This 15-day tour visits three of the great music capitals of Central Europe: Vienna, Prague and Budapest. As well as attending a series of fine performances, this musical pilgrimage takes you to the places where some of the great composers lived and worked. In Budapest, there are museums dedicated to Liszt and Bartok; in Vienna, an astonishing number of sites associated with Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert; and in the countryside near Prague, the birthplace of Dvorak. We will also visit two beautifully preserved baroque theatres, one in Cesky Krumlov and the other the celebrated Estates Theatre in Prague.
Orchestral music and opera of the highest quality in Central Europe’s most celebrated music venues
The rich musical traditions of Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic
In-depth background to the music you will hear in live performance
Visits to wonderfully preserved baroque theatres in Cesky Krumlov and Prague
The delightful city of Bratislava on the Danube and the breathtaking scenery at Cesky Krumlov in southern Bohemia
The many glorious Art Nouveau buildings in Prague
Nine performances of opera, orchestral music, chamber music and ballet are included, in some of Central Europe’s most celebrated music venues.
A concert by the Prague Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jac van Steen, featuring pianist Lukas Vondracek, performing works by Prokofjev and Rachmaninov
Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at the historic Estates Theatre
Sir Frederick Ashton’s highly acclaimed ballet La fille mal gardee
The spectacular Vienna State Opera productions of Beethoven’s Fidelio and Verdi’s masterpiece Aida
A concert by the acclaimed Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with pianist Yefim Bronfman, under the musical leadership of Andris Nelsons
A piano recital by Piotr Anderszweski performing works by Mozart and Chopin
Verdi’s, opulent opera Un Ballo in Maschera at the Erkel Theatre
Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 performed by the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Jukka-Pekka Sarastre
Days 1–4: In Prague, attend outstanding performances and visit a range of sites both in the city and the surrounding countryside.
Day 5: Stay overnight in Ceske Budejovice and take a day trip to nearby Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.
Days 6–10: In Vienna, in addition to performances, visit venues where Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert lived and worked.
Days 11–15: Visit Bratislava en route to Budapest, attend performances and enjoy walking tours of both Buda and Pest, the Bartok and Liszt museums, and the Empress Elisabeth’s castle at Gödöllö.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Emirates flies into Prague and out of Budapest at times that coincide with the tour.
Included meals are shown with the letters B, L and D.
Monday April 16: Arrive Prague
Upon arrival in Prague, make your way to the hotel in the city centre and check-in. If you have booked your air travel through Academy Travel we will organise a transfer from the airport to our hotel. Please note that hotel rooms may not be available until early afternoon. Meet your tour leader Lindy Montgomery for early evening drinks and canapés in the hotel. Overnight Prague (D)
Tuesday April 17: Old Town Prague – Le Nozze di Figaro
The bohemian city of Prague, with its skyline of gothic spires and narrow cobbled streets, is one of Europe’s best-preserved cities. After a talk on this evening’s performance, we take a guided tour to explore the labyrinth of medieval cobbled stone streets of the Old Town including the Municipal House, the finest example of Art Nouveau architecture in Prague, with its fine concert hall named in honour of Smetana. We have a welcome lunch at a local restaurant, then the afternoon is at leisure. This evening we see Mozart’s opera buffa (comic opera) Le nozze di Figaro at the Estates Theatre. Overnight Prague (B, L)
Venue: Estates Theatre
Program: Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro
Performers: To be announced
Wednesday April 18: Castle District – Prague Symphony Orchestra
This morning we drive to the medieval Castle District, or Hradcany, where we commence our walking tour at the Strahov Monastery with its two famous libraries. We visit St Vitus’ Cathedral, a masterpiece of gothic architecture which was only completed in 1929. Vladislav Hall, with its breathtaking vaulted ceiling, was used for banquets, receptions and even jousting tournaments. After a break for lunch we stroll Nerudova Street, certainly one of Prague´s most picturesque streets filled with interesting house signs to Little Town/Mala Strana. There we find St. Nicholas Church, where Mozart´s Requiem was performed shortly after his death and Beethoven Palace where he lived during his first stay in Prague. We return to Prague with time to refresh before for this evening’s concert by the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Overnight Prague (B)
