Vienna, the capital of Austria, is considered also the cultural capital of the Old continent for a reason. The amount of fascinating museums and historical buildings as a legacy from the Habsburg monarchy, together with musical heritage from world class composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Strauss (both son and father), Ludwig van Beethoven, Josef Haydn or Franz Schubert creates and incredible cultural blend which has rather no competition.
The city itself is home to nearly 2 million people, which naturally makes it the largest city in Austria. Apart from culture, it also plays a significant role in terms of politics, economy and finance of the whole country.
It is a place with high quality of life and it is believe that people in Vienna enjoy the fine things in life to the fullest. It is also a important city for conventions and congresses.
History is what makes Vienna so impressive. The Habsburg monarchy left several jewels in a form of majestic palaces which are today very popular among tourists. The monarchy was a powerful influence over more than six centuries.
Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace is 17th century beautiful baroque palace initially serving as a summer residence for Habsburgs’ emperor. This majestic architectonic gem shows of decorative art and outstanding design of the Baroque era and was build also to serve as an example of Habsburg’s power among Europe.
Rebuilt after the destruction after the Turkish attack in 1683, the palace has in total more than 1440 rooms and thanks to its stands as one of the main tourist attractions not only in the city, but in Austria in general.
Another remain from then Habsburg monarchy, the Hofburg Palace located in the old part of the city is a top architectonic attraction in Vienna.
Built in the 13th century and then extended centuries after, (initially being a castle) the Palace today serves as a the official residence as well as office or workplace for the Austrian President.
It also hosts several arts collections, museums and also the Hofburg Vienna Convention Center.
Belvedere – Vienna
The Belvedere Palace is another architectonical jewel of Vienna. The Palace or a building complex actually consists of two palaces, both built in baroque style. The surrounding is created by the beautiful park and gardens. The initial purpose of the complex was to be a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy.
Today located within the third Vienna’s districts, it was located completely outside of the city at the time of its construction in the 17th century. Some of the gorgeous rooms of the complex include Prince’s apartments,
Hall of Grotesques, the Marble Gallery or the Orangery. There are also several exhibitions with plenty of sacred objects from medieval times.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral – Vienna
Watching over the city, the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna belongs to one of the most significant architectural jewels in the city and one of the most popular landmarks among tourists, as well as locals.
The Cathedral was built in the 13th century (during the period of the city’s greatest fame), although the following centuries helped to form its current shape. Apart from the stunning Gothic Towers, impressive Baroque Altarpiece and beautiful Renaissance spire, the interesting feature is also the catacombs underneath the building, which used to serve as a burial place for notables.
The Museumsquartier (the museums‘ quarter) is a large complex packed with cultural attractions, museums, exhibition halls, art galleries and other installations, situated just next to the Imperial Palace.
The whole area full of marvelous Baroque buildings is a complete paradise for culture seekers, who can enjoy incredible places such as the Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Leopold Museum, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Tanzquartier and many other exhibitions with contemporary art, media production studios or event spaces.
Tiergarten Schönbrunn – Vienna
Open 365 days a year, the Vienna’s ZOO is one of the city’s top attractions not only for families. The ZOO was open back in 1752 with initially 13 various animal enclosures, surrounding the central pavilion like a cake pieces.
Apart from the Aquarium, the Farm House, the Bird House and the Rain Forest, it is one of the few zoological gardens around the world which offers the opportunity of seeing the rare giant pandas – which makes the ZOO a must see place while visiting Vienna.
Rathaus building – Vienna
The City Hall of Vienna (Rathaus) dating back to 1883 is a Neo-Gothic building designated by the architect Friedrich von Schmidt. The monumental building dominated by almost one hundred metres tall tower today is home for the Mayor of Vienna and city council chambers and serves as a symbol of the city.
The city hall host several events and ceremonies all year round, it is also home for the Vienna City Library and the surrounding City Hall Square is a place for annual Christmas markets
The first Vienna’s municipal (inner) district is the city’s traditional Old Town area. The historic city centre with roots dating back to Roman period used to serve as the city itself before the 1850, which brought Vienna’s greater expansion.
