112 Best Sights in Vienna, Austria

Albertina Modern

1st District Fodor's choice
Vienna's newest---and hottest---museum opened in 2020 in the Künstlerverein, a neo-classical palace and iconic Viennese building, just steps away from the opera house and its sister museum, the famed Albertina Museum. Exhibits focus on modern and contemporary art, and the permanent collection features works by famous Austrians like Maria Lassnig and Arnulf Rainer, and leading international artists, including Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Anselm Kiefer, and Cindy Sherman.

Albertina Museum

1st District Fodor's choice

One of the largest of the Habsburg residences, the Albertina rests on one of the last remaining fortresses of the Old City. The must-see collection of nearly 65,000 drawings and almost a million prints is one of the most prized graphic collections in the world. All the Old Masters are showcased here: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt. The Batliner Collection includes excellent examples of French and German Impressionism and Russian avant-garde. The mansion's early-19th-century salons—all gilt boiserie and mirrors—provide a jewel-box setting. The excellent Do & Co restaurant, with a patio long enough for an empress's promenade, offers splendid vistas of the historical center, and the Burggarten is the perfect place to take a break.

Augustinerstrasse 1, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
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Rate Includes: €16.90; €23 Albertina and Albertina Modern, Daily 10–6, Wed. 10–9

Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur

2nd District/Leopoldstadt Fodor's choice
Founded in 1718, Europe's second-oldest porcelain factory is located in a former pleasure palace in Augarten Park, and is indeed a pleasure palace for lovers of hand-made and painted porcelain. This company is renowned for its high-quality porcelain, delicate patterns, and constant innovation in its design and production. Augarten porcelain is still produced and painted by the hands of employees in the manufactory, just as it has been for almost 300 years. One wing of the factory houses a museum, designed around the 18th century bottle kiln that reaches to the roof top of the first level. Guided tours of the factory (Monday to Thursday at 10:15 am and 11:30 am) take visitors behind the scenes to see creators at work and to explain the different phases of the process as well as the history and evolution of the art. Your wonder, appreciation, and awe at the final creations and the fact that it takes a porcelain artist three months to create will be put to good use in the gift shop. Visitors looking for a more immersive experience can book a two-day seminar on the creation and painting of porcelain.

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Belvedere Palace

3rd District/Landstrasse Fodor's choice

One of the most splendid pieces of Baroque architecture anywhere, the Belvedere Palace—actually two imposing palaces separated by a 17th-century French-style garden parterre—is one of the masterpieces of architect Lucas von Hildebrandt. Built outside the city fortifications between 1714 and 1722, the complex originally served as the summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Much later it became the home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in 1914 precipitated World War I. Though the lower palace is impressive in its own right, it is the much larger upper palace, used for state receptions, banquets, and balls, that is acknowledged as Hildebrandt's masterpiece. The upper palace displays a wealth of architectural invention in its facade, avoiding the main design problems common to palaces: monotony on the one hand and pomposity on the other.

Hildebrandt's decorative manner here approaches the Rococo, that final style of the Baroque era when traditional classical motifs all but disappeared in a whirlwind of seductive asymmetric fancy. The main interiors of the palace go even further: columns are transformed into muscle-bound giants, pilasters grow torsos, capitals sprout great piles of symbolic imperial paraphernalia, and the ceilings are aswirl with ornately molded stucco. The result is the finest Rococo interior in the city.

Both the upper and lower palaces of the Belvedere are museums devoted to Austrian painting. The Belvedere's main attraction is the collection of 19th- and 20th-century Austrian paintings, centering on the work of Vienna's three preeminent early-20th-century artists: Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka. Klimt was the oldest, and by the time he helped found the Secession movement he had forged an idiosyncratic painting style that combined realistic and decorative elements in a way that was revolutionary. The Kiss—his greatest painting—is here on display. Schiele and Kokoschka went even further, rejecting the decorative appeal of Klimt's glittering abstract designs and producing works that ignored conventional ideas of beauty.