Thursday April 19: Prague’s Rococo and Art Nouveau – The Wayward Daughter
The Municipal House, completed in 1911, is perhaps the finest example of Art Nouveau architecture in Prague. Our guided tour takes us through the meeting rooms and exhibition halls culminating in the fine concert hall named in honour of Smetana. The beautiful rococo Estates Theatre was where the premieres of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito took place in 1787 and 1791 respectively. It is one of the oldest European theatres operating continuously since 1783. Tonight we see Sir Frederick Ashton’s highly acclaimed ballet. Overnight Prague (B)
Venue: National Theatre
Program: The Wayward Daughter, ballet
Performers: To be announced
Friday April 20: Český Krumlov
This morning we depart Prague and visit Český Krumlov en-route to České Budějovice in Southern Bohemia. Český Krumlov is a picturesque old town and a UNESCO World Heritage site with over three hundred protected medieval buildings arranged in a lovely setting of rolling hills and winding river. We take a guided walking tour of the old town and the impressive castle complex. The highlight of our visit is the superbly preserved baroque theatre. After a break for lunch, we continue on to České Budějovice to check-in to the hotel and take a stroll through the town before dinner. Overnight České Budějovice (B, D)
Saturday April 21: To Vienna
Mid-morning, we travel by coach to Vienna, arriving early afternoon. After checking in to the hotel we take a short orientation walk and have dinner together at a local restaurant. Overnight Vienna (B, D)
Sunday April 22: Vienna’s Musical Heritage – Gewandhausorchestra Leipzig
Vienna is a city with an impressive musical legacy. Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Mahler are among the celebrated composers who lived and worked here. Today, our guided tour starts at Pasqualati House, where Beethoven lived on different occasions over a period of about eight years. Several of his most important works were composed here, including the Seventh Symphony. We continue on to the outskirts of the city where Franz Schubert was born. The modest apartment presents an impressive account of his musical development, his circle of friends and the stages of his short life. From here we drive to the village of Heiligenstadt where the young Beethoven wrote the so-called ‘Heiligenstadt Testament’ in which he admits his despair at his growing deafness. Finally, we visit Grinzing cemetery where Gustav Mahler is buried next to his favourite daughter Maria, who died when she was just four years old. We return to Vienna with time to rest before our concert by the Gewandhausorchestra Leipzig with American-Israeli pianist Yefim Bronfman, under the musical leadership of Andris Nelsons. Overnight Vienna (B)
Program: works by Beethoven and Brahms
Performers: Gewandhausorchestra Leipzig, Andris Nelsons (conductor), Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Monday April 23: Vienna’s Musical Heritage – Piano Recital
This morning we continue our exploration of Vienna’s musical heritage, starting with St Stephen’s Cathedral where Mozart’s funeral was held. We stroll through the old city to ‘Figarohaus’, where Mozart composed Le nozze di Figaro at the height of his success in the mid-1780s. The afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration of the city prior to this evening’s piano recital by Piotr Anderszewski. Overnight Vienna (B)
Program: works by Mozart and Chopin
Performers: Piotr Anderszweski (piano)
Tuesday April 24: Vienna Woods – Fidelio
Today we drive to the Vienna Woods, first visiting the monastery at Heiligenkreuz, the oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monastery in the world. We continue on to the imperial hunting lodge at Mayerling where the tragic murder-suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf and his lover Baroness Marie Vetsera took place in 1889. We return to Vienna via the lovely spa town of Baden. Beethoven often spent his summers here and in the nearby wine-villages and he completed his great Ninth Symphony here. The evening we see Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, an ode to freedom, justice, and the human spirit. Overnight Vienna (B)
Venue: State Opera Vienna
Program: Beethoven’s, Fidelio
Performers: Adam Fischer (conductor), Adam Fischer (Don Pizarro), Peter Seiffert (Florestan), Ricarda Merbeth (Leonore)
Wednesday April 25: Art in Vienna – Aida
