Rail Journeys

Hidden Slovenia

Tour Date: 6 to 14 September 2024
Location: Slovenia

If you’ve ever traveled to Slovenia, then you’ve probably stayed in the beautiful capital of Ljubljana or the beautiful Lake Bled. This tour takes you to some of Slovenia’s equally stunning and scenic locations, but further away from the off the normal tourist areas.

Along the way, visit the world heritage sites, vineyards, and steam railways. We will also spend a few nights in the ancient Austrian city of Graz, and travel through the world-famous Semmering Pass, not just once, but twice.

From: Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester. Birmingham (via Brussels), Edinburgh (via Frankfurt), London St Pancras (via Eurostar)

Escorted from London. If there are more people travelling overland by rail then Marion escorts the overland customers. If not the Marion escorts from Heathrow.

Escorted from arrival in Vienna* and back to London.

Tour Highlights

  • Visit to Unesco world heritage site of Graz old town
  • Complete non-touristy region
  • Wine tasting
  • Cable car trip
  • Steam train trip
  • Stunning scenery
  • All four-star hotels with 6 nights in Maribor

Tour Itinerary

This morning we take the train from Vienna to Graz via the world-famous Semmering Pass.

Semmering Pass

Our coach will meet us for approx. half hour drive to South Styria Wine region, to the village of Stainz. With the local guide, we will discover the history, wine and culinary importance of the area. To verify the excellence of South Styria Culinary we will have lunch at a local restaurant. Later we will take a one-hour ride on a steam train “The Stainzer Flaschenzug – The Bottle train”, that runs on narrow gauge tracks, which first opened in 1892.

The Stainzer Flaschenzug – The Bottle Train

Today the train is a great local attraction. The name of the train comes from the time when doctor “Höllerhansl” (1866-1935) practiced medicine. He was called to diagnose diverse diseases out of urine. That is why many people travelled with the narrow-gauge railway Preding – Wieselsdorf – Stainz to Höllerhansl with a little bottle of urine in their luggage. The train is normally steam hauled at the weekends.

The coach will meet us and transfer us to our 4 stars hotel in the very centre of Graz for our 2 night stay.

Graz has a good tram network



Graz is the second largest city in Austria, situated on the River Mur just 120miles southwest of Vienna. A leisurely morning before our guided tour of this fascinating city. We will start with a trip up the Schlossberg (with the funicular) and literally get the best views of the city.

Then we will take a walk from the stunning cathedral, through the amazing renaissance Landhaus courtyard, double spiral staircase in The Burg Graz (official headquarters of the regional government), main shopping street, the main square and town hall to an extravagant steel construction on the river Mur (Island on the Mur). We then have a free afternoon to explore, for ourselves the old centre of Graz. Perhaps visit the fairyland railway beneath the castle or a visit to the tram museum. By now we will understand all the reasons why UNESCO declared Graz old town World Cultural Heritage. Plenty of free time before we meet in the evening for our dinner in a local restaurant near the hotel.

Graz old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

We will check out of our hotel and take a local train to Maribor where we start our Slovenia Tour, here we will stay and explore many places that we have yet to enjoy to the full. Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia situated on the River Drava. Don’t be fooled by your first impression, as I once was. The Old City has so much to offer, with beautiful buildings, little streets, the park and the riverside to explore.


Our luggage will be transferred from Graz to Maribor for us. After arrival, we have a guided tour of this lovely city including the famous puppet theatre before our visit to the Vinag wine cellar. Vinag is one of the largest and oldest classic wine cellars in Europe, there we will have a wine tasting of locally produced wine before free time for the evening and dinner. Restaurants will be pointed out to you for your evening dinner.

Entrance to Vinag Wine Cellar

Today we will have a lovely railway journey east of Maribor. In the morning, we visit Ptuj, the oldest documented town in Slovenia. The core of the old town is protected as a cultural monument. At every step monuments bear witness to its ancient past, with traces of Roman Poetovio and the periods that followed.


At a local restaurant on the bank of the River Drava we will have time for a refreshing lunch. Then we will take the train to Ivanjkovci, from where we will discover Jeruzalem, one of the most beautiful wine regions of Slovenia, the eastern part of Slovenske Gorice, the land of many vales and low rounded hillocks and ridges, where sunny south-facing slopes are covered with vineyards and orchards. At the local winery, we will have a taste of the local produced wine before returning to Maribor.

Jeruzalem wine region

Today we are going to visit the third largest town of Slovenia – Celje, which was an important Roman city called Celeia and in medieval times a home to the most important Slovenians (and also one of the most important European) aristocratic families – Counts of Celje. The remains of the castle owned by this aristocratic family stand on a dominant point on a hill and we will discover the castle stories with our local “medieval” guide.