An ambitious 2016 European Union initiative brought 3-D technology to the Belvedere. The project, entitled AMBAVis (Access to Museums for Blind and Visually-Impaired Persons), transformed Klimt's The Kiss into a remarkable and unprecedented interactive experience. Finger-tracking technology allows viewers to scan the relief, prompting audio to play.

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Haus der Musik

1st District Fodor's choice

You could spend an entire day at this ultra-high-tech museum, housed on several floors of an early-19th-century palace near Schwarzenbergplatz. This is a highly interactive experience; in "Facing Mozart," visitors animate a Mozart portrait using a technology called facetracking. Assuming the role of virtual conductor, you can conduct the Vienna Philharmonic (or a video projection of it, anyway) and have the orchestra follow your every command; the conductor's baton is hooked to a computer, which allows you to have full control over the simulated orchestra. For added fun, the stairs at the beginning of the tour are musical; each step produces a note. Other exhibits trace the evolution of sound (from primitive noises to the music of the classical masters) and illustrate the mechanics of the human ear (you can even measure your own frequency threshold).

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Kaiserliche Schatzkammer

1st District Fodor's choice

The entrance to the Schatzkammer, with its 1,000 years of treasures, is tucked away at ground level behind the staircase to the Hofburgkapelle. The elegant display is a welcome antidote to the rather staid Imperial Apartments, and the crowns and relics glow in their surroundings. Here you'll find such marvels as the Holy Lance (reputedly the lance that pierced Jesus's side), the Imperial Crown (a sacred symbol of sovereignty once stolen on Hitler's orders), and the Saber of Charlemagne. Don't miss the Burgundian Treasure, connected with that most romantic of medieval orders of chivalry, the Order of the Golden Fleece.

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4th District/Wieden Fodor's choice

Dominating the Karlsplatz is one of Vienna's greatest buildings, the Karlskirche, dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo. This giant Baroque church is framed by enormous freestanding columns, mates to Rome's famous Trajan's Column. These columns may be out of keeping with the building as a whole, but were conceived with at least two functions in mind: one was to portray scenes from the life of the patron saint, carved in imitation of Trajan's triumphs, and thus help to emphasize the imperial nature of the building; and the other was to symbolize the Pillars of Hercules, suggesting the right of the Hapsburgs to their Spanish dominions, which the emperor had been forced to renounce. The end result is an architectural tour de force.

The Karlskirche was built in the early 18th century on what was then the bank of the River Wien. The church had its beginnings in a disaster. In 1713 Vienna was hit by a brutal outbreak of plague, and Emperor Charles VI made a vow: if the plague abated, he would build a church dedicated to his namesake, St. Charles Borromeo, the 16th-century Italian bishop who was famous for his ministrations to Milanese plague victims. In 1715 construction began, using an ambitious design by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach that combined architectural elements from ancient Greece (the columned entrance porch), ancient Rome (the Trajanesque columns), contemporary Rome (the Baroque dome), and contemporary Vienna (the Baroque towers at either end). When it was finished, the church received decidedly mixed press. History, too, delivered a negative verdict: the Karlskirche spawned no imitations, and it went on to become one of European architecture's curiosities. Still, when seen lighted at night, the building is magical in its setting.

The main interior of the church utilizes only the area under the dome and is conventional despite the unorthodox facade. The space and architectural detailing are typical High Baroque; the fine vault frescoes, by J. M. Rottmayr, depict St. Charles Borromeo imploring the Holy Trinity to end the plague. If you are not afraid of heights take the panorama elevator up into the sphere of the dome and climb the top steps to enjoy an unrivaled view to the heart of the city.

