Vienna Austria provides a great range of experiences for a European city destination, from magnificent palaces and churches to culture, shopping, and unique restaurants.
Vienna has always been in the middle between East and West, with the country’s historical alliance with Hungary to the east and with ambitions to the west…
…and also in the middle of North and South, as exemplified by the many Italian words in the local German dialect.
The city’s rise into a position of a major European capital started when the first Habsburg king conquered Vienna, in the 13th century…
….and with that expansion, much of the regional power was transferred from other historical cities in Austria, especially from Salzburg.
PHOTO: Central Vienna is best known for its monumental buildings, including the (pictured) Natural History Museum (www.nhm-wien.ac.at) (from 1881), and the almost identically build Art History Museum (www.khm.at).
PHOTO: Museumsquartier (www.mqw.at), together with Natural History Museum and the Art History Museum, form a major concentration of museums in Vienna city center.
PHOTO: Much of Viennese history is related to the Habsburg family dynasty, and today, there are Habsburg administrative and residential palaces all around the city. Neue Burg, pictured, is part of the Hofburg palace complex (www.hofburg-wien.at).
PHOTO: Habsburg family name can be found throughout the city’s streets, buildings, monuments, and statues. Pictured is a monument for Empress Maria Theresia, one of the most popular Habsburgs, in power from 1740-1780. She was responsible for ending land serfdom and for making school education available to the entire population.
PHOTO: You can live like the historical Austrian nobility in Vienna, including taking a horse carriage ride from either the Hofburg or Schönbrunn palace. The pictured tourists were so taken by the view to Hofburg’s ‘Neue Burg’, that standing up was the only way to enjoy the panorama.
PHOTO: Today, Austria is a representative democracy, with the (pictured)Austrian parliament house in Vienna giving a beautiful setting for the democratic process. On the sides to the (ancient goddess of wisdom) Pallas Athene statue, you can find statues allegorical to ‘legislation’ and ‘administration’.
PHOTO: Vienna Austria is often associated with opera, and it tells something about the artform’s popularity, that visiting directors often complain about “1.6 million assistant directors”…as Herbert von Karajan portrayed Vienna’s resident’s passion for the opera. Pictured is the Vienna opera house, built in 1869.
PHOTO: Once a year, the world stops to listen to the Vienna Philharmony, as they perform their famous New Year concert from (pictured) Musikverein (www.musikverein.at) building. The city’s reputation as a center for classical music was created by such composers as Haydn, Mozart, Gluck, Beethoven, and Schubert.
PHOTO: Vienna is also a great shopping destination, with the (pictured) Mariahilferstrasse (www.mariahilferstrasse.at), longest shopping street in Europe, being one of the highlights. The picture is a view to one end of the street, on the Wien Westbahnhof side.
PHOTO: Many Vienna tourist attractions are within a walking distance from one another, but the city also has a good public transportation system, with Vienna trams (pictured), Vienna subway (covering all city districts, even the airport), and a network of public bus routes.
PHOTO: Danube river, flowing through the city, has always been central to Vienna’s history. Today, one of the ways to enjoy Danube is with a river cruise, with several river cruise boats departing from Danube (‘Donau’) canal, as seen in the picture from Schwedenplatz bridge.
The 600-year-long Habsburg dynasty reign in Austria is evident throughout Vienna, especially at the Hofburg palace complex and its Square of Heroes…
…which reminds visitors of the Habsburg’s military might, that, for example, twice stopped the Ottaman European conquest on the gates of Vienna, in 1529 and 1683.
However, it was Queen Maria Theresa, from 1740, who started the city’s golden age. Her reformations, together with cultural revolution of the Baroque, produced the most important palaces and churches to the city…
…and started Vienna’s period as the center for music and culture.
Soon after, Vienna unified Europe with…
- the dancing congress of Vienna (1814/1815),
- Viennese waltz, and
- composers such as Mozart and Haydn.
To this day, Vienna Austria remains a major center of European arts and culture, with highlights such as:
- Viennese opera,
- leading German-language theater — the ‘Burg’, and
- Vienna Philharmonic, performing at the famous ‘Musikverein’.
The city also popularized cafe culture in Europe, and Vienna is still the best place to enjoy original Sacher cakes and Viennese pastries.
Shopping is its own artform in Vienna.
Many tourists start their retail experience at the shops inMariahilferstrasse, the longest commercial street in Europe.
