Vienna

Things to do in Vienna

The must-see sights in Vienna. A guide to the must-see attractions on your next trip to the Austrian capital.
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Vienna’s atmosphere is unique: strolling through the historic centre you will feel as if you are reliving the romantic 19th century, with its princely balls, concerts by great musicians and the pageantry of the imperial courts.

Inevitably, therefore, the list of places to visit in Vienna is almost entirely taken up by imperial regalia and princely palaces, to which one cannot fail to add the home of Austria’s most famous composer, Mozart. Of course, this latter residence is less sumptuous than the rooms of Sissi and Franz Joseph, but it is still worth a visit.

You cannot come to Vienna and not take a ride on the famous Prater Ferris wheel, perhaps before or after a coffee and cake break in one of Vienna’s legendary cafés. Art lovers cannot miss the city’s prestigious museums, first and foremost the Kunstistorisches Museum where Klimt’s most famous painting is kept.

Set aside some time for modern Vienna, which is no less fascinating than imperial Vienna: the Naschmarkt market is a picturesque mix of cultures that attracts an eclectic crowd of all ages; the Hundertwasser is a splendid example of contemporary architecture and an exceptional photo subject.

Between ancient and modern, here is the list of 10 must-see attractions in Vienna.

Hofburg and Sissi Museum

11010 Vienna, Austria

The Hofburg Imperial Palace

Vienna’s top attraction is the Hofburg, the Imperial Palace, the Habsburg palace in the heart of the capital, an exuberance of richly decorated rooms that will transport you to the magical world of Viennese nobility.

During your visit to the Hofburg, you will have the chance to enter the private rooms of Sissi and Franz, the most famous imperial couple of the Habsburg dynasty, made immortal by a successful 1950s film saga.

You can see the gymnasium where Sissi, a fanatic of figure, exercised every day, the boudoir where her hair was styled, the studio where Franz worked from as early as four o’clock in the morning, the imperial bedroom and many other rooms.

All your curiosity about Empress Elisabeth’s life will be satisfied by the museum dedicated to her, the Sisi Museum, which recounts her life from her birth in Bavaria to her tragic assassination in Geneva, between reality and myth. Hundreds of Sissi’s personal objects are on display in the museum, including clothes, accessories, cosmetics and… death certificate.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 16,00 €

Schönbrunn Castle

2Schönbrunn, Wien, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace

In the summer, the Habsburg court moved to the no less sumptuous Schönbrunn Palace, a wonderful Baroque palace surrounded by a huge park, so large that you can ride around in a little train.

Originally, the romantic and fairytale-like Schoenbrunn Palace was located outside the city, in the open countryside, but in modern times it has been incorporated into the Viennese suburbs and today can be reached quickly by metro.

Events that changed European history, such as the Congress of Vienna and the end of the Habsburg monarchy, took place in its elegant halls; Emperor Franz Joseph was born here and a very young Mozart made his first public appearances before the Habsburg court.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 54,00 €

St. Stephen's Cathedral

3Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria

The famous roof of St Stephen’s Cathedral

The magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom in German), a Gothic masterpiece dating back to the 11th century, is one of Vienna’s landmarks, located in the heart of the Innere Stadt, the city’s historic centre.

Already from a distance you can make out its tall towers, curiously of different heights: you can climb the south tower, the highest, to enjoy an extraordinary panoramic view of the old town.

Another feature that makes St. Stephen’s Cathedral immediately recognisable is its colourful roof of glazed tiles forming the solemn images of the two-headed eagle, symbol of the Habsburg Empire, the coat of arms of the city of Vienna and that of the Austrian nation.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 25,00 €

Belvedere Castle

4Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria

The only one of Vienna’s most famous princely palaces not built at the behest of the Habsburgs is Belvedere Castle, founded by the wealthy Prince Eugene of Savoy, a condottiere in the service of Austria who distinguished himself in the fight against the Turks. The prince spared no expense in decorating his Viennese palace, which was so beautiful that upon his death, the Habsburgs decided to take it over.

