Vienna, the capital of the Austrian Republic and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central Europe, is situated along the banks of the Danube. For decades between West and East Europe, the entire city served as the natural center of the Habsburg Empire.
It continues to be the most significant commercial and cultural center in Austria, encircled by edgy street art. So, here we are if you’re seeking for things to do in Vienna.
With its numerous fantastic historical sightseeing opportunities, fabled art collections with incredible art galleries, glittering palaces, amazing food tours in the city streets, the Austrian Parliament, and outstanding yet extraordinary musical legacy in the inner city that it has owned for centuries, Vienna draws more than 17 million visitors annually.
Vienna’s majestic museums, exquisite music halls, and one of the world’s greatest opera houses are all outstanding examples of the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Vienna has a unique style and flair as well as a fantastic multicultural vibe. It is greatly emphasized by its beautiful, historic, and well-known “Fiakers,” or horse cabs, as well as its magnificent coffeehouses and its world-famous Viennese traditional sweets and pastries.
And now, if Vienna has already wowed you, here is a list of things to do in Vienna. There are many options from the activities mentioned below for things to do in Vienna if you’re looking for fantastic places to visit in Vienna for a day or a variety of things to do over several days.
1. Historic Hofburg Palace
Don’t forget to see the Historical Palace of Vienna if you are planning a trip to Vienna. For more than six centuries, the Habsburgs have called the historic Hofburg Palace home. The Hofburg is arguably Vienna, Austria’s most historically significant landmark.
Many structures representing several eras of Austrian history, including artistic flourishes from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo traditions, are part of the expansive complex owned by Hofburg Palace.
Hofburg is the name of the Habsburg dynasty’s imperial castle. Originally constructed in the thirteenth century, this monumental historical landmark has since seen numerous expansions to include homes for Amalienburg and Albertina, the imperial chapel, the imperial library, the treasury, the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School, and the imperial mews.
In addition to this, Hofburg functioned as the royal winter home. Many architects worked on the Hofburg enlargement project between 1881 and 1913.
Hofburg, which means “Castle of the Court” in translation, is a reference to the Medieval Ages when it was first built. The Imperial Rooms, the Sisi Museum, and the Silver Collection are the palace’s principal draws.
The Imperial Church and the Hofburg Treasury, which house a sizable collection of Imperial artifacts from the Holy Roman Empire, are two further noteworthy locations inside the complex.
While considering what to do in Vienna, you can take an organized tour here and absorb all the important attractions.
(A) Swiss Wing
The Hofburg palace’s earliest structures date to the 13th century and were mostly constructed by Ottakar II or the last of the Babenbergers. The castle of the Austrian emperors was formerly situated on “Am Hof Plaza.”
Although it is not structurally related to the rest of the complex, Stallburg of the Hofburg Palace was constructed as a home for the then-crown prince. Because his son had converted to Protestantism, Ferdinand I allegedly refused to shelter him under his roof.
This building later served as the home to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm’s art collection, which later served as the foundation of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
2. Schönbrunn Palace
One of the top destinations to see when in Vienna is Schönbrunn Palace. It is a huge Baroque palace with magnificent grounds from the 18th century. The 40-meter-long Grand Gallery and the Hall of Ceremony are both parts of this palace.
The finest way to experience Schönbrunn Palace and learn about its extensive history, which stretches all the way to the middle ages, is on a guided walk of the palace’s gardens.
The monarchs of the Habsburg dynasty actually spent the majority of their summers at Schönbrunn Palace. The summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph was this exquisite building. Vienna’s Hietzing community is home to Schönbrunn Palace.
The name of this palace, which translates to “beautiful spring,” actually has a very particular significance. Also, the palace’s attributes clearly establish the name’s meaning.
One of Austria’s most significant architectural, cultural, and historical landmarks, Schönbrunn Palace comprises 1,441 rooms.
The extensive grounds and 300-year-old history of the palace are a reflection of the shifting preferences, aspirations, and interests of several Habsburg emperors. Since the mid-1950s, this Palace has been a popular tourist destination.
