Vienna Sightseeing. Vienna has an unwieldy amount of landmarks. Many embrace various football fields in size. The whole of the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Use this page to get an overview of must-sees and my own discoveries. Click on the headlines to kick start your travel preparations.
Vienna City Centre
Vienna Sightseeing. You will likely explore Vienna’s City Centre first. I could roam it endlessly. You may have to stick to a time budget to discover the best sights, though. Very simply, there are four smart routes that will cover 90 per cent of sightseeing in the ‘Innenstadt’ (city centre). I am outlining them in detail in Vienna City Centre, including a tour route map.
Vienna Sightseeing. Ringstrasse lines up dozens of elegant state buildings, museums, luxury hotels and national institutions, such as the State Opera with its opera ball, the Parliament, City Hall, and the University of Vienna.
The boulevard girds the old town, and is a great starting point for sightseeing. Take the tram, the bike or walk at least part of it.
Access a guide and map of Ringstrasse Vienna.
Nothing beats a day at Schönbrunn Palace and gardens for me. You still sense Empress Maria Theresia of Austria, Empress Sisi (Elisabeth) and Emperor Franz Josef, whether you tour the palace, promenade in the gardens, have coffee in the Gloriette belvedere, visit the spectacular zoo, or visit the historic marionette theater. Find out about Schönbrunn Palace.
Vienna Sightseeing. The Imperial Palace (Hofburg) is a city within a city. 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. They house popular attractions such as the collections and exhibitions in the Museums of Fine Arts and Natural History, and the Museumsquartier. The clubbings and summer café at Volksgarten, and dining at Palmenhaus Orangery are all part of Hofburg.
Access the first guide to the Imperial Palace Vienna by your personal interests.
Best Rooftop Views In Vienna
Vienna Sightseeing. 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.
To find out more, go to Best Rooftop Views in Vienna.
Vienna Sightseeing. Stephansdom is Austria’s symbol of national identity. You will come across St. Stephen’s Cathedral during your sightseeing. The gothic church on Stephansplatz is at the epicenter of the old town.
Stephansdom is more than 900 years old. We call it ‘Steffl’ and most of us adore it: the gothic interiors, the glazed roof tiles, even the catacombs. Our school children collect donations. We listen to ‘radio Stephansdom’ and our favourite sweets brand Manner chose Stephansdom as its logo. I love the church ambiente most during classical concerts. Find out more what to do at Stephansdom.
Austrian National Library
Vienna Sightseeing. I have known the Austrian National Library since I toured this baroque architecture gem with my school. Then I came back as a student to use it for research. Imagine thousands of precious volumes nesting in high galleries under domes of colourful frescoes. Smell antique paper and polished wood – irresistible.
I keep visiting the library, 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.
Vienna Sightseeing. Does Eugene of Savoy ring a bell with you? Even if it doesn’t visit his apartment. Some 330 years ago, Imperial military commander Prince Eugene shaped European history. He lived and worked in that spectacular Beletage apartment in the city centre. The salons have been recently renovated and are breath taking. The Winter Palace also regularly stages fine art exhibitions.
Learn why you should make an extra 45 minutes of space in your sightseeing programme for the winter palace.
Vienna Sightseeing. Augarten porcelain is very ‘old European’. The Augarten porcelain manufactory is located at Vienna’s oldest baroque garden across the Danube Canal. Seeing how the delicate porcelain figurines, vases and coffee cups are made is fantastic. But it is not the only thing to do at Augarten. The park collects two baroque palaces, an original World War II defence tower, a modern art museum, and an urban orchard. Don’t miss the open air cinema and laid back cafés in the summer. Read more in Augarten.
Vienna Sightseeing. The Secession blends Art Nouveau and Modernism. When it was finished at the end of the 19th century, many Viennese hated it. The Emperor decided to ban it from Ringstrasse boulevard. He knew the Secession was about to start an art revolution. In the following years, the Secessionist artists turned Viennese art upside down.
The Secession is easy to integrate into your sightseeing programme. It is located between Naschmarkt and the Vienna State Opera. Make sure you see Gustav Klimt’s gigantic masterpiece inside. Find out more about Vienna secession and which tours are available.
Top Extra Sightseeing Treats
Vienna Sightseeing. Ornaments, swirls, flowers, and elegant minimalism. Austria’s capital collects the best Art Nouveau architecture in Europe. If you want to experience Wiener Jugendstil and Wiener Moderne follow one man: Otto Wagner.
The Austrian architect and designer created signature pieces. The Majolikahaus, the Austrian Postal Savings Bank, and the pavilions on Karlsplatz are just a few. They build a stark contrast to Vienna’s baroque architecture. You can find most of them in the city centre. Access my 10 key tips on Otto Wagner in Vienna to see in town.
Vienna Sightseeing.If you love Gustav Klimt’s work seeing his output may not be enough. At the Klimt Villa close to Schönbrunn Palace you’ll not only walk into Klimt’s last studio but will gain a better insight into what inspired the Art Nouveau artist.
Before you visit the site it is important to know what you can expect. I was there in the summer of 2016. Read my review about the Klimt Villa.
Central Cemetery Vienna
Vienna Sightseeing. Before you ban a cemetery from your sightseeing programme, think of the Egyptian Pyramids. Vienna’s Central Cemetery has the quality of an open-air museum. Many tombs are pieces of art. The Zentralfriedhof also hosts many celebrities, from Beethoven and Johann Strauss to pop star Falco. When I walked through it with guide Gertrude it was like leafing through Vienna’s Who Is Who. It’s curious but nowhere else in town does Viennese history become so alive as at Zentralfriedhof. Read my review of Central Cemetery Vienna.
Vienna Sightseeing. Gasometer City blends historic and contemporary architecture. It is one of the best modern Vienna sights. Four architects transformed four gigantic brick cylinders into a town within a town. French star architect Jean Nouvel was one of them. Gasometer City is a protected monument, and a statement of urban re-generation. It teaches you a lot about local design and lifestyle. The residential community is the closest knit in all Vienna. Visiting Gasometer City takes you off the beaten track and inside modern day Vienna. I did a guided tour at Gasometer City and loved it.
More Vienna Sightseeing: Picture Galleries
Browse through image galleries of famous landmarks, the most beautiful palaces, opera houses and concert halls, and a few of my favourite wineries.
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