Republic of Austria’s capital and one of the most visited cities of Central Europe, Vienna, is located on the banks of the river Danube. The entire city has been the natural nucleus of the Habsburg Empire for centuries between West and East Europe. To date, it remains Austria’s most important commercial and cultural hub, surrounded by edgy Street Art. So, for those who are looking for things to do in Vienna, here we are.
Vienna attracts more than 17 million visitors each year with its many great historical sightseeing opportunities, its fabled collections of art with amazing art galleries, glittering palaces, with an amazing food tour in the city streets, the Austrian Parliament and outstanding yet exceptional musical heritage in the inner city that it owns for centuries.
The nation’s rich culture is still very much evident in Vienna’s magnificent museums and fine concert halls, and it owns one of the world’s great opera houses.
Vienna owns a distinctive charm and flair with an amazing cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is very much accentuated by its fine old and famous “Fiakers”, i.e. horse-cabs with its splendid coffeehouses with their famous Viennese traditional cakes and pastries.
And now, if you are impressed with Vienna, then here is the list of things to do in Vienna. If you’re looking for great places to visit in Vienna for a single day, or a wide range of things to do over several days, you’ll have plenty of choices that you can opt from the things listed below from the things to do in Vienna.
1. Historic Hofburg Palace
When you plan to visit Vienna City, then do not forget to visit the Historical Palace of Vienna. Historic Hofburg Palace has been the seat of the Habsburgs for more than six centuries.The Hofburg is perhaps the most historical and significant heritage of Vienna, Austria.
Hofburg Palace owns a sprawling complex that consists of numerous buildings reflecting various periods of Austria, including architectural flourishes from the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque to the Rococo movements.
The imperial castle of the Habsburg dynasty is Hofburg. This epic historic site was built in the 13th century and then expanded several times to include residences with Amalienburg and Albertina, the imperial chapel, the imperial library, the treasury, the Burgtheater, and the Spanish Riding School, the imperial mews.
Not only this, but Hofburg also served as the imperial winter residence. Between 1881 and 1913, several architects completed the expansion work at the Hofburg.
The name Hofburg translates as “Castle of the Court”, which denotes its origins when initially constructed during the Middle Ages. The main attractions of the palace are the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Silver Collection. At the same time, other notable sites within the complex include the Imperial Chapel and the Hofburg Treasury, with a large collection of Imperial relics of the Holy Roman Empire.
Here you can take a guided tour while thinking of things to do in Vienna and can enjoy all the major landmarks.
(A) Swiss Wing
The oldest parts of the Hofburg palace were built in the 13th century, primarily by Ottakar II or the last of the Babenbergers. The Austrian rulers’ castle had previously been located on “Am Hof Square.”
Stallburg of the Hofburg Palace was built as a residence for the then crown prince, despite the fact that it is not physically connected to the rest of the complex. Ferdinand I is said to have refused to house his son under his roof because he had converted to Protestantism. The art collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm was later housed in this structure, and the collection became the core of the later Kunsthistorisches Museum.
2. Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace is one of the best places to visit while you are visiting Vienna. It is a sprawling Baroque palace with amazing gardens that date back to the 18th century. This Palace includes the 40-meter long Great Gallery and the Hall of Ceremonies. Schönbrunn Palace can be best visited on a guided tour to explore its grounds and learn its long history that dates all the way back to the middle ages.
Schönbrunn Palace was actually the main summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty rulers. This magnificent architecture was the summer home of Emperor Franz Joseph. Schönbrunn Palace is located in Hietzing, Vienna. Actually, this palace holds a very special meaning in its name; the name means “beautiful spring”. And the meaning of the name of this Palace is well defined by the properties it has.
Schönbrunn Palace has 1,441-room and is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in Austria. The 300-year-old history of the palace and its vast gardens reflects the changing tastes, aspirations, and interests of successive Habsburg monarchs. This Palace has been a major tourist attraction since the mid-1950s.
