Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five – Vienna

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five

Vienna! Capital city of Austria, city of music, city of dreams, one of the world’s most liveable cities, and also one of the most prosperous. Day five of our Danube River cruise was spent exploring the city.


Emerald Waterways Danube Delights day five began with a bus tour around the Ringstrasse, the road circling Vienna’s core lined with monuments, parks, and grand buildings.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna

Hofburg Palace

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna

Austrian National Library

After the bus tour we went on a walking tour throughout the pedestrian areas of Vienna. We passed the famed Spanish Riding School where the Lippizaner horses perform but we only saw one horse (in the stable opposite) as most of them were on vacation.

We learned about the plague column or Pestsäule (literally, pest column) that was erected in 1693 in gratitude to the Holy Trinity for surviving the plague.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna


We finished up at the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral where we were given a choice of a shuttle back to the ship or stay in the city and explore. Explore, duh.


We made a beeline to Café Central, a traditional Viennese café a 10 to 15 minute walk from St. Stephen’s. Established in 1876, the high-ceilinged café is located in the Palais Ferstel, a mansion inspired by Venetian architecture. It was a centre for poets, philosophers, the odd revolutionary, and storytellers to gather over coffee and cake (perhaps not all at the same time). The in-house patisserie serves amazing, sweet, treats which we had to try. We ordered Viennese Coffees and shared a sweet cheese strudel with vanilla sauce.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna

Café Central and delicious treats

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

We spent another hour wandering aimlessly and although we tried to go to a museum, it was closed as it was a Monday. We were winding our way back towards St. Stephen’s when it began to rain. We ducked into the cathedral (started in 1147 and completed in 1511) and admired the high vaulted ceilings, arches, and statuary.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna

St. Stephen’s interior

We saw that due to the rain there was no line-up for the elevator up to the viewing area 60 metres (almost 200 feet) up the south tower. The cashier tried to dissuade us as it had started to rain really hard but we figured what was the worst thing that could happen? We would get wet? Worth it to not have to  share the platform with many others.

The crowning glory of St. Stephen’s is the patterned, colourful, steep-sided, roof made up of 230,000 glazed tiles. We got pretty wet but it was worth it.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna

St. Stephen’s roof

The rain seemed to slack off a bit as we left the cathedral, but as we started searching for a place for a (very) late lunch the heavens opened up. We ducked into a restaurant called Krah Krah, and we were so glad we did. I had a pork cutlet stuffed with ham and cheese with french fries and the cutlet took up almost all the space on my plate. I actually finished the whole thing. Mike had sausages and bread with mustard. After lunch the sun came out and we walked to where the shuttle buses were to pick us up to head back to the ship.

Private Concert

After a buffet dinner on the ship, those who were going trooped out to the buses for the private concert at the Palais Lobkowitz. This was the only paid excursion we went on and we were really glad we did. There were eight musicians playing exclusively for about 100 people. A soprano and a tenor also made appearances. The music was sublime and sounded wonderful in the hall we were in. The only distraction was the heat in the room; it was very, very warm. You can see in the photo that the men in the group took off their formal jackets (after asking permission from the audience). The concert was also surprisingly funny, and we could tell the musicians were having a good time too.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna

Private concert at the Palais Lobkowitz

The concert was only an hour and it flew by. Once back to the ship it was time for a nightcap and an evening snack of delicious Goulash Soup served in the Horizon Lounge. Even though the ship was docked in Vienna until almost 3am and we could have stayed in town we opted to come back and get a good night’s sleep in order to be rested for Bratislava the next day.

Did you miss Day Four in Melk and Dürnstein?

Stay tuned for Day Six! Bratislava, Slovakia.

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Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five - Vienna

Comments 35

  1. The architectures look stunning! I’ve not seen anything similar to the colored tiles on St. Stephen’s roof! A private concert at the Palais Lobkowitz sounds like a wonderful way to end the night!

  2. Emerald Waterways Danube Delights sounds like an amazing tour – Vienna is one of my favorite cities in Europe – so much character and charm, and such an amazing atmosphere and vibe. We did the stairs instead of the elavtor at St. Stephen’s Cathedral; Awesome roof top views even though I was panting the whole way up!! How incredible to have been able to take in a private concert – this was something I missed, but I’m such a classical music fan I’ll have to return for the experience.

    I’m enjoying reading about your tour!

  3. I would say it was really worth getting wet. The glazed tile roof of the St Stephen’s Cathedral is truly an amazing work of art and is really worth being seen. The architecture of the buildings in Vienna is really breathtaking as well.

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      It really was worth it to avoid the madding crowds. Vienna in summer is chock full of tourists (I was one!) and to get a view practically on our own was great.

  4. It seems like you spent a nice day in Vienna! We’ve never been there (only to Salzburg and its surroundings), but would definitely love to visit Austria’s capital one day. And of course, we’ll stop by Café Central for an Apfelstrudel with homemade whipped cream, and a Viennese coffee (I’m having one right now, but I’m sure those in Vienna taste much better! haha…)

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      It’s such an amazing place to eat and admire the room and watch the bustling waiters. I’m not much of a sweets person but that strudel was to die for.

  5. Wow you managed to cram in a lot! This is such a great ‘pocket guide’ for anyone heading to Vienna for a short break, thank you for sharing!

  6. Is it just me or the does the interior of St Stephen’s resemble the Sagrada Familia? Beautiful both. And love the architecture on the roof of the chapel and the Hofburg palace too! If nothing else, I should get there for the Strudel:)

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      I have not been to the Sagrada Familia but I would like to know that too! You really should get there for the strudel, it’s amazing.

  7. Vienna is incredible! I have been really interested in a Danube River cruise as you can see so many wonderful things. Thank you for sharing this! The pictures are beautiful.

  8. I really love Vienna. I have been there so many times to visit friends and did all the touristy things there are to be done. I really enjoy the Viennese cafe’s where you can indulge yourself with some Sacher Torte or any other type of cake. Stephen’s Dome is amazing as well, I was lucky enough to listen to a concert inside, where they played on the big organ.

  9. A private concert seems like the perfect way to celebrate Vienna. I also hear Suppe whenever I think of Vienna so it’s so fitting to celebrate music. It’s so much more fitting than those diminutive hotdogs in an unknown sauce.

  10. Vienna is another central European City I would love to visit. When I lived in the Czech republic a few of my friends had visited and they were all sucked in by it’s charm. I love the pattern on St. Stephen’s – Can’t wait to experience it for my self. This post has been bookmarked for future reference 😀

  11. How I wish I could live for some time in a city like Vienna – learn the language, the music and appreciate the beauty of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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  12. St Stephen’s cathedral looks so imposing and grand! I loved the Cafe Central as well. I loved gazing through the pics you have captured. Vienna looks more beautiful through your blog post. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Such gorgeous photos, and the rooftop on St. Stephens is admirable. The architecture is stunning and the food looks good too. The whole city looks so sophisticated. Sounds like an amazing city to explore indeed.

  14. I have never been to Vienna but when I saw your first pic I thought of Budapest – I saw a similar rooftop there 🙂 It all looks very nice and Vienna seems to be a lovely place – I am tempted to go there for a citybreak now. More pictures please!

  15. Ow.. reading your post makes me once again think about having to visit Vienna sometime “as a tourist”… (been there a handfull of times, yet only for work). I’m amazed by the work they put in the glazed tiles of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

  16. What an amazing experience you got there with the concert and buffet I haven’t experience Something like that yet and I would love to. your photos are magical Vienna it is. thanks for sharing these to us, looking forward for you next travel.

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