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
The grounds of Schonbrunn Palace are among the best places to go in Vienna if you’re seeking for enjoyable activities. Public access is available to the one square km Schönbrunn Park and Gardens Schönbrunn Palace.
Schönbrunn Palace’s gardens were first established in 1779, making it a UNESCO World Historic Site. In addition to the Zoo and Privy Garden, you can also explore the Orangery Garden, the Labyrinth, and the Palace Garden.
Seen between the palace and the Neptune Fountain, there is a landscaped garden area called the Grand Parterre. Together with this, a significant portion of the land, The French Garden, was designed by Jean Trehet, a student of Andre Le Notre.
3. Vienna Zoo
The Zoo must be one of your options while considering things to do in Vienna. The oldest continuously running zoo in the world, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, often known as Vienna Zoo, places a strong emphasis on protecting endangered animals.
Vienna Zoo is a must-see attraction when in Vienna and taking advantage of your walking tour of the city. It is situated on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace.
The greatest group of giant pandas in the world may be found at the Vienna Zoo, which is the most visited attraction there. Emperor Franz Stephan, constructed the Vienna Zoo in 1752 to keep his collection of exotic animals.
This zoo places a greater emphasis on protecting endangered species and sheltering animals as closely as possible to their native habitats.
In the year 1752, the Habsburgs built this zoo in the Schönbrunn Palace garden in Vienna’s Hietzing. Since 2006, Schönbrunn Zoo sees more than two million visitors every single year. Over an area of 17 hectares, it includes about 8,000 animals representing 700 species. One of the most significant Vienna Attractions is this location.
Schönbrunn Zoo was the brainchild of Maria Theresa’s husband, Franz Stephan of Lorraine. Franz Stephan, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of German Peoples, hired Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey to create a menagerie for the Schönbrunn Palace summer estate of the Habsburg-new Lorraine.
The park’s construction included the construction of 12 enclosures with equally sized animal housing, as well as an administrative building that had a front garden.
Later, a pond and two yards were created in addition to them. After roughly a year of building, the park’s menagerie was unveiled to tourists in the summer of 1752.
The imperial family originally had exclusive access to the menagerie that has been eventually constructed. Yet, as a result, school groups were also allowed to visit the zoo, in addition to ambassadors and other private visitors.
While thinking about things to do in Vienna, also see the interesting Butterfly House, which is located immediately close to the Opera house and a lovely location to repose after all that visiting in this bustling city.
4. Vienna State Opera House
When visiting Vienna, there is just one thing you must see, and that is the Vienna State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper). The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is housed at the Vienna State Opera House, which is situated in the heart of the city.
Based in Vienna, Austria, the Vienna State Opera is an opera theatre and opera company. The first significant structure constructed on the Vienna Ring Road was the 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival theatre. Joseph Hlavka designed the Vienna State Opera, which was constructed between 1861 and 1869 in according to designs by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Null.
With interactive exhibits and performances, The House of Music provides lovers of classical music with a fascinating look into sound and music. Thus, while on your Vienna journeys, do stop at The Opera.
(A) Naturhistorisches Museum
If you’re considering things to do in Vienna, this is a fantastic choice. The vast Dinosaur Hall at the Naturhistorisches Museum is its most famous feature.
Vienna’s Natural History Museum is renowned for having the largest collection of meteorites in the world, such as the Tissint meteorite from Mars that landed in the city of Morocco in 2011.
While considering things to do in Vienna, you should have the Museum, also known as the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, on your list of places to visit.
The Venus of Willendorf, a clay figurine somewhere between 28,000 and 25,000 BCE, is one of its most precious relics. The museum’s newest addition is a dome projection.
(B) Kunsthistorisches Museum
Don’t forget to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna while planning your itinerary of things to do in Vienna. The Kunsthistorisches Museum is a historical building with views of Maria-Theresien-Platz that displays artwork from ancient Egypt until the late 18th century.
Franz Joseph, I commissioned the construction of the museum in 1891 largely to house his royal collection. The Natural History Museum, which is situated across Maria-Theresien-Platz, was also inaugurated at the same time.
