Vienna, Austria’s capital, lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. In the MuseumsQuartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.
Best Time to Travel
The best time to visit Vienna is from April to May or September to October. The mild weather in spring and fall brings mild crowds. Most visitors aim to enjoy the warm, sunny weather that Vienna experiences in the summer months. Between June and August, you can expect the city to fill up and room rates to skyrocket. December also sees a spike in tourism since many Europeans flock to the city for a taste of Christmas spirit served Viennese-style, but chilly temperatures can be a deterrent.
Vienna has a well-developed public transport network. Buses, trains, trams and underground lines will take you almost anywhere in the city in no time at all. Vienna public transport Wiener Linien operates five underground lines, 29 tram and 127 bus lines, of which 24 are night lines. Night lines only operate between 0.30 am and 5 am. On weekends and public holidays, the Vienna underground remains at the service of its passengers all night. The Wiener Linien vehicle fleet currently consists of over 500 tramcars and more than 450 buses. A single ticket costs EUR 2.40. Apart from single tickets, there are passes for longer periods of time. Passes are available for 24 hours and 72 hours, or as weekly, monthly or annual passes.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The symbol of the city, no less. Built in the 12th century, St. Stephen’s is the fixed point around which Vienna turns – and if you climb the 343 steps to the top of its mighty Gothic tower, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable views.
One of Vienna’s original salons, Demel has been serving confectionery masterpieces since 1786. Plush ring cakes, cream slices, the richest hot chocolate and strudels galore – if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll have to be dragged out of here.
The Spanish Riding School
Dating back to the time of Emperor Maximilian II, the superb Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule) was established after the ruler had the famous Lipizzaner horses introduced to his courtesans in 1562. Today, it's one of Vienna's leading attractions, and one of the leading riding schools in the world, thrilling audiences with fabulous displays of equestrian skills in the Baroque Winter Riding School in the grounds of the Hofburg Palace, where it has been located since 1735.
The Vienna State Opera House
One of the world's largest and most splendid theaters, the Vienna State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) has hosted many of the world's most prominent composers, conductors, soloists, and dancers. Operatic and ballet performances are staged at least 300 times a year, fuelled by an obsession with music that goes as far back as 1625 when the first Viennese Court Opera was performed.
Vienna Ring Tram
Trundling trams are as much of a feature of Viennese life as snowboots and teatime torte. The yellow ones do a full 25-minute circuit of the Ringstrasse boulevard – hop aboard and you’ll be able to spot some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
The Hofburg Palace
A century ago Vienna was the centre of a mighty empire. The Hofburg was the home of the Habsburgs until 1918 – one of the largest and grandest palaces in the world, it looks a little like a huge, iced cake. Today you could happily lose yourself here for days.
Zuckerlwerkstatt – meaning ‘sugar workshop’ – produces exquisite handcrafted sweets. If you’re travelling with kids they’ll go bananas, but adults will find it just as enchanting.
The most stylish one-stop design shop in the city. Housed in an art nouveau townhouse, Supersense calls itself the ‘home of analogue delicacies’: expect to find everything from a working letterpress to hand-cut vinyl, a scent lab and a recording studio.