Grand imperial architecture, cosy coffee houses and homegrown musical heroes – this trio forms the basis of Vienna’s fame and draws millions of visitors to the city every year.
Join them and step foot into the capital of Austria to witness its elegance for yourself. A stroll along one of the sweeping boulevards will allow an eclectic collection of architectural style to unfold before you – yes there’s exquisite imperial palaces, along with baroque, art nouveau and neo-gothic structures. But this is only the start of Vienna’s many beautiful attractions.
Planning a break to this city? Get up to speed on the top things to do in Vienna with our handy guide:
- Spanish Riding School
- Schönbrunn Palace
- Belvedere Palace
- St Stephen’s Cathedral
- The Hofburg
- Vienna Zoo
1. Spanish Riding School
Experience the pomp and pageantry of the famous Spanish Riding School. You’ll find this celebrated institute behind the lavish façade of The Hofburg, which has practiced the Renaissance tradition of Haute Ecole for more than 450 years.
Watch a captivating balletic performance by the Lipizzan horses inside the jaw-dropping baroque riding hall, which sees white stallions showcasing their dressage skills to classical music. This is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Vienna.
2. Schönbrunn Palace
Of all the things to see in Vienna, this is the grandest. Designed as a hunting lodge and painted in a delicate yellow hue, Schönbrunn Palace is a masterclass in imperial style. Incredibly, the monarchical pile has more than 1,400 rooms but only 40 are open for you to see.
Wander open-mouthed around the flamboyant state rooms to catch a glimpse of the palace’s luxurious design. The Great Gallery is a real highlight – more than 40 metres long, it once served as a glamorous ballroom, where Vienna’s highbrow socialites danced the evening away.
3. Belvedere Palace
Revel in more royal grandiose at Belvedere Palace, a charming baroque complex, with not one, but two residences to see. Feel like a monarch for the day as you saunter around the UNESCO-listed grounds. Hanging upon the walls are works of art from the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Klimt, while ceilings are embellished with colourful frescoes and halls are clad in magnificent marble.
4. St Stephen’s Cathedral
Keep your eyes peeled for another of Vienna’s architectural attractions – St Stephen’s Cathedral. The gothic exterior is mesmerising, particularly the mosaic-tiled roof. Tear your gaze away and move inside to see its collection of treasures. The Catacombs house tombs of royals and bishops, while the South Tower boasts incredible views if you don’t mind climbing more than 340 steps to the top!
5. The Hofburg
Head for The Hofburg to conquer another of Vienna’s lavish palaces. Once it was the seat of the Habsburg dynasty and now serves as the Austrian President’s residence and office.
The palace’s establishment can be traced to the 13th century but the structure was added to by the empire’s rulers over time, resulting in an opulent, and enormous, architectural triumph. A tour of the Imperial Apartments will open your eyes to the power of the Hasburgs, as you move from one extravagant room to the other.
Discover a district dedicated to all things culture at MuseumsQuartier. Occupying 18th century stables that have been enhanced with contemporary additions, this complex is home to a wide range of institutes.
Two headliners are the Leopold Museum, with its 6,000 works of Austrian art, and mumok, a contemporary art museum with pieces from the likes of Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.
Put on your glad rags and head out for an unforgettable night on the town at Vienna’s famous state opera house. Year round, world-class artists take to the stage to perform ballets and operas. Buy tickets in advance to secure seats in in the beautiful gold and red auditorium. As the lights dim, audience is hushed and curtain begins to rise, you’ll know the magic is just about to start.
Built towards the end of the 19th century, Rathaus, Vienna’s city hall, is dripping in gothic grandeur. From the square it guards, you can admire its architectural might. If you’re after a more close up view, guided tours are available. It’s particularly magical at Christmastime, when the Rathausplatz is transformed into a winter wonderland, with quaint stalls, glittering lights and an ice skating trail.
Enjoy a Viennese whirl on Riesenrad, the 64m Ferris wheel in Prater Park. It’s stood in the city centre since 1897 and is one of Vienna’s must-do attractions. Take a night time ride for the best experience, so you can soak up the twinkling skyline of the capital as you make your circular journey.
10. Vienna Zoo
Spend an afternoon at Vienna Zoo, the oldest in the world. Pandas, tigers, polar bears and elephants are just some of the exotic animals to see here.
You’ll find the zoo within the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace, spread across a 17-hectare site. As well as the chance to marvel at more than 700 species of animals, you can attend feedings throughout the day.
This list of top things to do in Vienna is just the start of the Austrian capital’s many treasures. Discover them for yourself when you book a trip with Jet2CityBreaks.
Posted: 13th Jan 2019.