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The Stunning Hofburg (And 11 More Places You Need to See in Vienna)

Vienna is one of the most beautiful European capitals. With such a rich cultural offering, you may not know where to go first. Everything looks like a fairy tale in this Austrian city, especially if you visit during winter.

Anywhere you turn in Vienna, there’s a chance you’ll stumble upon a significant historical landmark. The long tradition of the Hapsburgs left several spectacular palaces for today’s tourists to enjoy. Still, there’s even more to see in Austria’s capital city beyond the palaces.

If you’re getting restless feet and you’d like to travel to Europe, have a look at the following places to see in Vienna. Whichever season you choose for this journey, it’s bound to be a magical experience.

1. Hofburg

Hofburg

As soon as you get there, you might want to head straight to Heldenplatz, one of Vienna’s main squares. There you’ll find the magnificent Hofburg.

It’s a significant landmark and one example of Vienna’s impressive architecture. Rightfully so, as it was the Hapsburgs’ primary residency for more than six hundred years. The complex includes various sites such as the Imperial Chapel and the Sisi Museum.

2. Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

Built in the 18th century, the Schönbrunn Palace is one of Vienna’s vital cultural landmarks. It’s another palace where the Hapsburgs held residence. A few Austrian emperors were even born in the building.

When taking the tour around the palace, you’ll also have a chance to see the outstanding gardens. They are right next to the palace and extend for more than a kilometer.

3. Belvedere Palace

Belvedere Palace

This Baroque palace is another exceptional sample of Vienna’s rich architectural heritage. It’s also home to many masterpieces created by great painters, such as Oskar Kokoschka or Gustav Klimt.

The complex has two parts of separate purposes: the Upper and the Lower. The Upper part of the residency has always been a place for art collections. On the other hand, the Lower Belvedere was Prince Eugene’s residence.

4. Rathaus

Rathaus

The Rathaus is only one part of the landmark standing at the Ringstrasse. It’s also one of the popular places to visit in Vienna for free, together with the square Rathausplatz and the Rathauspark.

This city hall is famous for its neo-Gothic style and the five towers and statues decorating the building. Its purpose was to serve as the office of the city mayor. While there’s a fee to go inside and tour the hall, you’ll love it as much as the exterior of the building.

5. Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

With its elegant and luxurious interior, the Vienna Natural History Museum is a place you can’t miss while visiting this city. It’s a typical example of Vienna architecture in its full splendor. But it’s not all about the looks.

Besides being a palace, the Museum also has an impressive collection of animal skeletons, minerals, fossils, and more. That makes it one of the most important museums of natural history in Europe, not just Austria.

6. Prater

Prater

Prater’s Ferris Wheel is one of the prime tourist attractions in Vienna. When you’ve had your fill of historic sites, this is the place to have fun.

This natural park occupies a gap between the Danube Canal and the Danube River. It includes the traditional theme park rides, a section dedicated to dinosaurs, and a dining area.

And you can’t say goodbye to Vienna without taking a ride on the giant wheel and enjoying a panoramic view of the city.

7. St. Stephen’s Cathedral

The very heart of Vienna is where St Stephen’s Cathedral is situated. It represents a beautiful example of 18th-century Gothic architecture. And over the years, there have been various improvements to the original church erected in the 12th century.

Today, one of the cathedral’s most famous features is the 448ft tall South Tower. It has 343 steps leading to the Watch Room with an incredible city view.

8. Vienna State Opera

One couldn’t imagine Vienna without opera. If you agree that it’s a must to try the famous Vienna sweets, then you must visit the State Opera as well.

The 19th-century building is the definition of luxury, but the tickets aren’t as expensive as you might think. Also, don’t miss the official tour of this neo-Renaissance building. Wouldn’t you love to stand where great musicians like Richard Strauss once created magic?

9. Austrian National Library

While in Hofburg, make sure to also visit the Austrian National Library – there’s no Baroque library in Europe larger than this. And, according to many tourists, you can’t find a more beautiful one.

Not only are the ceilings 65 feet tall, but you’ll even see extraordinary frescoes decorating the whole space if you look up. Some of the most precious items in the library are Martin Luther’s writings from the Reformation period.

