Austria is calling! This Travel and Art Guide will help you easily explore the Top Things to Do in Vienna. The capital city is a major European hotspot for art, architecture, history, music and more!
Vienna is a cultural powerhouse teeming with intellect and life. The legacy of the city was established by Mozart, Beethoven, Sigmund Freud, Egon Schiele, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Gustav Klimt and the Hapsburg dynasty. Vienna’s opulent palaces, cathedrals and gardens feel straight out of a fairytale. Below you will find all the Top Things to Do in Vienna!
Viennese Art: Iconic Artists to See
A visit to Vienna would not be complete without experiencing the work of the most famous Austrian painters. Gustav Klimt played a large role in the Vienna Art Nouveau movement. His signature style incorporates painting with precious metals. His works shine beautifully in real life, something that you have to see in person! Gustav Klimt’s most famous piece is titled “The Kiss” and it is on display along with “Judith,” “Sunflower” and many more. In fact, the largest collection of Gustav Klimt in the world is at the Belvedere Palace.
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
Judith by Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere
Sunflower by Gustav Klimt
Along with Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele is a standout Austrian painter of the Vienna Art Nouveau movement that is on display throughout much of the city. Egon Schiele is well known for his figurative work, psychological expressionism and intensity. The following works of his are on display at the Belvedere Palace:
Egon Schiele’s Work at the Belvedere
Architecture and Landmarks: Top Sights
Vienna is an amazing city to view architecture! The imperial palaces include the Schönbrunn Palace, the Belvedere Palace and the Hofburg Palace. Each palace has something unique to offer and all are surrounded by gorgeous, royal gardens!
The Hofburg Palace is the former principal palace of the Hapsburg dynasty. It is the current residence of the President of Austria. The location is walkable from the city center. It houses the Austrian National Library which is stunningly ornate! At the Hofburg Palace you can also tour the Spanish riding school if equestrian activities are more your cup of tea.
Ceiling of the Austrian National Library
Austrian National Library
Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most frequently visited tourist attraction as well as a Cultural World Heritage Site. It was the main summer residence of the Hapsburg dynasty. You really get a feel for how royalty lived by touring their living quarters and opulent ballrooms. In addition, the complex includes a zoo and a stunning greenhouse!
Ornaments at the Schonbrunn Palace
Details in Schonbrunn Palace
Fountains at Schonbrunn Palace
The Belvedere Palace is really two baroque palaces, upper and lower Belvedere that were built as a summer residence for Eugene Prince of Savoy. The gardens are perfectly sculpted with fountains and sphinx statues throughout. In addition, the Belvedere functions as an art museum featuring Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and many other Austrian artists. In fact, it houses the largest collection of Gustav Klimt artwork in the world.
The Interior of the Belvedere
The Belvedere Gardens
In addition to baroque architecture, Vienna also has some very eccentric structures! Friedensreich Hundertwasser is an Austrian architect, artist and environmental activist who was inspired by art nouveau artists and natural shapes. The Hundertwasser Haus is a quirky, colorful apartment building he designed that has mosaic elements throughout. Hundertwasser Village is across the street which continues the eccentric theme. There you can stop in a café, purchase some souvenirs and check out some art galleries.
Hundertwasser Haus Details
A trip to Vienna would be incomplete without stopping in to see some of the gorgeous cathedrals. The most well known gothic church is called St. Stephen’s Cathedral! Be sure to take a look at the intricately tiled roof from all sides. Climb up the north tower for a stunning view of center city. St. Peter’s Catholic Church is a nearby Baroque Roman Catholic parish church that is also worth a visit.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Interior of St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Peter’s Catholic Church
Furthermore, don’t miss the chance to see the State Opera House, Anchor Clock, Trinity Column and many more icons throughout Vienna!
Vienna State Opera
Vienna Restaurants: Where to Eat
There are many delicious restaurants in Vienna that suit every budget and dietary preference. Whether you love a posh ambiance, an ancient history or a local brewery vibe- Vienna has it!
Blue Mustard Neon
Blue Mustard is a Michelin Star restaurant with incredible interior design. Guests choose from three fixed menus that are travel themed! I selected the ‘First Class’ menu and each course was named after a city around the world. The restaurant itself features hand carved gothic windows at the bar with 3D mapping cascading over them. It also shows a charming wall to wall map of Vienna that is lit in neon. The lighting and overall ambiance is stunning and it is a must see for foodies! Blue Mustard is a short walk from Stephansplatz, located at Dorotheergasse 6-8.
Zwölf Apostelkeller or Twelve Apostles has classic Austrian cuisine uniquely served in a medieval cellar that is very deep underground! Live music was played throughout our meal and the service was excellent. The food was tasty, traditional Viennese from old recipes dating back to 1339! You can’t go wrong with the wiener schnitzel or fiakergulasch! There is a nice Austrian wine selection to boot. Zwölf Apostelkeller is located at Sonnenfelsgasse 3.
Transportation: How to Get Around Vienna
Public transportation in Vienna is made easy with the WienMobil App! It is completely paperless which is an eco friendly win. From the app you can grab a single ticket, 24, 48, or 72 hour tickets, weekly pass all the way up to an annual ticket. If you are riding to or from the airport, you can get a City Airport Train ticket as well on the WienMobil App. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the airport to city center.
You can also grab a Vienna Card, which allows you to travel around the city for 24, 48 or 72 hours as much as you want! The benefit to the Vienna Card is that it enables discounts at some museums and restaurants. In addition, Uber is conveniently available throughout Vienna in just a few taps on your phone.
In conclusion, I hope these Top Things to Do in Vienna motivate you to explore this breathtaking city in Austria for yourself! If you would like to see more of this beautiful city, check out 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Vienna! Or if you are interested in other Central European cities, take a look at my Bratislava Travel and Art Guide.
Have you been to Vienna? What did you like the most? Let me know below in the comments!
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