What to See in Vienna

The streets of Vienna are paved with culture, the streets of other cities, with asphalt.

[Karl Kraus]

Vienna may not be the first city you want to visit when travelling to Europe – you’d probably be more attracted to London’s glamour, Paris’ romance or the nightlife in Berlin; nevertheless Vienna is a must-see in its own right. It is an elegant, beautiful city with so much to offer. You’ll love eating Sacher cake and sipping great coffee, possibly in one of the most beautiful cafés in the city. Even if you are not an art lover, you’ll be amazed by the elegance of Klimt’s works. Vienna has a relaxed atmosphere and its historical and cultural importance is very well-known. If you want to spend your holiday in one of the most interesting and elegant European capitals, then Vienna is the one for you.

A Walking Tour of the City

Klimt and Art Nouveau

The Ringstrasse

Museums and Monuments 

Bus Tours and Nightlife

Food and Shopping

Things to do in Vienna – A Walking Tour of the City

We always recommend walking tours of the cities you visit because walking allows you to get a real feel for people’s day to day lives and the city’s general culture. It does not only help your thoughts and ideas nourish, it also helps you understand your surroundings better. You’ll see local people, you’ll discover places that you wouldn’t find in traditional tourist guidebooks and you’ll notice details that will make your stay unique. So go on and explore. If you don’t feel confident enough to explore on your own, don’t worry, there are many organised walking tours that can help you – and some of them are free (or at least tip-based). There are different kinds of walking tours that you can participate in depending on your interests. There is the National Geographic Art Tour or, if you are a music lover, the Mozart Tour. Otherwise, you can also have a great experience by taking part in one of the many freelance guides that will give you a local perspective of the city.

The two-hour tours organised by PrimeTours are particularly well-known. They are free, but you can pay your guide according to your level of satisfaction with the tour. Due to their popularity, you’ll need to book them one or two days in advance. The booking process is very easy, you can do it through Facebook – which is very useful for busy tourists who spend all day on the road. You can choose to have your tour either in the morning or in the afternoon, and it will focus on the city centre. Vienna is not too big and almost all the important attractions are located relatively close to each other.

Things to Do in Vienna A Walking Tour of The City - Places to Visit in Vienna - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Cultural Attractions – Klimt and Art Nouveau

Sometimes artists, musicians and writers end up as the faces of the cities in which they lived and worked. In this way, Barcelona is Gaudì’s city, Amsterdam is Van Gogh’s city, and Vienna is Klimt’s city. These cities are the best places to go in order to get in touch with the artist’s origin and works. Even though Klimt’s works are displayed in many museums around the world, Vienna is definitely the perfect place to discover more. He wasn’t born in Vienna, but he spent his whole life there and his work had a great impact on the city. If you are interested in seeing his masterpieces, you can plan a “Klimt tour”. The first destination would probably be the Belvedere, which holds the most important collection of his works in the world. Of course, you know Klimt’s famous paintings The Kiss (1907/1908) and Judith (1901), and you’ll be able to see them there. Klimt’s exhibition is the main part of the gallery, which is about 20th-century art and also gathers works from Egon Schiele, another very famous Austrian painter. After your visit to the Belvedere, you can admire the ceiling paintings that Klimt did for the Burgtheatre. You may not know this, but Klimt was one of the most important members of the Secession Group, who wanted to revolutionise art at the end of the 19th century. Their works can be seen at the Leopold Museum, and another of the main attractions is the Secession Building, which was built in 1897 as an architectural manifesto of the group. The Art Nouveau building has the group’s motto on the façade: To every age its art, to every art its freedom. The place houses Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze, a painting that represents the artist’s interpretation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Places to Visit in Vienna – The Ringstrasse

If you want to have a relaxing walk, then we highly recommend the Ringstrasse, which is one of the main streets of the city. While walking this street, you’ll be able to see some of the most important attractions of the city, including the City Hall, the Opera House, the Hofburg Palace, and the Parliament. You can either stop and visit them or just take a break and sip on a good cup of coffee at one of the many beautiful cafés. Vienna looks like a very proud, elegant city, but it is also quite relaxed considering it is such an important capital, which is something very rare you might want to take advantage of. You can also visit the Burggarten, where you can de-stress. Along Ringstrasse, you’ll also be able to see the Votivkirche and the Danube Channel. The Hofburg Palace is particularly interesting for historical reasons. In Europe, the great empire of the Habsburgs was very important, and the family used to rule from the Imperial Palace. Here, you can enjoy a beautiful visit and admire how the family lived – in fact, the private apartments are open to the public. This is an attraction that both adults and children can enjoy. If you’re curious about the figure of Princess Sisi, who is part of Austrian culture and has become a well-known character among children, then you definitely have to visit the Sisi Museum, opened in 1994. There you’ll find many items that belonged to Elisabeth, and learn about the life of such an important woman from the past. The Sisi Museum is part of the Hofburg Palace, so make sure you don’t miss this hotspot! You’ll learn a lot about an important part of European history and you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the royal atmosphere.

