Superb buildings, wonderful palaces and imposing cathedrals represent the main attractions in Vienna. Being Austria’ capital, it is located near Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, being just a few hours drive from Bratislava and Budapest. This musical town has much more to offer than it’s glorious past: modern architecture, rich cultural life and live night life. All this add to its charm. If you are in Vienna for the first time, below is a list with top must see place.
1. St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom Cathedral)
The Stephansdom Cathedral is one of the main landmarks in the city center and it’s most recognizable symbol. From it roof, the visitors can admire a spectacular view over the city. This cathedral is the most beautiful gothic building in Austria. The cathedral stands on the ruins of another Roman church from 1147. The Giant’s Door and the Roman Tower are standing there from the 13th century. The cathedral has witnessed many events along time and went through several restoration and conservation processes.
2. Hofburg Palace
Have you ever dreamed about dancing the waltz in one of Vienna many famous balls? The Hofburg Palace is the former imperial palace and with its many interior court yard has always had an historic importance. It’s interior reflect Austria’s glorious past, as it has housed some of the most powerful people in Europe and Austria. Currently, it is the official residence of Austria’s president and it includes various residences, museum, a chapel, the Imperial Library, the National Theatre, the treasury and a riding school along with the horse stables.
3. Schonbrunn Palace
The former summer residence of the Hapsburgs and Maria Theresa, mother of Marie Antoinette, who later became Queen to Louis XVI of Franc. The Schonbrunn Palace houses several Baroque gardens and the oldest ZOO in the world that currently houses more than 4000 animals from each continent. Moreover, you can take a ride on the world-famous Giant Ferris Wheel. The palace is impressive thus attracting over one thousand visitors every year.
4. Belvedere Palace
The summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, war hero in the 17th century is a splendid palace build in Baroque style. The Belvedere complex consists in 2 Baroque palaces: the Upper and the Lower Belvedere and amazing gardens in French style. Currently, it houses the National Gallery, where one can admire famous painting drawn by Austria’s plastic artists.
5. St. Charles’s Church (Karlskirche)
In 1713, when Vienna was devastated by the plague, Emperor Charles VI ordered to have this church build, in honor of St. Charles Barromeo, a healer of plague suffers. St. Charles Borromeo, who was revered as a healer for plague sufferers. The church is gorgeous not to count the fact that is almost 500 years old. While in Vienna, if you are looking from something different, a Vivaldi, Bach or Beethoven concert can just be it. The outstanding acoustics, the alter as a breathtaking background for the orchestra will make your experience unforgettable.
6. Kunsthistorisches Museum
Often referred to as Museum of Fine Arts, the Kunsthistorisches is remarkable in every way, being one of the most impressive museum buildings of the 19th century and housing a significant art collection of the Habsburg Dynasty, collected over centuries. The museum houses an Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, a coin cabinet and a library.
7. Museum Quartier
The formed imperial stables have been transformed in 1998 in a museum complex in 2011 displaying, among others, contemporary and modern art. The total cost of the reconstruction is of around 150 Million Euro wile the total area occupied by the museum is 60,000 m² placing it as the eighth largest cultural area in the world! The complex is a wonderful mix of fine art museums, performance space, modern installations and outdoor meeting/coffee area.
8. State Opera
One of the top opera addresses in the world, can be visited if you take part in a tour guide or if you buy a ticket to attend an evening performance, that vary depending on the day, as over 50 operas and ballet works are on around 300 days per season. If opera is not really your thing, then you can take the guided tour is really cheap (around 4 €). The building is absolutely beautiful and this is a must see when in Vienna, for the history, the grandeur and the tradition associated with this place.
The building stands out with its unequal floors, roof gardens and unique windows. The construction was finished in 1986 and it is one of the most visited places in Vienna. The Austrian artist that turned the building from a former social home to a landmark wanted to prove that beauty and practical aspects can be mixed. Currently, the building is home to almost 200 people.
10. Secession Building
The Secession Building is simple and white, a wonderful Art Nouveau reflecting the ideas of the Secession Movement: purity and organizing. The building itself is a master piece and you can walk around the famous “golden cabbage”, it order to admire it from every angle and take some pictures of the wonderful sculptures.