Even if you can’t get enough of royal courts, you must include Belvedere Castle in your holiday programme for a very simple reason: today the castle is a prestigious museum displaying the world’s largest collection of Austrian art.

The centrepiece of the collection is a world-famous painting, Klimt’s Kiss: you have seen it on countless stationery items such as posters, diaries, pencil cases, postcards, now come experience the thrill of admiring the original.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 16,70 €

Rathausplatz

5Rathauspl., 1010 Wien, Austria

Vienna City Hall

Vienna’s liveliest square is the central Rathausplatz, the town hall square, which is the scene of numerous events throughout the year: the city’s largest Christmas market is held here, as well as the crowded summer Musikfilm festival, the Life Ball (a charity event dedicated to the fight against AIDS), New Year’s Eve fireworks and various other open-air performances.

The elegant square is dominated by the Rathaus (town hall), a stunning neo-Gothic building constructed between 1872 and 1883 and modelled on the Flemish city halls by Friedrich von Schmidt, former master builder of Cologne Cathedral.

At the top of the town hall tower, the Rathausmann, a statue of a medieval knight whose armour was modelled on that of Emperor Maximilian I, has defied the elements for hundreds of years.

In the winter months, a huge ice skating rink is set up on the town hall square, adding a touch of charm to an already highly atmospheric location.

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Hundertwasserhaus, the coloured house

6Kegelgasse 36-38, 1030 Wien, Austria

The famous façade of the colourful Hundertwasser House

Imperial Vienna is the best known face of the Austrian capital, but the city’s architectural heritage is not limited to the sumptuous Habsburg palaces. Even after the fall of the monarchy, Vienna continued to maintain a leading role in the fields of art and architecture.

An original testimony to this vitality is the Hundertwasserhaus, a house with a colourful façade that invariably catches the eye of anyone passing through for the first time. The building is named after the artist who designed it, Friedensreich Hundertwasser).

Read moreBuy the ticket from 15,00 €

Prater Ferris Wheel

71020 Vienna, Austria

The most famous Ferris wheel in the world is the one in Vienna, the romantic Wieser Riesenrad in the Prater, which has been delighting an audience of children and adults for more than a hundred years.

Although the wheel has been adapted for modern audiences, with the addition of many comforts, it still retains its vintage charm, thanks to the wooden cabins and iron infrastructure that are somewhat reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Ferris wheel is also one of the symbols of Vienna and one of the best vantage points in the city: the view you will enjoy when your cabin reaches the highest point of the panorama ride is simply breathtaking. For even more fascination, climb onto the wheel in the evening hours to enjoy the spectacle of the illuminated city.

Once off the wheel, stick around: the Prater is the oldest amusement park in the world, with over 250 rides, and one of the most beautiful parks in the city. You could spend a whole day here between the wheel, rides, walks in the green and a succulent meal of typical Austrian specialities in one of the park’s taverns.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 14,00 €

Mozart House

8Mozarthaus, Domgasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria

Mozart a Vienna
© Österreich Werbung, Photo: Hans Wiesenhofer

The brilliant composer Wolfang Amadeus Mozart loved Vienna much more than his hometown of Salzburg. Visit the house where he lived some of the happiest and most prolific years of his life and where he composed some of his most famous works, such as The Marriage of Figaro.

Mozarthaus occupies three floors of a historic building on Domgasse: one is the flat where Mozart lived with his family, the other two are a museum, with a section dedicated to Mozart’s music and another that will give you an in-depth insight into the Vienna of those years and the social and cultural context.

Get ready to discover the personal side of one of the musicians who made music history, including not only his virtues but also his flaws and eccentricities.

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Museum of Art History

9Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien, Austria

Musei VIenna
© Österreich Werbung, Photo: Trumler

Partly due to the Habsburgs’ passion for art collecting, or perhaps more to their desire to show off, and partly due to a cultural ferment that is still very much alive today, Vienna is a city with a wealth of interesting museums, both of ancient and contemporary art.

