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Austria,  Europe,  Vienna

The 15 Best Highlights to See in Vienna

Once the mighty capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Vienna remains a treasure trove of historical delights and historical landmarks of European culture. Cobblestone streets wind their way among grand imperial buildings and charming cafes, taking you straight back to the days of the Habsburgs.

No matter what’s your interest, be it art, music food or Instagrammable hotspots, each destination promises to leave a lasting impression.

So in that case, here are the 15 best highlights to see in Vienna!

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vienna to see
Schönbrunn Palace

Vienna was once the jewel in the crown of the greater Austria-Hungry empire. With such a mighty heritage of luxury and grandiose architecture, there’s little wonder why the palace played host to the Habsburg monarchs – some of the most notorious rulers of medieval Europe.

Schönbrunn Palace and its opulent gardens offer a glimpse into the extravagant lifestyle of Austria’s former leaders. Walk in their shoes as you lose yourself among the hidden paths and charming mazes.

It doesn’t end there! The area is also a vibrant hub of cultural events and entertainment with classical concerts in the grand ballroom to lively festivals all hosted on the palace grounds.

vienna to see
St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Standing as an emblem of Vienna’s rich history and architectural grandeur, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, also known as Stephansdom, is a majestic Gothic cathedral that beautifully highlights the city’s devotion to faith!

Towering spires and a mighty dome make it one of the most prominent landmarks in Vienna, one that lets you see into the city’s past and how it still holds relevance today. Inside, the ambience is all the better, with a serene silence and awe-inspiring interior adorned with stunning stained glass windows and magnificent columns.

You can enjoy the cathedral’s beauty from inside, from atop the South Tower or even from crypts below which hold the remains of royals and archbishops.

vienna to see
The wing of Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace’s sprawling complex served as the Habsburg dynasty’s principal residence for over six centuries. Naturally, the architectural designs of the palace are as grandiose as the royal family itself!

The opulent chambers hidden inside are open to visitors to take a glimpse at the life of luxury. The palace also hosts several cultural institutions, including the Austrian National Library and the Spanish Riding School, both worthy highlights themselves not to mention the opulent exterior!

vienna to see
The Vienna State Opera

In a city of culture and lavish royalty, there’s equally regal entertainment to match. The Vienna State Opera has captivated visitors who come to see its grandeur. Its incredible interior adorned with chandeliers and plush seating transports guests to a bygone era of aristocratic splendour.

It has played host to exceptional performances – from classic operas by Mozart and Strauss to modern ballet productions. Grab yourself a ticket and enjoy the show!

vienna to see
Belvedere Palace

This 18th-century magnificent piece of architecture was once the summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, so you better believe the buzzword around here is fancy! This Baroque masterpiece showcases beautifully the grandeur of the Austrian monarchy’s heyday.

Today, Belvedere Palace serves as a cultural treasure trove, housing an impressive collection of art spanning several centuries. The palace’s elegant halls and galleries provide a captivating journey through Austria’s rich artistic heritage, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

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vienna to see
The main stairway of the Kunsthistorisches Museum

This mighty building is home to one of the largest and most renowned museums in Europe. The Kunsthistorisches Museum boasts an impressive collection of artworks spanning centuries, each offering a unique glimpse into different periods and styles of art.

The museum itself is a true masterpiece of architecture, the intricate details and formidable columns add to its allure. From ancient Egyptian artefacts to masterpieces by European painters, its the perfect place for art enthusiasts and history buffs of all kinds alike.

The Rathaus. Photo by Mattias HillCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Rathaus, Vienna City Hall serves as the seat of the capital’s government, though it doesn’t stop there! The site has also become a hub for various cultural events and festivals throughout the year.

Above all, travellers come to marvel at its beautiful Neo-Gothic style. Its iconic tower soaring high into the sky offers some great photo opportunities and even better panoramic views from its peak.

