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Updated: Aug 23, 2022

What’s the best river cruise for classical music?

With Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss II as its native sons, it’s no wonder that classical music continues to reverberate through the streets of Austria – particularly Vienna.

Long considered the music capital of the world as well as the birthplace of the waltz, Vienna, Austria, located along the legendary Danube River, has inspired and influenced countless musicians and artists throughout the centuries.

Beethoven’s Second Home

Of course, Viennese music will always be synonymous with the classical period. From roughly 1750-1820, Vienna was the world’s glittering center of culture. The world’s most splendid composers were drawn to the allure of Vienna – including Ludwig van Beethoven from Germany (then known as the Holy Roman Empire), whose 250th birthday was marked on December 16, 2020.

For 35 years, Beethoven made his home in Vienna. Strolling through the streets, you’ll find notes of his past through various landmarks, from memorial plaques to museums. Imagine visiting Theater an der Wien, a cherished, historic theatre venue that hosted Beethoven’s first opera performance of Fidelio. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the rich melodies of this classic opera piece.

A Haven for Composers

To this day, more famous composers have lived in Vienna than in any other city. There are over 15,000 concert events of various sizes and genres each year, with roughly 10,000 music fans turning in for a live show of classical music each night and many more treated to wonderful concerts in classical Viennese concert cafés. The city is dotted with magnificent concert halls, showcasing an authentic history, with performers donning stunning costumes and performing operas from the 18th century as well as ballets and pop, rock, and jazz music.

Hear History Come to Life

Let the music of Vienna move you – and be sure to join AmaWaterways for an optional classical concert in one of the genuinely great formal concert houses of Imperial Vienna – either the historic Hofburg Palace (the former imperial palace and current official residence and workplace of the President of Austria) or the opulent Palais Auersperg (built in the early 1700s, formerly the grand home of princes and various European families).

No matter which venue, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime as you listen to a concert with some of the most popular compositions of Mozart and Strauss, as performed by local, world-class musicians (from the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra, the Vienna Residence Orchestra or similar).

Imagine listening to music by the world’s greatest composers in the venues they were listened to while they were alive. Johann Strauss once served as musical director for the court for the balls at Hofburg Palace. Beethoven’s 8th Symphony premiered at the Palace. Mozart performed his opera Idomeneo at the Palais Auersperg. This is as authentic as it gets!

And afterward, you’ll be treated to the Ringstrasse by night. The Ringstrasse is home to numerous grand buildings, built during the latter half of the 19th century, including the State Opera, Parliament, City Hall, the Burgtheater, the Vienna Stock Exchange, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Natural History Museum. The already magnificent boulevard is at its most gorgeous when fully lit up.

Experience this melodious city for yourself on one of AmaWaterways Danube River cruises, including one of their newest sailings for 2023: Celebration of Classical Music: The Danube!


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