The name Kunsthistorisches Museum, which also goes by the name “Museum of Fine Arts,” literally translates as “Museum of Art History”. It is a museum of art that is situated in Vienna, Austria. While considering things to do in Vienna, you absolutely must visit this museum.
In the Ringstraße, this museum is located in a joyful palatial structure with an octagonal dome. The Kunsthistorisches Museum is the name of both the organization and the major structure in this museum district.
I must tell you that it is not only one of the most magnificent museums in the world but also the largest art museum in the nation.
In about 1891, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary inaugurated this museum. The Natural History Museum in Vienna, which has a comparable design, also opened at the same time.
The Emperor leased the two Ringstraße museums to build a suitable location for the impressive art collection of the Habsburgs. Making it accessible to Vienna’s general populace was another factor. Thus, stop by this location if you’re seeking things to do in Vienna.
The buildings are rectangular in design, with symmetric Renaissance Revival sandstone façades flanked on the main levels by wide arched windows, and crowned by an octagonal dome rising to a height of 60 meters.
The elaborate interior decoration of this museum includes marble, ornamental stucco, gold leaf, and exceptional murals. The artwork by Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt, Franz Matsch, Hans Makart, and Mihály Munkácsy can be seen on the grand staircase here.
While considering things to do in Vienna, visiting these well-known locations in central Europe should be your top priority.
6. Belvedere Palace
This is the place to go if you’re looking for things to do in Vienna. The Belvedere Palace is a collection of old buildings in Vienna, Austria. It’s one of the best things to do while you’re in Vienna.
This exquisite Baroque palace includes the Upper and Lower Belvedere, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are situated in Vienna’s third district inside a Baroque park setting. This palace serves as the home of the Belvedere Museum of Contemporary Art.
Baroque sculptures, imposing wrought iron gates, and magnificent tiered waterfalls and cascades may all be seen on the palace grounds, which are all gently sloping. The Baroque palace complex was initially constructed by Prince Eugene of Savoy as a holiday home.
Vienna, the ancient city and the home of the governing Habsburg dynasty, saw a period of intense development when the Belvedere Palace was built.
Once the royal collections were relocated, both Belvedere Palaces lost their status as open-to-the-public museums. In 1896, Emperor Franz Joseph I decided that the heir to the throne would stay at the Upper Belvedere.
On the other side, the Moderne Gallery debuted at the Lower Belvedere a few months later, on May 2, 1903.
This museum was the first official collection in Austria devoted exclusively to contemporary art, and it was founded by the Union of Austrian Artists, popularly known as the Vienna Secession.
7. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Include Stephen’s Cathedral St. in your agenda when looking at things to do in Vienna when organizing a trip from Vienna. St. Stephen’s Cathedral served as the residence of Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP, and is frequently referred to as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna.
The current Romanesque and Gothic architecture of the cathedral, which lies on the remains of two earlier churches, the first of which was a parish church dedicated in 1147, was largely the work of Duke Rudolf IV.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the most significant place of worship in Vienna. It has seen numerous major moments in Habsburg and Austrian history thanks to its multicolored tile roof. It is now among the most recognizable emblems of the city.
St. Stephen, who served as the patron saint of Passau’s bishop’s cathedral, was honored in this church’s dedication. Since it was the year building started, it was constructed to face the dawn on his feast day, December 26. The building’s enormous tower, which commands the Vienna skyline, is its most distinctive feature.
Built of limestone, the cathedral is 107 meters long, 40 meters wide, and 136 meters tall at its tallest point. Over the years, the church’s surface gathered soot and other types of air pollution, turning it dark.
However, more recent restoration initiatives have partially brought back the building’s white color.
Get the Vienna Pass and don’t forget to visit Vienna City Hall, the Austrian National Library, Town Hall, and the Austrian Parliament Building when you’re considering things to do in Vienna and still have some time after visiting the locations previously mentioned.
You can join a bike trip, a sightseeing tour, or even a boat trip to see these locations while taking in the vibrant nightlife of Vienna.
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