotel in the centre of Trieste. The grandeur of imperial Austrian rule still makes its mark on this city. You’ll be amazed at the size and elegance of Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, the city’s main square and the largest sea-facing piazza in all of Italy. This is a triumph of Austro-Hungarian town planning, and the locals are justifiably proud of their grand square. It’s the pumping heart of Trieste, and locals love having their caffé latte at one of the historic cafes here, surrounded by the city’s most splendid palazzi.

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A magical arrival at Venice
with a trip down the Grand Canal
in your private water taxi

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Finally, board a high-speed train bound for Venice. Ruled by the Austrians for several decades in the 19th century, they never really made much of a mark here, except causing much resentment and a revolution. The Venetian Republic had a history of power, culture and treasures that outshone even the Habsburgs, and she remained defiantly and uniquely her own.

Arriving to any city with Silver Tray is an experience to remember as your private guide greets you right at the train, and then escorts you to a waiting private car. But in Venice, arriving is downright magical: Here, you are escorted down the steps in front of the station to the Grand Canal where your private water taxi awaits. Sailing down the canals to the doorstep of your hotel is simply unforgettable.

The journey

Budapest – Vienna – Ljubjlana – Trieste – Venice
| Flights from and to London | Only £ 2800

Occupied by the Romans, ruled by the Ottomans, co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and invaded by the Soviet Union. Budapest is steeped in history, and two millennia of drama and culture lurk just under her elegant surface.

This is a capital with two sides, Buda and Pest, each on their side of the Danube. Pest proudly shows the jewels in her crown from the 19th century, the golden age for the capital.  Buda also boasts several stunning buildings, not least the Fisherman’s Bastion, a fairy-tale castle with panoramic views over the Danube.

Do not miss the city’s historically grand cafés. New York Café is probably the most opulent of them all: An ultra-luxurious room with beautiful frescoes and just about everything gold-plated.

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1
Fly to Budapest from London

Arrive to Budapest on your included flight from London. At the airport you are met by your private driver who will take you directly to your four-star hotel. Once you are checked-in, a local insider will meet you in the lobby and invite you on a privately guided walking tour of Budapest.

Included flight from London to Budapest
Chauffeured car from airport to your hotel
Privately guided city walk with local insider
2
Budapest

Occupied by the Romans, ruled by the Ottomans, co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and invaded by the Soviet Union. Budapest is steeped in history, and two millennia of drama and culture lurk just under her elegant surface.

This is a capital with two sides, Buda and Pest, each on their side of the Danube. Pest proudly shows the jewels in her crown from the 19th century, the golden age for the capital.  Buda also boasts several stunning buildings, not least the Fisherman’s Bastion, a fairy-tale castle with panoramic views over the Danube.

Do not miss the city’s historically grand cafés. New York Café is probably the most opulent of them all: An ultra-luxurious room with beautiful frescoes and just about everything gold-plated.

Equally unmissable are the thermal baths. An authentic Budapest experience since Roman times, choose between Ottoman, art nouveau or modern establishments. Or just go for the most famous of them all, Széchenyi with stunning neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance buildings surrounding the open-air pools.

Steeped in history, both ancient and recent
Opulent, historic grand cafés.
3
Budapest – Vienna

This Austrian RailJet is not very fast, but it is supremely comfortable. Especially so in Business Class – a class above and beyond first – where you can luxuriate in peace and quiet. The train carries a nice and informal Bistro, but as a VIP-passenger you may also choose to be served at your seat (for a fee).

Upon arrival you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel.

Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

 

Travel premium first-class on Austria's flagship train
Bistro car and at-seat service
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Privately guided city walk with local insider
4
Vienna

The all-powerful Habsburg emperors and archdukes ruled much of continental Europe from Vienna. It all came to an end when one of them got shot and in the process started WWI, but imperial life goes on, just without either empire or emperors, in the grandest palaces in Europe.

The Vienna Boys’ Choir still sings Sunday Mass in the Hofburg Palace, Lipizzaner stallions still trot in the famed Spanish Riding School, chandeliers still sparkle in the Imperial Apartments, and summer life is still relaxed in the mere 1441 rooms of the Schloss Schönbrunn summer residence.

