Vienna is Austria’s treasure, filled with historical sights and modern masterpieces; it is a perfect blend of old and new, offering visitors a full cultural, historical and visual experience. The old quarter of Vienna is a wonderfully walkable area, but you can also take a streetcar ride (Line 1 or 2) on the Ringstrasse that circles the city; you will see beautiful architectural treasures and a true slice of Vienna.
Our Favorite Sights in Vienna
The Imperial Palace: The Hofburg
The Imperial Palace was the heart of the monarchy until 1918, when it became the seat of the democratic Republic of Austria. The rooms where Emperor Joseph II drew up his revolutionary reforms, where the Congress of Vienna met, and where Emperor Franz Joseph held audiences, now house the offices of the Federal President, the ministers of the Chancellor’s Office and the Secretaries of State.
Visitors are able to explore the following distinct attractions within the vast complex of the Imperial Palace:
The Sisi Museum pays homage to the Empress Elisabeth with numerous interesting and personal objects on display. Here, the legend of Sisi is examined as well as the mystery surrounding this fascinating woman. The nineteen rooms in the Imperial Apartments offer insight into the world of Austria’s most illustrious imperial couple, Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth. All rooms are furnished and decorated to the highest standards of historical authenticity.
The Imperial Chancellery Wing houses the former Court Silver and Table Room, a unique collection of priceless objects deemed necessary to run the imperial household. In viewing these objects, visitors will gain insights into the lavish life of the imperial court.
The Spanish Riding School is home to the famous Lipazzaner Stallions. The Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world which has practiced systematic horse training for over 430 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école. Performances are held in spring and fall. Check the website for dates and times.
Tel: +43-1-533 75 70
Although nowhere as large, the Shoenbrunn rivals Versailles for over-the-top Baroque gilt. It is the most visited site in Austria and is definitely worth a visit, especially with a knowledgeable tour guide or an audioguide. The palace also has a children’s museum with guided tours available.
Tel: +43-1-81113 0
Schloß Schànbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H.
Schloß Schànbrunn, 1130 Wien
The Vienna State Opera
Set in the heart of Vienna’s old quarter, The Vienna State Opera or Wiener Staatsoper is one of the world’s foremost opera houses. In 2007, the Vienna State Opera introduced an open-air experience: performances are now broadcast live on a huge screen in front of the opera house. Every January, the world-famous Opera Ball is held here.
Tel: +43(1) 51444-2250
Mozarthaus Vienna was Mozart’s home for some of his best years in Vienna. it was here at Domgasse 5 that Mozart penned his best compositions, including “The Marriage of Figaro”. You can visit his home to experience his genius and creativity, his family, and his friends and foes in Vienna of the late Baroque era.
Tel: +43-1-512 17 91
St. Stephan’s Cathedral
St. Stephan’s Cathedral is a gothic masterpiece and is the number one attraction in Vienna with three million visitors a year. The construction of this grand cathedral was begun in the 12th century. St Stephan’s Cathedral is graced with a collection of art and artifacts, many of which are only available to those who take the guided tour. Visitors can climb up St. Stephan’s Cathedral South Tower (Türmer Stube), take the lift up to the Pummerin (North Tower), or go down into the catacombs.
The Albertina is considered one of the most important museums in the world. It has a vast graphics collection where one can find Dürer’s “The Field Hare” and Klimt’s studies of women. Once the largest Habsburg living quarters, the Albertina sits majestically on the south end of the Imperial Palace on one of the last remaining bastions of Vienna.
T: +43 1 534 83-0
The breathtaking Belvedere Palace was once the Baroque summer residence of the renowned general and art connoisseur Prince Eugene. It now contains several collections ranging from Medieval to 20th century art, most notably the Gustav Klimt collection, including the ethereal “Judith” and his masterpiece, “The Kiss”. The elaborate Palace Gardens were planned in the French Style by the Bavarian Electorate garden architect Dominique Girard.
Tel: + 43 (01) 79 557 278
Written by Terri Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com