It was initially divided into four different parts: the Stubenviertel, Kärntner Viertel, Widmer Viertel and the Schotten Viertel and used to be surrounded by the city walls. Nowadays, it is a great place with plenty of cultural attractions such as museums and galleries and also a great area with many top class restaurants and souvenir shops.
The large amusement park in the Vienna’s Leopoldstadt district is one of the iconic attractions of the city. The public park with the famous massive Ferris wheel called Wiener Riesenrad offers plenty of possibilities for visitors of all age. This energetic place invites you to try number of carousels, roller coasters or ghost trains.
The park, which was first open to public in 1766, stays nowadays open throughout the whole year and, surprisingly, there is no entrance fee in the part itself.
Museum of Natural History
Definitely one of the must-visit museums in the Austrian capital, the Museum of Natural History is home to many unique and famous objects. The museum was opened in 1889 and has an impressive collection of in total more than 30 million artefacts including some world famous pieces.
There is 39 themed rooms going through prehistoric times and dinosaur era, species form the animal world or the human evolution process. Some of the biggest highlights include for instance the fossil display portraying the history of our planet, the meteorites collection which is actually the largest one in the world, the Gem Hall or the Ice Age to Evolution room.
Vienna State Opera
Since Vienna is considered an European cultural capital, there is no surprise that the city’s State Opera belong to one of the most important Opera houses worldwide.
The Vienna State Opera located in the centre of the city was opened in 1869 and was initially named the Wiener Hofoper (the Vienna Court Opera). The State Opera building has a unique architecture, including the Gobelin Hall, the Marble Hall and the Schwind Foyer and the foyer can accommodate up to 2 200 spectators.
Spanish Riding School
Vienna’s Spanish Riding School represents the tradition of classical equitation which has also been listed as one of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritages of humanity. The Renaissance tradition of haute école (classic equestrian skills) has been practised by this institution for more than 450 years.
The spectators of the impressive performance show (morning trainings) within the Imperial Palace are guaranteed with an unforgettable experience.
The Baroque style Jesuit Church might not have the most beautiful exterior in comparison to other Vienna’s churches (relatively simple appearance with two towers), yet the inside of the building will leave you speechless. The magnificent marble pillars, ceiling frescoes, wood carvings and lavish gilding coming mostly from the beginning of the 17th century (the church was finished in 1627) create a remarkable atmosphere.
A Baroque church combining several styles, built in 1739 – the St Charles Church (Karlskirche) is a prominent building with beautiful exterior dominated by a dome and two columns.
The church was built as a result of the plague epidemy by the Roman Emperor Charles VI. Inside of the church (alongside the large decorated windows, altar panel and view from the top of the dome) there is also a small museum with religious art.
Stadtpark in Vienna
Stadtpark is one of the most popular inner-city public parks in Vienna. The extensive park serves as a gateway for many locals seeking a spot full of peace and surrounded by flowers.
The park was opened in 1862 as the first public park in the city. Some of the most famous monuments are for example the gold plated Johann Strauß memorial, Franz Schubert monument, Hans Makart marble statue and many more. The park was designated in the English landscape style and covers the total area of more than 65 thousand square meters.
Since Vienna is the city of theaters and cultural attractions, it surely has some very unique places – such as the Burgtheater (the National Theater), which is the second oldest one in Europe. It was constructed in 1741 as a wish of Maria Theresa of Austria, the Habsburg Empress.
It is a place where many Mozart operas had its premiere (for example Le nozze di Figaro in 1786). Not only that, but also the stunning interior and exterior make it one of the most important German language theaters in the world.
Vienna Donauturm or the Danube Tower is the tallest building in Austria. Reaching up to 252 metres in the sky, it is also in the top 100 tallest structures in the world.