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
If you are looking for things that you can enjoy in Vienna, then the gardens of Schonbrunn Palace are one of the top things to visit in Vienna. The Schönbrunn Park and Gardens Schönbrunn Palace is one square km manicured garden that is open to the public. Gardens Schönbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the year 1779. You can visit Privy Garden, the Orangery Garden or the Maze as well as the Zoo while visiting this Palace Garden.
Here you have the Great Parterre, which is a sculpted garden space between the palace and the Neptune Fountain. Along with this, here you will find The French Garden, which is a big part of the area, was planned by Jean Trehet, who was a disciple of Andre’ Le Notre.
3. Vienna Zoo
When you think of things to do in Vienna, then Zoo must be your option. Tiergarten Schönbrunn, also known as Vienna Zoo, is the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world and focuses primarily on preserving endangered species. Vienna Zoo is located on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace and is a must-visit place while visiting Vienna and enjoying your walking tour here.
The most popular attraction in Vienna zoo is the world’s largest collection of giant pandas that you will find here. The Vienna Zoo dates back to the year 1752, when Emperor Franz Stephan I built it to house his menagerie of exotic animals. This zoo focuses more on species preservation and housing animals as close to their natural environment as possible.
This zoo was established by the Habsburgs in the park of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna’s Hietzing in the year 1752. Schönbrunn Zoo has recorded more than two million visitors every year since 2006. It has around 8,000 animals from 700 species on an area of 17 hectares. This place is one of the most important Vienna Attractions.
Franz Stephan of Lorraine, Maria Theresia’s husband, was the driving force behind Schönbrunn Zoo. In 1745, Franz Stephan, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nations, commissioned architect Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey to design a menagerie in the park at the Habsburg-new Lorraine’s summer residence in Schönbrunn Palace.
Twelve enclosures were also created at the park that was built with equally sized structures for the animals, and an administration building was also built with a front garden. Along with them, a pond and two yards were added later. The menagerie of the park was presented to guests after around one year of construction in the summer of 1752.
The menagerie that was built later was initially reserved for the imperial family. Still, subsequently, school classes were also permitted to visit the zoo along with the diplomats and other private guests.
While thinking of things to do in Vienna, also see the worth watching Butterfly House, which is located just next to the Opera house and a pleasant place to unwind after all that sightseeing in this busy city.
4. Vienna State Opera House
If there is one thing that you should not miss when you visit Vienna, then it is none other than the Vienna State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper). Vienna State Opera House is located in the city centre, and it is the home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera House.
The Vienna State Opera is an Opera house and opera company that is based in Vienna, Austria. The 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival venue was the first major building that was built on the Vienna Ring Road. The Vienna State Opera was built from 1861 to 1869 following plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Null, and it was designed by Josef Hlavka.
The House of Music offers classical music fans a fascinating glimpse into sound and music through interactive displays and demonstrations. So do visit The Opera during your Vienna Tours.
(A) Naturhistorisches Museum
Thinking of things to do in Vienna, here is an amazing option for you. Naturhistorisches Museum is best known for its huge Dinosaur Hall. It is also known for the world’s largest exhibit of meteorites, including the Tissint meteorite from Mars that fell in the city of Morocco in 2011; Vienna’s Natural History Museum.
The Museum, which is also known as Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, is a fascinating place to visit; therefore, you should keep it on your list when you think of things to do in Vienna.
One of its rarest treasures is the Venus of Willendorf, a pottery figurine dating between 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. Dome Projection is the newest feature added to the museum. This building opened in the year 1889 and is itself a work of art, especially the magnificent ceiling painting above the main staircase.
(B) Kunsthistorisches Museum
When you think of things to do in Vienna, then do not forget to visit Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Kunsthistorisches Museum is a historical centre houses works from ancient Egypt to the late 18th century that overlooks to Maria-Theresien-Platz.
