Famous for its cultural events, historical sights and coffee houses, Vienna has long featured on the bucket list of travel enthusiasts and we stayed in the main centre to experience this beautiful city. Each time I step into Vienna, there is a buzz revolving around the numerous art, culture and music events the city is famous for.
The main centre is always alive with activity and is an ideal base for seeing the Austrian capital’s best sights being 20 minutes from the airport and less than one kilometer from famous tourist sights such as the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Liechtenstein Museum, Mozarthaus Vienna, Museum of Applied Art and the Museum of National History.
Then there is the Museum of Fine Arts with the world’s largest collection of Bruegel paintings, Museums Quartier with the Leopold Museum, plus the Architectural Center adding to the city’s attractions for theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts.
There are many concert venues that offer performances aimed at tourists, featuring popular highlights of Viennese music, particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Strauss the father and Johann Strauss the son.
Art lovers will enjoy a visit to the splendid baroque Belvedere Palace which houses the Austrian Gallery displaying the largest collection of works by Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele. Prime landmarks in the area include the gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the giant big wheel in the Prater and the Spanish Riding School with its famous Lipizzaner horses.
Not to miss is the Imperial Butterfly House in one of the world’s most beautiful Art Noveau palm houses where you can view over 400 stunning free flying butterflies floating through the air with grace, taking in the beauty of waterfalls and exotic gardens.
We arrived in Vienna in time to experience a bit of the film festival that had the best productions a film enthusiast could ask for, walking distance from our hotel. The venue of the festival was across from the famous Landtmann Café and the citys’ main architectural wonders that leaves visitors in awe. We thoroughly enjoyed people watching and the bustling vibe at the Mozart Café.
We also visited the Schonbrunn Palace and were amazed by the sheer size of the Schonbrunner Gardens that can keep your outdoors for an entire day exploring, swimming, relaxing and enjoying the natural beauty around. Another great outdoor experience was being at Naschmarkt which had everything can one ask for in a bustling market set up, including the best seafood restaurants.
Of course, no trip to Vienna would be complete without a horse and carriage ride. We stayed at the Hilton Vienna Plaza and without having to go too far from the hotel, there are plenty options for a tour in style in the tourist areas close by.
Vienna is often called the ‘City of Music’ and gained international fame due to the many celebrated composers who lived and worked here. The most famous ones are Strauß, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn. Plus the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the world’s best, the State Opera amongst the leading opera houses in the country.
A trip to Vienna is not complete without attending a ball. The city is the last great capital of the 19th-century ball, some balls featuring live orchestras and held in palaces but highly recommended venue is the Hofburg Palace in Heldenplatz. Dancers and opera singers from the Vienna State Opera often perform at the openings of the larger balls. It is noteworthy that a Vienna ball is an all-night cultural attraction often beginning at 9 pm until the early hours of the morning.
From January until March the Vienna Rathausplatz will transform into a huge ice rink and become a paradise for ice skaters of every age. The idyllically illuminated façade of City Hall forms the fairytale backdrop for Vienna Ice World with winter enjoyment for skating fans of every age.
In Vienna, one can walk over 1,716 bridges, drink from one of the many historic fountains that dot the streets, stroll through markets or gardens, enjoy the architectural buildings including Baroque castles and monuments.
If you feel like venturing out, head to the over 900 year-old Klosterneuburg Monastery with its sacred works of art, including the “Verdun Alter”, the Archducal Crown and an impressive insight into the magnificent Baroque style.
Or enjoy the gentle slopes of the Vienna Woods, a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO with a special cultural and natural landscape that contains a network of marked walking and hiking paths and are therefore an ideal local recreational area, which can be easily reached using Vienna’s public transport system. Make time to explore Vienna and keep in mind that every part of the city is an attraction and tours can take hours as wonderful art, architecture and events distract visitors to stay longer in the city.