Austrian Steam Safari

Tuesday 17th October to Sunday 29th October 2017
13 - Days


Prices from: £2225


Discover the natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and spectacular railways of Austria on this glorious summer holiday, packed with superb Alpine scenery and unique steam highlights.


Departure Date: 17-Oct-2017
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Based in the stylish cities of Vienna, Klagenfurt and Salzburg and the charming town of Gmünd, you’ll experience many of Austria’s top attractions as you travel steam-hauled on picturesque main lines, remote branch lines and steeply graded mountain railways. A scenic sidestep into beautiful South Bohemia on a main line charter train to the famed historic city of Cesky Krumlov and the Sumava mountains also features. Tour highlights include exclusive steam charters at the Schneeberg and Schafberg rack railway, main line steam near the Slovenian border and narrow gauge steam in the Waldviertel. Relaxing cruises on pristine Alpine lakes aboard genuine vintage steamboats round out this diverse programme, which emphasizes first class comfort and the utmost convenience.

Tuesday 17th October
Fly to Vienna
You arrive in Austria’s inspiring capital around mid-day, after a morning flight from London. Following a direct transfer from the airport you check into a centrally located 4-star hotel, your base for the next five nights. You spend the rest of the day exploring Vienna at your leisure, using the complimentary public transport rover ticket supplied, valid for the duration of your stay.

Wednesday 18th October
Sightseeing tour of Vienna by vintage tram and leisure in the city
After breakfast you’ll enjoy a private sightseeing tour on one of Vienna’s iconic red and white tramways. The private tram charter takes you over the famous Ring Road, past the Imperial Palace, Opera House, Parliament and the City Hall, travelling over ‘rare track’, including by-pass curves and balloon loops not normally accessible. Afterwards you spend the rest of the day at your leisure in the city, perhaps using your public transport rover to explore the over-ground railway lines, or visit Vienna’s world famous museums and galleries. (B)

Thursday 19th October
Steam at the Schneeberg rack railway
Today you steam straight into the Austrian Alps on a privately chartered train via the Schneeberg mountain rack railway south of Vienna. An original 19th century steam locomotive pushes you up the 1800m ascent, seated in the comfort of your photogenic green heritage coach. Regular services on the Schneeberg will have ended for the season, so numerous run-pasts will be staged, and from the summit there are sweeping views of the Alps and the plains of Hungary. After a delightful group lunch at a mountain lodge you’ll return downhill with your steam train. In late afternoon you return to Vienna by ÖBB service train. (B L)

Friday 20th October
Mountain magnificence at the Mariazellerbahn; Steam on the Mariazell heritage tramway
You travel to St. Pölten this morning on an ÖBB high speed service, before transferring onto the Mariazellerbahn, Austria’s longest narrow gauge railway. You’ll traverse this 84 km branch line, all horseshoe curves and winding spirals, in a private observation saloon with the Alpine scenery in full view. Arriving at Mariazell in late morning, the 1902 0-4-0 tramway locomotive ‘Hellbrunn’ then hauls you to Lake Erlauf, where you break for a stroll. You return to the depot for a guided tour of one of Central Europe’s largest collections of trams and light rail vehicles. Afterwards you take the steam tramway on the new extension of the line via the Mariazell wye to the terminus Promenadenweg. You return to the station before continuing to the town centre for lunch and a sight-seeing visit to the landmark pilgrimage basilica. In late afternoon your panoramic train takes you back to St. Pölten and then on to Vienna. (B L)

Saturday 21st October
The Semmering Railway and steam at the Gurktalbahn
This morning you cross the stone-arched viaducts of the stunning Semmeringbahn, the first trans-Alpine railway built in Europe from 1848-54. You’ll travel First Class on an ÖBB service train over the UNESCO designated Semmering pass to the junction station of Treibach. There a privately chartered Austro-Hungarian tank engine from the early 20th century hauls you south on this preserved narrow gauge line to Pöckstein. Framed by peaks, this unique line meanders through idyllic rural scenery. There’ll be photo stops and run-pasts en route before a buffet lunch is served in the bar car. Later you continue on an ÖBB service train the short distance to Klagenfurt. This historic city and hub of southern Austria will be your base for the next 3 nights, with accommodation at a centrally located 4-star hotel. (B L)

Sunday 22nd October
Lend canal cruise and steamboat cruise on the Wörthersee
After breakfast there’s a scenic cruise on the man-made 16th century Lend Canal, the attractive waterway which connects the city centre of Klagenfurt with the banks of the Wörthersee. You’ll travel on a nostalgic motor vessel dating from the 1920s. Upon arrival at the lakefront, you change ships and board Austria’s last genuine screw steamer, the magnificent ‘Thalia’ dating from 1909. During your private charter cruise you sail the full length of the Alpine Wörthersee, while a delightful bistro lunch is served on board. You return to Klagenfurt in the afternoon to spend the rest of the evening at leisure in the city. (B L)

