There is hardly a city in the world that can compete with what Vienna has to offer both culturally and in terms of its architecture. From art nouveau buildings to grand Baroque palaces, and with more than 100 museums, you really will be spoiled for choice. We’re here to help with this guide to Vienna’s key sights.
Vienna’s royal attractions: Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace and the Hofburg Imperial Palace
Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburgs, is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful Baroque palaces. The magnificent 1,441-room Rococo palace, with 45 rooms open to visitors, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hall of Mirrors was even once the setting for a performance by the six-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And don’t forget the artfully designed gardens featuring fountains, statues and monuments, which are also an absolute must-see for your sightseeing trip to Vienna.
Next, visitors interested in culture should visit Belvedere Palace, where they can see major works by Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka. More a museum than a palace, it is home to some of Austria’s most valuable art collections. It is also safe to say that the gardens are a high point of Baroque landscape architecture and one of Vienna’s most beautiful sights.
The Hofburg Imperial Palace is the former residence and center of government of the Habsburg emperors, and today serves as the official residence of the President of Austria. It is one of the largest palace complexes in the world, and its oldest sections date back to the 13th century.
Vienna’s landmarks: St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Prater park and the Danube Tower
Affectionately called “Steffl” by the locals, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of Vienna’s most well-known landmarks and the most significant Gothic structure in the whole of Austria. Construction of the cathedral began in the 12th century. The south tower is 136 meters tall, so anyone who takes on the challenge and climbs its 343 steps to the top has truly earned the spectacular views over Vienna! You can also visit the cathedral treasury, which houses artistically decorated relics, books and vestments, and visit the final resting place of various well-known figures.
Vienna’s Prater park is another highlight that the city has to offer. It includes the famous Wurstelprater amusement park, which features more than 250 fun attractions and has something for everyone: adrenaline junkies will enjoy the modern Free Fall Tower, while those looking for a more nostalgic experience will find rides dating back to the 19th century. One of Vienna’s major landmarks, the 65-meter Ferris wheel, was constructed in 1897 to mark the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph. Most people don’t realize that the Prater also consists of an extensive recreation area, featuring plenty of green spaces, lawns, trees and a miniature railway that can be used to get a good view of the entire park.
St. Stephan’s Cathedral and the Ferris wheel are not the only places you can enjoy great views over Vienna either – you can also visit the 252-meter Danube Tower. A trip to the top takes just 35 seconds in the elevator, where you will find the viewing platform and the DonauBräu restaurant, which serves hearty Austrian cuisine and its specially brewed beer.
Additional highlights for your visit to Vienna: Ringstrasse, Hundertwasserhaus and Naschmarkt
If you want to take in as many sights as possible during your visit to Vienna, you simply need to take a walk along one of the most beautiful boulevards in the world. More than five kilometers long, it is home not only to the Hofburg Imperial Palace and the Art and Natural History Museums, but also to the Vienna State Opera, Parliament, lovingly designed parks and many other architectural masterpieces in a wide range of styles.
One of the main architectural highlights is the colorful Hundertwasserhaus, which unfortunately can only be admired from outside. Directly opposite, you will find the Hundertwasser Village, a shopping precinct designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser with a bazaar, a bar and its own rooftop forest.
If you’re feeling hungry after all that sightseeing in Vienna, you will find what you’re looking for at the Naschmarkt. The market has more than 120 stalls where traders of all nationalities sell exotic specialties, sweet treats, spices, teas, clothes and much more.
Our Living Hotel an der Oper enjoys a central location in Vienna’s first district and provides the perfect base to see the city’s sights just a short walk away.
If you prefer to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peace and quiet after a busy day’s sightseeing, we recommend our Living Hotel Kaiser Franz Joseph in the 19th district.