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2nd District/Leopoldstadt Fodor's choice
The market and lively surrounding area is one of Vienna's coolest food and drink hotspots and its sunny picturesque square is a favorite option for breakfasting and people-watching over coffee.The market itself has more than 80 vendors and has existed since 1671, making it one of Vienna's oldest---and yet it never gets old. There's a farmer's market on Saturday and new spots serving international and Viennese cuisine are popping up all the time. Quieter and more spacious than the buzzing 6th and 7th districts, this area is a great alternative to the busier central areas. Allow ample time to wander the surrounding streets and linger in cafes and boutiques.

Kunsthistorisches Museum

1st District Fodor's choice

Even if you're planning on a short stay in Vienna, you'll want to come here to visit one of the greatest art collections in the world, standing in the same class as the Louvre, the Prado, and the Vatican. This is no dry-as-dust museum illustrating the history of art, as its name might imply, but rather the collections of Old Master paintings that reveal the royal taste and style of many members of the mighty House of Hapsburg, which ruled over the greater part of the Western world in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The museum is most famous for the largest collection of paintings under one roof by the Netherlandish 16th-century master Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Many art historians say that seeing his sublime Hunters in the Snow is itself worth the trip to Vienna. Brueghel's depictions of peasant scenes, often set in magnificent landscapes, distill the poetry and magic of the 16th century as few other paintings have done. The Flemish wing also includes masterful works by Rogier van der Weyden, Holbein, Rembrandt, and Vermeer, while the Italian wing features Titian, Giorgione, Raphael, and Caravaggio. The large-scale works concentrated in the main galleries shouldn't distract you from the equal share of masterworks in the more intimate side wings.

There is also the remarkable but less-visited Kunstkammer, displaying priceless objects created for the Hapsburg emperors. These include curiosities made of gold, silver, and crystal (including Cellini's famous salt cellar "La Saliera"), and more exotic materials such as ivory, horn, and gemstones. In addition, there are rooms devoted to Egyptian antiquities, Greek and Roman art, sculpture, and numerous other collections.

One of the best times to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum is on Thursday evenings, when you can enjoy a sumptuous gourmet dinner with a massive dessert buffet (€59) in the cupola rotunda. Just across from the seating area, take a leisurely stroll through the gallery chambers.

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Maria-Theresien-Platz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
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Rate Includes: €16, Closed Mon. in Sept.–May


1st District Fodor's choice

This is Mozart's only still-existing abode in Vienna, with three floors of displays about his life and the masterworks that he composed here. Equipped with an excellent audio guide and starting out on the third floor of the building, you can hear about Mozart's time in Vienna: where he lived and performed, who his friends and supporters were, and his passion for expensive attire—he spent more money on clothes than most royals at that time. The second floor deals with Mozart's operatic works. The first floor focuses on the 2½ years that Mozart lived at this address (he moved around a lot in Vienna), when he wrote dozens of piano concertos, as well as The Marriage of Figaro and the six quartets dedicated to Joseph Haydn (who once called on Mozart here, saying to Mozart's father, "Your son is the greatest composer that I know in person or by name"). For two weeks in April 1787, Mozart took on a 16-year-old pupil from Germany named Ludwig van Beethoven. Concerts are staged here, and there are activities for children.

Save on the entrance fee by purchasing a combined ticket for Mozarthaus Vienna and Haus der Musik for €18.

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7th District/Neubau Fodor's choice

The MQ—as many call it—is a sprawling collection of galleries housed in what was once the Imperial Court Stables, the 260-year-old Baroque complex designed by Fischer von Erlach. Where once 900 cavalry horses were housed, now thousands of masterworks of the 20th and 21st centuries are exhibited, all in a complex that is architecturally an expert and subtle blending of historic and cutting-edge: the original structure (adorned with pastry-white stuccoed ceilings and Rococo flourishes) was retained, while ultramodern wings were added to house five museums, most of which showcase modern art at its best.

