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Things to do in Vienna

Things to do in  Vienna

Welcome to Vienna

Once one of Europe’s great Imperial cities, Vienna still bears the hallmarks of its glory years: opulent baroque palaces, prestigious opera houses, and high society balls held during its annual Carnival celebrations. The Austrian capital remains an enchanting place, elegant but not showy, romantic but still reserved, and oozing with old-world charm. The most striking monuments are congregated in the historic center of Vienna—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and along the Ringstrasse, the historic ring road that loops around the Old Town and Museum Quarter (MuseumsQuartier). Impressive buildings abound, from the grand Rathaus, or Vienna City Hall, to the Austrian Parliament Building and the Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, to the magnificent halls of the Burgtheater and the Vienna Opera House (Staatsoper). Just outside of the center, the imperial palaces of Schonbrunn Palace (Schloss Schonbrunn) and Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere) are the city’s most prized attractions, while the legendary Spanish Riding School shows off Lipizzan horses. Vienna’s strategic location, close to the borders of Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, makes it a great base for exploring other European cities on day trips to Bratislava, Budapest, Salzburg, and beyond. Closer to home, opt for a romantic Danube River cruise, enjoy wine tasting in Wachau Valley, or take a hiking or bike tour through Vienna Woods.

Top 10 attractions in Vienna

#1

Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)

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Schonbrunn Palace, or Schloss Schonbrunn, means 'beautiful spring' and was a royal hunting park when plans were made to build a sumptuous palace to rival Versailles. Queen Maria Theresa's architect, Nicholas Pacassi, is responsible for the eventual design of a long, symmetrical palace full of gilding and crimson displays drawing on Japanese, Italian, Persian and Indian works of art. There are ceiling frescoes celebrating the Habsburgs and 18th century furnishings. It was finally finished in 1749. The gardens are huge and beautiful. There is a spectacular iron and glass palm house, a maze and labyrinth, and a viewing terrace. Since the end of the monarchy the Viennese people have flocked to these gardens for recreation. The palace is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.More
#2

Hofburg Imperial Palace (Hofburg Wien)

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The House of Habsburg was one of the most important royal dynasties in Europe and ruled Austria for six centuries. Through prudent marriages they managed to also gain Spain, Hungary, parts of France and many other lands. They built many fine churches and residences and rarely finished any of them. The Hofburg was the Imperial Palace until 1918, although strictly the Habsburg dynasty had died out and been succeeded by another by then. The palace remains the center of government for Austria but these days the occupier is a democratic republic rather than kings and queens. The palace is an amalgam of eras and styles, much of it rich 17th and 18th century Baroque. Don't miss the Renaissance wing Stallburg where the famous dancing horse, the Lipizzaners, are stabled.More
#3

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)

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The St Stephen's Cathedral, or Stephansdom, is the heart of Vienna both geographically and emotionally. It is a magnificent dark Gothic church, beloved and unmissable in Vienna. A church has stood on this site since the 12th century, but little remains of the original structure aside from the Riesentor (Giant's Gate) and the Heidentürme (Towers of the Heathens). Both features are Romanesque in style. The Riesentor (rumor has it that the gate was named because a mammoth's tibia, mistaken for a giant's shin, once hung here) is the main western entrance, topped by a tympanum of lattice patterns and statues. Stephansdom's Gothic makeover began in 1359 at the behest of Habsburg Duke Rudolf IV, who earned the epithet of 'The Founder' by laying the foundation stone. The church's dominating feature is the skeletal Südturm (south tower). Standing 450 ft (136.7m) high, it was completed in 1433 after 75 years of hard labor.More
#4

Heroes’ Square (Heldenplatz)

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A colossal piazza right at the heart of Imperial Vienna, Heldenplatz stretches out in front of the sweeping arcs of the Hofburg Palace, which was commissioned for the Habsburg Imperial Family in 1881. Constructed under the orders of Emperor Franz Joseph II as part of the city’s elegant Ringstrasse thoroughfare in the late 19th century, the square is dominated by two vast equestrian statues of Archduke Charles of Austria and Prince Eugene of Savoy, and completely surrounded by the Baroque beauty of Vienna’s most important landmarks. The Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, lived on this spot in various palaces from the 13th century until its demise in 1918; now the palace is home to several sublime Imperial collections in the Neue Burg, Sisi and art museums; the Imperial Apartments; the office of the Austrian President; the National Library; the Hofburgs’ private chapel; and the Augustinian Church, parish church of Vienna’s aristocracy.More
#5

Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)

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Staatsopera, the Vienna Opera, began in the early 18th century. Since then it has continuously produced performances every year. The building was opened in 1869, part of Franz Joseph's expansion of Vienna which has left such a magnificent legacy of grand buildings in the city. There are guided tours, or, better still, attend one of the 300 performances held every year in an every changing program. A visit to the new Viennese State Opera Museum can be combined with a guided tour of the Opera House. The museum has photos, costumes, playbills, models of stage sets and information on every performance of the last fifty years.More
#6

Vienna Musikverein (Wiener Musikverein)

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With a capacity of 2,854 between two concert halls, the Musikverein is home to the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It was constructed on the Vienna Ringstrasse, in elegant Neo-Classical style, by Danish architect Theophil Hansen, and as well as having some of the best acoustics in the world, it is considered one of the loveliest concert halls in Europe. Inaugurated in 1870 by the Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph, the Musikverein is famous for its elaborate Golden Hall, the ornate, gilt-clad auditorium with a frescoed ceiling, dripping chandeliers and luxurious balconied stalls. The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year concert has been broadcast all around the world from here since 1959. A chamber-music hall is used for smaller events.More
#7

Vienna Prater (Wiener Prater)

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The Vienna Prater is both a huge outdoor area and an amusement park. Once the Emperor Maximilian II's hunting ground in the 16th century, in 1766 Emperor Joseph II declared it open parkland for everyone. Coffee-houses and cafes sprang up and nobody seemed worried that it continued to be used for hunting until 1920! It was also around the 18th century that the Wurstelprater began - an amusement park which continues to this day and includes the giant ferris wheel, the Riesenrad, one of Vienna's famous sights. There are also bumper cars, a roller-coaster, and carousels. The Prater also houses a planetarium and the Prater Museum, a little disappointing as museums go although the antique slot machines are worthwhile.More
#8

Hundertwasser House (Hundertwasserhaus)

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Standing in stark contrast to the baroque palaces and grand plazas of historic Vienna, the colorful facade of the Hundertwasserhaus is one of the city’s most unique works of architecture. Unconventional and somewhat eccentric, the apartment complex is the masterpiece of 20th century Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, one of the country’s most imaginative and controversial contemporary artists. Mimicking elements of Gaudí’s Art Nouveau style, Hundertwasser’s designs marry whimsical shapes and curved lines with a bold color palette, resulting in some of Austria’s most recognizable and most visited landmarks. The Hundertwasserhaus was finished in 1986 and features a playful mix of painted mosaics and different sized windows, spread over the 52 apartment buildings. The organic theme even goes one step further, with a grass-covered rooftop sprouting with trees that appear to be grown from within.More
#9

Ringstrasse

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Marking the boundary of the First District, where the old city walls once stood, the series of boulevards that make up the Ringstrasse trace a 5km scenic loop around the historic center of Vienna. Created in the late 19th century to replace the fortification walls demolished under Emperor Franz Joseph, the Ringstrasse was designed to accommodate some of the city’s most spectacular works of architecture. For visitors to Vienna, following the route of the Ringstrasse is a popular way to take in the sights, starting with the dramatic neo-Gothic Rathaus, or City Hall, set in the landscaped Rathauspark and the neighboring Parliament buildings. The magnificent Burgtheater and Volksgarten park stand opposite, and heading south, the ring road passes Maria Theresa Square and Franz Joseph’s elaborate Kaiserforum, now home to the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) and the Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History).More
#10

Kursalon Vienna (Kursalon Wien)

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Vienna’s most beautiful concert hall was completed in 1867 on the edge of the Stadtpark (City Park), close to the gilded statue of composer Johann Strauss, whose music is enjoyed there nightly. The Kursalon was designed by Austrian architect Johann Garben in Neo-Renaissance style and its original use was as a spa; just a year after it opened it was given over to music and became the meeting place of choice for Viennese high society. Recently given a facelift, the Kursalon is now returned to its gleaming, romantic best and its halls once more drip with chandeliers and elegant stucco decoration. It is known for its nightly repertoire of favorites from Strauss, Schubert, Mozart and other Baroque musicians, played by the Salonorchestra Alt Wien, which was founded in 1994.More

