For your half-day Vienna Woods and Mayerling Tour tour from Vienna you will be picked up from your hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle. A guide will accompany you.
You will drive the past Roman City of Baden, famous for its thermal springs and through the romantic wooded valley of Helenental until you reach the former Mayerling Hunting Lodge.
Mayerling was the scene of a grim royal tragedy in 1889. On 30 January that year, the bodies of the Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria (heir to the Emperor of Austria) and his lover Baroness Mary Vetsera were discovered at the Lodge. Was it a murder- suicide or an assassination? No one knows, but numerous movies and TV productions have explored the theme.
The grief-stricken Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the hunting lodge to be torn down and a Carmelite Abbey (Karmeliten Kloster Mayerling) put up in its place. You will visit the Abbey and hear more of the haunting story of the lovers.
Next you will visit the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz (Abbey of the Holy Cross), peacefully situated in the ‘Wienerwald’ (the Vienna woods). Founded in the 12th century, this is the second-oldest Cistercian monastery in the world. The Abbey has more relics of the Holy Cross than any church in Europe outside Rome.
You will see the Romanesque nave, impressive Gothic choir, medieval stained glass and the tombs of the Babenberg dukes – including Leopold V who captured Richard the Lionheart of England.
Leaving Heiligenkreuz you will drive past the Höldrichsmühle, a famous country inn. Legend says that a tree outside the inn inspired composer Franz Schubert’s song ‘The Linden Tree’.
Next you will visit the largest subterranean lake in Europe – the Seegrotte – formed when a former gypsum mine flooded in 1912. The Seegrotte is now a premier tourist attraction. You will enjoy the amazing thrill of a 45-minute boat trip through the grotto.
After leaving the Seegrotte you will board the coach for the return to Vienna. At the end of the tour you will be dropped off at the Opera House.