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The leading specialists in cultural walking tours
We specialise in guided cultural walking holidays with music festivals, opera, art & architecture, birdwatching, wildlife and gourmet food & wine.
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Schloss Esterhaza in Fertod

Trip Dates: 7 - 15 September 2014
Trip Duration: 9 days 
Trip Price: £2,890 per person
Single room supplement: £360 
Deposit: £400 per person
Styrian landscape

Activity level: 4 walking days, 1.5 - 3 hours daily. Vineyard and forest paths with some undemanding low hills. Uneven cobbled streets, particularly in Hungary.
Temperatures: September temperatures range between 12 and 24°C during the day, with cooler evenings.
Traditional wine cellars in Western Hungary

Meeting place: Vienna Airport
Meeting time:  7 September 2014 12.35 
Departure place: Vienna Airport
Departure time:  15 Sep 2014 any time 
Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt

Accommodation:
- 2 nights in a privately owned castle hotel (4 star) dating from 1065, superbly sited in the forested hills on the border with Hungary and Slovenia
- 2 nights in Sopron, in a recently restored Renaissance mansion (4 star) in the quiet historic centre
- 2 nights in Eisenstadt, in a 4 star modern and central hotel, with an indoor swimming pool
- 2 nights in a very comfortable (4 star) historic hotel, ideally situated within ‘the Ring’, Vienna’s mainly pedestrianised historic centre
Size of party: This trip will run with a minimum of 6 & a maximum of 14 guests.
Schloss Esterhaza in Fertod
Heuriger in Rust
Monastery in Vorau
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Haydn in Hungary and Austria - The Esterházy Legacy
The great Hungarian nobleman, Prince Miklós Esterházy (1741-1790), endowed the world with an extraordinary legacy of music and architecture. As Haydn’s patron for four decades, he provided the setting in which the composer produced his finest works - the entire court moving twice annually between the Esterházy Palaces in Fertód in Hungary and Eisenstadt, which was in Hungary until 1921 border adjustments placed it in Austria.
During our 9 day visit to this fascinating area of central Europe we attend two performances of the Haydn Festival in the magnificent Esterházy palace in Eisenstadt; enjoy forest, lakeside and vineyard walks; partake of wine-tastings; and explore the Gothic and Baroque heritage of Hungary’s quiet small towns - Western Transdanubia escaped the Mongol and Turkish invasions by a whisker.
We begin the holiday staying in a splendid castle hotel and conclude with two days in Vienna, that most elegant and cultural of cities, with an opera performance on our final evening.
TRIP ITINERARY
DAY 1 
D included
After meeting at Vienna international airport by midday, we travel south, pausing to visit the Augustinian Abbey of Vorau with its richly frescoed interior, remarkable double organ and organ loft and 18C Rococo library. Our destination is a privately owned castle hotel (4 star) dating from 1065, superbly sited in the forested hills which form the present borders with Hungary and Slovenia. The castle’s long history includes five centuries as part of the Hungarian Crown Lands and successfully surviving a number of sieges and invasions from the east.
DAY 2 
B, L, D included 
After breakfast we set off on foot for a morning exploring the forest trails - early autumn colours, wild cyclamen and fungi, and the whitewashed small wayside chapels which characterise this rural corner of Styria. Returning to the hotel we tour the castle’s own 17C ‘Long Cellar’, where the estate wine is aged in barrique casks made from their own oak trees - and taste the highly acclaimed results. A formal dinner of Styrian specialties is given a light and creative touch by the noted young chef.
DAY 3
B, L, D included
The border crossing into Hungary is quite close and our first destination is the sleepy village of Ják which contains Hungary's most important Romanesque architectural monument - the Benedictine Abbey Church. Founded in 1214 and miraculously escaping destruction by the Mongol hordes, its chief glory is the Norman-style portal - a pillared doorway carved in geometric patterns 12 layers deep. Continuing to Cák, we walk in the landscape reserve and picnic near a picturesque row of thatched above-ground wine cellars. In the afternoon we visit Kószeg, a tranquil little town with a charming Renaissance square and an illustrious history. During the 1532 siege of the town castle by Suleyman the Magnificent's troops, a handful of Hungarian soldiers successfully held the fortress for 25 days against 100,000 Turks who finally withdrew at 11 a.m. on 30th August, sparing Kószeg (and Vienna for the next 150 years). Church bells peal an hour before noon to this day. Continuing to Sopron, we settle into our hotel, a recently restored Renaissance mansion (4 star) in the quiet historic centre.
DAY 4
B, L, D included
We travel a short distance to Fertod to visit the Esterhazy Palace - often referred to as the ‘Hungarian Versailles’, this opulent palace was Prince Miklos Esterházy’s summer residence where Haydn composed an enormous number of works - during the golden years between 1770 and 1790, at least one new opera performance was given each month! Returning to Sopron (where the nine year old Liszt dazzled audiences at his debut) the afternoon is free for exploring Hungary’s most delightful mediaeval town - since neither the Mongols nor the Turks reached here the walled Inner Town is a treasury of Gothic and early Baroque architecture. Highlights include the Old and New Synagogues (both built in the 14C and amongst the greatest Jewish Gothic monuments in Europe); climbing the Fire Tower (which has a square 10C base on top of a Roman gate, a 16C cylindrical section and a Baroque arcaded balcony and spire); and the Storno Collection of Gothic furnishings. We reconvene in the late afternoon to walk along an historically important section of the former Iron Curtain (site of the ‘Sopron Picnic’), then have an informal wine-tasting to accompany dinner in an excellent local restaurant.