Vienna is also dotted with modern shopping centers, the biggest and most famous being ‘Donauzentrum’ (www.donauzentrum.at).
For luxury products, you should also check out the centrally located ‘Ringstrassen-Galerien’ (www.ringstrassen-galerien.at) mall.
If you’re in the city for several weeks, you might also consider making a day trip to the nearby Bratislava, capital city of Slovakia…
…located just under an hours’ train ride (www.oebb.at) from Vienna.
Vienna Austria – Table of Contents
Learn about Hofburg palace in Vienna, one of the most impressive royal palaces in Europe, and a symbol of Austria’s historical wealth.
Read about Schonbrunn palace, one of the finest royal palaces in Europe that includes vast French and English gardens.
Belvedere palace in Vienna was completed in 1725 as a summer residence for the Austrian national hero, Eugen, Prince of Savoy.
Get to know Vienna’s famous St Stephan’s cathedral, with its multicolored roof-tiles and Gothic “Steffl” tower.
Find out about the best in Vienna shopping, including shopping streets and shopping centers in the city.
Discover Austrian parliament building, the official meeting place of the country’s parliament, and a magnificent Neoclassical palace in Vienna.
Discover Karlskirche Vienna, one of the most important and most beautiful Baroque churches North of Alps.
Learn about Natural History Museum Vienna, centrally located in a monumental, palatial building.
Did you know that Museum of Art History Vienna has one of the best art collections in Europe? Read on to find out more.
Learn about Vienna State Opera, one of the most high-profile operas in Europe, located at Court Opera Theater (from 1869), within the famous Ringstrasse.
Read about Millennium City in Vienna, a modern shopping center with a great location on the banks of Danube river.
Learn about Mariahilferstrasse, the longest commercial street in Europe — at length of about 2 km (1.2 miles).
Discover the best tourist attractions in Vienna, from Hofburg palace to Belvedere and Schonbrunn, and from Stephansdom to Wiener Riesenrad.
Did you know that Vienna’s Donauturm, a media tower (with an observation platform) within ‘Donau City’, is the 2nd tallest building in Austria. Read on to find out more.
Get to know the best tourism months in term of weather in Vienna.
Discover the Vienna Christmas market, ‘Wien Christkindlmarkt’, held from late November to Christmas day, at the Wiener Rathaus square.
Discover Vienna New Year concert, one of the most broadcast classical music concerts in the world, a highlight at the start of the year in over 70 countries.
Learn about Vienna Austria airport, one of the world’s busiest airports, and the services available at its two terminals.
Read about Wiener Rathaus – Vienna’s Gothic city hall from 1883 – one of the most impressive Gothic Revival buildings in Europe.
Learn about Museumsquartier Vienna, an art’s district with 60,000 square meters (645,000 sq.ft) of mostly modern and contemporary art.
Discover Palm House and Butterfly House, highlights adjacent to the Hofburg Burggarten park, in central Vienna.
Learn about Burgtheater, the Austrian national theater and a one of the top German-language theaters in the world.
Did you know that Votivkirche in Vienna is one of the most important Gothic Revival buildings in the world? Read on to find out more.
Learn about Spanish Riding School Vienna, offering performances of traditional horse riding art within Burghof palace.
Discover Volkstheater Vienna, the other major theater in the city (in addition to Burgtheater), especially famous for its popular, lighter-themed repertoire.
Find out about Michaelerkirche Vienna, a church dedicated to Archangel Michael, and one of the rare remaining examples of Romanesque architecture in the city.
Learn about Vienna Philharmonic, one of the most famous philharmonic orchestras in Europe.
Read about tools for Vienna car rentals, including how to locate hard-to-find rentals, car hire at airport, and how to get the best deals.
Learn about Musikverein Vienna, the main concert hall for the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic.
Discover Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel and its Prater amusement park, popular tourist attractions in Vienna.
Palais Trautson is one of the most important Baroque buildings in Vienna, and also a beautiful historical private residence.
Learn about Peterskirche Vienna, a Baroque church operated by Opus Dei, a Catholic order made famous in the fiction novel ‘Da Vinci Code’.
Discover University of Vienna, oldest German-language university in the world, housed in a monumental building within Ringstrasse.
Albertina Vienna museum includes one of the world’s most important collections of graphic works, with 65,000 drawings and 1 million original graphics.