Vienna to the Vatican
From Vienna. To Graz, Ljubljuana, Lake Bled, Trieste, Padua, Florence, Rome - 17 Nights

Departing from:
Graz, Ljubljuana, Lake Bled, Trieste, Padua, Florence, Rome
17 Nights
Travel Dates:
11/05/24 to 28/05/24
Offer Expires:
Tour Operator:
Railway Adventures
Reference Code:



Price per person

Package Details


Vienna, once a frontier outpost of the Roman Empire with a rich and glorious history befitting its nickname of The Imperial City, is a fitting launching pad for this epic springtime European adventure. Travelling via Styria into Slovenia, where we’ll explore the stunning scenery of Lake Bled and beyond, we’ll greet Italy from the north and take time to indulge in Tuscany’s great cities, scenery and centres of culture before wending our way south. Stories of the Renaissance, and other engrossing tales and characters are connected to the sites you visit all the way into Rome. An extended stay in the Eternal City provides a base for all manner of explorations and side trips to ancient, monumental and modern Rome and of course the endless wonders of St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican museums.


Day 1 • Saturday 11 May: ARRIVE VIENNA
Our adventure together begins in Vienna. After arriving at the hotel and checking in, enjoy a short walk and a celebratory welcome dinner at a Vienna favourite. Our hotel is handpicked for its location and reflects the musical history of Vienna. Embedded in culture, it’s a stone’s throw from the cuisine on the multicultural Naschmarkt, opposite the Papagenotor of the Theater an der Wien, and just a few minutes’ walk from the opera, the Musikverein, the MuseumsQuartier, and the most traditional Viennese coffee houses and shopping streets. Stories about the area and its history, the essence of the city, are told here. Each floor is dedicated to a specific topic and makes it possible to experience the connection to Vienna with influential personalities.Overnight: Hotel Beethoven, Vienna (D)

Day 2 • Sunday 12 May: VIENNA
A full day touring the city starts with a ride on a privately chartered vintage tram along some of the lines that make it one of the largest tramway networks in the world. We enjoy lunch at a wonderful local restaurant before continuing by train to Schönbrunn Palace, the palatial summer residence of the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg monarchy. The history of Schönbrunn and the buildings that previously stood on this site dates back to the fourteenth century. Here you can indulge all your historical, cultural and artistic senses as you wander through the public galleries and private apartments of Franz Joseph and Sisi. Afterwards, we’ll step back into the modern world with a visit to the Technical Museum just a short walk away. In the evening, we provide the option of either joining Scott and Bernie at an opera or classical music concert (pending on programs and availability), or simply heading off on your own to explore the city from our brilliantly located hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Beethoven, Vienna (B, L)

Day 3 • Monday 13 May: VIENNA – SEMMERING – GRAZ
After breakfast we transfer to the station for a scenic trip on the World Heritage-listed Semmering Pass railway in the spectacular southern Alps. Just over the pass, at the charming city of Mürzzuschlag, we visit the railways museum which has been built inside the original depot, after which there’ll be time for lunch and some time for a wander in the city at your leisure.

We then depart Mürzzuschlag and continue on to Austria’s second largest city, Graz. With a relaxed vibe, architecture that reflects its close Italian neighbour, and many parks and gardens dotted throughout the city, Graz is a charming and an appealing place to explore.

On arrival, a vintage tram will meet us at the station for a city tour, dropping us at Schlossberg Hill. Take a ride on the funicular to experience the panoramic views of this beautiful city, and explore the castle on top of the hill, after which we’ll enjoy a sumptuous dinner at a restaurant located nearby on the hill, enabling you to soak up the views into the night.

Overnight: Schlossberg Hotel, Graz (B, D)

Day 4 • Tuesday 14 May: GRAZ – MARIBOR – LJUBLJANA
We depart Graz after breakfast, boarding the train to arrive in the Slovenian city of Maribor, set amid wine-region hills on the Drava River and boasting a Renaissance-style Town Hall dating from 1515. After a guided tour of this richly historic and beautiful city, you’ll have time to forage some local delicacies for lunch and explore a little more.