If you only have time for one museum, we recommend the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the prestigious Museum of Art History just a stone’s throw from the Hofburg. Housed in a magnificent palace, the museum is divided into several collections including the numismatic cabinet, the Egyptian art collection, a collection of ancient art and the Kunstkammer, a prestigious collection of decorative arts.

The most famous collection in this museum is the Picture Gallery, which holds masterpieces by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Canaletto, Dürer, Cranach, Holbein, van Dyck and Velázquez, as well as the most important collection of paintings by Bruegel the Elder in the world.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 21,00 €

Albertina

10Albertinapl. 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

Formerly used as a residence for the Emperor’s guests, the Albertina now houses the world’s leading collection of graphic art.

Started in 1768 by Maria Theresa’s son-in-law, Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen, the collection has about one and a half million prints and 50,000 drawings, including the world’s largest collection of drawings by Durer (145), 43 by Raphael, 70 by Rembrandt and 150 by Schiele.

The collection also houses numerous drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rubens, Bruegel, Cézanne, Picasso and Matisse.

For obvious reasons of space, only a fraction of the impressive quantity of drawings and prints kept in the Albertina archive is displayed in the room on a rotating basis.

Buy the ticket from 19,90 €

Vienna Christmas Market

Mercatini Natale a Vienna
© Österreich Werbung, Photo: Popp-Hackner

One of Vienna’s most famous tourist attractions is certainly its wonderful Christmas markets. Scattered throughout the city, they add charm and magic to a capital city that looks like the setting for a fairytale film.

Browse through the Christmas markets in search of decorations for your home or fine and original gift ideas for friends and family; warm yourself up with a hot punch during your search.

If you love shopping at markets, however, you don’t have to wait until Christmas: all year round, from Monday to Saturday, the colourful Naschmarkt market11 is open, a sort of tidier bazaar where you can buy a little bit of everything. On Saturdays, the number of stalls increases considerably because the flea market is added.

Naschmarkt is also worth visiting for its interesting gastronomic offerings, with a variety of places offering Austrian specialities and ethnic food at a good price.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle comprises two sumptuous palaces that house masterpieces of Austrian art, including Klimt's Kiss.
Schoenbrunn Palace

Schoenbrunn Palace

A must-see for all Sissi fans and incurable dreamers, Schönbrunn Palace will bring back the most elegant and cultured Vienna.
Hofburg, the Imperial Palace

Hofburg, the Imperial Palace

Have you ever wondered what life was like for an emperor? Find out at the Hofburg, the imperial palace in Vienna, which had among its residents the mythical Sissi.
Spanish Riding School

Spanish Riding School

The Spanish Riding School is a complex located inside the Hofburg where you can admire the famous Lipizzaner horses and their splendid performances.
Rathaus

Rathaus

St Stephen’s Cathedral

St Stephen’s Cathedral

Prater

Prater

Burgtheater, the National Theatre

Burgtheater, the National Theatre

Hundertwasserhaus

Hundertwasserhaus

Mozarthaus

Mozarthaus

Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Art History Museum

Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Art History Museum

Christmas Markets in Vienna

Christmas Markets in Vienna

Naschmarkt

Naschmarkt

Spittelberg

Spittelberg

Schoenbrunn Zoo

Schoenbrunn Zoo

Madame Tussauds Vienna

Madame Tussauds Vienna

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Vienna City Card

Vienna City Card

Discover the benefits of the Vienna Card, the tourist card that will make you love the Viennese capital with discounts on attractions, bars, shops and transport.
Vienna Pass

Vienna Pass

The Vienna Pass allows free admission to the city's most important museums and most famous monuments. as well as hop-on hop-off bus tours on the 4 sightseeing routes.

How to save on transport and entrance fees

City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.

Vienna: Public Transport City Card and Attraction Discounts
Vienna: Public Transport City Card and Attraction Discounts
Explore Vienna with free, unlimited use of the city's metro, tram, train, and bus lines. Get around the city quickly and easily. Enjoy countless discounts on popular attractions, museums, shops, and more.
From 17,00 €