: Europe, Austria
Best Time to Visit: December to February
Time Zone: GMT +1
Driving Side: Right Side
Main Attractions: Hofburg, Spanish Riding School, Museum of Fine Arts, Vienna State Opera
Vienna is considered as one of most beautiful places in the world and one cannot really doubt that fact. It is impossible that one would come to Vienna and not fall in love with this magnificent place. The capital of Austria, Vienna has stood the test of time with its majestic spirit, thanks to its glorious palaces and huge mansions.
The city of Vienna also has a rich heritage of musical culture, where great classical composers like Strauss, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert, Hayden and Mozart all lived and performed. Presently, the city's tradition of music is kept alive by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the State Opera. The city itself is synonymous with music but its beauty lies in much more than just music.
The gourmet fare, cream cakes, superb coffee, the angelic strains of Vienna, all are among the best that one could find anywhere else in the world. Almost all of the various tourist attractions of Vienna are located inside the city area, which was once surrounded by huge city walls. But now the walls have been replaced by Ringstrasse, a wide ring road. For detailed information on the fun things to do and places to see in Vienna, read on.
Vienna Tourist Attractions
The Hofburg Palace or Imperial Palace as it is also known was where the Hapsburgs stayed more than 600 years ago. The first defensive structure around the fort was erected by King Ottakar Premyst way back in the 13th century. Subsequently, each generation of the king kept adding to the magnificent beauty of the palace.
Apart from having the office of the President, this beautiful palace also has 22 separate museums, the National Library of Vienna, a 14th century Augustinian church, the famous Spanish Riding School and the Royal Chapel. It will be pretty much impossible for a visitor to see everything at once, so he/she should be selective regarding what they want to see.
Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School is one of the oldest and the last riding school in the world where classic dressage is performed. Dressage refers to maneuvering of a horse according to the varied body signals of the rider. The Spanish Riding School was founded way back in the year 1572 and was named after the Spanish breed of horses known as Lipizzaner.
Since the Imperial Court Stud was originally located in the Lipizza village, it is there that the breed of horses came to be known as Lipizzaner. But after the downfall of Danube Monarchy during 1920, they have been since bred at the Federal Stud in Styria. The Winter Riding School which was formed by Emperor Karl VI is where these horses perform their tricks between the months of February and June and September and December. However, a very easy way to see these horses perform the amazing tricks is during their training sessions.
Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts came into existence between 1872 and 1891 and it contains a large collection of arts which were owned by the Hapsburgs who were very much enthusiastic as far as fine art was concerned. The Museum of Fine Arts is perhaps one of the biggest and richest museums in the world.
Once inside the museum, the architecture and the beautiful ceiling of the museum makes up for an amazing view. The collection of fine arts that the museum has ranges from the beautiful Medieval Art and the Renaissance to the marvelous Baroque Collections. It also contains various works of some of the famous artists like Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Durer, Raphael, Titian, Bruegel and Van Dyke.
Shopping in Vienna
Vienna can be an absolute delight for shoppers. One can shop from dawn to dusk and still can't get enough. One of the most happening shopping joint in Vienna is the Mariahilfer Strasse which is located between the centre of the city and the Westbahngof.
There are hundreds of shops that offer various items ranging from fashion accessories, jewelleries to various books, food items, etc. In the centre of the Vienna city, around the Karntner Strasse, Graben and Kohlmarkt, one can easily locate many good jewellery stores and beautiful boutiques displaying some of the most magnificent items one can lay their hands on.
Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera is known to perform a number of operas, in the range of a hundred every day, from the months of September to June. It was built in the early 18th century. During 1944 it was almost destroyed and hence was again rebuilt in 1955. The whole atmosphere of the Vienna State Opera is very romantic, with beautiful setting, in which one can enjoy the performances.
During the New Year’s Eve, the Philharmonic Orchestra performs along with the Vienna State Opera and it is a concert that should not be missed. However, make sure that you book the tickets atleast a year in advance as these get sold really quickly.
Museums and Galleries
There are many museums and galleries in Vienna. Even though, like any other city, Vienna's streets are choked with traffic but its rich heritage can be seen in its numerous museums and galleries. A couple of examples of its absolutely outstanding architecture are the Naturhistorische Museum and the Kunsthistorische Museum. A visitor traveling to Vienna must make it a point to visit these places, for the sheer beauty of the architecture and the rich history and culture that it represents. There are various exhibitions that are held here depicting modern art of the 20th century.
Burgtheater is a must see place for people who are enthusiastic about theatre. But a basic understanding of German is required to understand what is going on. However, a much smaller version of the same is available at a nearby stage in Volstheater. For people who prefer to watch english performance, Vienna has a English theatre in der Josefstadt.
Vienna is a city filled with beauty, be it in the rich history and culture or in its rock and jazz. Live music can be found playing all over Vienna. Some of the highly recommended places to visit in Vienna for a grand musical experience are the Chelsea and the Rhiz, which feature international music as well as local bands. One of the very few jazz clubs of Vienna is the Jazzland where some international stars also drop by. Another place where lots of jazz artists perform is at Radiokulturhaus.
If you want to watch movies in Vienna, your choice is pretty limited. Films in Vienna generally mean Hollywood movies. Most of the theatres in Vienna do screen latest movie releases from Hollywood. However, most of the movies are dubbed in German. Vienna also has its own film festival, called the Viennale, which features a wide array of international films as well as local productions.