The national capital of Austria, Vienna is one of the most visited countries of Europe. Its rich history and culture have never failed to surprise anyone. Once the core spot of the magnanimous Habsburg Empire, Austria has moved on to become the cultural hub of Europe. In this vienna travel guide you will get to know about the historical museums, churches art galleries, opera houses surround the visitor with magnanimous sites that were created centuries ago and have managed to put Vienna on the map. The old coffee houses the best cakes, pastries and obviously coffee that one ought to try when visiting Vienna. For an art admirer, it can get a little overwhelming to see which place to visit when but fear not. The following list is going to help you figure out the places that are of your interest and worth a visit.
PLACES TO VISIT IN VIENNA
Don’t forget to visit the mesmerising places explained in this ultimate vienna travel guide.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the prestigious landmarks of Vienna. It has earned the status of being the most iconic heritage spots around the world as it is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna. The built of this massive structure started around 1137 in which the artisans used the Ancient Roman cemetery. Though the first building’s construction ended in 1160. But, sadly due to a massive fire outbreak in 1258 the entire building was left into pieces.
Rebuilt around 1263, the St. Stephen Cathedral has evolved into a massive architecturally brilliant structure that has derived its inspiration from Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. Visitors get to experience the tall towers of the cathedral. The south tower ranges up to an astonishing height of 446 feet. The north tower of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral consists of Europe’s largest free-swinging bells that have the images of the Virgin Mary.
Tourists that walk up the 343 steps to the top of the south tower are welcomed with an amazing view of the city of Vienna. The remains of many prestigious personalities lie beneath the St Stephen’s Cathedral’s catacombs. The interiors of the cathedral consist of eighteen altars of which the high altar consists of the stoning of Saint Stephen.
The second famous place in this vienna travel guide is the distinctive and iconic Schönbrunn Palace which was the previous residence of the Habsburg rulers that were residing in Vienna. The palace has been inspired by the Baroque architecture. The Schönbrunn Palace was earlier also the meeting place of the statesman of Vienna. In 1996 it was rewarded as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site that has caused it to become Vienna’s most popular tourist sites to visit. Inside the massive Schönbrunn Palace, you will come across man attraction spots that are perfect for you or your child.
A gist of the Schönbrunn Palace will take you through the history of the Viennese dynasty. The palace interiors still have the themed rooms of the previous private chambers, beauty salon, Marie Antoinette room which was used to host family dinners. The palace has a hint of Rococo decor that consists of a room of mirrors where Mozart used to perform during his young age. Hence, it’ll be great fun for your little one too. Kids will have a blast discovering the children’s museum inside the palace.
The museum lets you in on Vienna’s history. It also consists of the era in which young kids lived inside the Austrian empire. The place also has a Schönbrunn Zoo that is considered as one of the oldest zoos of the world. The rare bred of animals inside the zoo attract over two million visitors a year. The zoo has inhabited more than five hundred animals. Other tourists attraction spots include the Gloriette, Privy Garden, Orangery Garden, maze & labyrinth.
Vienna city hall
The Vienna city hall is considered as one of the iconic buildings of Vienna. It was designed from the year 1872 to 1883 by the renowned architect, Friedrich Schmidt. The architecture of the city hall has been incited by many significant historical events. Inspired mostly by gothic architecture, the city hall has a gothic cathedral too.
The Vienna city hall spreads to around 1,220,000 sq ft that has been built by thirty million bricks and consists of 1575 rooms. The building is the head office of Vienna’s municipal administration. It is also the office of the Mayor of Vienna and the chamber of the city council and Vienna Landtag diet. It has more than two thousand employees employed in it. The place is not just all office, it also has stunning staterooms and the ballrooms that have hosted many grand events. If you want to experience a ball then plan a trip to Venice around the months the events are held.
One of the best events that should surely be experienced is the Life Ball that is held every year in the month of May. Other prestigious balls that are held in the Vienna state hall building each year consist of the Christmas Market in front of City Hall in the month of November. The perfect event just before the actual Christmas holiday that spreads happiness and joy from early onwards. the months from January to March, due to snowing cause a snow rink to be created that is apt for visitors to skate and enjoy.
The Belvedere Palace is a historical building of Vienna that was built in the eighteenth century by the military commander Prince Eugene. He ordered Johann Lukas von Hilderbrandt to design the palace in which the interiors consist of two palaces surrounded by lush greenery. The palace was designed in which the gardens leads to steps that land you to one of the palaces called the Upper or Oberes palace.
The upper palace leads to a pathway that land you to the lower or Unteres palace. The palaces comprise of stunning artworks that are visible to all. The Upper Palace was built between the years 1721 and 1723. The palace consists of a ground floor hall that showcases beautiful statues and a ceremonial staircase that has been beautified by handpainted art. The ground floor also has a two-story Marble Hall that has many antique sculptures, paintings and artwork exhibited on the ceilings of the halls.
The view of the stunning nature pieces and the city’s view makes it the perfect place to spend an evening. The Lower Hall consists of a spectacular Marble hall that houses many ancient statues. The halls have been architected with beautiful carvings on the walls and ceilings of the Lower Palace. Other significant parts of the Belvedere Palace include the Court Treasury, the Orangery, the Palace Stables, the Belvedere Gardens and the remarkable fountains.