After lunch, we continue our train journey to Slovenia’s vibrant capital. Ljubljana dates back to Roman times and was dominated by the Hapsburg rulers for much of the last millennium. It is a beautifully preserved Baroque city famous for its art, architecture, and culture. Keep an eye out for numerous dragons, the city’s symbol, which you’ll find adorning bridges, ramparts and historic buildings. This evening we dine at a local restaurant close to our hotel in the heart of town.

Overnight: Grand Hotel Union Business, Ljubljana (B, D)

Day 5 • Wednesday 15 May: LJUBLJANA
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll meet our local guide for an informative tour of the old town and a visit to the large castle that is the dominant focal point of this charming and compact city.

Following the tour you’ll have free time for shopping, sightseeing and enjoying lunch in one of the many cafes in the squares and boulevards that adorn the Baroque capital. You may like to wander up to the railway station and take a local train to other interesting Slovenian places. Your Tour Leaders will be on hand to assist with any suggestions.

Dinner is at leisure tonight.

Overnight: Grand Hotel Union Business, Ljubljana, (B)

Day 6 • Thursday 16 May: LJUBLJANA – LAKE BLED
After a bit of a sleep in and some breakfast, we’ll depart Slovenia’s capital in the late morning for our journey to picturesque Lake Bled, with a stop at the little town of Jesenice, the Slovenian home of mining and iron making industries and the famous ice hockey club, HK Acroni Jesenice. Here you’ll have free time to explore the town and enjoy some lunch at leisure.

After arriving at Lake Bled, we’ll have some time to settle in and freshen up at the hotel, before heading off to Bled Castle for an evening exploration of the imposing mediaeval cliff top fortress and dinner in the castle’s atmospheric restaurant.

Overnight: Hotel Triglav, Bled, (B, D)

Day 7 • Friday 17 May: LAKE BLED
With views stretching across the lake and beyond, breakfast in this hotel is a delight. After breakfast we join our local guide for a personalised tour of Lake Bled and nearby Lake Bohinj, including a special transfer to the rowing club to meet the traditional Pletna Boat rowers who will take us to the island for a tour of the 17th-century church and a chance to ring the wishing bell. We will continue by boat to Vila Bled, now a hotel but formerly the grand summer residence of Tito, president of Yugoslavia until 1980, where our coach will meet us to continue the tour to Lake Bohinj. A gondola takes us up Mount Vogel, standing at over 1,900 metres above sea level. From here we’ll be able to see the Julian Alps and Mount Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia and also our special spot for our mountaintop lunch. We’ll return to our hotel in plenty of time to have some free time exploring this gorgeous town before having dinner at your leisure. Dinner options include dining at the hotel or sampling a local specialty, hotpot stew, at one of the wonderful local restaurants in town.

Overnight: Hotel Triglav, Bled, (B, L)

Day 8 • Saturday 18 May: LAKE BLED – SOCCA VALLEY – LAKE BLED
This morning after breakfast, we’ll do the two-minute walk from the hotel to Bled Jezero Railway Station, our departure point for a vintage railway adventure by special train down the historic Bohinj Line following the spectacular Soča River. Numerous gorges, impressive bridges and dozens of tunnels are part of the character of this journey that takes us to the wine growing region of Goriška Brda.

This full-day tour includes a side trip by coach to lunch in the town of Dobrovo on the Italian border. Wine tastings and a visit to the lookout at the village close out our little side trip before returning to the train and rolling back up the valley to our station at Lake Bled and our comfortable hotel.

Dinner tonight is at leisure.

Overnight: Hotel Triglav, Bled, (B, L)

This morning we depart Lake Bled and head directly to the village of Postojna, situated in the heart of one of Europe’s most extraordinary cave systems. A special cave tour via a narrow gauge electric train, takes us deep underground, revealing a magical underworld with spectacular formations, caverns and underground rivers. After some welcome morning tea, we’ll continue the short journey to the dramatically-set Predjama Castle, the world’s largest cave castle. Ranked as one of the world’s ten most fascinating castles, it tells a picturesque story about the times when comfort had to give way to safety, and when the clatter of weapons would often drown out troubadours’ songs.

