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Austria is a country of dramatic landscapes, imperial cities, quaint alpine villages, rolling vineyards, and castles and palaces that are the grandiose witnesses of a bygone era. A River cruise is the perfect way to unlock the secrets of this incredible country.
Steeped in tradition and regal elegance, the sophisticated capital Vienna gives a fascinating insight into Imperial Austria. Yet look beyond the splendour of the Habsburg palaces toward the surrounding hills and perhaps a little surprisingly you’ll find vineyards, for the city is the only capital in the world growing wine within its boundaries. Better known are the idyllic terraced vineyards of the tranquil Wachau Valley. Here the beautiful Benedictine Abbey of Melk has been the symbol of the valley, and spiritual and cultural hub of Austria for more than 900 years. Following in royal footsteps through Lower Austria, the Ruin and Abbey Church of Durnstein is famous for the imprisonment of Richard the Lionheart. In Upper Austria, Linz contrasts centuries-old architecture with the striking glass-and-steel Lentos Museum of Art. Not to be missed is charming Salzburg, the city of Mozart and ‘The Sound of Music’. 
Whilst Austria is one of the countries touched the River Danube – inspiration for the famous waltz by composer Johan Strauss II, is part of the national identity.

Things to know

  • Famous classical music composers Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, Johann Strauss, Franz Schubert, and Wolfgang Mozart were all from Austria.
  • Despite its relatively small area, Austria shares borders with eight other countries: Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
  • Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Fortress is the largest intact fortress in Central Europe
  • The main waterway in Austria, the Danube River, is the second longest river in Europe at 2,880 km. It is unique in that it is the only river in the world which flows through ten different countries.  
  • One of the world’s most important libraries, the Austrian National Library in Vienna has works dating back to the 14th century and is home to more than 2 million books

Key Destinations


With its delightful cityscape of elegant baroque buildings and regal parks, Vienna is without doubt one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Its historic core, marked by the Gothic spire of St Stephen’s Cathedral, is surrounded by the grand boulevard Ringstrasse lined with dazzling palaces that once belonged to the Habsburgs. The former imperial stables house a wonderful ensemble of masterpiece-filled museums. A tradition dating back to the 1600’s, the Viennese coffee house is an experience not to be missed.

Where the River Danube enters the Wachau Valley, a magnificent baroque Benedictine Abbey is the focal point of the picturesque town of Melk. Melk Abbey, it contains incredible architectural gems both inside and out. Melk Old Town is easily explored on foot with the 1657 Vintage House for Itinerants, Old Town Hall and former shipping master’s house amongst its highlights.

The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg’s magnificent castles, lavishly-furnished baroque churches and grand palaces are set against a backdrop of snow-capped Alps. Hohensalzburg Fortress, Hellbrunn Palace, the Mozart Museums and Salzburg Dome, with its Romanesque font where Mozart was baptised, are amongst its most popular attractions. Getreidegasse, the bustling heart of Salzburg’s Old City, is charming with ornate, wrought iron signs above beautiful doorways leading to cafes, galleries and shops.