Great Continental Railway Journeys

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Hungary to Austria

Series 1 - Episode 2 Hungary to Austria



In the second leg of his journey Michael Portillo, grasping his Bradshaw’s guide (see above), pootles around Hungary and Austria. Along the way he is taught to do the Viennese Waltz (“just six basic steps,” declares his teacher) and boards a paddle steamer for a cheesy Sound of Music mini-cruise. A young boy blocks his ears as Portillo joins a duetting couple as they belt out Do Re Mi. It is epically embarrassing.

Portillo is an elegant guide (“I find it absolutely gorgeous” he says of a glorious Budapest railway terminus) and is surprisingly easy with people he meets along the way, including a gaggle of grinning British tourists who plan to spend days in the city’s hot water springs.


Armed with his trusty copy of Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide of 1913, Michael Portillo explores the former domain of the Habsburg monarchs, beginning in the Hungarian capital Budapest. He then travels to Austria via Bratislava in Slovakia, and in Vienna he immerses himself in pre-First World War decadence. From there he heads to Salzburg, before going on to the Salzkammergut region to visit the emperor's Austrian summer residence at Bad Ischl, where in 1914 Franz Joseph I signed a declaration that changed the course of European history.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Michael Portillo
Director Cassie Farrell
Series Producer Michelle Heeley