Prague & Vienna: Haute Design in Central Europe


October 1 – 10 and 15 – 24, 2018


With an optional extensions: Budapest: Jewel of the Danube
October 11-14 and October 24-27

United by centuries of political and cultural ties, these great capitals of Central Europe should be on every traveler’s wish list. Prague and Vienna are enduringly romantic cities packed with historical monuments, extraordinary collections, and compelling diversions. Our urban explorations are complemented by expeditions to the surrounding countryside to experience the natural beauty and grand estates of Bohemia, Moravia, and Lower Austria.


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

Monday, October 1 and 15

Gathering at Prague’s legendary Hotel Pariz, a 1904 Art Nouveau gem, we are perfectly situated for an afternoon exploration of Prague’s Old Town and the Gothic synagogues and Baroque town hall of the Jewish Quarter. After an exclusive tour of the city’s Art Deco Mayor’s Residence, built in 1928, we conclude the opening day with drinks and dinner at the flamboyant Obecni Dum, the city’s iconic Art Nouveau Municipal House.

D included
Overnight: PRAGUE

Tuesday, October 2 and 16

Our day is devoted to the Hradcany and Mala Strana districts surrounding Prague Castle, starting with a special behind-the-scenes viewing of the magnificent Baroque libraries of the Strahov Monastery and the Loreto Treasury, completed in 1631 and housing an extraordinary collection of metalwork and liturgical treasures.

We examine the Vladislav Hall then see, by special permission, the Rococo interiors of the Archbishop’s Palace on Hradcanske Square, which feature the legendary French “New World” tapestries. Following lunch at Lobkowicz Palace, we explore the renowned collection of paintings and manuscripts. Our visit to St. Vitus Cathedral focuses on the Wenceslas chapel and sacristy, which houses the Bohemian Crown Jewels, including the coronation crown of Charles IV from 1347. The evening features a musical performance at the Neoclassical Estates Theatre, where Mozart’s Don Giovanni premiered in 1787 and the setting of the film Amadeus in 1984.

B, L included
Overnight: PRAGUE

Wednesday, October 3 and 17

We open with the privilege of a curator-led tour of the renowned collections of the newly renovated Museum of Decorative Arts before traveling east to the important mining town of Kutna Hora, where we encounter the 14th-century Cathedral of St. Barbara as well as the famous Sedlec Ossuary, or “Bone Church.” Following free time in the late afternoon, our day concludes with a cocktail reception at the American Ambassador’s Residence in Prague, followed by dinner in Old Town.

B, D included
Overnight: PRAGUE

Thursday, October 4 and 18

An expedition north of the city into Central Bohemia brings us to Nelahozeves Castle, a 17th-century residence of the Lobkowicz family with celebrated interiors and collections returned to their pre-World War II appearance. The afternoon includes an excursion to the Rococo Veltrusy Château, featuring elegant Chinoiserie rooms and imported furniture, porcelain, and ceramics. Continuing to Melnik on the Elbe River, we explore the vast Lobkowicz Castle, which features one of the oldest sgraffito-decorated façades in Bohemia as well as an impressive array of Czech Baroque art. Returning to Prague, we are rewarded with a private chamber concert at the Villa Amerika, an 18th-century summer villa designed by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.

B, L included
Overnight: PRAGUE

Friday, October 5 and 19

Departing Prague, we venture to a selection of the most interesting private castles in East Bohemia. The Neoclassical Kostelec, owned by the Kinsky family, was recently reinstalled with the restored original furnishings. The Renaissance core of Castolovice Palace was remodeled at the turn of the 20th century in a mélange of revival styles. We are treated to lunch surrounded by the opulent interiors created by the current owner, Franziska Diana Sternberg-Phipps. In Litomysl, one of Bohemia’s most historic towns, we study the Pernstejn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Renaissance jewel, before continuing to Brno for an overnight stay at the charming Barcelo Brno Palace Hotel, where we will also enjoy dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: BRNO

Saturday, October 6 and 20

Our morning begins with a stroll through Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, including the medieval Old Town and the Moravian Gallery, the oldest museum of decorative arts in the region. Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Villa Tugendhat is an essential stop and the most important extant private residence by this renowned modernist, completed in 1930. We cross into Austria, arriving at Vienna’s chic Hotel Bristol in time for dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: VIENNA

Sunday, October 7 and 21

Vienna’s cultural legacy abounds, and our time in the Imperial City starts at the 1891 Kunsthistorisches Museum to view the world-class Old Master paintings as well as the recently restored Kunstkammer, featuring the decorative arts treasures of the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Court. Following a traditional Tafelspitz lunch, we travel to the storied Schönbrunn Palace, dating to the mid-18th-century reign of Empress Maria Theresa. Our evening features a reception at the 1931 Bauhaus-style American Ambassador’s Residence in Vienna.

B, L included
Overnight: VIENNA

Monday, October 8 and 22  

The day commences with an examination of the great collections in the Kaiserliche Schatzkammer and adjacent Library, an Imperial treasury that covers more than 1,000 years of decorative arts history. After lunch at the Museum of Applied Arts, a special curator-led exploration of the Wiener Werkstätte and Biedermeier collections awaits. An independent evening allows for an optional excursion to a performance at the legendary Vienna State Opera, located in a Neo-Renaissance building completed in 1869.