Moving on, we travel to the historic and picturesque seaside town of Piran, sitting at the tip of a narrow peninsula on the Slovenian coast. Endowed with mediaeval architecture, narrow streets, compact houses and an exquisite atmosphere, it is a favourite escape for Slovenian locals. Here we’ll enjoy a lunch of local delicacies before travelling over the border to Opicina in the Province of Trieste. Our first train ride in Italy is a Trieste institution, the historic Opicina-Trieste tramway, the only tram in the world that becomes a funicular railway half way up the escarpment. Make sure you have your camera ready! Our coach will meet us at the Trieste station and transfer us to our centrally located hotel where you’ll have time to settle in before dinner together in the excellent hotel restaurant.

Overnight: Savoia Excelsior Palace Hotel, Trieste, (B, L, D)

Day 10 • Monday 20 May: TRIESTE – VENICE
This morning is yours – sleep in and enjoy the hotel facilities or head out and about to explore this grand city. We’ll be heading to the station around lunchtime for the 2- hour trip by rail to the glorious city of Venice. Another time to have your camera at the ready as the last 20 mins of the trip hug the spectacular Italian coast. Our afternoon arrival allows us time to check in and relax before we embark on a short evening introductory walking tour of the old city ending up at a charming courtyard restaurant for dinner.

Overnight: Carnival Palace Hotel, Venice (B, D)

Day 11 • Tuesday 21 May: VENICE
Venice is full of so many treasures, it’s impossible to get to them all, so today we try to customise your experience as much as we can. This morning is all about the icons of Venice and our guided tour of the city will include such ‘musts’ as the Rialto Bridge, St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. The afternoon is left free for you to wander and explore the things that interest you the most, from riding a Gondola to taking a speed boat to the glass factories of Murano. Our guide will be on hand to help.

Or you may wish to join your tour leaders for an afternoon trip to Padua just a short 20 minute train ride away. This ancient city is blessed with some remarkable sites to explore including the astounding Giotto frescoes in the 14th century Scrovegni Chapel, the vast Basilica of Saint Anthony, the Loggia Amulea and the Orto Botanica gardens. All can be accessed on foot or by taking a ride on the compact tram system.

Dinner tonight is at leisure.

Overnight: Carnival Palace Hotel, Venice (B)

Day 12 • Wednesday 22 May: VENICE – BOLOGNA – FLORENCE
We depart Venice in the morning by express train, pausing at Bologna to explore the city and have some lunch together close to the historic town square. We then continue on to Florence, arriving in the afternoon. There’ll be time to settle into our iconic hotel before jumping on a train to Montecatini, where we’ll take the historic funicular railway up to Montecatini Alto to experience the spectacular panoramic views across Montecatini Terme and enjoy a Tuscan sunset before we settle into a local restaurant for dinner, after which we’ll return to Florence.

Overnight: Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence (B, L, D)

Day 13 • Thursday 23 May: FLORENCE
Like Venice, Florence has myriad things you can see and do, so again, we want you to be able to customise some of your stay here. After a guided tour of the old city in the morning, including a visit to the famous Duomo, your afternoon and evening will be free to explore the galleries and museums or simply soak up the atmosphere in the main square. For those who are interested in art, we highly recommend a visit to the famous Uffizi or venture out to see Michelangelo’s exquisite ‘David’.

Or ask your tour leader to help you plan an excursion to the magnificent walled cities of San Gimignano or Siena. Both are easily accessible by train.

Overnight: Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence (B)

Today’s excursion takes us by train west towards the Mediterranean Coast and continuing on to Rapallo where we join the stunning coastal railway that travels through the region known as the Cinque Terre. With trains running every 15 minutes, you’ll have the freedom to jump on and off at any of the 5 magical cliff-top towns along the way, meeting up with your fellow travellers at Monterosso in the late afternoon to return together to Florence. Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colourful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbours are filled with fishing boats and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto.

