The city of music. The city of museums, palaces, and history. The city of art.
Vienna is undoubtedly an ideal destination for exploring European architecture, art, music, and imperial history. Vienna is home to more than a hundred museums that exhibit art pieces that show the evolution of art throughout recent centuries. Moreover, as the capital of once-great empires, Vienna has significant palaces and cathedrals that show the beauty and greatness of the country.
Since Vienna is dubbed as the city of music, travellers have the chance to experience music at the numerous music theatres and operas all over the city. No matter what your taste in music is, you will enjoy the melody of Vienna that resonates all over the city.
However, as a traveller, what you’ll enjoy the most is exploring the graphic and colourful streets of the city and hidden gems of unique architecture and stories.
Although there are plenty of places I could recommend for your trip to Vienna, here are my 8 favourite attractions that you should visit.
If you’re in Vienna, surely, you will find yourself in Stephansplatz. It’s the main square and the centre of the city. The square is named after the cathedral of St. Stephen that has now become the symbol of the city. The cathedral is a mix of different architectural styles, but the oldest parts date back to the 13th century. The cathedral provides guided tours to the catacombs and art treasures. The visitors can climb the bell tower that has the largest bell in the country and the watchman’s tower from where you get the fantastic view of the old town.
Maria Theresia square is a large public square dedicated to Empress Maria Teresa, the only female emperor and last of the House of Hapsburg (House of Vienna). In the centre of the square, there is a statue of Maria Teresa. On the sides of the square, two almost identical buildings are opposed to each other. These buildings are two of the largest museums in the country. The two museums are Natural History Museum and the Art History Museum. They were established by Emperor Franz Joseph, the First of Austria in 1891.
The once imperial stables have been converted into a large area that consists of different museums. The museum’s exhibit art pieces from different eras. With the combination of baroque and newly modern renovated buildings, MuseumsQuartier is an excellent area to explore art. The two most well-known museums that I would recommend are the MUMOK and Leopold museum.
4. Wiener Staatsoper
Staatsoper is an opera house and company that manages the Vienna Opera Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, and Vienna State Ballet. It is the most iconic opera house in the country that hosts numerous performances of concerts, musicals, and dance recitals. If you are interested in watching a performance in Staatsoper, I would highly recommend it and make sure to book your tickets at least three months prior.
5. Shönbrunn Palace
As the main summer residence of the royal family and with a history of 300 years, Schönbrunn Palace has become a major touristic destination. The beautifully decorated rooms of the palace, the vast gardens, the glorious Gloriette are a few of the things that simply make you feel awed at the magnificent palace. Next to Schönbrunn, there is the Vienna zoo, which was once part of the palace.
Rathaus is the city hall of Vienna. The beautiful Neo-Gothic building of the city hall was one of the many newly constructed buildings during the mid to late 1800s during Mayors Cajetan Felder’s reign. During Christmas, Rathausplatz hosts one of the many Christmas markets in Vienna. And at New Year’s Eve, the fireworks with the vivid and bright decorated Rathaus, make the perfect start for a new year.
Naschmarkt is the most popular market in Vienna. It has been active since the 16th century, primarily selling milk. Nowadays, local producers sell their agricultural products, traditional snacks, clothing, groceries, and souvenirs for the tourist. Furthermore, there is a wide range of restaurants of different cuisines.
8. Hundertwasser House
As one of the creations of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, it attracts thousands of visitors every year. The apartment complex is an architectural highlight of the city and has become a significant cultural heritage of Vienna. Unfortunately, since this is a private apartment complex, visitors can only admire the unique architecture from outside. However, opposite the Hundertwasser House, there is the Hundertwasser Village that consists of a bar and other stores for the visitors.