B, L included
Overnight: VIENNA

Tuesday, October 9 and 23  

The program’s final day takes us to the Belvedere, a complex of two Baroque summer palaces that also served as an early museum of the Imperial collections beginning in 1776. We return to central Vienna to explore the Imperial apartments and Silver Room at Hofburg Palace. After lunch at the historic Demel’s Konditorei, we are treated to a rare entry to the Liechtenstein Garden Palace, home to the legendary collections of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, including the famed Badminton Cabinet. We continue to the Hofmobiliendepot for a jaw-dropping introduction to the Imperial court furniture depository, paired with a special opening of the Biedermeier villa Geymüllerschlössel. We toast the success of the expedition during a spectacular final dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: VIENNA

Wednesday, October 10 and 24  

Independent departures for those returning stateside. October 10 is a free day for Tour 1 participants registered for the Extension; and arrivals for Extension participants registered for Tour 2. October 24 is for independent departures at the end of Tour 2.


Optional Extension Budapest: Jewel of the Danube

While not as heavily trafficked as Prague and Vienna, Budapest is an exhilarating city that should not be missed. Straddling the Danube, Hungary’s capital has served as an important site for centuries and the rich collections and impressive architecture offer overwhelming evidence of its prominence.

Thursday, October 11 and Wednesday, October 24

A morning departure from Vienna brings us eastward to Eisenstadt and Schloss Esterhazy, the noble family’s elegant seat for over 300 years. Our entrance into Hungary is marked by lunch at Szecheenyi Palace in Nagycenk, one of the nation’s most beautiful country houses. Reaching the Danube River, we visit the ancient city of Esztergrom, the capital of Hungary until the 13th century, to tour the important Basilica. The handsome Art Nouveau Hotel Gellert in Budapest serves as our base of operations and the location of a festive welcome dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: BUDAPEST

Friday, October 12 and Thursday, October 25

Our exploration of Budapest begins with the Hungarian Parliament Building, inaugurated on the country’s millennial anniversary in 1896. The city’s colorful 19th-century underground brings us to the impressive collections in the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the whimsical Art Nouveau buildings of Karoly Kos in the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the world. Following lunch, we enjoy a behind-the-scenes study at the Museum of Applied Arts, the third-oldest decorative arts museum in the world, followed by an excursion to the central Market and Moorish-revival Dohany Street Synagogue.

B, L included
Overnight: BUDAPEST

Saturday, October 13 and Friday, October 26

Our day opens with a walk through the historic castle district of Buda, stopping at the Fisherman’s Bastion, a Neo-Romanesque promenade whose seven towers memorialize Magyar tribes who settled the Carpathian Basin in 896, and the 14th-century Matthias Church. An outing to the 1751 Nagyteteny Castle, home to the Museum of Applied Arts’ furniture collection, precedes an excursion to Godollo Palace, the Hungarian residence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and favorite dwelling of Empress Elisabeth, affectionately known as Sisi. Our time in Hungary concludes with an indulgent private dinner at the Karolyi Palace in Fot.

B, L, D included
Overnight: BUDAPEST

Sunday, October 14 and Saturday, October 27

Independent departures for those returning stateside, or a transfer to Prague for Extension participants registered for Tour 2.

B included

Terms and Conditions

Land Arrangement Cost:
$6,250 per person, based on double occupancy for 9 nights, for the main tour. The optional extension is $2,525 per person, based on double occupancy for 3 nights.

Transatlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation of your registration from the Trust.

A deposit of $1,500 per person is required by December 1, 2017. An additional deposit of $1,000 per person is required for the optional extension. Reservations and deposits are taken on an as received basis. You will receive a written confirmation from the Decorative Arts Trust. Do not make any irrevocable airline reservations until you receive your verification. Please make checks payable to “The Decorative Arts Trust” and mail to 20 South Olive Street, Suite 204, Media, PA 19063.

Single Supplement:
The single supplement is $1,225 for the main tour and $325 for the extension, to be paid along with the deposit.

Final Payment:
Will be due by June 15, 2018. Invoices for final payment will be mailed in early May.

Membership at the Sponsor level is required for participation in Study Trips Abroad.  Your membership contribution is fully tax deductible. If an increase in your membership level is necessary, the Trust will invoice you for the appropriate level upgrade with your final payment.

A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for Study Trips Abroad. This gift is fully tax deductible and helps support the Trust’s mission and programs.

The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted for at this time but subject to change as necessary. A suggested reading list will be sent to you.

Each trip and the optional extension are limited to a maximum of 25 members and require a minimum of 15. The trip and/or extension will be canceled if under-subscribed, and deposits will be refunded. We will organize and maintain a waiting list on the basis of the time registrations are received. This is a strenuous trip. We regret that we cannot be responsible for those needing assistance on this trip. By registering, you are certifying that you do not have any mental, physical, or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for yourself or other passengers. The Trust reserves the right to decline anyone as a participant in this Study Trip Abroad should the person’s health, actions, or general deportment impede the operation of the Study Trip Abroad; the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of others; or the standing of the Decorative Arts Trust. A valid United States passport is required for this itinerary.

Included in Trip Cost:
Hotel accommodations for 9 nights in 4- and 5-star hotels, 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 5 dinners, private coach transportation, local guides, admission in museums, historic houses, and gardens, gratuities for professional guides and coach drivers, and porterage. The extension includes hotel accommodations for 3 nights in a 4-star hotel, 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners.

Not Included in the Trip Cost:
Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included.

Cancellation and Refund:
If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to The Decorative Arts Trust. All cancellations are subject to a $250 administrative fee. Deposits are non-refundable after December 1, 2017. Cancellations arriving by June 15, 2018, will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations arriving by August 14, 2018, will receive a 25% refund. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after August 14, 2018.

Complete a digital puzzle from this trip on our Puzzles webpage!


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, tour and symposium announcements from the Decorative Arts Trust.

Thank you for subscribing!


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, tour and symposium announcements from the Decorative Arts Trust.

You have Successfully Subscribed!