Monday 23rd October
Steam in the Rosental, Historama transport museum and steam tramway
A fabulous steam highlight awaits today as you travel on a private charter train over the rural Rosental line south of Klagenfurt and near the Slovenian border. A powerful Class 93 steam locomotive will haul your train and run pasts will feature prominently. These powerful 2-8-2 locos are the quintessential mixed traffic, branch line locomotive of Austrian railways. After lunch there’s time for a visit to the excellent Historama transport museum, with the bonus of private charter ride on the museum’s iconic steam tram! After your great day out you return to Klagenfurt for another evening of relaxation in this beautiful city. (B L)

Tuesday 24th October
Tauern Railway and Salzburg
The time has come to transfer from one glorious Austrian city to another, as you leave Klagenfurt and travel in First Class on an ÖBB service train over the stunning Tauern main line to Salzburg. Passing over steep gradients and lofty viaducts along the way, you arrive in Mozart’s birthplace at mid-day. After checking into your centrally located 4-star hotel, you’ll be given a complimentary Salzburg Card with full access to the city’s expansive trolleybus network as well as the funicular railway leading up to the lofty fortress. Enjoy the freedom to explore one of Europe’s most attractive cities and be wowed by the culture, architecture and spectacular Alpine setting of Salzburg’s medieval old town. (B)

Wednesday 25th October
Paddle cruise on Wolfgangsee and steam at the Schafbergbahn
After breakfast this morning you have a coach transfer to the Wolfgangsee, for an enchanting cruise on this beautiful Alpine lake with the historic paddle-wheeler ‘Kaiser Franz Josef’ from 1873. You then ascend to the summit of Mount Schafberg by steam locomotive on the famed rack and pinion railway, accommodated in Emperor Franz Josef’s private teak carriage from the 1890s. Stunning views of countless lakes and distant glaciers can be had from the summit. You return to Salzburg in the late evening. (B L)

Thursday 26th October
Paddle steamer cruise on the Traunsee, vintage electric railcar charter
This morning you transfer to the beautiful lakeside town of Gmunden in the heart of the Austrian Alps, to enjoy a genuine paddle steamer cruise on Lake Traunsee aboard the iconic “Gisela” of 1871, one of the oldest operational steamboats in the world, and powered by a 2-cylinder oscillating engine. You’ll have an excellent buffet lunch aboard the ship amidst incredible scenery and amazing Alpine views. On returning to Gmunden there’s time for a stroll around town before a private charter on a vintage 1921 electric railcar takes you on the 14 km local line to Vorchdorf. From here you transfer by coach to Gmünd in the north of Austria. On arrival in this pretty town you check into the Romantik Hotel Goldener Stern, a charming and friendly country inn. A buffet dinner is served at the hotel this evening. (B L D)

Friday 27th October
Steam in Austria’s Waldviertel
Over the next two days you’ll discover the expansive network of Austrian narrow gauge railways around Gmünd, with three different lines totalling 82 km in length. First you travel over the 25 km branch line to Litschau near the Czech border, as well as its adjoining 13 km spur from Alt-Nagelberg to Heidenreichstein. There’ll be two privately chartered trains, the first from Gmünd to Litschau, hauled by the iconic 0-8+4 articulated steam locomotive Mh.4 from 1906. The train runs past mirrored ponds and through serene evergreen forests, pausing at the most scenic locations for run-pasts. In Litschau you make a short transfer by road coach to Heidenreichstein, where a typical Austrian lunch is served at the well-preserved station building. Heidenreichstein is the terminus of the shortest of the three Waldviertel branch lines. You board your next private train here and travel over the entire extent of this 13 km long branch line from Heidenreichstein to Alt-Nagelberg, hauled by a 1930s Class 2091 centre cab diesel locomotive. At Alt-Nagelberg your private steam train with Mh.4 will again be waiting, and after photos with both trains posing next to each other you’ll return to Gmünd steam hauled. Dinner is at the hotel this evening. (B L D)

Saturday 28th October
Main line charter in South Bohemia and Cesky Krumlov visit
Taking advantage of Gmünd’s convenient location on the Czech frontier you make a sidestep into pretty South Bohemia today, venturing into the heart of the Sumava Mountains and the historic town of Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a pocket-sized version of Prague. You’ll travel on a privately chartered Czech main line train formed of green heritage coaches with open balconies, hauled by a classic diesel locomotive with loud engine acoustics. A bar car will be included in the consist, where complimentary drinks and refreshments will be served. In Cesky Krumlov you’ll enjoy a hearty Czech buffet lunch with time later to sightsee some amazing locations around the town. In the afternoon your private charter carries you over this most scenic main line track, passing the Lipno reservoir and reaching Kubova Hut, the highest railway station in the country. From there the train continues via Vimperk and Cicenice to Ceske Budejovice, completing a large circular route for the day. You return to Gmünd in the evening for another buffet dinner at the Hotel Goldener Stern. (B L D)

Sunday 29th October
Return to London
After breakfast you’ll have a direct transfer from Gmünd to Vienna Airport, for a non-stop return flight to London. (B)


Details

Price

  • Tour price £2395
  • Single supplement £295
  • Ground only (Vienna – Gmund) £2225

All prices shown are per person

Price Includes

  • 12 nights hotel accommodation with 11 breakfasts in 3 or 4-star hotels
  • 9 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Travel on all charter trains as detailed in the itinerary
  • Journey on all steam trains, boats and trams as detailed in the itinerary
  • Multi-day public transport rover in Vienna
  • All transfers
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!