10 Best Things to Do in Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the capital and is one of best places to visit in Austria. It lies east of the Danube River and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe. The city's intellectual and artistic legacy has been well secured by its more famous residents such as the famous pianists and composers Mozart and Beethoven along with psychologists such as Sigmund Freud.

Vienna in Europe is scenic and is also famous for it's rich cultural heritage and it's art and culture. It is in the center of Europe, and the presence of the Habsburgs, perhaps the most powerful family in Europe, meant that Vienna has long been the playground for the continent's rich and famous. A quick stroll around the city will put this wealth and power on display – it's just one stunning building after another.

This city offers you the view of the major historical sites along with stunning architecture on the sides of the roads. The culture too is distinctly upper class – from classical music to balls and ballets. Vienna has a level of refinement that no other European city can match. Go to Vienna if you prefer classical music to modern, you want to see some of Europe's most stunning buildings, you want to feel like a prince or princess.

Some of the most striking icons in Austria are new buildings, such as the huge Rubik's cube of the Ars Electronica in Linz or the science fiction building of the Kunsthaus Graz. There of course are some great touristy places like Schloss Schönbrunn, Belvedere, Stephansplatz but the beauty is well hidden - which is probably true for most cities.

Vienna has for 10 years been named the world's best city to live in! Enjoy all the eye candy buildings, art and culture. The Neusiedlersee near Vienna is the far west end of the Eurasian Steppe and makes a totally different impression while the Danube in Vienna is already very large when it flows through Vienna.

Other - less creepy options to do in Vienna are visiting the Naschmarkt, then Figlmüller (having the best Wiener Schnitzel in the world), getting a beer and relaxing at the Donaukanal or going to one the bars there (like Strandbar Hermann). You can rent a bike and bike along the Danube.

Or take the train to Krems, rent a bike there and bike along one of the most beautiful sceneries in the World: Wachau. The bank Wachovia is named after this area by the way. Take the train (1h 15min) and go to Reichenau an der Rax and hike in this mountain are (or take the cable car straight to the top). Marvellous views.

Just walk around the old and royal first district or seventh district, which is hip and trendy with lots of great bars, restaurants, cafes and shops to discover. Go get some food and wine at a local Heuriger (some kind of wine bar). The further you get away from the first district the better price/value ratio you will get.

Vienna is the only capital in the world that produce large quantities of wine within the city's borders? Vienna is home to over 1,700 hectares of vineyards and 320 winemakers - and the Viennese love their wine.

Schonbrunn Palace GardensSchonbrunn Palace Gardens

Let us take a quick look at some of the best things to do in Vienna:

1. St. Stephens's Cathedral

This massive cathedral towers over the streets of Vienna and it is acknowledged to be a masterpiece of architecture. This huge place of worship has withstood the test of time and has been around for nearly 900 years. It has witnessed great funerals and mighty armies. You should definitely visit this place if you are in Vienna.

2. Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel

The Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel stands proudly at the iconic Prater Amusement Park. This giant Ferris wheel has been around since the 1800s and a single visit feels like stepping back in time. If you are in the city, even for a short visit, you should definitely check it out.

3. Schonbrunn Palace

Constructed in the 1600s, this palace holds a major role when it comes to culturally important monuments in Austria. It is a huge palace and boasts over 1441 rooms, effectively making it one of the key tourist attractions in all of Vienna.

Schonbrunn Gardens is a separate but truly exceptional part of the Schonbrunn Palace Complex. In fact, it is worthy of a visit on its own. It would not be wrong to assert that the gardens at Schonbrunn have a touch of near-magical beauty. They extend for nearly a mile from the main palace complex itself.

4. Sigmund Freud Museum

If you are into contemporary psychoanalysis then you just have to visit the Sigmund Freud Museum. The man lived in Austria until the late 1930s and you can see many of his belongings as well as read up upon his more curious cases at this museum.

5. Rathaus

This is a somewhat later addition to the city of Vienna. The Townhouse was constructed in the 1800s in a highly distinctive Neo-Gothic style. It originally served to accommodate the city administration's office complex.

The University of Vienna (Universität Wien) is a wonderful place to wander around and dream. This is a public university located in the first district of Vienna next to the Rathaus (City Hall). It was founded in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world.

6. Vienna Ring Road

This is one of the world's first ring roads and it is wrapped around Vienna's city center. The Habsburg monarchs built it in the 1850s, to showcase the might and power of their empire.

7. The Hofburg

The Hofburg Palace of Vienna is the Imperial Palace in Austria. For centuries it was the seat of Austria's monarchy. Back when the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire used to rule the roost, the Hofburg Palace was considered to be the beating heart of this glorious empire. Currently, it is the residence of the Austrian president. Now the president uses this place to conduct state business.

It is also the home base of many famous museums as well as art galleries and other attractions including the famous dancing horses of Austria. Its architecture influences every visitor. Together with squares and gardens, it makes a territory of 59 acres having 19 courtyards and 2600 rooms. Its spectacular visit includes Imperial Silver Collection and various dining services. Sisi Museum focuses on the time of Empress Elizabeth.

8. MuseumsQuartier

Vienna MuseumsQuartier is in the renovated imperial stables. The MQ or Museums Quartier offers anything and everything, ranging from an excellent Egon Schiele collection, all the way to some really trendy bars. Throw in some really hip cafés and restaurants and you will see why it is a must-visit place. It even has its own mini-golf course as well.

9. Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

The vast cultural heritage of the Habsburgs can still be felt throughout Austria, either by watching a show of Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School or crossing the Hofburg to see Rubens masterpieces at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

10. Central Cemetery

One of the unusual places to visit in Vienna is the Wiener Zentralfriedhof. It is a huge graveyard that has marvellous headstones. There are a lot of famous musicians buried there and there are many memorials. Also the old Jewish graveyard is worth exploring. Vienna has a very lively way of celebrating death. This is the place to experience that.

11. Kirche am Steinhof

Another sight to see is Otto Wagner Kirche and the asylum (Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital) that it was built for. This Church build at the beginning of the 19th century is an architectural masterpiece by famous Austrian architect Otto Wagner. It was built for a very specific purpose: to give mental patients the possibility to go to church.

Therefore there are for example very few sharp edges, a toilet in the church, emergency exits and continuously flowing holy water (for hygiene purpose). Try to get a tour on Sunday to get all the details. Also visit the Psychiatric Hospital there as well. It gives insights into medicine in royal Vienna and also has a special museum about the Nazi tests with mentally disabled children.

The so called Narrenturm (Fool's Tower) is continental Europe's oldest building for the accommodation of mental patients. It now holds a Pathologic-Anatomical museum. The tours are given by medical students.

12. Palmenhaus

The Palmenhous is widely considered to be one of the world's grandest greenhouses around. It is home to exotic plants and towering trees from all around the world. However, that is not its only claim to fame, since it also doubles as a restaurant and bar. It is famous for its Austrian specialties like Schnitzel as well as many different cocktails.

Tip: Slovakia's capital Bratislava is just an hour's train ride away - a perfect day trip.

Documentary Requirements for Visiting Vienna

The best way to tour not just Austria but most of mainland Europe is with the help of a Schengen visa. You will also need permission letters to visit many places that are off the tourist hotspots. Here it is a good idea to convert documents to PDF so they don't change the format of the document. In fact, you should convert to PDF all of your important documents before visiting Austria.

Conclusion

Vienna is one of the best and most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It offers a whole new world to prospective tourists and you will need a long time to take in all of its many treasures. Hope you enjoy your trip!

Kalyan Panja