After a talk on this evening’s performance, we head to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, brimming with works by Europe’s finest painters, sculptors and artisans. Occupying a neoclassical building as sumptuous as the art it contains, the museum takes you on a time-travel treasure hunt from Classical Rome to Egypt and the Renaissance. You will see Roger van der Weyden’s Crucifixion triptych, a Memling altarpiece, and Jan van Eyck’s portrait of Cardinal Albergati. The picture gallery has 16th- and 17th-century works by German, Dutch, Flemish, and Italian greats. Among them, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Van Dyck, and Dürer. The evening we return to the State Opera to experience Verdi’s Egyptian epic, Aida. Overnight Vienna (B, D)
Venue: State Opera Vienna
Program: Verdi’s, Aida
Performers: Jesús López Cobos (conductor), Anita Rachvelishvili (Amneris), Kristin Lewis (Aida), Jorge de Leon (Radames), Paolo Rumetz (Amonasro)
Thursday April 26: Bratislava
Departing Vienna, we drive to Budapest via Bratislava, a former capital of Hungary but now capital of Slovakia. On arrival, we have a walking tour of the delightful old town, passing the historic Opera House and St Martin’s Cathedral to St Michael’s Gate. Along the way, we keep our eyes peeled for amusing street sculptures of which there are many. The afternoon we continue on to Budapest where we have dinner together. Overnight Budapest (B, D)
Friday April 27: Exploring Pest – Un Ballo in Maschera
The great city of Budapest is divided in two by the mighty Danube River. The former city of Buda towers above the river on the right bank, and the former city of Pest sprawls across the wide flat left bank. This morning we have a guided tour of Pest, then visit the old Academy of Music which contains a reconstruction of Liszt’s last Budapest apartment, now the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum, complete with original instruments and memorabilia. We then drive to the great Parliament Building facing the Danube where we have a guided visit of the spectacular interior. The evening we head to the Erkel Theatre to see Un Ballo in Maschera. Verdi’s music in this opera is arguably his most sophisticated and subtle composition, marrying the opulence of French grand opera with innovative developments in Italian opera. Overnight Budapest (B)
Venue: Erkel Theatre
Program: Verdi’s, Un Ballo in Maschera
Performers: Massimo Zanetti (conductor), Attila Fekete (Riccardo), Alexandru Agache (Renato), Eszter Sümegi (Amelia)
Saturday April 28: Gödöllö Castle
Today we make the short journey to the Gödöllő Royal Palace, the largest baroque manor house in Hungary. It was designed by Antal Mayerhoffer for Count Antal Grassalkovich (1694–1771), confidante of Empress Maria Theresa, and completed in the 1760s. It was enlarged as a summer retreat for and gifted to Emperor Franz Joseph in the 1870s and soon became the favoured residence of his consort, the much-loved Habsburg empress and Hungarian queen Elizabeth (1837–98), affectionately known as Sisi. We have a guided tour of the magnificent interior of the castle with time to explore the castle grounds or simply relax in the café. Returning to Budapest in the afternoon, the rest of the day and evening are at leisure. Overnight Budapest (B)
Sunday April 29: Exploring Buda – Budapest Festival Orchestra
This morning we concentrate on the Buda side, first travelling up Gellert Hill by coach for spectacular views over the Danube, its bridges and the Pest side of the city. We then visit the Bartók Museum – the composer’s former home, and later stroll through the old streets and lanes of Buda around Fisherman’s Bastion and the Matthias Church. After a farewell lunch at a local restaurant, we return to the hotel via the Castle Hill funicular and walk across the famous Chain Bridge which was the first bridge to join Buda with Pest. Our finale performance is a concert by the splendid Budapest Festival Orchestra of Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 8, the last symphony the composer completed. Overnight Budapest (B, L)
Venue: Müpa Budapest
Program: Anton Bruckner Symphony no. 8 in c minor
Performers: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Jukka-Pekka Sarastre (conductor)
Monday April 30: Departure
The tour ends today after breakfast. There is a transfer to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport timed to coincide with departing flights. (B)
A graduate of both the University of Sydney and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she taught musicology for 13 years.
Lindy possesses a fine soprano voice and has featured as a soloist with Pinchgut Opera and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. She led Academy Travel’s music tour to Germany in 2008.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.