The Habsburg Empire, one of the most influential, left an architectural legacy that is simply breathtaking. One of the most interesting ways to start your exploration is with a tram ride around the Ringstrasse (Ring Road). Originally the boulevard housed the Vienna’s medieval fortress wall, but it has been replaced with some of the most incredible buildings in Vienna. This route gives you access to all the major monuments such as the Vienna State Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts, Museumsquartier, Heldenplatz, Neue Burg of Hofburg Palace, the Austrian Parliament, and more. One the best stops along the way is the Rathaus (City Hall) and, of course, the Biergarten (beer garden). Also, be sure to make your way to the Naschmarkt, which is a popular produce market that is really like a bazaar selling antiques, crafts, and food.
Vienna is also known for being “the city of music” which is most notably attributed to the classical melodies of Johann Strauss’s waltzes. You’ll hear classical music everywhere, even in the streets, especially in the shopping districts. Vienna is one of the few remaining places that still holds formal balls, and there are many that visitors can attend. Imagine ladies, attending a ball at the Hofburg for New Year’s Eve! Pair that with a carriage ride, and you have a true fairy-tale experience. Need a waltz lesson? No problem, the Hofburg even offers lessons! Don’t forget boys and girls, this is a full formal- that means full-length gowns for the ladies and tails for the men. No neck ties!
Places to Visit in Vienna
- Schonbrunn Palace
- Hofburg Palace
- Tiergarten Schonbrunn
- Vienna State Opera
Unique Things to See and Do in Vienna
- Weave your way through the Kunst Haus Wien
- Track members of the Hapsburgs in the Imperial Crypt
- Delve into the Sigmund Freud Museum
- Meander through the musical Stadtpark
- Enjoy a glass of wine at one Vienna’s heurige locations
- Take a ride on the Prater
The Viennese culture is truly reflected in their speech, a little “Wiener Schmah” or Viennese charm. It’s a mixture of everything, a little flirt, a little joke, a little tease, then a little sarcasm, some wit, and even some rudeness, but NEVER dull! It’s no wonder there are so many coffee shops, the Viennese have the gift of gab. It makes sense really. With a Hapsburg history reigning over most of western Europe, Vienna became the meeting point for many regions. The cultural diversity paved the way for liberal thinking, the introduction of new ideas, and the perfect foundation for creative expression and is clearly evident in many of the greats who emerged from Vienna, like Mozart, Beethoven, Klimt, Goethe, Freud, and even Hilter. For travellers who enjoy a relaxed cosmopolitan city that honours its history and traditions, Vienna has all the right components.
The reference to “indulging in a decadent cake or pastry” is actually a commonly practiced tradition in Vienna. It’s called Jause, meaning a “snack break” and it happens at 4 pm every day! Now here’s where cultural diversity has shaped Viennese life. As the story goes, it was the Turkish fleeing from the Austrians who introduced coffee to the region by literally leaving it behind. In 1963, the first kaffeehaus was introduced. Now everyone knows that a cup of coffee deserves a good hearty pastry, which is where the Hungarians come in. The famous apple strudels you find in Vienna are made from a Hungarian pastry recipe which similar to Greek phyllo in thinness. Now imagine you are in old renaissance building with walls showcasing contemporary art and plenty chatter from all the other tables. This is Vienna!
Getting Around Vienna
There is nothing like riding in a horse-drawn carriage through the city streets of historic Vienna, but, of course, this is usually a novelty or a fancy date night out, yet it is a definite must for some fun sightseeing. Vienna’s historic old city is car-free which makes this center great for walking around, especially in the winter months when shops are lined with Christmas lights and classical music fills the air.
Did you know…?
Vienna is the only capital to produce its own wine!
Did you ALSO know…?
That the scrumptious apfelstrudel or apple strudel was first created in Austria.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Vienna
Summer time in Vienna offers some fantastic city strolls, beautiful blooming gardens, and gorgeous sunny days with temperatures ranging from 20˚C to 25˚C. Summers are an all time favourite of many travellers, but for some it can be a sticky! Not too humid but enough to make spring and fall more desirable. Spring is when certain gardens take shape, such as the Stadtpark which blooms into beautiful musical notes. Of course winters are chilly in Vienna, so bring layers, hats, and mitts. Temperatures can range from 7˚C to -2˚C.
There’s so much to see in Austria! Intrigued? Check out Explore Salzburg.
Ready to plan your visit to Vienna? Check out these popular guides and trips.