Vienna Donauturm is located by the Danube River and can be divided into a restaurant and the observation deck. It has high speed lift which takes visitors to the viewing platform located at 150 metres within only 35 seconds. The restaurant is open every day and offers some of the the best cuisine of Austrian culture.
Vienna’s Musikverein (the Music Hall) is where some of the best musical performances are played. The Musikverein was constructed in 1870 and is located in Vienna’s Innere Stadt, in the city centre.
The Golden Hall within has a top acoustic and is for instance famous for being home to the Vienna Philharmonics and also serving as a stage to Vienna Mozart Orchestra. Every year, there is also the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert taking place.
One of the first public parks in Vienna’s city centre, the Volksgarten is a popular place not only for locals. The park was opened in 1823 at the area of former bastion.
The park is a perfect example of the French formal style, with plenty of gorgeous rose gardens, geometrical flowerberds, fountains and romantic sceneries. There is also several monuments there, the highlight of the park is the Theseus Temple in the centre of the park.
The Vienna’s Votive Church was built as a thank you and gratitude of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, a brother of the Emperor Franz Joseph for saving his brother’s life after his attempted assassination in 1853.
The interior of the church is led by the imposing altar and six alabaster columns supporting it. The exterior is a typical and very well preserved gothic architecture with two towers .
The extensive square in the city centre between the Museum of Natural History and the Art History Museum. The public square was built in 1889 together with the second mentioned museum.
The name of the square comes after the Empress Maria Theresa, who also has a statue dedicated to her persona in the middle of the square. The monument was constructed in 1888.
Austrian Parliament Building
The Austrian Parliament Building is, as the name indicates, the seat of the two houses of Austrian Parliament. The building itself is located in the Innere Stadt and was built between 1874 and 1883. There is more than one hundred rooms in the building that covers in total more than 13 500 square meters.
Some of the rooms include the Federal Council chamber, Chambers of the National Council and others. The Parliament Building is an example of the Greek-Roman Style. The front of the building is dominated by a Pallas Athene statue which is 5.5 m high and is surrounded by a fountain.
Vienna’s Secession Building is an exhibition building constructed in 1898 and is one of the best known building in the city. The symbol of the exterior is the golden leafwork dome (so called golden cabbage).
the Secession is a new art association for artists in Austria, founded mainly by Gustav Klimt. Each year, there is about twenty temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists .
Die Palmenhaus Schönbrunn which in German means the Palm house is a huge greenhouse construction situated within the Schönbrunn Palace gardens. The construction is made of steel and glass and is over 25 metres high. The Palmenhaus was built in 1882 and is one of the biggest botanical exhibits around the world, featuring plants and flora from multiple parts of the world. The Palmenhaus is divided into three sections – the middle section featuring Mediterranean climate, the tropical section and the cold section.
The Heldenplatz in German means the Square of Heroes and as such, it is a large square in the front of the Imperial Palace.
The vast square is dominated by the monument of Prince Eugene of Savoy and Archduke Charles. The square should initially serve as the Imperial forum. On one side, the Heldenplatz is framed by the Burgtor, a triumphal arch.
Augarten is another public part in Austrian capital. The park covering more than 53 hectares contains a building with the Augarten Porcelain Manufactory which was founded in 1718 and also the oldest Baroque park in the city. The park itself was designated in French Baroque style with beautiful flower gardens and maple, lime and chestnut avenues.
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere
The Österreichische Galerie Belvedere is a museum housing great collections of Austrian art not only from current time, but also dating back to Middle Ages. The museum is situated within the Upper Belvedere Palace. The first exhibition was opened in 1921.
The Hermesvilla (the Palace of Dreams) is a palace used by the Vienna Museum for several cultural history exhibitions. The palace used to serve as a Habsburg’s hunting area and was given as a gift by the Emperor Franz Joseph I to his wife Sisi (Empress Elizabeth).
The name of the palace comes from the white marble statue of the Greek God Hermes within the Villa’s stunning gardens.