The number 4 place in this vienna travel guide is the National Theatre or the Burgtheater which was formed in the year 1741. It is amongst the top five German-speaking theatres of Europe and one among the top 5 German-speaking theatres of Europe. The National Theatre was previously used as an unusual dance parlour that was later converted into a theatre owned company called Sellier. In the year 1888, the place was then changed into what it is known as today, the National Theatre.
The theatre is embedded with marbles and stunning statues that have been made by renowned artisans that beautifully depict love and hate in the same artform. It has two stunning staircases that have been built by the Klit brothers. The place has been the top spot for cultural events held in the city of Vienna. Famous actors, directors have known to perform under the roof of this world-known theatre. It has been regarded as one of the oldest German-language theatres.
The theatre offers people to enrol themselves into any of their classical programs in the German language. But, in the march, 1945 the theatre ferociously came under the attack. A massive bomb raid led the national theatre to be destroyed into pieces. Just a month after the attack the theatre also caught fire which led to more damage than before. Between the years 1953 to 1955, the theatre was restored into its condition. The National Theatre has a capacity of 1200 people.
The Wiener Staatsoper is one of the top opera houses in the world. The stage of the opera house conducts the most renowned performances. A session consists of 350 performances in which more than 60 different operas and ballets are conducted. World-renowned artists come to the Wiener Staatsoper to showcase their extreme art form. The architecture of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside of the opera house was designed by the interior designer Eduard van der Nüll.
Inaugurated in the honour of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth, the opera house grew its popularity after many renowned artists around the world. Many directors such as Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn embraced the opera house with their presence. But, it peaked when the great director Gustav Mahler came to this place. He changed the functioning of the opera house completely, to make the performances run more smoothly and effortlessly.
The opera house faced an invasion by the Nazis and a bombing that led it to succumb into shambles. But the spirit and determination of the natives of Vienna did not lead them to stop performing. The next ten years led the Vienna State Opera to operate in two venues while the actual headquarters were being rebuilt. On the opera house, was opened again to the public on November 5, 1955.
TRAVELLING IN VIENNA
The public transport is the best way for you to travel around Vienna. The public transport is one of the cleanest, fastest and efficient ways of travelling inside the city of Vienna. If you are travelling then it is a better choice that you buy a network pass for yourself. The pass will help you commuting cheaply.
The four main ways of transport in Vienna are possible through U-Bahn (subway), Schnellbahn (local train), Straßenbahn (tram) and Autobus (bus). It is considered one of the best inner-city public transport systems in the world. It is also considered way more convenient and punctual than any other transport system. Since the city has more harsh traffic and parking rules it is considered much easier to board the U-Bahn.
The buses are also a fair mode of transport to explore Vienna. There are no ticket spots at Vienna stations. No permanent ticket checks on local trains, trams and buses too. You just climb on and off the transport vehicle as per your convenience. This doesn’t mean public transport is free in Vienna. You will have to buy a ticket.
COFFEE OF VIENNA
A coffee lover or not, never leave Vienna without tasting its epic flavoursome coffee. There isn’t just one kind of coffee present in Vienna, hence it will be tough for you to choose just from the forty kinds of coffees. The popular kinds of coffees include a Kleiner Schwarzer, a kind of an espresso which is perfect for a strong coffee hit ant any time of the day.
If the Kleiner Schwarzer doesn’t awaken your senses, then the Kleiner Brauner apt for you as it is a double bitter espresso. Vienna coffee is another popular city coffee special. Froth lovers are going to love the amalgamation of two shots of espresso, whipped cream and chocolate chip sprinkles in a full-sized cup. Other popular coffee beverages include the einspanner, cappuccino, wiener melange. To enhance your coffee experience, don’t forget to have a neat piece of cake with your favourite kind of coffee.
WHAT TO EAT IN VIENNA?
In the mood for some croissant or cheese-ham sandwiches for breakfast? Then you should definitely head towards Wirr that is popularly known for its elaborate breakfast and snack options. A good cup of coffee is also easily found here. Don’t forget to try some special international cuisines offered at Wirr. Other great breakfast options include Café-Konditorei Aida in the Mariahilferstraße, Haas & Haas tea house, Café Museum and Café Florianihof.
Viennese breakfast is one of the most delicious indulgences of the day. The ideal breakfast consists of a Kaisersemmel, that is a form of an Austrian bread roll. With the bread, you get some cheese, ham, boiled egg, jam, and butter to add on top of it. The Viennese are known for having some delicious cakes for breakfast. The two of the best options for people to try especially with a sweet tooth is the Schokocroissant that is a kind of a doughnut and the Krapfen which is a doughnut-like pastry with delicious apricot filling.
A famous tourist food spot for some lunch is the Naschmarkt. The Naschmarkt is a popular market that offers some of the best international cuisines. Some great middle easter food is offered at the Neni am Naschmarkt. If going on a weekend don’t forget to make reservations.
Non-vegetarians should definitely try the famous Wiener Schnitzel for lunch or dinner in Vienna. The Wiener Schnitzel is a veal cutlet that is cooked near to perfection by the chefs. They add a side of parsley potato salad too with the veal cutlet. Restaurants that offer this dish include the Figlmüller, Plachutta, Schnitzelwirt, Pürstner, Glacis Beisl, Müllerbeisl, and Kantine m101.