As the capital of Austria, Vienna is a city with rich architecture and attractions echoing the times of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. With a population size of more than 1,840,000 inhabitants and area of 414.65 square kilometers, Vienna offers any visitor a rich quality of life as evidenced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, along with one of the most economically viable cities in the world according to UN Habitat.
If you are planning on a Euro trip this summer, be sure to visit Vienna. The capital city of Austria offers a wide selection of cultural and historical attractions that are ideal for spending quality time with your friends or family members. The city is well known for being a famous host for various international conferences and conventions, attracting more than 3 million tourists between 2005 and 2010. For this reason, Vienna is a great place to visit if you are planning a business trip or just a way of spending quality family time. If you are wondering what places you need to visit as part of your top things to do in Vienna, you can check out the Schonbrunn Palace. This centuries old magnificent architectural masterpiece has a history dating back to the 16th century when the land was purchased by the Roman Emperor Maximillian II. The palace comprises of over 1,400 rooms and was initially used as a popular hunting ground. The emperor ordered the area to be fences and contain various kinds of game including ducks, deer, and pheasants. Other things to do in Vienna that you can explore are visiting the Hofburg Palace, Belvedere, Tiergarten Schonbrunn, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and more.
In addition to the many attractions, Vienna is a city that offers an array of luxury hotels and shopping malls, owing to its reputation for hosting a number of different international conferences and conventions. Therefore, if you decide to visit Vienna, you can stay in the luxurious Park Hyatt Vienna. The hotel exhibits a rich vibe of elegance and prestige, owing to its majestic classical European architecture. Here, you have access to a plethora of housing amenities and facilities including marble bathrooms, connecting rooms, deluxe and executive rooms and a variety of world-class restaurants. Another quality hotel that you can consider for you visit to Vienna is the Hotel Sans Souci Wien. Among the most beneficial of its features is its central location. This makes it within walking distance to many of the city’s attractions and public transport. In addition, you are offered a delicious breakfast, spa and gymnasium facilities, and the option of choosing from a variety of quality suites and deluxe rooms. In addition to the city’s array of luxurious hotels, there are also plenty of areas for you to purchase the finest clothing collection and fashion brands. Also, you can also visit the many points of interest including the Leopold Museum, KunstHausWein, Spanish Riding School, and the Vienna Museum of Natural History.
In German, Belvedere means ‘beautiful views’ and this palace do justice to its name. The Belvedere Palace was built in the 1600’s by Prince Eugene Savor and is divided into two parts. The Upper Palace was the Prince’s party house, whereas the Lower Palace was his garden villa that was designed by architect Lucas von Hildebrandt.
Back in the 17th century, Prince used the Upper palace to entertain his guests. Pay a visit there, and you will be mesmerized by the reflecting pool and the beautiful flower garden. The place currently has some of the best artworks in the entire city and displays Austrian art from the Middle Ages, with one of the biggest collections of Gustav Klimt. His famous painting ‘The Kiss’ is also a part of the extensive collection.
When in the Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere), don’t forget to check out the Lower Palace, as it was used as the living quarters and has beautiful gardens that will leave you in awe. In the Lower Belvedere houses, you will also be able to see the stables and staterooms. The Schloss Belvedere is extremely vast, so make sure that you allocate some time to simply wander around in the palace.
Austria was ruled for six centuries by the House of Habsburg and is considered one of the most famous royal families of Europe. During their reign, they built several residences and churches. The Hofburg Palace is one such construction, and till 1918 it was the Imperial Palace. The palace is a must see destination in Vienna, as it is the centre of government for Austria. The place is currently home to the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, and the Silver Collection.
The Silver collection exhibits 7000 items, and some of the silver wear is still used for state dinners and formal events. The Imperial Apartments are a reminiscence of the Empire and every apartment was decorated according to Rococo style. Lastly, the Sisi Museum is dedicated to Empress Sisi and displays her personal items.