The museum was built primarily for Emperor Franz Joseph I in the year 1891 to house his imperial collection. The Natural History Museum was also opened at the same time, and it is located across Maria-Theresien-Platz.
Kunsthistorisches Museum literally means “Museum of Art History”, and it is often referred to as the “Museum of Fine Arts” also. It is an art museum located in Vienna, Austria. This museum is a must-visit when you think of things to do in Vienna.
This museum is housed in a festive palatial building with a crowned octagonal dome on the Ringstraße. Both the institution and the main building of this museum quarter are referred to as the Kunsthistorisches Museum. I must inform you that it is the country’s largest art museum as well as one of the most impressive museums in the world.
This museum was opened by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary around 1891. It was the same time at which the Natural History Museum, Vienna, which has a similar design, was opened.
The two Ringstraße museums were commissioned by the Emperor to create a suitable home for the Habsburgs’ formidable art collection. Another reason was to make it available to Vienna’s general public. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Vienna, pay this place a visit. The structures are rectangular in shape, with symmetrical Renaissance Revival sandstone façades lined with large arched windows on the main levels and topped with a 60-meter-high octagonal dome.
The interiors of this museum are lavishly decorated with marble, stucco ornamentation, gold leaf, and outstanding murals. The grand stairway available here features the paintings by Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt, Franz Matsch, Hans Makart, and Mihály Munkácsy. You should take a day trip for visiting these famous sites in central Europe as this tops when you think of things to do in Vienna.
6. Belvedere Palace
If you’re looking for things to do in Vienna, this is the place to go. In Vienna, Austria, the Belvedere Palace is a historic building complex. It’s one of the fantastic ways to spend your time in Vienna. The Upper Belvedere and Lower Belvedere, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables are all part of this magnificent Baroque palace. The structures are set in a Baroque park landscape in Vienna’s third district. The Belvedere museum of contemporary art is housed in this palace.
The palace grounds feature decorative tiered fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures, and majestic wrought iron gates, all set on a gentle gradient. Prince Eugene of Savoy originally built the Baroque palace complex as a summer residence.
The Belvedere Palace was constructed during a period of rapid development in Vienna, which served as both the imperial capital and the seat of the ruling Habsburg dynasty.
Both Belvedere Palaces ceased to be public museums after the imperial collections were relocated. Emperor Franz Joseph I decided in 1896 that the Upper Belvedere would be used as a residence for the heir to the throne. On the other hand, the Moderne Galerie opened a few years later, on May 2, 1903, in the Lower Belvedere.
The Union of Austrian Artists, also known as the Vienna Secession, was the driving force behind the establishment of this museum, which was the first state collection in Austria dedicated solely to modern art.
7. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
When planning a trip from Vienna and considering things to do in Vienna, do include Stephen’s Cathedral St in your itinerary’s topic list. Often regarded as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral was the seat of Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP.
Duke Rudolf IV was largely responsible for the current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, which stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first of which was a parish church consecrated in 1147.
The most important religious structure in Vienna is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. With its multi-coloured tile rooftop, it has witnessed many significant events in Habsburg and Austrian history. Indeed, it has become one of the city’s most recognisable symbols.
This church was dedicated to St. Stephen, who was also the patron saint of Passau’s bishop’s cathedral. As a result, it was built to face the sunrise on his feast day, December 26, as it was the year construction began. The building’s most notable feature is its massive tower, which dominates the Vienna skyline.
The cathedral is 107 metres long, 40 metres wide, and 136 metres tall at its highest point, and it was built of limestone. Soot and other forms of air pollution accumulated on the church over the centuries, turning it black. Nonetheless, recent restoration projects have restored some of the building’s original white colour.
When you think of things to do in Vienna and still have some time left after visiting the places already mentioned, get the Vienna Pass and do not forget to visit Vienna City Hall, Austrian National Library, Town Hall, and Austrian Parliament Building. For visiting these places, you can take a bike tour, a walking tour or even a River Cruise and enjoy Vienna nightlife.
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