One of the great European capitals, Vienna was for centuries the stomping ground for the Habsburg rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The empire is long gone, but reminders have been carefully preserved by the tradition-loving Viennese. Past artistic glories live on, thanks to the cultural legacy of the many artistic geniuses nourished here—including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, and Gustav Klimt. Today's visitors discover a city with a special grace and a cohesive architectural character that sets it so memorably apart from its great rivals—London, Paris, and Rome.
- Ride the Ringstrasse. Hop on streetcar No. 1 or No. 2 and travel full circle along Vienna's best-known avenue. No. 1 will take you from Staatsoper to Schwedenplatz, No. 2 from Schwedenplatz to Staatsoper. Those monumental buildings along the tree-lined boulevard reflect the imperial splendor of yesteryear.
- World of Music. Delight your eyes and ears with a night out at the State Opera or Musikverein to experience what secured Vienna the title "heart of the music world."
- Kunsthistorisches Museum. Enjoy the classic collection of fine art, including the best of Breughel, Titian, Rembrandt, and Rubens, at Austria's leading museum.
- Schönbrunn Palace. Rococo romantics and Habsburg acolytes should step back in time and spend a half day experiencing the Habsburgs' former summer home.
- An extended coffee break. Savor the true flavor of Vienna at some of its great café landmarks. Every afternoon around 3 the coffee-and-pastry ritual of Kaffeejause takes place from one end of the city to the other, a tradition so storied that UNESCO recognizes it as an "intangible cultural heritage." For historical overtones, head for the Café Central or the opulent Café Landtmann. Intellectuals flock to Café Bräunerhof, known for its free chamber music concerts on weekends. Café Hawelka is the contrasting seat of the smoky art scene.