The Architekturzentrum, Kunsthalle, Leopold Museum, mumok (Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig), and ZOOM Kindermuseum are all part of the MuseumsQuartier complex. In addition, the Quartier21 showcases up-and-coming artists and musicians in the huge Fischer von Erlach Wing facing the Museumsplatz. Lovers of modern art will find it easy to spend at least an entire day at MuseumsQuartier, and with several cafés, a lovely inner courtyard perfect for lounging and people-watching, restaurants, gift shops, and bookstores, you won't even need to venture outside.

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Osterreische Nationalbibliothek

1st District Fodor's choice

One of the grandest Baroque libraries in the world, a cathedral of books, the centerpiece of the Osterreische Nationalbibliothek is the spectacular Prunksaal—the Grand Hall—which probably contains more book treasures than any comparable collection outside the Vatican. The main entrance to the ornate reading room is in the left corner of Josefsplatz. Designed by Fischer von Erlach the Elder just before his death in 1723 and completed by his son, the Grand Hall is full-blown high Baroque, with trompe-l'oeil ceiling frescoes by Daniel Gran. Twice a year, special exhibits highlight some of the finest and rarest tomes, well documented in German and English. From 1782, Mozart performed here regularly at the Sunday matinees of Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who lived in a suite of rooms in the grand, palacelike library. Four years later the baron founded the Society of Associated Cavaliers, which set up oratorio performances with Mozart acting as conductor. Across the street at Palais Palffy, Mozart reportedly first performed The Marriage of Figaro before a select, private audience to see if it would pass the court censor.

Josefsplatz 1, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
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Rate Includes: €8, Closed Sun., 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Closed Sundays


2nd District/Leopoldstadt Fodor's choice

In 1766, to the dismay of the aristocracy, Emperor Josef II decreed that the vast expanse of imperial parklands known as the Prater would henceforth be open to the public. East of the inner city between the Danube Canal and the Danube proper, the Prater is a public park to this day, notable for its long promenade (the Hauptallee, more than 4½ km [3 miles] in length); the traditional amusement-park rides; a planetarium; and a small but interesting museum devoted to the Prater's long history. If you look carefully, you can discover a handful of children's rides dating from the '20s and '30s that survived the fire that consumed most of the Volksprater in 1945.

At the amusement park there are 250 rides, many of which will make thrill-ride enthusiasts happy, and on hot days, there is a water park to splash around in. For little ones, there is an interactive ride featuring polar bears and penguins. Madame Tussauds is also on-site if you want a photo with famous Austrian native sons and daughters (Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to mind). The best-known attraction is the 200-foot Ferris wheel that figured so prominently in the 1949 film The Third Man. It was one of three built in Europe at the end of the 19th century (the others were in England and France, but have long since been dismantled); the wheel was badly damaged during World War II, but restored shortly thereafter. Its progress is slow and stately (a revolution takes 10 minutes), and the views from its cars are magnificent, particularly toward dusk.

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Riesenradplatz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1020, Austria
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Rate Includes: Park free, Ferris wheel €12, Mar., Apr., and Oct., daily 10–10; May–Sept., daily 9 am–midnight; Nov.–Feb., daily 10–8

Schönbrunn Gardens

13th District/Hietzing Fodor's choice

The palace grounds entice with a bevy of splendid divertissements, including a grand zoo (the Tiergarten) and a carriage museum (the Wagenburg). Climb to the Gloriette for a panoramic view out over the city as well as of the palace complex. If you're exploring on your own, seek out the intriguing Roman ruin. The marble schöner Brunnen ("beautiful fountain") gave its name to the palace complex. Then head over the other side of the gardens to the playground and the newly grown maze.

Schönbrunn Palace

13th District/Hietzing Fodor's choice

Originally designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in 1696 and altered considerably for Maria Theresa 40 years later, Schönbrunn Palace, the huge Hapsburg summer residence, lies within the city limits, just a few metro stops west of Karlsplatz on the U4. Bus trips to Schönbrunn offered by the city's tour operators cost several times what you'd pay if you traveled by subway; the one advantage is that they get you there with a bit less effort. Travel independently if you want time to wander through the grounds, which are open dawn to dusk.