10. Sigmund Freud Museum

How did the father of psychoanalysis live? When in Vienna, you’ll have a chance to find out.

Sigmund Freud’s home became a museum in 1971, and it’s been attracting thousands of visitors since. The museum includes a research library where you can see Freud’s original writings. There are also exhibitions showing his personal artifacts and antique collection.

11. Vienna Zoo

Believe it or not, the world’s oldest zoo is right here in Vienna. It’s been well-preserved that many parts of the 18th century Schönbrunn Zoo are still in their original state.

The wildlife at this zoo is pretty varied. In fact, there are pandas and koalas among the more than 700 animal species. And if you fancy a break while going around, you might also like to stop for a cup of coffee in Vienna’s most beautiful cafés within the Imperial Breakfast Pavilion.

12. Christmas Market

If you book a trip to Vienna from mid-November till Christmas, you’ll experience a true winter wonderland. It’s when all the squares in Austria’s capital suddenly become a huge Christmas market.

You can buy anything you can imagine – from shiny Christmas decorations and delicious sweets and drinks. Not to mention the fun carousel rides you can go on. This market will no doubt wake up your Christmas spirit.

The City of Landmarks

If you’re looking for an ideal way to learn more about Europe, this is where you should start. Among all the glorious places to see in Vienna, the most prominent are historical landmarks and architectural sites.

The unique spirit of the Austrian capital impregnates every corner of the city, which makes it even more special.

There’s no single best time to take a trip to Vienna. Because with this place, you simply can’t go wrong.

Austria

Visiting Vienna? Here Are the Sights You Don’t Want to Miss

Vienna Sights

Visiting Vienna? Here Are the Sights You Don’t Want to Miss

The capital of Austria, Vienna is a charming, historic city. Visit some of its highlights and you’ll still be left wanting for more.

Vienna is a site where the East and West meet, being located along the banks of the Danube River. As a former capital of the Habsburg Empire, it’s unsurprisingly a city with a rich history of politics, commerce, and culture.

Today, Vienna is a modern cosmopolitan city that still has the charm of the old times that’s evident in its architecture, art houses, and even everyday life. Just a stroll down the city’s streets will bring those with a vivid imagination to a journey through history. Every visitor will surely be mesmerized by Vienna’s elegance.

The capital of modern-day Austria offers all these and more. With so many attractions to choose from, you’ll need to make a careful plan when visiting Vienna. Luckily, these must-see sights in the city will help you to do just that.

The Schonbrunn Palace

More than four centuries of history are housed between the walls of this stunning example of Baroque architecture. The Schonbrunn Palace was the Habsburg royal family’s summer residence since the mid-16th century, with the most prominent members of the family frequenting the property.

The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site today. Of its over 1,400 rooms, 45 are open for visitors and many have housed significant historical events. As a child prodigy, Mozart performed in the Mirrored Hall. Napoleon used the Vieux Laque Room for conferences, and the Grand Gallery was the site of the Congress of Vienna.

Schonbrunn Palace also features an impressive park with several gardens that’s open to visitors during the whole year with no entrance fees. The park is home to numerous statues, fountains, and monuments. You’ll also see the vast collection of flora in the Crown Prince Garden, Orangery Garden, Palm House, and Desert Experience House. But probably the most engaging features of the Schonbrunn Palace park are the zoo and the labyrinth. 

The number of interesting sights and activities you can have here is amazing, so it’s a given that the palace is world-famous. That’s why it would be wise to plan the visit to this attraction in advance. A visit to the palace interior requires purchasing a ticket, so it’s best to do that online to avoid waiting in lines on the day of your visit.

The Musikverein

For the best feel of Vienna’s cultural scene, make sure to visit the famed concert halls of the Musikverein. The institution opened 150 years ago with only two halls and received an upgrade in the 21st century. The new subterranean halls were added during this period and consist of a style that incorporates the different materials that were extensively featured in the design.

All the greats of classical music have their place in the repertoire, and the Musikverein often houses world-class Austrian and international musicians and conductors. If you can book a ticket, you could get a chance to hear the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra or even catch a performance by such living legends of classical music as Daniel Barenboim.