Overnight: Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence (B)

Day 15 • Saturday 25 May: FLORENCE – ASSISI – ROME
After breakfast at the hotel, we will travel from Florence to Assisi and on to Rome by train. Leaving early, we arrive at Assisi in the mid-morning, where we will enjoy the sights of Assisi with a guided tour followed by a lovely lunch in the heart of town. Best known as the birthplace of St Francis, one of Italy’s most famous patron saints, Assisi is a popular destination for pilgrims. Yet you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the town’s beautiful scenery, spectacular architecture and rich culture.

In the afternoon we continue on to Rome, pausing at Spoleto to take a short tour of this ancient fortress city. After our arrival at the monumental Roma Termini station, we’ll take the easy walk to our gorgeous boutique hotel, which will be our home for the next few nights. After checking in and freshening up we’ll gather together for a sumptuous dinner in the hotel’s dining room.

Overnight: Domus Australia, Rome (B, L, D)

Day 16 • Sunday 26 May: ROME
Rome’s history spans more than two and a half thousand years since its legendary founding in 753 BC. It is one of Europe’s oldest cities, so after breakfast at the hotel, we’ll travel by coach to the start of the Ancient Rome tour to see such sights as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Capitol Hill.

Lunch will be hosted at a local restaurant close to the hotel, after which you will have a free afternoon before regrouping for an early evening tour of another great theme of Rome: its monuments. The Monumental Rome Tour includes the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Campo de’ Fiori and Navona Square. Your evening is then free to have dinner in one of the many outstanding local restaurants within an easy walk of the hotel.

Overnight: Domus Australia (B, L)

Day 17 • Monday 27 May: ROME – THE VATICAN
Today is our visit to the Vatican and we are truly blessed from the outset with a private early entry arrangement to avoid the crowds. The Vatican Museums house over 70,000 works of art, impossible to cover in a single day, so we will be focussing on the most significant. Moving through virtually empty galleries in comfort with our expert guide, you’ll take in some of the world’s most incredible works of art, with stops at the Belvedere Courtyard, Gallery of the Maps, the School of Athens and the four Raphael Rooms, on your way to the Sistine Chapel. Without the usual crowds, your guide will have the time and space to give you a proper explanation. Look out for the likenesses of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo hidden in plain sight in the School of Athens.

From the Vatican Museums, our guide will lead us through a special-access corridor to St. Peter’s Basilica, enabling us the privilege of skipping the long queues outside. Once inside the Basilica, you’ll be stopped in your tracks as you marvel at the artistic wealth around you, including the magnificent main dome, Bernini’s monumental altar canopy, Michelangelo’s moving Pietà, over 100 tombs, and various richly adorned naves and chapels. One of these is the glorious and incredibly moving Sistine Chapel, the main event of a visit to the Vatican City. By this time, your guide will have given you the full history of this amazing space and some information about what to look for. If you’ve never been here before, be ready to have your breath taken away, if you’ve got any left after the morning so far! With no talking or photos allowed in the Chapel, you can quite literally ‘melt’ into the space and embed it in your memory forever. We won’t rush you through this magical experience and encourage you to take your time to experience the feeling that comes with seeing some of the most iconic images on earth.

The rest of the afternoon is yours to stay on in the gardens at the Vatican or return to the hotel with the group and explore Rome a bit more. For those with the inclination to do so, you may consider the option of joining Scott on a quirky tour viewing the city from the vantage point of its tram network on board a vintage tram. This evening we’ll gather together one last time to enjoy drinks and a celebratory farewell dinner.

Overnight: Domus Australia, Rome (B, D)

Day 18 • Tuesday 28 May: DEPART ROME
Your tour comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your departure home or continue onward with your own travel plans.


  • 17 nights’ accommodation in very comfortable, centrally located 4-5 star hotels
  • All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
  • All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
  • Breakfasts daily, 7 lunches, 9 dinners
  • Drinks included with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Expert local guides
  • Luggage transport on key legs
Price does not include
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Excursions listed as optional/extra in the brochure – also referred to as separate activities that can be facilitated by your tour leader
  • International flights
  • Meals and services not mentioned in itinerary


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