The most impressive approach to the palace and its gardens is through the front gate, set on Schönbrunner-Schloss-Strasse halfway between the Schönbrunn and Hietzing metro stations. The vast main courtyard is ruled by a formal design of impeccable order and rigorous symmetry: wing nods at wing, facade mirrors facade, and every part stylistically complements every other. The courtyard, however, turns out to be a mere appetizer; the feast lies beyond. The breathtaking view that unfolds on the other side of the palace is one of the finest set pieces in all Europe and one of the supreme achievements of Baroque planning. Formal Allées (promenades) shoot off diagonally, the one on the right toward the zoo, the one on the left toward a rock-mounted obelisk and a fine false Roman ruin. But these, and the woods beyond, are merely a frame for the composition in the center: the sculpted marble fountain; the carefully planted screen of trees behind; the sudden, almost vertical rise of the grass-covered hill beyond, with the Gloriette a fitting crown.

Within the palace, the state salons are quite up to the splendor of the gardens, but note the contrast between these chambers and the far more modest rooms in which the rulers—particularly Franz Josef—lived and spent most of their time. Of the 1,441 rooms, 40 are open to the public on the regular tour, of which two are of special note: the Hall of Mirrors, where the six-year-old Mozart performed for Empress Maria Theresa in 1762 (and where he met seven-year-old Marie Antoinette), and the Grand Gallery, where the Congress of Vienna (1815) danced at night after carving up Napoléon's collapsed empire during the day. Ask about viewing the ground-floor living quarters (Berglzimmer), where the walls are painted with palm trees, exotic animals, and tropical views.

As you go through the palace, glance occasionally out the windows; you'll be rewarded by a better impression of the formal gardens, punctuated by hedgerows and fountains. These window vistas were enjoyed by rulers from Maria Theresa and Napoléon to Franz Josef.

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Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse, Vienna, Vienna, A-1130, Austria
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€18 for Imperial Tour (Franz Josef\'s rooms); €22 Grand Tour (includes Maria Theresa\'s rooms)

Sigmund Freud Museum

9th District/Alsergrund Fodor's choice

Not far from the historic Hofburg district, the marvels and pains of the 20th century come into focus here at the the former practice and private quarters of the father of psychoanalysis. The museum outlines Sigmund Freud's work and peronal life, as well as his impact on the world of psychology via memorabilia, private letters, biographical details, photos, films, and a library, It's housed in the apartment where Freud and his wife lived from 1891--1938 and raised their six children. The waiting-room furniture is original but the consulting room and study furniture (including the famous couch) can be seen only in photographs. The collection of telegrams (photocopies of the originals) from the State Department is chilling; they chronicle frantic efforts to help the Freud family escape Austria after the Nazi Anschluss in 1938.


1st District Fodor's choice

Vienna's soaring centerpiece, this beloved cathedral enshrines the heart of the city—although when first built in the 12th century it stood outside the city walls. Vienna can thank a period of hard times for the Catholic Church for the cathedral's distinctive silhouette. Originally the structure was to have had matching 445-foot-high spires, a standard design of the era, but funds ran out, and the north tower to this day remains a happy reminder of what gloriously is not. The lack of symmetry creates an imbalance that makes the cathedral instantly identifiable from its profile alone. Like the Staatsoper and some other major buildings, it was very heavily damaged in World War II, but reconstruction loans have been utilized to restore the cathedral's former beauty. Decades of pollution have blackened the exterior, which is being painstakingly cleaned using only brushes and water, so as not to destroy the facade with chemicals.

It's difficult now to tell what was original and which parts of the walls and vaults were reconstructed. No matter: its history-rich atmosphere is dear to all Viennese. That noted, St. Stephen's has a fierce presence that is blatantly un-Viennese. It's a stylistic jumble ranging from 13th-century Romanesque to 15th-century Gothic. Like the exterior, St. Stephen's interior lacks the soaring unity of Europe's greatest Gothic cathedrals, much of its decoration dating from the later Baroque era.