The Spanish Riding School

If you want to experience Vienna’s class and elegance while enjoying wonderful equestrian exhibitions, the Spanish Riding School is the place for you.

Emperor Maximilian II established the school in the mid-16th century to house his Lipizzaner horses. Today, the school is among the leading institutions of its kind in the world, as well as one of the best city attractions. It’s housed in the gorgeous Baroque Imperial Palace.

As would be expected, tickets to the performances are impossible to get on-site due to the popularity of the Spanish Riding School. That’s why it’s best to book in advance, and ideally one that includes morning training sessions. There are fascinating equestrian shows and tours behind the scenes and around the stables.

The site features a cafe where you can enjoy the atmosphere and rest up before continuing the exploration.

The Prater Park and the Giant Ferris Wheel

Built in 1897, the over 200-feet tall Ferris wheel offers a stunning view of the city that’s unrivaled. It’s a widely-recognized landmark of Vienna and an unavoidable feature of Prater Park.

The European Film Academy even placed the Giant Ferris Wheel on its list of Treasures of European Film Culture in 2016. It’s because several cinematic masterpieces prominently featured the wheel. Today, this movie star of an attraction is open to visitors the whole year.

The Giant Ferris Wheel is the perfect way to start your Prater experience. The park is filled with entertainment that could easily keep you busy throughout the day. And once you get off the wheel, you can tour the other attractions that range from traditional to modern. You’ll find merry-go-rounds, autodromes, shooting booths, roller coasters, and more within Prater park.

If you need refreshments, there are plenty of cafes in the park. Those looking for a full meal will also find it in one of the many Prater restaurants. However, that’s not all you can find here. After all, you’re only on the entertainment side of the park, or the Wurstelprater as it’s known by the Viennese.

The Green Prater is the vast, serene part of the park located right beside the Wurstelprater. It’s ideal for leisure as it has forested areas and meadows where you can see people walking, jogging, cycling, and even riding horses.

Experience the Treasures of Vienna

There’s so much to see in the Austrian capital and one of the world’s cultural hotspots. There’s even more to say about the attractions, which is why no description of the city can paint such a vivid picture of the city as you can get from visiting it.

Vienna is a fascinating metropolis teeming with both modern and traditional amenities. You don’t even need to be a history lover to enjoy a visit to the city. There are many fun activities and incredible sights that everyone can appreciate. 

The old-world charm gives Vienna that special flair and makes it one of the most attractive destinations in Europe and the whole world.

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Trip Ideas

Seven Things You Need to Know Before Going to Salzburg

Seven Things You Need to Know Before Going to Salzburg

Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart, one of the greatest composers of all time. But that’s not the only reason why you should visit this incredible city.

If you plan on visiting Salzburg, there are some things you must know beforehand if you want to really make the most out of your list.

While it’s a must to check out anything connected to Mozart here, there’s a lot more that the city can offer you. Historic sites are a given, but did you know it also has some of the most modern attractions in all of Austria? And of course, you can’t leave without a drink or two here – it’s a must.

Check out seven things to know about Salzburg before you visit.

Things to Know About the City

1. Near or Far, The Salzburg Fortress Will Leave You in Awe

If you’ve never been to Salzburg, you should know that it has one of the most beautiful fortresses in Europe. The giant fortress sits above the city on top of the Festungsberg Hill and has been the home of Salzburg’s rulers since the beginning of the second millennium.

Various rulers of Salzburg expanded the fortress as they saw fit. And today, it’s a massive complex of buildings, gardens, and walls. White dominates the façade, making the fortress visible even from a great distance.

Make sure to visit the splendid courtyards and gardens, as well as the powder room where a massive organ sits. The Golden Hall and the Chapel are also among the highlights of the fortress.

From the castle’s walls, you’ll have the best view of the city of Salzburg. It’s the perfect spot for memorable snapshots.

2. Mirabell Palace and Gardens Lives Up to Its Name

What are some other things to know about Salzburg before you go? 

Well, Salzburg is also home to Mirabell Palace and its gardens. The name Mirabell is a combination of two Italian words that mean ‘admirable’ and ‘beautiful’.

