Craving a getaway to a cultural city of world-renowned cake, classic architecture and all-around perfect enchantment? Welcome to Vienna.
The Austrian capital is flecked with coffee houses, museums, history and imperial palaces. And the best part is that everything is in super close range. Most of Vienna’s major attractions are located around the Ringstrasse, a historic city center that is easily visited on foot.
MOZART AND VIENNA OPERA
I arrived in the morning by train from Salzburg and after checking in to my hotel, I set out to explore Vienna. First stop was the State Opera, which was located right next to where I stayed.
The Opera hosts ballets and operas and it dates back to the mid 19th century. Next time I visit, I’m getting tickets!
Although Salzburg is the king of music, waltzes and operas have their home in Vienna. More famous composers, including Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss, have lived here than in any other city.
Even Hitler, Freud and Stalin have called Vienna home.
DOWNTOWN VIENNA (GRABEN)
Right next to the State Opera is the pedestrian street, which is known as Graben. The car-free Graben is busy and has many beautiful buildings on either side such as Pestsäule statue, St. Stephens and St. Peters Church.
HOFBURG – THE IMPERIAL PALACE
And then there’s Hofburg, the former Imperial Palace. This is where all the emperors and kings ruled and lived from 1439 to 1918.
From Hofburg it was an easy walk to the MuseumsQuartier, an art complex near the City hall. The sun was out and people followed. It seemed all of Vienna was in the streets and parks, soaking up the warm sunshine.
This beautiful parliament has fountains and a statue of Athena out front. Aside from libraries, there are also bars and gyms inside.
VIENNA CITY HALL (RATHAUS)
When I reached Vienna City Hall, I practically ran into a festival. They often have festivals and stalls set up in front of the city hall (Rathaus). I was still struck by how pretty it was though. The Rathaus in Munich was gorgeous and so was the one in Budapest, but Vienna’s sure follows suit!
Isn’t it grand?
Around Christmas, there’s a Christmas market here.
I couldn’t help by notice the church next to the city hall. The very unique Neo-Gothic architecture was eye-catching and I just had to peek inside.
I went to a few churches in Vienna, but I liked Votive Church the most. It’s not the largest church in town, but it has a certain atmosphere.
ST. STEPHEN’S CATHEDRAL
And from one church to another. St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a Gothic construction with a 137-meter-high spire and a beautiful decorated roof. With more than one million visitors per year, it’s one of Austria’s most popular sights.
And now to a completely different side of Vienna. It’s easy to visit those usual tourist sights, but I like to find the quirky ones as well. And I did, at Kegelgasse 36-38.
This street is home to the famous Hundertwasser house with a colorfully decorated facade. Although it wasn’t exactly a hidden gem, I still liked that it was a different.
Close to the Hundertwasser buildings is Vienna Stadtpark. This green oasis within the bustling city was super lovely. A quiet place with a little lake, birds and frogs.
Vienna is home to several palaces. There’s Hofburg, there’s Schönbrunn Palace and then there’s the Belvedere Palace.
Belvedere is a historic area with two main complexes: The upper and the lower Belvedere. The gardens surrounding the palace are really beautiful. Just look at all that green, the water basins and cascades of nymphs and goddesses.
It’s located in the city, not far from St. Charles Church.
CAKE, SUSHI AND A WIENER SCHNITZEL
All that sightseeing makes a travel blogger hungry (I’ll use any excuse ) And the food… Oh my goodness, it’s sooo good.
First day, I had amazing sushi at Wasabi Wien, then a great Wiener Schnitzel at Grand Hotel and for desserts and snacks: lots and lots of cake at Aida konditorei. Another Viennese specialty is the famous Sacher cake and Vienna coffee at Sacher Hotel. Double-yum!
Wiener Schnitzel is the Viennese dish, and it’s best at Figlmueller, the king of schnitzel restaurants.
Vienna is magnificent. It’s easy on the eye, and the architecture and symmetrical lines make it a photographer’s dream. I was truly sad to leave when the time came. But I was off to a new exciting destination: Slovakia, my 50th country.
I’ll leave you with a few sunset silhouettes of Vienna and this advice: If you have yet to visit Vienna, make it a priority to go. It’s such a beautiful capital. Might even be the prettiest in Europe.
Many thanks to Vienna Tourism for hosting me on this trip to Vienna. As always, all opinions are my own.
Have you been to Vienna? What’s your favorite sight?
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