One of the most visited cities in Europe and capital city of the Republic of Austria, Vienna owes most of its rich history and charm to its spectacular location on the Danube River. For centuries, it has served as the gateway between East and West Europe and it was considered the nucleus of the once massive Habsburg Empire. To this day, Vienna remains Austria’s most important cultural and commercial hub. Its glittering palaces, fabled art collections, unique historical sightseeing opportunities, along with an exceptional musical heritage help attract visitors from all over the world.
Whether you want to know places to visit in Vienna in one day, or things you can do in several days, there are plenty of choices this elegant city has to offer. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1- Schonbrunn Palace
Having major cultural importance in Austria and standing from the 1600s is the Schonbrunn Palace. This colossal structure has 1441 rooms and is a major tourist attraction in Vienna. For many years, the Habsburg maintained residence here and a number of emperors of Austria were also born in the palace. It is an immense building boasting a Baroque style, along with a symmetrical main building that has statues on the rooftop and hundreds of windows. The palace has an assortment of fully furnished rooms that are decorated in original style, giving you a glimpse of how the Austrian royalty lived.
2- Hofburg Palace
Another palatial complex giving tribute to the influence and power of the Habsburg dynasty is the Hofburg Palace. For hundreds of years, it remained the main winter palace for the rules of the empire. Today, the palace serves as a presidential base and has offices of the president of Austria. Since they were created in the 13th century, the buildings have undergone a number of changes and the semi-circular Neue Berg is the most impressive of all. Visitors can admire the style and beauty of the baroque architecture, visit one of the detailed museums, or tour the imperial apartments.
There is a lot of significant and historical architecture to be found in Vienna and one addition to this is the Town Hall on Rathausplatz. Constructed in the 1800s, Rathaus was a later addition in the city and has a Neo-Gothic style that now serve as the offices of the mayor of the city. Like the town hall in Brussels, this has five towers and the largest one is in the middle, which has the iconic Rathausman statue. On certain days, there are guided tours available for the inside and you get the opportunity to see the extravagant style of the rooms.
4- Tiegarten Schonbrunn (Vienna Zoo)
Considered the oldest zoo in the world, the Tiegarten Schonbrunn is located in the grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace. It is touted as the centre for education fulfillment and species’ preservation. The Zoo was originally built as a menagerie and it has a number of original buildings that are mixed with modern structures, making it a pleasant place to visit. The Zoo comprises of a number of animals belonging to the endangered species’ list, such as Sloths and Sea Lions to Giraffes and giant Panda. Experienced zookeepers give several talks throughout the day and you can also walk through a simulated Amazon rainforest environment.
5- Vienna State Opera
Vienna is considered synonymous with fine architecture and opera and you can find both in abundance at the Vienna State Opera. Located in the Innere Stadt district, this outstanding building is considered to be one of the finest opera houses in the world. Characterized by its arched windows and arches, the exterior of the building boasts a Neo-Renaissance style. The interior is so decadent that it feels less like a place for musical celebration and more like a palace. You can take one of the daily guided tours that last for 40 minutes and give you an overview of the building. If you want to see a live Opera or concert, you should research what is showing before buying tickets.
6- Prater Amusement Park
There is no better and enjoyable way of experiencing Vienna than by having a fun-filled day at the Prater Amusement Park. Once the Wiener Prater Park was a hunting ground that became a public space for small amusement stalls and food stands. Now, the Amusement Park is located there and you can enter for free. However, you do have to pay for individual rides. There is a multitude of stalls and rides inside the park, including bumper cars, a huge Ferris wheel and some hair-raising rollercoasters. You will also find a wax work display, shooting ranges and a light gauge railway for entertainment. There are also several restaurants where you can sit, eat and relax.
7- The Spanish Riding School
One of the renowned traditions in Austria and the finest institute for classical dressage, the Spanish Riding School has been training horses for dressage for more than hundreds of years. Developed during the Habsburg monarchy, the riding school has been standing since and it is open to the public. You are free to watch demonstrations and training sessions in some cases. This is a must-see in Vienna if you love riding.
8- Vienna Ring Road
Surrounding Vienna’s Innere Stadt district is the opulent Ring Road that was constructed specially in the 19th century after the city walls were removed. Its pavements are lined with a number of famous buildings and it boasts eclectic architecture. As for the road itself, it is quite wide and framed by the tram lines that remain a very important mode of transport. You will also come across sections that are lined with trees and the road is considered an excellent one for a cycling route. You can walk on the ring road to see its importance, along with some of the beautiful buildings on it.
If you are planning a trip to Vienna, Austria, these are some of the places to add to your itinerary for having a good experience in the city.