Vienna is much more than imperial pixie dust, however. The city is consistently voted the most liveable in the world, with locals enjoying cakes in the opulent coffee-houses, sniffing fine Austrian wines in vaulted wine cellars, or buying local delicacies in the famed food market. Follow the locals to the Brunnenmarkt – Vienna’s largest street market, and recently a colourful and fashionable district has come to life around it. Numerous artists have set up shop here, as have some of Vienna’s most exciting restaurants.

 

 

Grand palaces and imperial history.
Have a cake in an opulent coffee-house.
5
Vienna – Ljubjlana

From Vienna you journey through the Alps. Enjoy the stunning views from the historic and UNESCO-listed Semmerling railway that weaves its way through the mountains between Vienna and Graz. Then have lunch in the EuroCity train’s comfortable Slovenian dining car.

Right upon arrival at Ljubljana you will be met by your private guide who will escort you to your waiting chauffeured car and join you for the ride to your four-star hotel.

Then, she will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

Travel on the historic and stunning Semmerling route
Beautiful views of the Alps
Restaurant car on the train
VIP arrival service with private guide and driver
Private city walk with your local insider
6
Ljubjlana

Prague without the crowds is like chocolate ice-cream without the fat: Wistful flights of fantasy, both. Unless, of course, you make your way to a small capital that some visitors have compared to Prague, but where hordes of tourists are not yet lining up in from of the city gates.

For decades, Ljubljana lived in obscurity on the dark side of the Iron Curtain. Only in recent years have Europeans discovered that this very small capital of Slovenia is a charmer. Ljubljana is a compact, easily navigable capital that shines like a greatest hit of other cities. An urban gem that is always a pleasure to stroll around, with chocolate-box pretty medieval streets up there with Prague, grand townhouses that would charm the Viennese, remarkable Italianate churches, and some of the finest art nouveau you will set eyes on anywhere.

The historic centre is car-free and pedestrian-only with plenty of sidewalk cafes. The Ljubljanica river winds through the city, and the riverfront bustles with life. Locals flock to the lively riverfront to eat, drink and hang out with friends. At night the riverfront is beautiful, with bridges and buildings lit up.

An urban gem made for walking
Wine and dine at the lively riverfront
7
Ljubjlana – Trieste

It is only a short distance from Ljubljana to Trieste but getting there can be a hassle. Silver Tray does not believe in hassles, so we simply provide you with a chauffeured car that will whisk you directly to your four-star hotel in the centre of Trieste.

Upon arrival you will be met by your private guide who will invite you on a privately guided two-hour city walk. As a local insider, they have an excellent idea of what to show you. But remember: This your private guide, so feel free to mention anything you would like to experience on the walk.

Travel by chauffeured car directly to Trieste
Private city walk with your local insider
8
Trieste

We are old enough to pine for the days when we could sit on the Spanish Steps in splendid solitude and share a Roman piazza with nobody but locals. Oh, lots of pining. Which is why a city like Trieste is a balm to our soul: This is Italy as we remember her, beautiful, charming, and blessedly free of selfie-stick waving hordes of day-tourists.

We know people who consider Trieste one of the hidden little gems of Europe. Quite right they are. This is a very wealthy, yet rather small city right on the Adriatic Sea. Trieste has a rich and varied history that includes both the Roman Empire and Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Romans left behind arches and an impressive amphitheatre, while the Austrians established belle époque Viennese cafes that still dominate city life.

The grandeur of imperial Austrian rule still makes its mark on the city. You’ll be amazed at the size and elegance of Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, the city’s main square and the largest sea-facing piazza in all of Italy. Locals love having their caffé latte at one of the historic cafes here, surrounded by the city’s most splendid palazzi.

