Austria’s capital Vienna is located in Central Europe. This old fortress city lies on the Danube on the eastern edge of the Alps. An artistic revolution and a cultural revolution were born in this glittering city 100 years ago. Vienna’s place as one of the world’s great cities was forever cemented by this revolution. Free thinking flourished in his cafes and new ideas in music and philosophy became part of his cobblestones.
Vienna welcomes its visitors with a dynamic art scene in the middle of historic streets where Strauss’ waltzes echo. There they have coffee and enjoy some of the greatest works of art in the world that some of the world’s greatest thinkers like Einstein and Freud have spent time in. Vienna has an efficient public transport system, but the best way to really enjoy it is to slowly walk through the city streets. You can explore the city by following the Ringstrasse, a wide boulevard that winds through the city center, surrounded by palaces, galleries, and museums. Vienna’s most famous sights are located in the “Ring” and Stephansplatz in the middle.
Order a strong coffee with cream in one of the nearby coffee houses. It is said that coffee shops are the essence of Viennese culture; they are there for consumption where time, space and nothing else is sought. Famous works have been written about these marble tables and important topics have been discussed for generations. Visit the Demel bakery, the original pastry shop of the Austrian royal family. Pick up a Sachertorte – a traditional chocolate cake – and relax while surfing the internet.
Vienna’s attention to detail has more to offer than its master confectioners. St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a visual feast with intricate interiors and mosaic roof tiles. From the church tower you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Known as the city of music, Vienna was home to many of the world’s greatest composers, including Beethoven and Strauss.
Experience the largest opera house in the world, the Vienna State Opera. Explore the building’s backstage area and discover how it has attracted the attention of opera and ballet lovers since the 19th century.
Further along the ring is the Hofburg. It was the home of the Habsburgs who ruled the region for centuries. It is currently the official seat of the Austrian Federal President. The castle is also home to the Austrian National Library, where you can see old manuscripts and early editions of some great works. Experience the scent of hundreds of roses in the Volksgarten in front of the castle.
In the early 1900s, Vienna attracted some of the greatest painters in the world. Her work initially shocked Viennese society, but soon gained an enthusiastic following and wealthy patrons. See Gustav Klimt’s most famous work, The Kiss, in the Belvedere. The Kunsthistorisches Museum offers a good look at European masterpieces such as those by Raphael, Rubens and Bruegel. Vienna also attracted a young Adolf Hitler who tried to join the ranks of painting here, but failed. How could the world have been any different if he had been successful as an artist …
Explore the Albertina with works by Matisse, Picasso and Monet. Discover Mother Nature’s masterpieces at the nearby Natural History Museum, which is home to more than 30 million specimens and artifacts. The museum quarter was once the imperial stables.
You can relax with a drink or just watch the people in this cultural district, where modern art installations are regularly shown. Discover Schönbrunn Palace southwest of downtown Vienna if you venture into the distance. Almost as if the emperor were entering the grounds of the 1,400-room castle that was once the summer residence of the Habsburgs.
Many vineyards are within the city limits, where you can enjoy traditional Viennese dishes such as Wiener Schnitzel with local wines.
Vienna and Austria in general have a very strong beer culture, with the average Austrian consuming just over 100 liters (176 pints) of the stuff every year. Although not as well known as Germany, the Czech Republic or Belgium for their beer culture, Austria is not as far behind. In terms of local beer, Ottakringer is the largest, oldest and most popular brewery in Vienna. Ottakringer has been in the 16th district, the working class district of Vienna, since 1837 and makes an excellent Helles.
For me, however, the place I go is Ammutsøn craft beer dive. Located between Mariahilferstrasse and the Apollo Kino, the local craft beer bar is probably the most independent in town. With twelve taps you can find unusual, often rare and hard-to-find creative beers from all over Central Europe, most of which are imported in-house. The owner himself drives to Belgium and other places to bring beers like Cantillon that are not available anywhere else in the city. It is therefore very justified to use the motto “Proud To Be Independent”!
Visit the final resting place of some of Vienna’s most famous residents before leaving the outskirts. Vienna would not be complete without a trip to the historic Vienna Prater. Ride a wooden gondola on the 19th-century Ferris wheel and admire the timeless views over the city. Explore the Karlskirche, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, while the sun goes down.
Vienna at night is simply breathtaking. Then, after eating in one of the traditional restaurants, enjoy a show in the Burgtheater or an open-air performance in one of the squares.
Vienna is a really inspiring city. In this city you can walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest minds in history, explore monumental palaces and cathedrals, and see priceless works of art. Pull up a chair, order a coffee and a Sachertorte and let Vienna’s most lyrical city serenade you.
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