Written by on Thursday December 4, 2014
We were really lucky to call into three capital cities on the cruise: Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna. Vienna to me was the most memorable, for all the right reasons. It truly is a stunning city that oozes class and sophistication. From the ship to city centre was only about 10 minutes by coach or guests could easily walk if they had time.
I took the complimentary city bus tour which was great way to see the full city. The full inner city of the Capital is compact and public transport is of a high standard. Some of the highlights of Vienna included the world’s oldest Zoo - built in 1752 and the original cages are still being used today. You must make time to see the world famous Opera House, Burgtheatre. Here you can arrange a back stage tour to see the historical building.
For a small fee you can experience the famous Lipizzan horses practice within the Winter Riding School. The Winter Riding School is located in the heart of the city centre. The Spanish Riding School is a traditional riding school for the Lipizzan horses and the public can watch some of the training sessions - it really is a must see as these horses are trained at the highest level and the whole dressage exercise is a show in itself.
One of my favourite buildings in the city would have to be St Stephen’s Cathedral. It is located right in the heart of the city, you can’t miss it, It has one of the most uniquely designed roofs I have ever seen, covered in multicoloured tiles. This is something really spectacular especially when the sun is shining. Although I’m relative novice when it comes to architecture, I was truly astounded by the size and beauty of the cathedral. I found Vienna to be a magnificent fusion of old and new. I was totally mesmerised walking the streets. Each street has a story to tell. Lots of street artists and an abundance of fancy patisseries shops made it so easy to pass an afternoon walking about. I was lucky enough to visit Vienna during the winter months and the Christmas markets were in full swing. It was wonderful to experience a real Christmas market, with a a variety of food being freshly prepared on an open fire and handmade Christmas decorations all on display, it did feel quite magical!
Shopping gets a massive ten stars for me! There is a huge area for luxury designers; Prada, Gucci, Rolex, and Louis Vuitton are all readily available in Vienna. No wonder the Viennese people are so immaculately dressed. I definitely got the impression that Vienna was very much a fashion forward capital. I was even more impressed with the quirky antique stores. I found many unusual stores selling one offs. Try and go with an empty suitcase as I’m sure you will find some wonderful souvenirs to pick up.
After a quick shower and dinner we headed back out again to experience the ballet and classical opera. This was my first time to experience the ballet or opera – I loved every minute of it. It was a real treat and a lovely excuse to get dressed up.
One day in Vienna was lovely but I would certainly jump at the chance to go back again for longer as there is so much to see and do for all ages in this truly fascinating city.
Some extra facts:
Population: 1.7 million
Over 300 Balls take place every year in Vienna
Vienna is home to the oldest Ferris wheel situated in the Prater Park
The original snow globe was invented in Vienna
Steph Micklethwaite, Sales Manager