One of Europe's hidden gems
Rich and elegant city
Belle époque Viennese cafés
9
Trieste – Venice

This is a very comfortable journey – with a magical arrival at Venice awaiting you. You step onboard the Frecciarossa, one of the fastest and most modern high-speed trains in the world. You travel in Business Class, in a spacious leather seat with a generous recline. The staff will bid you welcome with a snack, and as a VIP-passenger you may order a meal to be served at your seat (for a fee).

You change trains at the edge of the Venetian Lagoon, and then travel across the lagoon, with the domes and towers of Venice visible across the water. The moment you step off the train, your private guide welcomes you and escorts you down the steps to the Grand Canal, where your private water taxi awaits. The trip down the Grand Canal and several small and busy canals is unforgettable, with floating buses, merchants, even ambulances, all jostling for space.

All too soon you arrive at the doorstep of your perfectly located four-star hotel, and immediately after check-in, your private guide will invite you on a two-hour introductory walk through your new neighbourhood.

Business Class seat on high-speed train
VIP arrival with private guide and your private water taxi
Privately guided city walk with your local insider
10
Venice

Maybe she’s no longer rich or powerful, but Venice remains a dazzling beauty. A floating city built on 117 small islands, with hundreds of canals and bridges, and a labyrinth of tiny alleys that even your Google Map cannot quite figure out, this is a metropolis unlike any you have ever seen.

 As soon as you walk down the stairs in front of the Saint Lucia train station, you are immersed in the beauty and magic that is Venice: Right in front of you beckons the Grand Canal, with a waiting private water taxi ready to sail you past palaces and churches to the landing place of your hotel.

 St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and the Grand Canal all command awe. But true enchantment awaits when you choose a less travelled alley and dare get lost in the beautiful and authentic living quarters of the city. Turn a corner, and suddenly an architectural treasure or a small square with a local wine bar reveals itself. Whenever this happens, seize the day – because chances are, you’ll never manage to find it again.

117 islands. 100s of canals and bridges.
Ditch the map. Just get lost in the maze.
11
Fly home from Venice

Only in Venice is a transfer to the airport magical. Your private water taxi awaits you right in front of the hotel. First, it will allow you a final close-up view of Venice as your driver navigates his way through several narrow canals, but soon your sleek vessel emerges into the lagoon and speeds up as it travels on a watery highway (marked by wooden poles) to the Marco Polo Airport’s dedicated piers.

VIP transfer to the airport with private water taxi across the lagoon

Four-star boutique hotels

Stay in charming, comfortable and centrally located four-star boutique hotels carefully curated by Silver Tray. Breakfast is included, as are transfers between the train station and the hotel.

Your trains

Silver Tray has curated Europe's best trains and finest routes for you. See a few of the trains you will experience on this journey.

Railjet

This Austrian RailJet is is supremely comfortable. Especially so in Business Class – a class above and beyond first – where you can luxuriate in peace and quiet. The train carries a nice and informal Bistro, but as a VIP-passenger you may also choose to be served at your seat (for a fee).

Frecciarossa

Step onboard one of the fastest and most modern high-speed trains in the world. Your Frecciarossa train – “the red arrow”–  is the flagship in the fleet. You travel in Business Class, in a spacious leather seat with a generous recline. The staff will bid you welcome with a snack, and as a VIP-passenger you may order a meal to be served at your seat (for a fee).

Your Silver Tray service includes

First class rail travel
  • + First class rail travel
  • +  Austria’s RailJet
  • + Italy’s Frecciarossa high-speed train
  • + Private car transfer Ljubljana – Trieste
  • + Flights from London to Budapest and Venice to London
Private city walks
  • + Two-hour city walks by local insiders.
  • + Fully customizable experiences
  • + Insider advice about local restaurants and hidden gems
Four-star boutique hotels
  • + Four-star boutique hotels
  • + Highly rated and carefully selected
  • + Perfectly located in city centers
  • + Breakfast included
Travel in style and comfort
  • + Private guide waiting at your train car upon arrival
  • + Private transfer to hotel
  • + Private transfer from hotel to train station
  • + Private water taxis in Venice
Sorry, this is not included
  • – Food and drinks other than breakfast
  • – Catering on trains, unless specified
  • – Local excursions

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