Do NOT See It All
Vienna sights. Are you pondering about Vienna's must-sees and how to slot them all into your Vienna vacation? Before you push the time-lapse button of your sightseeing programme, lean back. It's true: Vienna has an unwieldy amount of landmarks, attractions and top sites. The whole of the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Unless you spend two weeks or more in Vienna, choose carefully. You can start with my personal selection of the best Vienna sights below. Try to mix them up with coffeehouses, street markets, casual walks and tramway rides to get a perfectly rounded and vibrant experience of Vienna.
Schloss Schönbrunn, the most popular of all Vienna sights, was the Imperial summer residence of the Habsburgs, the dynasty that ruled Central Europe for more than six centuries. You can still sense Empress Maria Theresia of Austria, Empress Sisi (Elisabeth) and Emperor Franz Josef there, as you visit the palace.
Nothing beats a day at Schönbrunn Palace and gardens, whether you take a tour through the palace, a walk in the gardens, have coffee in the Gloriette belvedere, visit the spectacular zoo there, or see a performance at the historic marionette theater.
The Imperial Palace is a city within a city. So much, that the average Viennese doesn't know where it starts and where it ends. Its 18 tracts and 19 courtyards spread across 240,000 square metres. Most of its buildings
are among the best Vienna sights, housing popular attractions such as the collections and exhibitions in the Museums of Fine Arts and Natural History, and the Museumsquartier;
the clubbings and summer cafe at Volksgarten, and the excellent space of the Palmenhaus Orangery bar and restaurant.
The Ringstrasse lines up dozens of elegant state buildings, museums, luxury hotels and national institutions, such as the State Opera, the Parliament, City Hall, and the University of Vienna. The boulevard girds the old town, and is a great starting point for sightseeing.
Access a guide and map of Ringstrasse Vienna.
Don't climb up any towers and rooftops unless you are not absolutely sure it is worth your energy and time. Hunting for the best
city views can be exhausting. I have taken hundreds of steps and a dozen elevators to find the best rooftop views of the city's top landmarks. It turned out
they are mostly in the unexpected locations.
The Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) is Austria's symbol of national identity. You will eventually come across it during your trip as it is at the epicenter of the old town. The more than 900 year old gothic cathedral has a firm place in local history, and in today's life. I like it best when classic concerts are performed there.
For an overview of what to see and do at St. Stephen's, go to Stephansdom.
I have known the Austrian National Library since I toured this baroque architecture show model with my school. Then I came back as a student to use it for research. And recently I visited it, as many other travellers do, to see its gorgeous State Hall, full of ancient leather-bound books sitting on large wooden galleries under marble columns and vibrant baroque frescoes.
Read my review of the Austrian National Library.
The Secession is about revolution as much as harmony. When it was finished at the end of the 19th century, many Viennese hated it.
Learn why this once so provocative building between Art Nouveau and Modernism does not line up with other museums on Ringstrasse, why
you should add it to your sightseeing plans, and which tours are available.
Vienna has some of the best Art Nouveau architecture in Europe. Many of its signature pieces, such as the Austrian Postal Savings Bank and the metropolitain railway stations at Karlsplatz were designed by Austrian architect and visual artist Otto Wagner.
Get 10 key tips on Otto Wagner architecture to see in town.
Gasometer City is a fine blend of historic and late 20th century Viennese architecture, and one of the best modern Vienna sights. The four gigantic red brick cylinders were transformed into
a town within a town by four renown Austrian and international architects, among them French star architect Jean Nouvel. Gasometer City is also a statement of urban re-generation and modern urban living.
Viewing design and life inside these protected monuments takes you off the beaten track and inside modern day Vienna.
Browse through image galleries of famous landmarks, the most beautiful palaces, opera houses and concert halls, and a few of my favourite wineries to wet your appetite for my hometown.
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Quick Tips What To See And Do In Vienna
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