The Hofburg Palace that is a city within a city consists of over 2,600 rooms, 18 wings, and 19 courtyards. The palace was created in style, and its construction combines different styles and eras, which is why one can see everything from art nouveau to gothic, and is something everyone must explore. The palace is very popular amongst tourists, and almost 600,000 people visit it every year.
The Hundertwasserhaus is a treat for people who love to have a look at architecture. It is a basically an apartment complex that was designed by the famous Friedensreich Hundertwasser and the architects were Peter Pelikan and Joseph Krawina. The construction took place between 1983 and 1985, and the final result was a beautiful building that was completely surrounded by nature, and looked almost surreal.
Hundertwasser wanted a building that was close to nature, and this is the reason why there are so many trees surrounding the property. The complex is unique because it has uneven lines, and has trees and plants extending from inside the rooms. The brightly colored building with unique shapes currently has three communal terraces, four offices, sixteen terraces, and fifty-two apartments.
Even though only the exterior of the houses can be viewed, there is a village behind the complex that people can visit. It was also designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and consists of little gift shops and different cafes. If you want to have a look at Hundertwasser’s work, then pay a visit to the Kunst Haus Wien, which is quite nearby. The Hundertwasserhaus is an important part of Austria’s cultural heritage and must not be missed by visitors.
If you are in Vienna, then you must visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum. It was built by Emperor Franz Joseph to display the imperial collections. The museum has great artwork done by Europe’s top sculptors, artists, and painters, and the art displayed in the museum will give you a glimpse of the Great Roman and Greek Empire.
One of the must go places in the museum is the Picture Gallery, as it has some of the most famous paintings in this world, which includes Giuseppe Arcimboldo's Summer (1563), Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Tower of Babel (1563), and Raphael's Madonna of the Meadow (1506). The main focus of the paintings is culture the 17th century, and you can also view the work of Dürer, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian, Van Dyck, Van Eyck, and Veronese.
Don’t forget to check out the Kunstkammer, as it displays objects that were originally created for Habsburg emperors. There are over 2200 objects displayed, and includes things made from silver, gold, and crystal. The artwork consists of clocks, ivory carvings, tapestries and vessels with precious stones. You will surely by awed by the artwork in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) and your visit there will be an experience you won’t forget.
If you want to see the perfect amalgamation of old European architecture and modern art, then the Museumsquartier is one place that you should definitely visit. The place was opened in 2001, and is one of the biggest cultural quarters in the world. It is located near the old city, and consists of several shops, museums, restaurants, and cafes that are spread over 640,000 square feet.
The Museumsquartier also known as MQ has a charm of its own. Visitors get to experience the urbanity, and at the same time get to retain the old Viennese culture. The place has different programs, and people get to enjoy the local architecture, arts, dance, fashion, literature, music, and theater. Art enthusiast can enjoy the (Museum of Modern Art) that displays Picasso and Warhol, and there is the Leopold Museum as well, which has an impressive collection of Schiele’s work. People who love architecture should visit the Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna Art Gallery) and must have a look at the displayed collection.
After you are done visiting the museums, you can sit back and relax at the central courtyard with a steaming cup of coffee. The Museumsquartier attracts around 3.8 million people every year, and should be on your bucket list, when in Vienna.
Your trip to Vienna is incomplete without paying a visit to the Prater. It is a huge public park in the 2nd district of Vienna, and consists of an amusement park as well. Originally, the place was used by the Emperor Maximilian II in the 16th century as a hunting area, and the place continued to serve as a hunting arena till the year 1920.
The amusement park is extremely famous amongst the locals as well as the tourists, and is one of Vienna’s most visited places. Other than this, it has the honor of being one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, and is open 24/7. One of the most famous attractions of the Prater is the giant wheel, which was built back in 1897 and will provide you with a beautiful view of the city. The Liliputbahn is another attraction that you must checkout, as it is a railway that is spread over 4 km, and the whole ride takes around 20 minutes. The Alt Wiener Grottenbahn is loved by kids as it is a train ride that has fairytale characters.
One of the newest landmarks of the Prater consists of the Praterturm, which is the world’s highest flying swing. The place also has a planetarium that has an impressive projection known as "house of stars". It is highly recommended that you visit the Prater.