The Naschmarkt in full swing. Photo by Sandor Somkuti on Flickr

This historic market has been a fixture in Vienna for over a century, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon!

These streets of sights, sounds and flavours light up with a vibrant atmosphere and diverse array of goods to tempt tourists and locals alike. From fresh fruits and vegetables to exotic spices, meats, cheeses, and baked goods, the market is also the best representation of the city’s cosmopolitan character.

vienna to see

I wonder what you’ll be able to find in this place? The MuseumsQuartier Wien is a cultural hub of all things artistic and creative. The space holds a diverse range of museums, galleries, and performance venues, each offering a unique exhibition of the arts.

This sprawling complex was actually once a royal stable which has since been transformed into a dynamic space that celebrates all things creating. Marvel at contemporary art exhibitions to classical music performances, there’s plenty to keep you preoccupied.

vienna to see
Prater Park

Ever wondered what a true piece of Neverland would be like? Well, Prater Park is your answer!

This sprawling space boasts a one-stop-shop for all things leisure and entertainment. Cool rides, tantalizing carnival games, and delectable food stalls provide fun for the whole family. Plus, who could miss the iconic Giant Ferris Wheel that gives an epic view of the city?

Yet it’s not just a thrill seekers paradise, as the rest of the park is nothing but lush greenery and tranquil trails. So no matter your vibe, you’ll be able to match it here.

vienna to see
High tea at Café Central

Café Central is not just a historic coffeehouse, it’s a gateway to Vienna’s past. The elegant interior adorned with chandeliers and marble columns is a journey back in time to the grandeur of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The café has been around since 1876 and has played host to some of Europe’s intellectuals, artists, and writers. It has welcomed famous figures such as Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky, and even… a young Adolf Hitler, who would frequent its halls to engage in lively discussions and debate.

Today, Café Central remains much like it has for over a century, a beloved institution, attracting both locals and tourists with its delectable pastries, aromatic coffee, and charming ambience.

vienna to see
St. Charles’s Church

Vienna knows a thing or two about creating a beautiful church, and this one is no exception! This stunner of religious designs is yet another noteworthy landmark. With its towering dome overlooks a busy square and the city’s skyline, it’s a great place to soak in the city’s glory.

Inside stunning Baroque architecture and impressive acoustics resonating whispers like an echo make this a true highlight.

The Albertina Museum. Photo by Jorge Láscar on Flickr

While the Kunsthistorisches Museum might be the Mac Daddy of the capital, the Albertina Museum is its younger, hipper cousin!

Classic Renaissance masterpieces stand beside modern works by artists like Picasso and Warhol. All of these stand within the swanky yet majestic confines of the museum, a great place to get in touch with the arts.

The Ringstrasse. Photo by Invisigoth67CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This big ol’ ring circle once marked the boundaries of the city walls that ran around the city. The people of Vienna decided to tear them down and replace them with a grand boulevard that wraps around the historic city centre.

Fast forward to today, and the ring road is still the vein of life through this epic city. Each side of the path is lined with stunning palaces, museums, and even theatres. As well as that, you can see many of the city’s best highlights along the way, including the Vienna State Opera, Parliament, and Hofburg Palace. Oh, not to mention the lush green parks and gardens that pop up too.

The Hundertwasser. Photo by Maria EklindCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This funky, colourful apartment building smack dab in the middle of the city is a huge contrast to its more reserved surroundings. This quirky block of flat was designed by the legendary artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and beautifully demonstrates his vivid imagination.

It’s all about embracing nature and going against the grain of those boring old straight lines. Think wavy floors, uneven windows, and trees growing right out of the walls – it’s far from contemporary.

Even though it does function as accommodation for Viennese locals, it offers more for visitors. There’s also a cool café on the ground floor and a cute little gift shop filled with artsy souvenirs.

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Thank you so much for reading The 15 Best Highlights to See in Vienna! Check out these other helpful articles! See you next time!

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