DAY 5: Vienna, Austria
We woke up in the Austrian capital of Vienna. This is the one destination we needed to take a bus into the center of town since it’s a good 20-minute ride without traffic. Some passengers took the subway, which was smart because our ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century, was filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic due to teachers protesting their salaries. I used the time to catch up on my sleep.
We then went on a two-hour walking tour to see some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Some passengers returned to the ship for lunch, while others ate in the city. We ate at MAK, inside the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts.
Vienna has 29 Christkindlmarkt or Christmas markets. There’s a small one in front of St. Stephan’s Cathedral but the main one is located at the Rathausplatz, the square in front of the city hall. This year it was open November 16 – December 24, 2013 and had over 150 stalls selling ornaments, Christmas decorations, Krapfen (donuts the size of plates), roasted nuts and gluhwein.
FYI: Viking does offer an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, which is the Versailles of Vienna. There’s also an optional classical concert for $48 but the venue is disappointing so I say go see a concert on your own.
More info on Vienna Christmas markets.
Visiting Europe’s Christmas Markets on a Viking River Cruise:
Passau, Germany | Linz, Austria | Salzburg, Austria | Melk, Austria | Durnstein, Austria | Bratislava, Slovakia | Budapest, Hungary