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Top 10 Things To Do in Vienna, Austria

vienna austria

Vienna, Austria’s imperial capital, is a city that effortlessly blends opulent history, artistic prowess, and a vibrant cultural scene. From the grand architecture of its palaces to the intimate charm of its coffee houses, Vienna is a city that promises a rich experience.

Whether you’re drawn to the arts, history, or the simple joy of a perfectly brewed Viennese coffee, here are the top 10 things to do in Vienna, each offering a unique glimpse into the city’s soul, along with practical travel tips to enhance your visit.

Schönbrunn Palace

schonbrunn palace vienna

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this former imperial summer residence boasts a staggering 1,441 rooms and a history that spans over 300 years. Stroll through its elaborately landscaped gardens, visit the Palm House with its exotic plants, and don’t miss the world’s oldest zoo on the grounds.

Travel Tip: Booking a “skip-the-line” ticket online saves you time and normally includes a guided tour, offering deeper insight into the palace’s fascinating history.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom)

st stephens cathedral vienna

This architectural marvel is not just Vienna’s spiritual heart but also a masterpiece of Gothic design. Its multi-colored tile roof and towering spire are iconic to the cityscape. Venture inside to see the stunning altarpiece and catacombs, or climb the 343 steps to the tower for a panoramic view of Vienna.

Travel Tip: Climb the South Tower for a workout with a view, or explore the catacombs for a glimpse into Vienna’s medieval past.

Museum of Fine Arts

museum of fine arts vienna

Art enthusiasts will be spellbound by the Kunsthistorisches Museum housing an awe-inspiring collection of European art spanning centuries. The Picture Gallery includes works by Rubens, Rembrandt, and Velázquez, while the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection will transport you back in time.

The great museum also sits on a famous road known as Ringstrasse or ‘Vienna’s Ring Road‘. In 1857, Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the construction of a boulevard built over Vienna’s historic city walls encompassing many of the city’s most important buildings and monuments.

Travel Tip: Take advantage of the museum’s free guided tours offered with admission to gain deeper insights into its masterpieces.

The Hofburg

hofburg palace vienna

The Hofburg Palace is the embodiment of Vienna’s imperial history. This sprawling imperial complex was the winter residence of the Habsburg Monarchs and now houses several museums, the Spanish Riding School, and the Austrian National Library. The Sisi Museum provides an intimate look into the life of Empress Elisabeth.

Travel Tip: Don’t miss the chance to see the Lipizzaner horses in training at the Spanish Riding School; morning sessions are open to the public.

The Vienna State Opera

vienna state opera house

For the music lover, no visit to Vienna is complete without experiencing an opera or ballet performance in one of the world’s most famous opera houses.

Known for its world-class acoustics and opulent interior, the opera house offers a packed schedule of operas and ballets, featuring international stars.

Travel Tip: If your schedule doesn’t allow for a full performance, go for a guided tour of the opera house or try for standing-room tickets for a last-minute show.

salzburg austria

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Viennese Coffee Houses

vienna coffee house

Visiting a traditional Viennese coffee house is an essential experience, where the art of coffee and the pleasure of pastries are taken seriously. Integral to Vienna’s culture, these establishments are where time seems to stand still.

Café Central, Café Demel, and Café Sacher are famous for their traditional Viennese coffee and Sachertorte. One of the most famous coffee houses in Vienna, Café Central was established in 1876.

Travel Tip: To truly experience the Viennese coffee house culture, order a traditional coffee like a Melange or an Einspänner, and pair it with a local pastry.

—> Read More: Flavors of Austria: Schnitzels, Strudels, and Gemütlichkeit

Belvedere Palace

Belvedere Palace vienna

Home to Gustav Klimt’s famous painting “The Kiss,” the Belvedere is not just a palace but a treasure trove of Austrian art. The baroque architecture and formal gardens are as impressive as the art collections inside.

The Upper and Lower Belvedere palaces, connected by an ornate garden, offer exhibits ranging from medieval to contemporary art. 

Travel Tip: Enjoy a coffee at the Belvedere’s cafe with stunning views of the gardens and palace, a perfect spot for reflection and relaxation.

Naschmarkt

Naschmarkt vienna

Vienna’s largest and most famous market has been trading here since the 16th century. With over 100 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to international delicacies, it’s a feast for the senses.

Travel Tip: Visit on a Saturday when the flea market is open, offering everything from antiques to unique souvenirs.

The Prater and Giant Ferris Wheel

riesenrad vienna

For a fun-filled afternoon, head to the Prater amusement park and take a ride on the iconic Giant Ferris Wheel, or ‘Wiener Riesenrad’. The Prater offers a nostalgic amusement park experience with modern thrills, and the Giant Ferris Wheel provides spectacular views of the city.

Travel Tip: The Prater is also home to a variety of dining options, perfect for enjoying traditional Austrian dishes after a day of fun. Try a visit during sunset for the most dramatic vistas.

—> Read More: Best Places To Visit In Austria

Mozarthaus

Discover the echoes of genius at Mozart’s Haus in Vienna, where the legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from 1784 to 1787. This historic site, now a museum, offers a deep dive into Mozart’s creative process, his family life, and his most prolific period of composition.

Travel Tip: Visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds, allowing for a more personal and reflective experience as you wander the rooms where Mozart once walked.

And That’s A Wrap!

In conclusion, Vienna offers a treasure trove of experiences that blend its imperial past with a vibrant modern present.

From the grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace and the historic depths of St. Stephen’s Cathedral to the artistic riches of the Fine Arts Museum and the regal elegance of the Hofburg Palace, Vienna captivates visitors with its diverse attractions. 

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Jack Baumann

President of Guidester

Jack Baumann has lived and traveled throughout Europe for over 15 years, creating Guidester in 2014. Over the years Guidester has developed into a unique travel concierge and tour company helping travelers make the most of their trip to Europe.

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