There’s an astonishing variety of things to see and do in Europe, and a Danube river cruise is a great way to explore the continent’s central region. Although the river stretches all the way from Germany to Ukraine, in this article we’ll focus on just one part of the journey: the Austrian capital of Vienna – specifically, its incredible architecture. |
Read on for some of the most amazing buildings you can see in the city.
This is one of the city’s most striking buildings. Built in the 1890s by Joseph Maria Olbrich, this exhibition hall gets its name from the Secession movement, which saw artists break with the conservative Künstlerhaus association to create and celebrate more daring, contemporary work - much of which is still on display within.
Outside the city sits the Schönbrunn Palace, which is the former summer residence of the old Habsburg monarchs, who governed Austria when it was the centre of a vast empire. In addition to being a great attraction in its own right, the site is also home to the Palmenhaus, built in 1881 as the largest glasshouse in all of Europe.
Although it’s lost that title in the years since then, it’s still incredibly impressive. It houses plants from all over the world, displayed in perfectly calibrated ‘climate zones’, ranging from balmy tropical temperatures to colder northern climes.
It’s well worth spending some time wandering around, but with its 400,000 glass panels and a height stretching to 25 metres, you’ll definitely want to snap some photos from outside, too.
It’ll hardly win any prizes for beauty, but its imposing size and construction from concrete breezeblocks make MUMOK a building you’re unlikely to forget.
Opened in the 1960s, it was originally known as the Museum of the 20th Century. It owes its current design, though, to architects Ortner & Ortner, who completed the new building in 2001 as part of the MuseumsQuarter renovation.
Inside, you’ll find a huge collection of Modernist art, as well as a surprisingly charming courtyard, which is a perfect place to relax in the summer.
At the other end of the spectrum from the Modernist behemoth that is MUMOK, we find this multicoloured delight.
Although it’s just an apartment building, it’s an enormously popular site with visitors to the city, with its exquisitely decorated façade by artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser gracing many a postcard and guidebook.
It’s also a direct reaction to what Hundertwasser saw as the excesses of Modernist architecture, and it makes a nice antidote to some of the more imposing edifices in the city.
While the towers’ architecture might not be exactly what you’d term beautiful, they’re worth visiting for the insight they provide into the area’s history. As with many places you’ll stop on a Danube river cruise, Vienna was left indelibly marked by the Second World War. These towers are perhaps the strongest reminder of that. Constructed by the Nazis to down attacking Allied planes, they survived the war, presenting an issue for post-Nazi governments. Admirably, the city opted to keep them up, transforming them into welcoming social spaces while keeping them as a reminder of some of the less palatable aspects of the city’s past.
Get Ready to Go
To make sure you see all this and more, make sure to book your Danube river cruise with a company that offers guided excursions around the cities you stop off at. Why stress about planning your own itinerary when you can sit back and let experienced guides take care of it?
If a visit to Vienna has piqued your interest, why not look up trip options now and see where else your Danube river cruise could take you?
Author Plate Perry Mahoney is the Director of GN Holidays, a holiday company specialising in adult weekend breaks, cruises and other excursions for the over 40s. If you're looking to enjoy a Danube river cruise, a getaway with non-stop 60s and 70s sounds or just an opportunity to bond with some like-minded travellers, GN Holidays will be sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience.
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