Autumn in Southern Austria

Friday 20th September to Friday 27th September 2019
8 - Days


Prices from: £1695


Discover the natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and spectacular railways of Southeastern Austria on this glorious autumn holiday, packed with vibrant seasonal colour and unique steam attractions.


Departure Date: 20-Sep-2019
Book Now

Based in the historic city of Graz throughout, you will experience the most scenic railway lines in the Southern Alps aboard heritage transport, including ‘best kept secrets’ such as the picturesque Mixnitz and Bad Gleichenberg branch lines. Aside from famous ‘little trains’ on narrow gauge routes, you will also travel behind iconic steam locomotives, such as the diamond-stacked, dark green No.671, which dates from 1860 and is one of the oldest operational steam locomotives in the world. The rugged tank engine 88.103 on the Ferlach heritage railway in Carinthia is another steam attraction and ‘RTC first’. Other rolling stock attractions are narrow gauge ‘Crocodile’ electric locomotives dating from 1913 and dynamic, semi-streamlined railcars from the 1930s. A further highlight is a private charter trip up the mythic Erzberg mountain railway on a line without regular passenger services. For a relaxing railway holiday that features the ideal balance between excitement and refinement, look no further.

Friday 20th September
Fly to Vienna; First Class journey by train over the Semmering Railway to Graz
You have a direct morning flight from London to Vienna and arrive in Austria’s capital city by midday. At the Vienna airport your luggage is collected and directly transferred to the Graz hotel by road coach. This allows you to make a memorable afternoon journey by train from Vienna over the famed Semmering Pass to Graz. Travelling in First Class accommodation, you will experience Continental Europe’s very first mountain railway line, dating from 1854. You arrive Graz by late afternoon and check into the 4-star Hotel Europa opposite the station. This will be your base for the entire holiday. A welcome evening meal will be served at the hotel tonight. (D)

Saturday 21st September
Steam on the Stainz narrow-gauge railway, Schlossberg Funicular and Trams in Graz
This morning a GKB service train takes you directly from Graz to Preding. There you have a steam-hauled private charter train over the 11 km long narrow-gauge branch line to Stainz, pausing for photos and run-pasts along the way. After lunch in the town of Stainz you return to Graz, where you ride the historic funicular to the summit of the Schlossberg hill. From the summit of this local landmark, there are fantastic views of the city’s rooftops and historic district. After taking the funicular back down, you will have free time to discover Graz at your own pace. You could use your complimentary public transport ticket to travel on the expansive tram system. (B L)

Sunday 22nd September
Steam on the Graz-Köflach Railway with locomotive No.671
The signature attraction of this special autumn holiday awaits today, as the truly amazing steam locomotive No.671 hauls you through the pretty Styrian countryside westward to Köflach. Steaming behind No.671 is like time travel back to the middle of the 19th century, as this ornate, diamond-stacked 0-6-0 tender locomotive from 1860 is actually the oldest, continuously operating steam locomotive in the world and has never been formally retired or withdrawn! Once you reach Köflach, the loco will turn on the local turntable and pause for more pictures, before you have lunch at a local restaurant near the station. In the early afternoon you steam back to Graz, pausing at the junction station of Lieboch and visiting the railway museum there. Once back in Graz for the late afternoon, you will have more time for trams, cultural sightseeing or simply relaxing at one of the local microbreweries or countless wine cellars. (B L D)

Monday 23rd September
Vintage ‘Crocodile’ locomotives at the Mixnitz narrow gauge railway
The narrow-gauge line from Mixnitz to Sankt Erhard is located north of Graz and is one of Austria’s most attractive ‘little trains’. Distinctive blue ‘Crocodile’ steeple cab locomotives dating from 1913 provide the traction for your private charter train today, pausing for numerous run-pasts along the way. At the terminus in Sankt Erhard an al fresco lunch will be served, before you return to Mixnitz by train. From there you take S-Bahn service back to Graz. (B L)

Tuesday 24th September
Vintage electrics at the Gleichenberg narrow gauge railway; Bad Radkersburg rural branch line
This morning you travel by ÖBB service train from Graz to Feldbach, before transferring onto a private charter train. On the 21 km long Gleichenberg branch line a 1930s vintage electric railcar takes you over steep gradients into south-eastern Styria. After several photo stops at panoramic locations, you reach Bad Gleichenberg, where lunch will be served. Afterwards, a short coach transfer takes you to Bad Radkersburg, near the Slovenian border. This town is the terminus of the long, standard-gauge branch line from Spielfeld. You then board an ÖBB service train for the worthwhile trip over the remote branch line to the border station of Spielfeld and eventually Graz, thus completing a rewarding circuit for the day. The evening will once again afford leisure opportunities in Graz. (B L)

Wednesday 25th September
Steam in Carinthia; Streamlined electric railcar on the main line
After breakfast you travel on an ÖBB service train from Graz to St. Veith in Carinthia (Kärnten). In St. Veith the semi-streamlined railcar 4042.01 dating from 1936 takes you on a private charter run to Klagenfurt. From there you carry on to Weizelsdorf, transferring to another privately chartered steam train hauled by the rugged tank engine 88.103. Along the 6 km long heritage branch line to Ferlach numerous run-pasts will be staged in the shadow of Alpine peaks. From Ferlach you continue by steam on the 1.6 km long industrial siding to the former steel works, now the site of the Historama tramway and transport museum. After viewing the extensive collection, you return by steam train to Ferlach, before returning by ÖBB service train from Klagenfurt to Graz. Dinner is served in the hotel restaurant. (B L D)

Thursday 26th September
Mountain magnificence and steep gradients at the Erzbergbahn
Today you embark on a journey to the iconic Erzberg. As a traditional location of iron ore mining, the mountain hosts one of the steepest standard-gauge, rack and adhesion railway lines in Central Europe. Once worked by powerful 2-12-2 tank engines, the line from Vordernberg Markt to Erzberg is now served by classic mid-20th century Uerdingen railbuses. These famous West German DMUs have open driver vestibules, allowing excellent forward- or rear-facing views. You travel the 18 km long length of line on a private charter, with photo opportunities and run pasts at the most scenic locations. In the late afternoon you return to Graz for dinner with your fellow travellers. (B L D)

Friday 27th September
Return to Vienna on the Aspang Railway; Flight back to London
This morning your luggage will once again be transferred by coach to Vienna airport, while you get to enjoy another railway highlight! An ÖBB Regional Express train takes you on the scenic secondary line from Graz via Fehring and Aspang to Wiener Neustadt, allowing you to see more attractive scenery and mountainous railway lines ‘off the beaten path’. In Wiener Neustadt you change onto a fast train to Wien Hauptbahnhof, before transferring by rail to the airport for a direct evening flight back to London. (B)


Details

Price

  • Tour Price £1795
  • Single supplement £345
  • Ground only £1695

All prices shown are per person.

Price Includes

  • 7 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in a 4-star hotel
  • 6 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Travel on all charter trains and other scenic trains as detailed in the itinerary
  • Journey on all steam trains and other heritage transport as detailed in the itinerary
  • Multi-day public transport rover ticket in Graz
  • 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!