Discover Vienna with Emerald Waterways

Elegant, eclectic and entrenched in the arts – Vienna is a masterstroke of heritage and culture, with some of Europe’s finest coffee houses thrown in for good measure.


Vienna has been a site of continuous habitation for more than 2,500 years, with changing architectural standards and styles creating a unique and eclectic atmosphere. The city proudly boasts some of the world’s foremost examples of Baroque, Rococo, Romanesque, Classicist and Modern architecture – creating one of Europe’s most beautiful and captivating capitals.

Ahead of your Danube river cruise, discover Vienna’s must-sees and mainstays in our in-depth guide to the city.

Must see sights
The Danube River was a major factor for the Celts, the city’s earliest known habitants, choosing modern day Vienna as a settlement in 500BC. The city was then strengthened by the resident Roman army in 15BC against the threat of Germanic tribes to the north.
Vienna’s golden period occurred between 1483 and 1806, when it grew to become the de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire and the world’s cultural heart. Best known for its contribution to classical music; Vienna was home to the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert in this period. 
Today, Vienna remains one of the wealthiest and most prosperous regions within the European Union, and one of the continent’s most alluring tourist destinations. A walk or cruise through Vienna offers an incredible insight into the past, perfect for spending a few hours or days exploring.
A city rich with so much history, the centre of Vienna provides exceptional views and settings whichever way you face. To take it all in, a stroll through the historic centre is an absolute must. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the centre is awash with Baroque castles, lush gardens, ancient buildings and poignant monuments.  
The former imperial summer residence, the impressive Schönbrunn Palace houses 1,441 rooms in a stunning Baroque building. With over 300 years of history between its walls, the building is one of the most important cultural monuments in the whole of Austria. 
Perhaps the highlight of the palace is the selection of 32 stunning sculptures in the Schönbrunn Garden – representing 32 different deities and virtues. 
Hofburg Palace glinting under yellow light at twilight - Vienna, Austria
Officially known as Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the Viennese zoo is located in the gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace and remains the oldest zoo in the world. Still hugely popular today, the zoo has hit the headlines over the centuries – not least when it became the home of the first elephant born in captivity in 1906.
The Hofburg Palace is the former imperial palace of Austria, located in the centre of Vienna. Still serving as the residence and workplace of the President of Austria, the site has been home to figures of politics and monarchy for almost 600 years. 
The hugely impressive building includes the Austrian National Library, the Natural History Museum, a centre for congress, a theatre and a Spanish Riding School. 
The approach to the palace is dominated by a huge stature of the Archduke Charles on horseback. 
One of the largest parks in the city, Stadtpark is dedicated to Vienna’s greatest musical triumphs. With busts of Schubert, Bruckner and Lehár dotted throughout the park, it also plays host to the beautifully finished statue of Johann Strauss. 

Food and drink

There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about eating and drinking in Vienna. From its time-honoured and traditionally Austrian food to its beloved coffeehouses and wine taverns, exploring the city’s food and drink is always a joy. Discover a handful of its foodie highlights below.

Discover Vienna with Emerald Waterways

Captivated by Vienna and its exemplary culture and heritage? Join us on the waters of the River Danube and look forward to an immersive experience in the heart of this remarkable city. For a full collection of our upcoming boutique river cruises, visit the homepage or call 0808 250 9178.

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