One of the highlights of any Danube River Cruise is the spectacular city of Vienna. Like other great European capitals, it has a lot going for it.
If you love a lively culture that treasures art, great food, classical music, and beautiful architecture, you’ll be in heaven. Vienna also has a stellar Christmas market.
So, before you arrive in the City of Music, check out some of these experiences:
Constructed in 1696 as a hunting lodge, the Schönbrunn Palace later became the elaborate home to one of the most admired royal families of Austria, the Habsburgs. As it stands today, the palace is open to the public. Take a tour through the apartments of the Habsburg family, and visit the Hall of Ceremonies and Mirror Room before leisurely strolling through the fabulous gardens.
St. Stephen's Cathedral
This stunningly beautiful cathedral is Vienna's most cherished structure. This 12th Century gothic cathedral has more history than you could ever imagine, surviving the Turkish siege in 1683, having mourners come to pay their respects to Amadeus Mozart, and being the place where Napoleon held his farewell proclamation in 1805. The structure also survived two attacks in World War II.
This museum of fine arts features a considerable assortment of masterpieces created by some of the greatest artists ever to live. Titian, Van Dyke, Velasquez, and Rubens all have their works hanging on the walls of the museum.
Hundreds of vendors set up their stands every Monday through Friday at the largest market around the Naschmarkt. This outdoor market in the Wieden District sells all sorts of local, fresh produce, dairy products, and meats. You can even sit down at any of the quaint eateries and cafes to appease your appetite after taking in all of the delicious smells.
Opening as an exotic menagerie in 1752, the Tiergarten is now known as the oldest zoo in the world. This unique zoo homes nearly 9,000 animals.
House of Music (Haus der Musik)
This small museum features works from some of the city's most famous composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Haydn, and Strauss. Walk through all of the exhibits to learn the mechanics of how humans hear a sound, view manuscripts, and hear sound bytes from the musicians showcased in the museum.
Vienna State Opera
As the city's most beloved performing houses, the Vienna State Opera is the nucleus of Viennese life. Book a 40-minute guided tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at all of this opera house's beauty and wonder.
This cultural establishment is one of the largest, impressive collections of museums in the world. Right outside the Ringstrasse is where you can find the works of everyone from Leopold to Andy Warhol.
This 13th Century palace holds several excellent attractions. You'll need to spend most of the day there to receive the truly royal experience. Be sure to visit the Swiss Court and the Imperial Apartments.
The Belvedere Palace is two palaces conjoined by a beautiful 17th-century French-style garden. You don't want to miss the unique Baroque architecture or the authentic Austrian paintings on display.
Once designated to the Jewish Ghetto in the 13th Century, this picturesque museum shows how Viennese Jews played a large part in the development of Vienna. This museum was once one of the largest synagogues ever to exist.
With so much to explore in this beautiful city, an extension to your cruise can easily be added to give you that extra time to delve into the culture of this Viennese capital.