Tracing back to the early 17th century, this magnificent palace is among the most elegant in all of Austria and is on the list of cultural heritage monuments.

Its breathtaking Marble Hall is where the famous Palace Concerts take place. And if you visit Mirabell, don’t miss a chance to see it.

Also, take a walk through the palace’s gardens. They’re big and sprawling, and you can take all the time you need to relax. From the garden, you can see the city cathedral. The most interesting thing about the garden is that it’s asymmetrical and that it has a gorgeous Pegasus fountain.

You’ll spend most of the time outside at Mirabell, so you should know a thing or two about Salzburg weather. The city has four well-defined seasons, and your best bet is to visit during spring and early autumn.

3. Mozart Has Ties to the Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg has magnificent churches, with Salzburg Cathedral among the most beautiful. It dates back to the mid-17th century and has towers that are 260ft (79m) tall. Also, it’s where Mozart was baptized.

You’ll see four massive statues on the west side, facing the Domplatz. Virgil and St. Rupert are the outer statues, while apostles Paul and Peter are inner ones. The triple bronze doors feature the symbols of hope, faith, and love.

Visit the museum in the cathedral if you have time to spare. It has a massive collection of liturgical and art items from all around the archdiocese, including St. Rupert’s cross from the eighth century.

4. The Stiegl Brewery is Part of Austrian Culture

As you may know, Austrians are among the biggest beer drinkers in the world. It’s no surprise that tasting the local brews is one of the top things to do in Austria.

That also goes for Salzburg. 

If you want to relax over a pint or two, get over to Stiegl Brewery. It’s not far from the city center, which means you should be able to find it easily. It has several exhibitions and beer-tasting sessions for you to check out.

There’s also a museum inside the brewery that documents how Stiegl makes beer and the history of beer in Austria. A restaurant is also there if you find yourself hungry during your visit.

5. Mozart’s House in Makartplatz is Not His First Home

Mozart is perhaps the most famous person to come out of Salzburg. His parents used to live in a small house and it’s where young Mozart was born. But, they soon moved to a big house in Makartplatz.

The locals call that house “Mozart Wohnhaus.” It got destroyed in World War II, but it’s long been restored to its original state and has since been turned into a museum. It features biographies of all of Mozart’s family and has displays chronicling their daily lives.

If you’re a fan of classical music, a trip to Mozart’s House is a must. Bonus points if you also visit Mozartplatz in Salzburg old town where you can see a huge bronze 19th-century statue of Mozart.

6. The Red Bull Hangar 7 Does Not Only Have Planes

Salzburg can also accommodate those who prefer the finer things in life. The popular Red Bull Hangar 7 is a must-see not just for them but even for everyone.

It’s not the easiest place to get to because it’s found in the airport, but it’s more than worth the visit. You’ll find several rare and exotic aircraft at the hangar, as well as a selection of the famous Red Bull Formula One cars.

The place also has the Michelin-starred restaurant Ikarus, two bars, and a laid-back outdoor lounge.

7. Hallein

Did you know that the Celts inhabited a large portion of Europe at one point? Some even went as far as modern-day Turkey.

If you’re wondering what that has to do with Salzburg and Austria, it’s because the Celtic town of Hallein is near Salzburg. It’s a charming little town with narrow streets and characteristic Salzach architecture.

That said, it also has one of the biggest Celtic museums on the Old Continent. You’ll also find a faithful recreation of a Celtic farm, complete with tools and all the buildings. The museum also has some items from the Hallstatt and other Celtic settlements.

A Mix of Old and Modern

Salzburg offers a mix of old and new, from historical sites to posh leisure establishments. And all of them are worth visiting.

When you get to Salzburg, go to the marvelous Salzburg Fortress. Make sure to visit the Mirabell Palace and its gardens, as well. Don’t forget to drop by Mozart’s House and the Mozart Square. If you want something more modern, the Red Bull Hangar 7 at the airport awaits.

Don’t forget to cap off your trip with a drink at the Stiegl Brewery, the city’s number one brewery. That’s how you’ll truly experience the local culture.

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