Vienna is the largest city and capital of Austria with a population of over 1.7 million. It is a cultural city where the old and new seamlessly blend. The city is regarded as the “City of Music” because of its rich musical history. The center of Vienna is rich in history with its Baroque castles and gardens, magnificent architecture and awe-inspiring monuments and parks. The city is breathtakingly beautiful no matter what time of year you visit, with its wide selection of things to see and do. Though many of the sights are of historical significance and fairly academic in nature, there is no shortage of opportunities for fun, romance and relaxation. So whether you are a history buff, architecture lover, or a foodie, you will find something to enjoy. Here are our top five things you don’t want to miss in Vienna.
We recommend that you plan several hours to really enjoy your visit to Schonbrunn Palace, gardens, maze and labyrinth. Located just outside the Centre of Vienna, Schonbrunn was the summer residence of the Habsburg family from the 18th century to 1018. With over 1400 rooms, left as if Maria Theresa would walk in momentarily, Schonbrunn Palace is renowned for its impressive display of Baroque architecture and design. It’s hard to imagine visiting the area without taking the time to walk through the gardens and take in all the colors and magnificent aromatic air of the flowers and vegetation. Because of the size of the gardens, it is no ordinary short walk in the park either. You can spend hours just soaking in the beautiful scenery all around you before or after visiting the different attractions housed in the complex. It is a great opportunity to get lost in the beauty all around you and forget modern day chaos while stepping back in time in this palatial atmosphere.
See all of Vienna from the top of the Wiener Riesenrad (Ferris wheel) at Wurstelprate, is the oldest amusement park in the world. This park area was donated to the people of Vienna by the 1766 emperor, Josef the II. Visiting Wurstelprater, you get free admission in, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. But all the attractions except the Wiener Riesenrad (Viennese giant wheel, or Ferris wheel) are closed from November to mid-March (keep that in mind when planning your trip). Wurstelparter is great for families with young children who are too small (or scared) to go on the rides. And for adults, who enjoy a carnival atmosphere, people watching, or get burnt out after standing hours in long lines. And because you only pay for rides vs. paying to get into the park you’re not wasting valuable money on an admission ticket.
The Natural History Museum in Vienna is home to some of the most incredible exhibits in the world. Some exhibits featured at the museum
include the 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf, the Stellar’s sea cow, extinct for over 200 years and gigantic skeletons of dinosaurs. There are 39 exhibit halls including some once-in-a-lifetime objects for you to see. It houses the world’s oldest and largest meteorite exhibits which includes the Mars “Tissint” meteorite as well as a permanent anthropological exhibition on the origins and developments of the human race. Keeping with advances in technology, the museum is now home to a new Digital Planetarium featuring full dome projection technology transporting viewers on a virtual journey to Saturn’s rings and on to the edge of the Milky Way with stunning scientific detail. It is also a prime research center and home to around than 60 scientists making it one of the largest non-university based research centers in Austria. It’s a must-see stop for anyone interested in the history of the world and the development of mankind and the planets.
A visit to the Vienna State Opera, one of the most respected and busiest opera houses in the world, is a must while in Vienna. This famous stage offers a different program every day, with over 50 operas and ballet works on around 300 days per season. The repertoire of the State Opera ranges from the Baroque to the 21st century, with a focus on the 19th century. There are 5 opera premieres in the 2016/17 season. Book a tour of the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper), but do not forget to make time to watch an opera. If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider attending a Mozart Concert where the orchestra is dressed in historical costumes. The Vienna State Opera is one of the top opera addresses in the world – where you can enjoy the very best in first-class productions.
Surrounding the Innere Stadt district of Vienna, The Ring Road is a circular road and one of its main sights. The road was built to replace the city walls with ransom money from the release of Richard I of England. In 1857, by decree of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, the city walls and moats were demolished so as not to impede traffic. Since the road was built primarily for show, a parallel cargo road was built on the outside of the former glacis and is still important for through traffic. In subsequent years, many opulent private and public buildings were erected along the road. A leisurely walk along this road will lead you to mansions that are very showy with the first being Heinrichshof owned by a beer brewer. Some other buildings along the roadway include Vienna State Opera, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Palace of Justice, the Austrian Parliament Building, Rathaus (town hall), Burgtheater, the University of Vienna, Hotel Imperial and many other significant buildings. A site to behold while walking along the Ring Road, an interesting bit of history reveals that Dr. Sigmund Freud took daily walks around The Ring for recreation.
With so much to see and do, there are many top things to do in Vienna. But we’ve summed up the top 5 things you should not miss when you visit Vienna, Austria. Everything from spending hours at Schonbrunn Palace to riding the Ferris wheel at Wurstelprater.
About Journeys for Women
Journeys for Women is perfect for women who love to travel but don't want to travel alone. We are a diverse group that includes women from age 18-80. What we share is a love of fun and adventure.