Vienna, the city of opera, Schnitzel, Sacher cake and amazing architecture. When I moved to Vienna more than a year ago it blown my mind how many beautiful places this city has to offer. First weeks I spent just walking around and discovering the beauty of it. If you are planning a trip to Vienna prepare for a lot of sightseeing because the list of must-see places is pretty long. Starting from flag architectural gems, ending with must-visit coffee places that will take you back in time. So here you go. Check what you should definitely not mis when in Vienna.
1. STEPHANSDOM (ST. STEPHEN’S CATHEDRAL)
This cultural heritage is almost like a symbol of Austrian identity. It is located in the heart of Vienna and has been already a subject of many books, paintings and studies. The cathedra was unfortunately damaged by fire in the last days of the Second World War but with a common effort rebuilt in just seven years. This monument of Viennese architecture offers several different ways of exploring it. You can visit the main church hall, climb up to Türmer Stube (South Tower), take the lift up to the Pummerin (North Tower), or go down into the catacombs. Also, guided tours are available to give you more detailed information about the place and its history – you can find more information here. St. Stephen’s Cathedral is open daily from 6 am until 10 pm. For a spectacular view of the cathedra go to the Lamee rooftop bar.
2. SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE
You cannot get much more impressed than you will be by Schönbrunn Palace. Can you imagine that it consists of 1,441 rooms? And that each of them is decorated with a different style? Also, that the palace’s gardens in 1900 counted 25,000 orchids of 1,500 different species which held the record in Europe at that time. And how about living like a real royalty and staying for the night in the palace’s suite? You can book imperial setting with a spacious 167 m² for your own disposal!
Plan the whole day for your visit as you really have a lot to see: palace rooms, Imperial Carragies Museum, Childrens Museum, Shonbrun Zoo, gardens, orangery, floral labyrinth or the impressive Gloriette Caffee. The last one gives you also the opportunity to book a breakfast with classical music concert. Interesting fact – young Mozart gave his very first performance at the age of six in the Mirror Room of the palace. For information on guided tours and tickets pricing please go here.
3. CAFE CENTRAL
Cafe Cetral according to its name is the real centre of Vienna. Trotsky, Freud, and other great people have been discussing here their ideas over the coffee, cakes and cigars. The menu includes a broad selection of classic Viennese dishes, traditional coffee specialities and sweet treats from the in-house patisserie. Do not be surprised when you get your coffee served with a glass of water and a spoon on the top of the glass. As a remnant of Habsburg etiquette the glass of water is meant to cleanse the palate. The face-down coffee spoon on top of the glass is a sign, that it has been freshly filled up. Although, it is not the best coffee in Vienna in my opinion, it is worth visiting because of the impressive interior that leaves you absolutely speechless.
4. BELVEDERE PALACE
This historical complex of buildings consist of upper Belvedere place, lover Belvedere palace, Orangery and Palace Stables. If you are an art lover you also cannot miss Belvedere Museum with the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings, including the famous golden Art Nouveau icon Der Kuss (Kiss).The garden of the Belvedere Palace is a beautifully designed park scenery with fountains, water pools and well-kept paths perfect for long walks while admiring the scenery. The entrance to the park is free and opening hours for the palace and museum vary on different days so check current information here.
5. VOTIVKIRCHE (VOTIVE CHURCH)
Another architectural masterpiece that you cannot miss when in Vienna. This neo – gothic church is the second tallest church in the city. It has been build as a symbol of gratitude for an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. The church looks beautiful from the outside but the most impressive part is its main altar with six alabaster columns. The entrance to the church is free and you can check current opening hours here.
6. NATURHISTORISCHES MUSEUM (NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM)
Even if you are not a fan of museums you will love this one. The “Look, play, explore” concept allows you to not only to admire reconstructions of many kind of animals but also to use a microscope, magnifying glasses or X-ray machine! Not even mentioning the impressive showroom for dinosaurs. Also, the museum building is definitely among the most splendid architectural treasures of Vienna. It was founded 250 years ago by Franz Stephan von Lothringen and the collection has grown to over 25 million objects by nova days. Super interesting place from the inside and beautiful from the outside.
7. FREYUNG PASSAGE
The Freyung Passage is an elegant shopping arcade built in the nineteenth century as part of the Ferstel Palace. The passage is known also as a Ferstel Passage, from the name of the architect, which was actually the same person that designed Votive Church. The place is indeed an architectural jewell with marbel columns and fountaine with Danube water nymph. The passage is lined with elegant and exclusive shops and cute cafes, while on the other side of it you can find famous Cafe Central. The entrance is free of charge.
I hope you will have a wonderful stay in Vienna! Also, the whole city is bike friendly and you can use city bikes while sightseeing. The city is located only 70 km from the other capital city Bratislava in Slovakia so you can also make a fun trip From Vienna to Bratislava by bike!