DAY 5 
B, L, D included
A leisurely stroll in the Fertod National Park, ecologically part of the puszta or Hungarian steppes, delivers us to a small foot ferry which takes us across the lake to the village of Rust, where we partake of lunch in a traditional heuriger (rustic wine tavern). After free time to wander - many of the 17C houses are crowned with huge storks nests, and the 12C - 16C Fischerkirche contains faded Romanesque frescoes  - we drive to Eisenstadt, the other favoured seat of the Esterházy family. Before settling into our hotel (4 star, modern and central, with an indoor swimming pool), we visit the Landesmuseum, which contains remarkable Celtic artefacts, Roman mosaics and Liszt’s ‘Blue Salon’. An early dinner precedes a performance by La Stagione Frankfurt, conducted by Michael Schneider, in the splendid, and wholly appropriate, setting of the Schloss Esterházy.
DAY 6
B, L, D included
Following an unhurried start - you may wish to walk to Haydn's Mausoleum in the Bergkirche, or in the formal Schloss gardens - we walk through woodland in the hills above Eisenstadt and picnic in the vineyards where the wine harvest should already be under way. Free time on our return permits a swim, the opportunity to visit the Haydn Museum housed in the composer’s home from 1766 to 1778; to visit the Jewish Museum in the former ghetto; or to take a tour of the Esterházy palace. An early dinner in an excellent restaurant opposite the Schloss is followed by a concert of works by Haydn and Mozart, performed by the internationally acclaimed soprano Simone Kermes with La Magnifica Comunità.
DAY 7
B, L, D included
North east of Eisenstadt we visit the charming small cottage where Haydn was born en route to the archaeological museum of Carnuntum (housed in a replica Roman villa) and then explore the site of Roman Carnuntum, the XV Legion’s camp from which they defended the boundaries of the empire on the Danube. Transferring to Vienna, an orientation walk brings us to our very comfortable (4 star) historic hotel, ideally situated within ‘the Ring’, Vienna’s mainly pedestrianised historic centre. We attend a performance (programme available after Easter) in the Vienna State Opera House.
DAY 8
B, D included
A free day in Vienna: the possibilities include the treasures of St. Stephan’s cathedral; the Kunsthistorisches Museum housing one of the most important collections of paintings in the world; the bustling, colourful Naschmarkt - Vienna’s oldest food market; the magnificent Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School; the Hapsburg imperial palace, the Hofburg (containing the imperial jewellery collection in the Schatzkammer); the Liechtenstein Palace private collections; or savouring Sachertorte in a Viennese traditional coffee houses. Our farewell dinner reflects the culinary heritage of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
DAY 9
B included
Our trip ends today with a transfer to Vienna airport at times to suit individual preferences.
Caveat
The Haydn Festival events described are (rarely) subject to change by the organizers. Actual activities or their order may therefore vary from those described in the itinerary.
Price includes:
All accommodation for Days 1 through 9 on a twin shared basis
All meals (with wine at lunches and dinners) as listed in the daily notation
All land transportation in a private vehicle as described except during free periods
Ticket for boat trip across the lake as described
Wine tastings in both Austria and Hungary
All entrance and sightseeing fees except during free periods
Tickets for two performances of the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt
Ticket for an opera performance in Vienna
Gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff
Visa and Health Requirements
Visitors from the EU and the US currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Austria and Hungary. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassies of Austria and Hungary.
At present there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to Austria and Hungary. Residents of countries in the EU can only claim free (emergency) medical treatment in Austria and Hungary by presenting their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is issued in the UK by the Department of Health. You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the FCO.
Insurance
It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.
If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.
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Phone: 01225 436115

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Guests’ comments on this trip:
‘The combination of good
to excellent hotel choices, consistently good to great food & wine, a well judged balance of walks through interesting & varied countryside & places of historic & architectural interest together with some delightful concerts made for a lovely holiday.’
‘This was my second trip with Kudu. I went last year on the ‘Wexford Opera’. I thought it would be a hard act to follow, especially as we had such a lovely guide in Patricia. This ‘Esterhazy’ holiday was even better: the fairy-tale palaces, lovely music, wine and good company.’
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