GTO Gwen Wright took her group to Budapest and Vienna for a jam-packed holiday… and also managed to squeeze in a tour of Bratislava. 

We wanted a bespoke itinerary with quality time for exploring each city - Shauna at Simply Groups was able to do just that for us and we spent three nights in Vienna and Budpaest. It gave us a great amount of time for guided tours to lots of places.

A group of 18 us travelled between the two by coach and even had a city tour of Bratislava in Slovakia en route. 

Members of Gwen Wright's group are given a sightseeing tour of Bratislava.

Source: John Wright

Gwen even managed to pack in a sightseeing tour of Bratislava during their six-night holiday. 

What did we see? What did we learn from our superb guides?

In Vienna, St Stephen’s Cathedral was a must – as of course the Hofburg and Schönbrunn Palaces of the Hapsburgs. The crypt with the resting places of the Emperor and families for generations was something to be believed! Seeing so many places connected with the art and music of Vienna was truly awesome – including our visit to the Golden Hall from where the famous New Year’s day concerts are televised. Rising above the city, we went to the Vienna woods and viewed the city and Danube from above.

Our group were stalwart in that we did so much but they wouldn’t have missed a thing!

Such contrasts were also enjoyed in Budapest. The spectacular Parliament building with audio guide was just amazing. Amusingly there’s even a cigar rest for politicians to leave their cigars while debating. The Opera House was similarly spectacular with even a mini performance for us to enjoy.

We finished one evening with a night time visit to Shoes on the Danube; it could not be a more chilling experience. The Holocaust memorial features are 60 pairs of men’s, women’s and children’s cast iron shoes along the river. It depicts the Jews who were often lined up on the banks of the Danube and shot into the icy river. 

There were constant reminders of not only stories of Empire and world dominance, but also of how fluid the borders of this part of Europe have been over centuries.

Following the life of Empress ‘Sisi’ (Elisabeth) in both cities was a further delight, what a free spirit she was… a lady before her time?

We even experienced the famous Budapest Spa – sampling the various temperature pools. 

Our final night was celebrated with a night time cruise (with meal and folk music) on the Danube spotting all the areas we had visited on land. It was absolutely divine

Our group were stalwart in that we did so much but they wouldn’t have missed a thing!