Places to Visit in Vienna The Ringstrasse - Places to Visit in Vienna - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Museums and Monuments in Vienna

There are so many monuments and museums in Vienna that it is impossible to squeeze them all into this article! Quite close to the Imperial Palace, there is the Museum Complex, where many museums are close to each other. If you are a fan of contemporary art, then you may want to visit the Contemporary Art Museum. You may  also want to visit the Kunsthalle and many others. Albertina has the most valuable graphical collection in the world, with works like Hare by Dürer. One of the monuments that you really can’t miss is Schönbrunn Palace, Princess Sisi’s former summer residence, where you’ll be able to walk in a beautiful park and maybe visit the Zoo. St. Stephen Cathedral is another monument that you really need to see during your visit because it is one of the symbols of the city. Its building was started in the 12th-century and it is one of the main gothic churches in Austria. You can have a guided tour of the church and the catacombs, and we highly recommend it if you love the architecture of the period.

Of course, it’s not secret that Austria is a bit contributor of classical music. We recommend you visit the amazing House of Music, where you’ll have the chance to take a journey through all the periods and important music moments in Vienna. You’ll learn a lot about many musicians and have fun among the installations that make it a great interactive experience. If you are interested in getting to know more about the great Mozart, then you can visit Mozarthaus, where you’ll see one of the apartments where the musician lived and worked.

Museums and Monuments in Vienna - Places to Visit in Vienna - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Vienna Sightseeing – Bus Tours and Nightlife

If you want to make the most of your stay in Vienna, then your feet will probably hurt from all the sightseeing. We always recommend spending a day on the bus and saving some energy for the end of your trip. The sightseeing bus service in Vienna is very efficient and unusual: you need to choose between six routes and plan your own journey according to the path you want to follow and the attractions that you want to see. As in many other important cities, you’ll be guaranteed the ‘hop on hop off’ service, but you’ll need to decide which bus to take. Free wifi is also available on board. When you hop off the bus you can go on to join the free guided tours. Also, you can combine your bus ticket with a boat ride on the Danube canal or, if you feel romantic enough, on a Fianker, which is a horse-drawn carriage. You can book these tickets online and make sure you plan your tour wisely so you choose the appropriate ticket.

After a day spent on the bus, we recommend that you have a good night out in the city. Vienna, like most European capitals, offers great places to party. The electronic music scene here is very famous all over the world, and there are many clubs whose name you might have heard, like Flex, Grelle Forelle and Werk. The main party area is located close to the Danube Canal, which is a great spot to visit. Given that Vienna is also very famous for its classical music heritage, if you are not the clubbing type then you can find a lot of venues that offer beautiful classical music concerts instead.

Vienna-Sightseeing-Bus-Tours-and-Nightlife-Places-to-Visit-in-Vienna-THEN-AND-NOW-SHOP

Must Dos in Vienna – Food and Shopping

If you walk along Vienna’s beautiful boulevards, you’ll notice that the city is very well-known for its sweets. In the shop windows, you’ll see amazing towers of chocolates, fantastic Sachertorte and many other desserts that will make you drool. We highly recommend you enjoy a piece of Sacher cake with a cup of coffee in one of the city’s beautiful parks. The city has many good restaurants, and the Viennese cuisine is well-known around the world as well. It is often associated with the Austrian cuisine, but it has many unique traits, especially when it comes to pastries. The strudel is very famous and there are many types of it. Additionally, the Austrian cuisine is known for its meat-based dishes.

If you like shopping, Vienna would be a great place to explore some of the local flea markets. Naschmarkt is one of the most famous markets and it starts every Saturday at 6am until 6.30pm. Here, you can find any kind of item: clothes, furniture, memorabilia. Of course, you can still go shopping in the best shops in Vienna, but if you are looking to find unique items we strongly suggest you stop by this market as well. Even if you don’t like shopping at flea markets, take a chance and visit Naschmarkt. Eat some home-made pastries while wandering around the stalls and have fun.

Must Dos in Vienna Food and Shopping - Places to Visit in Vienna - THEN AND NOW SHOP

From the Team:

“Vienna is a city full inspiration and design and I especially love walking the streets and admiring the architecture. I tend to plan outfits according to my itinerary – to make sure I stand out from the crowd and background when taking pictures. To make walking in the city easier, a pair of comfy sneakers is a must.”

From the team - What to see in Vienna

We hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful for your next Vienna trip!

Let us know if you had an amazing experience in Vienna, we would love to hear from you.