Vienna is capital and the largest city of Austria, a perfect destination if you are looking for a weekend escape to a city with unique charm and imperial history!
The historic city center is inscribed on the UNESCO List, which is no surprise to me as it’s a really wonderful city. On top Vienna is also city of art and music – it was home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and J. Strauss. Culture and history are strongly embedded around here.
Here is my list of MUST– SEE historical places in Vienna.
- Hofburg – until 1918 was the centrum of the Habsburg Empire for many centuries. In the majestic emperor’s palace Hofburg, you can find several museums and one of them is dedicated to the empress Elisabeth (Sisi), the Bavarian pretty wife of Franz Joseph that was murdered in Geneva in 1898. In various rooms, we can observe her entire life, how she used to dress, which jewelry she would choose, where she used to have her bath or even how she applied face masks… those from raw veal took my breath away!
- Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) – the most important Catholic Church in Vienna that was originally built as a Romanesque church in 1147. My tip – you can climb up one of the towers to get an incredible view over the old city.
- Schönbrunn Palace – is the most popular sightseeing spot in Vienna and one of the most interesting cultural monuments in the country and beautiful former residence of the imperial family. The Palace is truly huge and includes over 1400 rooms, huge park and amazing gardens. And a surprise there is also nice ZOO inside the area so definitely a full day trip for families.
- Albertina – the most impressive place for me is however Albertina, particularly because I love arts! It is not only a gallery but also it has the largest and most valuable graphical collections in the world. Here you can see famous pieces such as “Young Hare” by Albrecht Dürer or “House Among the Roses” by Claude Monet.
Other famous places that are worth the visit if you have bit more time than just a short weekend are Belvedere, Spanish Riding School or Museum of Sigmund Freud – the famous founder of psychoanalysis!
And what to do WHEN you are tired, hungry and thirsty? There is a simple solution in Vienna that has endless number of restaurants and one world-famous specialty – Wiener SCHNITZEL. It’s as simple as that! One can almost travel around the whole world to discover that the largest, juiciest and crispiest schnitzels are always here. They are from veal and they are truly fantastic and I love to have them with local potato salad!
Now, let’s get something sweet as well. The most famous cake is indisputably SACHER TORT which can be tasted in traditional Hotel Sacher (it bakes it since the 19th century) which is always packed with tourists.
GOOD TO KNOW – Vienna is also famous for its coffee culture but most cafés also serve beer, wine and liqueurs! You should not miss a visit of the traditional coffee house and relax here a bit with your friends or just read daily newspaper or your travel guide. Do not ask for take away! My personal tip is Café Central with special recipe Kaisermelange coffee (coffee, milk, egg yolk and cognac).
ANYTHING ELSE? We shall not forget famous CHRISTMAS MARKETS! I’ve heard about them from all friends long time before visiting Vienna and they did not disappoint me at all! Best markets are in Schönbrunn, in Belvedere… but the most visited one is in front of the Town Hall (Rathaus). Here it is! Neat wooden stands offer just about anything you can think of. Wooden carved decorations, painted angels, toys, chocolate, sausages…. And PUNCH (traditional hot drink) which makes one warm during very cold winter days! Very popular are classic spiced hot red wine and tea or coffee with a tablespoon of dark rum. But my favorite drink is hot white chocolate.