Austria’s historic and beautiful capital is a mainstay destination on the many cruises which explore the Danube River and is one of Europe’s most celebrated capital cities. Vienna can trace its history back to pre-Roman times and its first Celtic settlers. The Roman’s subsequently fortified it as a frontier settlement but it first came to the world’s attention when it became the seat of the Babenburg Empire in the 1100s. Following that, it enjoyed greater prominence when it became the famous Habsburg Dynasty’s city of residence in 1440, after which its reputation as a centre for science, culture and the arts continued to grow. It more than earned its political stripes when it became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1804 and continues to be a key city on today’s political stage, hosting such international organisations as the United Nations and OPEC. For river cruises though, its stunning architecture and history are what truly puts it on the map.
Vienna’s State Opera House is also one of the world’s most prestigious musical venues and the first building to be reconstructed from the city’s expansion fund. It’s a Neo-Renaissance wonder and features a beautiful interior, with its stunning marble staircases being a particular high point. The Austrian Parliament Building is another key structure and the place where the country’s parliament still sits today. One of the largest and most distinctive structures on the Ringstrasse, it’s built in the Greek Revival style and has over 100 rooms including the celebrated Hall of Pillars. The Rathaus or Town Hall is an imposing Gothic structure which is home to the city council but also open to visitors, offering them a fascinating look at its history. The Art History Museum and the Natural History Museum are also notable attractions, though identical in structure and design, their contents are very different. Whichever you choose to explore depends on your interests but either way, you’re in for an architectural treat.
A trip to one of Vienna’s famous coffee houses is a must if you’re a fan of the drink and indeed, there are dozens of different blends to choose from. Melange is a popular local brew and similar to a cappuccino. As far as an accompanying snack goes, a slice of Sachertorte is a must.