Getting insider information when visiting a new place is the definition of hitting the travel jackpot. It’s like being let in on a secret that no one else knows - even if they do. If a local recommends it, it has to be worth it, right?
APT River Cruise Director Daniela Obermaier, is a Vienna local, and regularly travels to the cities below. Here are her local’s tips for making the most of each place.
In her hometown of Vienna Daniela says the fastest way to feel like a local is to join in on the city’s coffee house culture. It’s such an important part of the city that it was named by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage”. To find where the real locals get their caffeine fix, head to the smaller side streets to cafes like Kleines Cafe, the Hawelka or Cafe Sperl.
Vienna is home to some world class museums and artworks. Daniela recommends heading to the Minoritenkirche, a church dating to 1224, where you’ll find a mosaic of da Vinci’s Last Supper. Commissioned by Napoleon, it is widely recognised as the best preserved version of Leonardo’s masterpiece.
Finally for film buffs, you can explore Vienna’s sewer systems like Harry Lime on a Third Man guided tour between May and October.
Between Aschach and Passau
Stretch your legs with a leisurely 28 kilometre cycle from Engelhartszell to Passau. The route traces the Danube and takes you over the Jochenstein lock border between Austria and Germany. The route includes many points of interest including historic ruins, vantage points to take in the views and picturesque churches and museums. Passau is known as the Three River City or the Bavarian Venice because of its location at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers, which makes for a beautiful end to the ride.
Regensburg, like many old European cities has a beautiful quaint city centre. Daniela suggests wandering through the streets, finishing at the home of the Thurn & Taxis family, the founders of the European postal service.
If you’re into sport, a visit to the Golfmuseum Regensburg should be on your list. It’s home to the oldest golf ball in the world, from 1525, and traces the history of the sport from the Middle Ages to today.
Did you draw with pencils as a child? Then you might find this stop interesting. The world-famous pencil company Faber-Castell is based in Stein, just outside of Nuremberg, and has converted two floors of its historic premises into a museum. Visitors can experience first-hand how pencil leads were manufactured in the 19th and 20th centuries, from a fine graphite powder, and how the process has changed today.
Located in the beautiful Rhine Valley, this region is known for its wines. Be sure to visit Johannisberg Castle, which is said to be where late harvest Rheingau riesling was discovered. In 1775 the messenger with the order to harvest was late, which lead to the discovery of the premium wine variety. There is also a Benedictine monastery on the site, which dates back to 1100, and monks have been making wine here for over 900 years.
Daniela’s top must-do when in town is the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s state museum. Founded over 200 years ago, the museum is lauded as one of the best in the world. Highlights include Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, several paintings by artists Johannes Vermeer, Anthony van Dyck, and Jan Steen.
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