The Rathaus (City Hall) is one of the central attractions in Vienna, as it covers a huge area where the mayor of the city meets the council. Since Vienna is also a federal province, the council acts as a provincial parliament, and the mayor has the responsibilities of a governor.
The beautiful building was designed by the famous Friedrich Schmidt and the construction took place from 1872 till 1883. You will notice that the architecture of the building has glimpses of historicism and has a Gothic style. The total area of the Rathaus is 130,000 square meters, but the building is only limited to 20,000 square meters. Furthermore, the place has more than 1575 rooms, and there is a statue of “Wiener Rathausmann" at the entrance.
Currently, more than 2000 people work in this magnificent City Hall, and the place is open for visitors. Other than this, the Rathaus is also used for different occasions like balls, meeting, press conferences, and concerts. One of the most important events that take place in the City Hall is the Life Ball, which is held in May. The place is also home to the Vienna City and Regional Archive and the city library known as the Vienna City and Regional Library.
Schonbrunn Palace was formerly Princess Sisi’s summer residence, which currently has a zoo, the Palm House, a park, and the Gloriette. The palace is considered to be one of the best ones in Europe, and was under the possession of the Habsburgs after 1569. In the year 1642, Emperor Ferdinand II’s wife turned it into a summer residence, and the place became "Schönbrunn". It was revamped in 1743 by Maria Theresia, and is the birth place of the Emperor Franz Joseph. The palace became the property of the government of Austria, shortly after his death, and today, Schonbrunn Palace is a part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage.
Visiting Schonbrunn Palace is truly a unique experience as the place has unique architecture and the rooms are decorated in Rococo style. The palace has beautiful tile stoves, and the roofs have some of the most beautiful crystal chandeliers that you will ever see. Don’t forget to check out the Festival Hall, the Million Room and the Emperor Franz Joseph´s Bedroom, all of which have truly unique decorations. Other than this, don’t miss out on the opportunity to view Maria Theresia’s apartment and the Tirolian garden. The palace is visited by over 2.7 million people yearly and is one place that you should definitely visit.
Ask anyone what is the symbol of Vienna, and they will say that it is St. Stephen's Cathedral. This beautiful Gothic building is a very important part of Austria’s architecture and its construction began in the 12th century. The cathedral is huge and is 34.2 meters wide and 107.2 meters long. The structure consists of four main towers, where the height of the tallest one is 136.44 meters and is located towards the South. Other than this, the cathedral has 13 bells and provides a beautiful view of the city.
One impressive feature about the cathedral is the gigantic roof with colored tiles which are laid in such a way that it creates an image of a double-headed eagle and the city’s coat of arms. The interior of the building has undergone several renovations and currently consists of different chapels and altars. Visitors can have a look at the beautiful relics in the building that are made from precious stones and gold.
The cathedral also has historic importance as it is the resting place of Emperor Friedrich III, Prince Eugene of Savoy, and the Habsburg Duke Rudolph IV. Pay a visit to the cathedral and be enthralled by the beautiful towers and chapels.
Tiergarten Schönbrunn has the privilege of being the only baroque zoo across the globe. It was constructed in 1760 as a summer residence and is located in the same area as the Schronbrunn Palace. Roman Emperor, Joseph II, travelled to America and Africa, in order to get animals for the zoo. In 1828, the place got its first giraffe, whereas the zoo got its first elephant on the 24th of July, 1906.
The zoo was greatly affected by both, World War I and World War II, but is currently one of the well-kept zoos in the world, and is home to more than 500 species which includes elephants, pandas, hippos, and Siberian tigers. In the year 2010, the place opened up the Nature Experience Trail.
The place offers an early package for guests where they get a chance to get in before the gates open for the public, and the “Night Vision Tour”, which starts after the dark. Schönbrunn Zoo is very famous amongst the locals as well as tourists, and the place receives almost 2 million visitors each year. It is a must go place for outdoor junkies and nature enthusiasts as it provides a great chance to experience the tropical wildlife.