Trip ideas

Recent reviews from experiences in Vienna

star-5
Magical!
Linda, Mar 2020
Hallstatt and Alps, incl. Skywalk visit, small group tour
Recommend as a day trip from Vienna to see this magical town.
star-5
Get a taste of Budapest
Robert_B, Mar 2020
Budapest Full-Day Trip From Vienna With Accommodation Pick-Up
Because it is just a day trip, you won't be able to see everything, but I saw enough that makes me want to revisit and spend some quality time there.
star-5
Satisfaction guaranteed
Thelma, Feb 2020
Prague Small-Group Trip from Vienna with Accommodation Pick-Up
Yes the travel time from Vienna is more than 3 hours but it is worth it to see Prague in a day covers all the highlights .
star-5
Bratislava
Doris H, Jan 2020
Discover Bratislava on a Day Trip from Vienna
I wish I had taken her contact information so friends that plan to visit could request her.
star-5
A Long Day but Worth It
horan2015, Nov 2019
Salzburg Small-Group Day Trip from Vienna
A 600KM round trip but worth it to see Salzburg, Mondsee and the country in between there and Vienna.
star-5
Skip-the-Line Schonbrunn Palace Guided Tour and Vienna Historical City Tour
chanyap0924, Nov 2019
Skip-the-Line Schonbrunn Palace Guided Tour and Vienna Historical City Tour
She gave a clear history of the attractions in Vienna.
star-5
Awesome Concert
Psychmck, Oct 2019
Vienna Classical Concert at St. Peter’s Church
Our seats were amazing and we sat right on the front row and were able to see the amazing musicians.
star-5
Excellent trip
mrpv72, Oct 2019
Big Bus Vienna Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
relaxed day with plenty of buses and stops to see the most of Vienna.
star-5
Vienna 2019
Paulino89, Oct 2019
Day-trip from Vienna to Hallstatt
Hallstatt is great place to visit, with a wonderful view, and a great little town.
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Vienna 2019
Dennis T, Oct 2019
Vienna Like a Local: Customized Private Tour
I would recommend to other travelers to just do a 4-hour tour and you should be able to get to see all of the main attractions and then decide what you want to see after that.
star-5
AustrianHike
61carriew, Oct 2019
4-Hour Private Alpine Great George at High Wall Mountain from Vienna
The hike Michael took us on was fantastic and amazing to see the beautiful scenery and be out in nature.
star-5
Excellent night out
Kylie0001, Sep 2019
Vivaldi Four Seasons Concert at St. Charles Church in Vienna
Sat in the category 1 seating and was great seats to see everything.
star-5
Very enjoyable tour with a knowledgeable guide
Travel02037272953, Sep 2019
Best of Food Tour Vienna
Great comfortable tour to see some the small food spots in Vienna.
star-5
Food Adventure in Vienna
Stephen R, Sep 2019
Food, Coffee and Market: Small Group or Private Walking Tour in Vienna
Will took us all around Vienna to visit the less touristy cafes, eateries, and markets of this fabulous baroque city.
star-5
Excellent Tour
582keeshaw, Sep 2019
Amazing Vienna on Electric Bike
Great way to visit Vienna!
star-4
Must visit
YiannisGolf, Sep 2019
Madame Tussauds Vienna
Need around 1 hour to see everything.
star-5
Beautiful Concert
Angie N, Aug 2019
Kursalon Vienna: Johann Strauss and Mozart Concert
Might be a bit hard to see from the back row's but over all a wonderful experience.
star-4
Wonderful view
Kevin7828, Aug 2019
Skip the Line: Wiener Riesenrad Giant Ferris Wheel Vienna Entrance Ticket
We went at night to see the lights and it was beautiful.
star-5
Amazing
Barbara J, Aug 2019
Melk Abbey and Danube Valley Day Trip from Vienna
A fabulous day trip, English speaking guide was very knowledgeable on his vienna.
star-4
Typical Big Bus
Lita F, Aug 2019
Big Bus Vienna Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Did a great job of pointing out the main attractions to see.

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