From the baroque buildings and palaces that once housed monarchs to famous residents including Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud who once called the capital of Austria their home, Vienna has a rich history. And beyond intellectuals and monarchs, the city has amazing cultural events, coffee houses, and wine taverns that add to its Viennese charm. It’s a must-see destination for any music or history lover and here’s your guide to planning your trip to Vienna, Austria.
Best Time to Visit
April to May or September to October are the best times to visit Vienna. The weather is mild in the spring and fall, and it’s not too crowded. During the summer many people visit the city, and the prices for the rooms are expensive. Many people also visit during December to get a taste of a Viennese-style Christmas.
How to Get Around
You’re best getting around the city by foot or public transportation. Many of the main attractions can be found on Innere Stadt, which is walkable. If you’re interested in seeing some of the remote districts, you can get there on the city’s subway, bus, or streetcar. Taxis are abundant, so you shouldn’t have any issues hailing one.
Where to Stay
Hotel Sacher Wien
This 5-star hotel is in the ideal location—it’s surrounded by shops, restaurants, and attractions like the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Haus der Musik. The hotel has all of the modern luxuries you could possibly need including a boutique spa with a Finnish sauna and salt steam room. In addition, the on-site restaurants are adorned with crystal chandeliers and oil paintings.
Park Hyatt Vienna
The Park Hyatt Vienna, a 5-star hotel is in the heart of Vienna’s Inner City and within walking distance of bars, restaurants, cafes, and attractions including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the House of Music. The hotel has a bar, a lounge, a cafe, restaurants, a fitness center with personal trainers, a spa, and a swimming pool. Perhaps the best perk is that pets are allowed, and even dogs receive a welcome treat, water, a food bowl, and dog-sitting services too.
Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna
Located along the Schottenring section of Vienna’s Ring Boulevard, this 5-star hotel has been around since 1873 and it has two restaurants and a luxury spa with a luxury pool, six treatment rooms, and a fitness center and saunas. There are also three bars/restaurants and two lounges on-site.
What to Do
St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom)
This massive cathedral towers above the streets of the Innere Stadt and it’s been there since the early 12th century. The only parts that remain of the original are the Riesentor (Giant’s Gate) and the Heidentuerme (Towers of the Heathens). In 2791, mourners came to pay their respect to Mozart and Napolean used the doors to give his farewell edict. The structure survived the Turkish siege in 1683 and attacks from the German and Russian armies during World War II.
Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien)
This museum which opened in 1891 has a massive collection of works varying from ancient Egyptian and Greek objects to pieces from European masters including Titian, Velasquez, Van Dyke, and Rubens.
The official Habsburg summer residence, the palace was constructed in 1696 and served partially as a hunting lodge. Schönbrunn became a paradise with lush rooms and gorgeous gardens that can be compared to France’s Versailles. The tours will take you through the apartments of Maria Theresa, Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth, and Archduke Franz Karl. Highlights include the Blue Staircase, the Mirror Room, and the Hall of Ceremonies. Within the grounds is the Tiergarten, the oldest zoo in the world.
What to Eat
A national dish of Austria, Weiner schnitzel is deep-fried, breaded veal that’s garnished with lemon and fresh parsley and served with a potato salad. You can also find it made with pork, turkey, or chicken.
This rich beef stew seasoned with tomatoes, onion, paprika, and potatoes is a favorite among both residents and tourists and it will warm you up on a cold day.
Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)
Apfelstrudel or apple strudel is loved around the world and it’s a lighter take on the American apple pie. It’s made with a light pastry dough that’s filled with apples, sugar, raisins, lemon, cinnamon, rum, and cloves. For a wonderful finish, it’s also topped with breadcrumbs mixed with nuts and dusted with powdered sugar.