Celja Old Castle

In a nearby local tourist farm we will have a tasting of home produced cheese and other farm products. After lunch, we meet up with our local guide for a tour of this fascinating city before our journey back to Maribor.

We take a morning train from Maribor to Podčetrtek; the first part of this railway track constitutes the very first constructed railway track in Slovenia. We spend the whole day in the Kozjansko region, which is an area of forests, rolling hills, vineyards and scattered farms. A road train will take us to visit a local brewery where we have a break to sample the local beer and enjoy this lovely countryside before moving onto the renovated Minoriti monastery complex (the part of the convent is also a celebrated pharmacy, which is one of the oldest monastic pharmacies in Europe), we will taste the local produced chocolate in a Chocolate boutique, Olimje.

Minoriti monastery complex

In this fairy tale-like countryside we will have lunch in one of the welcoming farmhouses. Here they breed deer so we are able to feed them, if you so wish. Tidiness and beauty of these places has convinced even the strict European commission to award village Olimje with the golden medal on Entente Florale 2009 contest. Our road train will then return us to the railway station for our train back to Maribor.

Olimje village and castle pharmacy

The scenic railway line along the Drava River will take us to Dravograd, from where we take our coach to Mežica lead and zinc mine. With mining equipment, we will take a ride on a genuine mining train right to the heart of the mine. Driving through the 3.5 km long Glančnik tunnel lasts about 15 minutes and can truly be described as a unique experience. We will step out at the station in the heart of the mountain, 600 m below the surface of Veliki vrh. Accompanied by an experienced guide we find out more about the history of mining. Above all, we will have a typical local lunch underground. Later the afternoon train will take us back from Dravograd to Maribor.

Maribor boat trip

Today it is time to say “Nasvidenje Maribor, Nasvidenje Slovenija” (Goodbye Maribor, Goodbye Slovenia). Our coach will transfer us to the Graz for our return journey to Vienna by rail – giving us a second chance to admire the wonderful Semmering Pass. In Vienna we catch the airport train to the airport for flight back to various UK airports.

Return flight options are: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham (via Munich), Edinburgh. For Manchester you have a night in Vienna before flying back at 10:45 with Austrian. For overland to St Pancras:

Ljubljana and Lake Bled

If you haven’t already travelled on our Vintage Slovenia tour then why not combine them both now? Depart late morning on a train from Maribor to Ljubljana for a pre-tour night in the group hotel in this wonderful little capitol city before the main Vintage tour start the next day.

Return by Rail

You have a night in Vienna before the next day travelling by ICE train to Cologne. Overnight in Cologne then ICE train to Brussels for Eurostar to London arriving 15:57 (on 16th). Your Interrail ticket gives you free travel in first class back to your home station.

This is a moderately active tour.  To fully enjoy this program, participants should be able to climb a flight of stairs and walk at least a half-mile on uneven ground during several of the sightseeing trips (or be happy to opt out).

Prices & Options

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • From London Heathrow: £1,975
  • From London Gatwick: £1,895
  • From London Stansted: £1,895
  • From Birmingham (via Munich): £1,950
  • From Manchester (9 nights): £1,975
  • From Edinburgh (includes pre-tour night in Vienna): POA
  • From St Pancras (11 nights): £2,320
  • From Vienna: £1,650


  • Single room Supplement at Main Hotels: £250 (8 nights)


  • Travelling by air: £600
  • Travelling by land: £1,000
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • 1 night in Vienna, 2 nights in Graz and 5 nights in Maribor
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
  • Services of our tour manager (escorted from Vienna to London St Pancras)

Transport & Accommodation

Outward on 5 September

FR0693 12:30 Manchester to Vienna (arriving 15:55)

Outward on 6 September

BA702 12:25 Heathrow to Vienna (arr 15:50) or BA704 15:00 Heathrow to Vienna (arr 18:25)
W6-5701 10:40 Gatwick to Vienna (arr 13:55)
FR0730 12:20 Stansted to Vienna (arriving 15:30) or FR0732 15:30 Stansted to Vienna (arriving 18:40)

Return on 14 September – or join our Vintage Slovenia tour

BA701 18:35 Vienna to Heathrow (arr 20:05)
W6-5704 17:10 Vienna to Gatwick (arr 18:35)
FR0731 19:40 Vienna to Stansted (arr 20:55)

Return on 16 September

OS463 10:55 Vienna to Manchester (arr 12:25)


Motel One Wien Hauptbahnhof in Vienna (1 night)

IntercityHotel Graz (2 nights)

City Hotel, Maribor (5 nights)