Welcome to Vienna!
For more than a decade, the capital city of Vienna, Austria, has been voted one of the most livable cities in the whole world--and for good reason! Its efficient transportation, cleanliness, and elegant charm make it not hard to see why more and more tourists continue to visit this city.
Whether they’re flying into the Vienna airport or arriving on the Prague to Vienna train, tourists know of the famous places to visit, but the full beauty of the city is a local’s best-kept secret. They know the hidden courtyards, timeless cafes, and even the best shows/ balls to go to.
Vienna is known for its artistic and intellectual legacy. While there are so many museums, palaces, and sights to visit, it can be very overwhelming for a first time visitor. This guide, however, will help you experience the city’s full enchantment while saving you from exhaustion and bankruptcy.
The transportation system in this city is like no other, and the options are enough to cater to everyone’s needs. From any of the major Vienna hotels, you can either choose to walk, hire a bicycle or a car, take a bus or underground train, or ride a ring tram.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are short on time or you’re on a budget and you want to see Vienna’s biggest attractions, take a ring tram and head to Ring Road.
Architecture and History
One of the most iconic places to visit in Vienna includes St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom). Its door is notable for its uncommonly rich ornamentation of dragons, birds, lions, monks, and demons. For a full experience of this behemoth of a gothic cathedral, you can pay to take an elevator to the top. Here you can enjoy a perfect view, of Vienna, as well as the colorful tile rooftop of the cathedral. This is also the ideal place to enjoy the sun setting, while in Vienna.
To explore the city’s history, you can visit one of the many famous imperial palaces, like the Hundertwasserhaus, Hofburg, or Schönbrunn Palace. This is evidence of the Habsburg emperor’s vast wealth and power. But if you’re looking for a daytime adventure, off the beaten path and away from the crowds of tourists, visit the historic center of Vienna to explore the beautiful small streets.
Worldwide Local Tip: Lose the guide book and map, and revel in the Vienna weather by getting lost in the city’s old streets. Here you can take in the magnificent architecture of the small houses. For more enjoyment, discover the hidden courtyards in the 1st District.
Enjoy diverse Austrian flavors by indulging in different local Viennese dishes. The most popular, Wiener Schnitzel, is a thin slice of veal or pork, salted and coated with flour and breadcrumbs. It is fried in oil for a few minutes and served with lemon. You must also try Goulash. Then, feed your sweet tooth with an Apple Strudel or one of the many delicious cakes that put Vienna on the food map.
Käsekrainer, a sausage that oozes cheese, unique to Vienna, is a must-have if you want to have a full culinary experience. These can be found in small stalls that are conveniently located all around the city.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a delicious time in Vienna, try the fresh food and drinks at Naschmarkt. You can also buy fresh local ingredients and try to recreate some of the Viennese dishes.
Vienna and the Arts
The art scene in Vienna is one that dates back to the 18th century when music legends Mozart and Beethoven lived in the city. You can visit the house Mozart briefly lived in and learn of the compositions he made while in Vienna.
There are many art galleries and museums in the city, with both contemporary pieces as well as some traditional ones. Belvedere Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has the world’s most extensive collection of paintings by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, including his most famous paintings, The Kiss and Judith. If wall murals or street art is more your thing, then you’ll enjoy Donaukanal, the only place in Vienna where graffiti is legal.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are traveling on a budget and still want to enjoy the great arts of Vienna, visit the Museum of Applied/Contemporary Arts on any Tuesday, when the admission to the exhibition is free from 6 pm to 10 pm. This is a great, affordable way to enjoy one of the best things to do in Vienna.
Sit on the Shores of the Blue Danube
If you are looking for a beautiful place to or treat yourself to a picnic and take a rest from all the sightseeing in Vienna, then Danube Island is the perfect place. Here, you can take a walk, skate, cycle, or lazily sit at one of the benches and take in the fresh air.
Enjoy Your Visit!
The Vienna charm will always make your visit a memorable one, but experiencing the city like a local ensures you’ll never forget your time here.