The Best Travel Guide to Vienna by BestTravelBook

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and brimming with Baroque boulevards, buildings, Imperial palaces, endless architectural gems and Vienna’s famous café culture, you will be spoilt for choice for incredible sights in Austria’s charming capital.

The Best Travel Guide to Vienna is segmented into 4 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Vienna:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town;
  2. A comprehensive lowdown of What to See;
  3. Some Top Tips / Good to Know;
  4. An insider guide

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

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1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town

The historic city centre is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often referred to as an open-air museum.  Ringstrasse boulevard is dotted with beautiful buildings including the Rathaus (town hall), the Spanish Riding School and the Hofburg Palace.

Vienna is steeped in classical music heritage with celebrated composers who lived and worked in Vienna including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss (father and son), Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler.

Today’s cityscape is characterised by the abundance of Baroque buildings created mostly under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia (1740 – 1780) and Franz Joseph (1848 – 1916), who was largely responsible for the monumental architecture round the Ringstraße.

The Inner City of Vienna is packed with historic sights, imperial buildings, museums and restaurants. This circular district stretches from the heart of the city (the Gothic Stephansdom cathedral) to the main street, Ringstrasse, a late-19th-century boulevard.   You will be spoilt for choice of sights to see from the grandeur of Emperor Franz Josef’s ‘Ringstrasse’, the circular boulevard surrounding the Hofburg Palace, the State Opera House, Burgberg Theatre.

2. A comprehensive lowdown of What to See

What to See in Vienna, Austria
What to See in Vienna, Austria

 

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

 

St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral

 

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the symbols of Vienna steeped in history
  • Building started in the 12th century it is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria
  • With its 137 m high spire and richly decorated roof, it’s the city’s most important Gothic buildings and represents eight centuries of architectural history
  • St. Stephen’s is particularly famous for its majestic towers, which have dominated Vienna’s skyline for centuries. The tallest of these is the Steffl
  • It stands 137 m high and is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic towers in Europe thanks to features such as the statues below the richly ornamented canopies on the second floor
  • You can climb the 343 steps to the peak of the south tower up to the viewing room which offers magnificent views a across Vienna

 

Vienna’s Ringstrasse

Vienna Ringstrasse
Vienna Ringstrasse

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • The Ringstrasse is one of the most beautiful boulevard in the world is home not only to many of Vienna’s best-known sights
  • The magnificent buildings that line this boulevard include the Hofburg Palace, the Rathaus, the Stock Exchange, the Parliament, the Burgtheater, the Votivkirche, the University, the Art History Museum and the Natural History Museum

The Parliament

Vienna's Parliament
Vienna’s Parliament

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • The Austrian Parliament building was built as part of the Ringstrasse renovation project. Construction of the Neo-Classical style building began in 1874 and took 10 years to complete.
  • You can visit the Parliament by taking one the guided tours

 

Vienna State Opera

Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • Wiener Staatsoper is one of the leading opera houses in the world.
  • Built in 1869 to plans by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, and reopened in 1955 following devastation in World War II
What to See in Vienna, Austria
What to See in Vienna, Austria

Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace
Hofburg Palace

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • The Hofburg Palace is a must-see when visiting Vienna
  • The Palace is one of the largest in the world with 700 years of architectural history; nearly every Austrian ruler since 1275 ordered additions or alterations. The Hofburg shows many different architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance, Baroque to Rococo and Classicism
  • The Habsburg emperors built their imperial forum into one of the most lavish locations and now it stands as the official seat of the Austrian President
  • With a variety of museums such as the Imperial Treasury Vienna, art galleries and prestigious collections, there is plenty to be discovered

 

 

Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • Schönbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and Austria’s most-visited sight
  • Built in the 17th century, the immense Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna was the summer residence of the Austrian imperial family
  • It boasts beautiful Baroque architecture, lavish interiors and magnificent gardens
  • The Palace has 1,441 rooms designed in Rococo style décor
  • At the very top of Schönbrunn Gardens, the Gloriette crowns Schönbrunn castle. Built around 100 years after Schönbrunn Palace the Gloriette overlooks the baroque gardens, the Hapsburg palace and Vienna
  • Other attractions of the baroque gardens of Schonbrunn include the Crown Prince Gardens, the Maze, the Palm House, and the Tirolergarten at the zoo

 

Belvedere Palace

Belvedere Palace
Belvedere Palace

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • The Baroque garden and two palaces of the Belvedere have been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO
  • The Belvedere is not only a magnificent Baroque palace but also houses one of Austria’s most valuable art collections – with key works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka
  • The gardens of the Belvedere are a highlight of Baroque landscape architecture
  • A reflecting pool was created in front of the place, in which the building’s façade is reflected

 

Palais Ferstel

Palais Ferstel
Palais Ferstel

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • Located in the heart of one of Vienna’s oldest and most beautiful areas, the first district, you will find the famous Palais Ferstel
  • Built by one of the great masters of Vienna Historicism, Heinrich von Ferstel, in 1860, the palace bears his name to this day
  • The building used to house the National Bank and the Stock Exchange
  • Inside the palace is the Freyung Passage, which is lined with elegant shops and gives on to one of the entrances to the Café Central, renowned in former times for its artist and intellectual patrons

 

What to See in Vienna, Austria
What to See in Vienna, Austria

 

Vienna City Hall (Rathaus)

 

Vienna City Hall
Vienna City Hall

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • Vienna’s neo-Gothic City Hall, completed in 1883 by Friedrich von Schmidt
  • Vienna’s City Hall is the official seat of the mayor and the meeting place of the city government. The building houses the Vienna City and Regional Library and the Vienna City and Regional Archive.
  • The main spire is 102m high if you include the pennant held by the medieval knight, or Rathausmann, guarding its tip

 

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • The museum is home to world-famous and unique objects, such as the 29,500-year-old Venus of Willendorf, the Steller’s sea cow that became extinct over 200 years ago, and enormous dinosaur skeletons
  • Further highlights in the 39 exhibit halls include the world’s largest and oldest public collection of meteorites, including the spectacular “Tissint” meteorite from Mars
  • The dinosaur hall presents the skeletons and remains of the gigantic prehistoric animals with a lifelike allosaurus that moves and makes terrifying noises

 

Peterskirche

Peterskirche
Peterskirche

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • Peterskirche (St Peter’s) is a magnificent Baroque building inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome
  • Gabriel Montani designed St. Peter’s in 1702 and it is the most lavishly decorated baroque church in Vienna
  • The fresco in the dome is a masterpiece by Rottmayr depicting the coronation of the Virgin
  • The church contains many frescoes and much gilded carved wood, plus altarpieces done by well-known artists of the period

 

 

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Kunsthistorisches Museum
Kunsthistorisches Museum

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum) was built in 1891 near the Imperial Palace to house the extensive collections of the imperial family
  • With its vast array of eminent works and the largest Bruegel collection in the world, it is considered one of the most eminent museums in the world

 

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