Tourist attractions in Vienna include palaces (Hofburg, Belvedere, and Schönbrunn), museums (Natural History & Art History), Stephensdom, Wiener Riesenrad, and Mariahilferstrasse.
The city’s famous palaces, Hofburg, Belvedere, and Schönbrunn, are a reminder of Austria’s past power and influence…
…but the building’s also tell the tale of the country’s ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.
Of these palace’s, nearest to the city center is Hofburg (www.hofburg-wien.at), an official royal residence for the Habsburgs, up until the very end of monarchy in Austria (1918).
Hofburg has several highlights, including:
- exhibition of old weapons and musical instruments,
- an ethnological museum,
- Ephesus Museum,
- Habsburg treasure room (with both religious and secular treasures),
- Austrian National Library, and
- the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
Belvedere palace, (www.belvedere.at), meanwhile is from 1725, built for an Austrian national hero, Eugen, Prince of Savoy, and used by him as a summer palace.
The complex contains, in fact, two palaces, separated by formal gardens.
Within these two palaces, you can find….
- Austrian Baroque Museum, with paintings, sculptures,
- other artworks from 17th & 18th centuries, and
- Austrian Gallery, with art from 19th & 20th centuries, including individual pieces from Klimt, Schiele, and Kokoschka.
Finally, Schönbrunn (www.schoenbrunn.at) palace originally built by Emperor Leopold I, but it was Empress Maria Theresia, who expanded the palace to its current, magnificent size.
In addition to the main palace, there are many highlights throughout the area, including…
- French and English gardens,
- Palm House,
- Gloriette pavilion, and
- ‘Wagenburg‘ imperial horse carriage collection.
Vienna Natural History Museum and Art Museum are two museums located opposite one another.
The two museum buildings are almost identical in design, both adjacent to Maria Theresia square.
Of the museums, Natural History Museum (www.nhm-wien.ac.at) offers a collection divided into eight sections, providing a unique view to world’s fauna and flora.
Highlights at the museum include:
- a collection of meteorites, and
- prehistoric collection, with “Venus von Willendorf” fertility idol.
Art History Museum, (www.khm.at) on the other hand, has one of the most valuable art collections in the world, with about 4 km of gallery hallways.
Pearls of the collection include….
- ancient world art treasures (from ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Etruscan civilization), and
- artworks from the masters, including Titian, van Dyck, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt.
Tourist attractions in Vienna also include Stephansdom (www.stephanskirche.at), a monumental cathedral, built from 1359 onwards, but still partially unfinished.
The cathedral is known for its 137-meter (450 ft) tall tower, locally nicknamed as “der Steffl“. The tower is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world.
Inside the cathedral, you’ll discover…
- “Wiener Neustadt Altar”, a gothic altar from 1447, and
- Emperor Friedrich III’s sarcophagus.
Of these, on an altar next to the sascophagus, you’ll see initials of the emperor’s personal motto: “AEIOU” – “Austria erit in orbe ultima“, which translates as “Austria will exist until the end of the world”.
Wiener Riesenrad (www.wienerriesenrad.com) is a historical Ferris wheel in Prater park…a park that until 1766, was used as imperial hunting grounds.
The Ferris wheel, added to the park in 1897, rises to the height of 64.75 meters (212 ft), and provides wonderful panoramic views over Vienna.
From the surrounding Prater amusement park, you’ll find…
- shooting galleries,
- ghost tunnels and houses of mirrors, and
- a Liliputhian railway (which goes from Wiener Riesenrad to Prater stadium).
Finally, of the tourist attractions in Vienna, Mariahilferstrasse (www.mariahilferstrasse.at) is the longest commercial street in Europe, connecting Wien Westbahnhof to the Museum Quartier, for a total length of 2 km (1.2 miles).
Within the street, the service range…
- from clothing and fashion to
- shopping centers,
- restaurants, and to
- chocolateries selling local specialties.
Other good places to do Vienna shopping include:
- Kohlmarkt and Graben streets,
- Ringstrassen Galerien (www.ringstrassen-galerien.at),
- Donauzentrum (www.donauzentrum.at), and
- Millennium City (www.millennium-city.at), with a great location next to the Danube river.