One particularly masterly work should be seen by everyone: the stone pulpit attached to the second freestanding pier on the left of the central nave, carved by Anton Pilgram between 1510 and 1550. The delicacy of its decoration would in itself set the pulpit apart, but even more intriguing are its five sculpted figures. Carved around the outside of the pulpit proper are the four Church Fathers (from left to right: St. Augustine, St. Gregory, St. Jerome, and St. Ambrose), and each is given an individual personality so sharply etched as to suggest satire, perhaps of living models. There is no satire suggested by the fifth figure, however; below the pulpit's stairs Pilgram sculpted a fine self-portrait, showing himself peering out a half-open window.

As you stroll through the aisles, remember that many notable events occurred here, including Mozart's marriage in 1782 and his funeral in December 1791.

The bird's-eye views from the cathedral's beloved Alter Steffl (Old Stephen Tower) will be a highlight for some. The south tower is 450 feet high and was built between 1359 and 1433. The climb up the 343 steps is rewarded with vistas that extend to the rising slopes of the Wienerwald. The north steeple houses the big Pummerin bell and a lookout terrace (access by elevator).

Stephansplatz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
sights Details
Rate Includes: Cathedral only free. ll €6 all-inclusive guided tour tickets include the catacombs, North Tower, and South Tower., General Hours: Mon-Sat. 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Guided tours Mon-Sat. 9-11:30 and 1pm-4:30; Sun. 1pm-4:30; Roof Tours July-September at 7 p.m.

Wiener Staatsoper

1st District Fodor's choice

Vying with St. Stephen's Cathedral for the honor of the emotional heart of the city, the opera house is a focus for Viennese life and one of the chief symbols of resurgence after World War II. Its directorship is one of the top jobs in Austria, almost as important as that of the country's president, and one that draws even more public attention. The first of the Ringstrasse projects to be completed (in 1869), the opera house suffered disastrous bomb damage in the last days of World War II—only the outer walls, the front facade, and the main staircase survived. The auditorium is plain when compared to the red-and-gold eruptions of London's Covent Garden or some of the Italian opera houses, but it has an elegant individuality that it shows off beautifully when the stage and auditorium are turned into a ballroom for the great Opera Ball.

The construction of the opera house is the stuff of legend. When the foundation was laid, the plans for the Opernring were not yet complete, and in the end the avenue turned out to be several feet higher than originally planned. As a result, the opera house lacked the commanding prospect that its architects, Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg, had intended. Even Emperor Franz Josef pronounced the building a bit low to the ground. For the sensitive van der Nüll (and here the story becomes a bit suspect), failing his beloved emperor was the last straw. In disgrace and despair, he committed suicide. Sicardsburg died of grief shortly thereafter. And the emperor, horrified at the deaths his innocuous remark had caused, limited all his future artistic pronouncements to a single immutable formula: "Es war sehr schön, es hat mich sehr gefreut" ("It was very nice, it pleased me very much").

Renovation could not avoid a postwar look, for the cost of fully restoring the 19th-century interior was prohibitive. The original design was followed in the 1945–1955 reconstruction, meaning that sight lines from some of the front boxes are poor at best. These disappointments hardly detract from the fact that this is one of the world's half-dozen greatest opera houses, and experiencing a performance here can be the highlight of a trip to Vienna. If tickets are sold out, some performances are shown live on a huge screen outside on Karajanplatz. Tours of the opera house are given regularly, but starting times vary according to rehearsals; the current schedule is posted under the arcades on both sides of the building. Under the arcade on the Kärntnerstrasse side is an information office that also sells tickets to the main opera and the Volksoper.

Opernring 2, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
sights Details
From €10 for standing room tickets, €10 for guided tours
Rate Includes: No performances Jul.--Aug., Tours year-round

Altes Rathaus

1st District

Opposite the Bohemian Chancery stands the Altes Rathaus, dating from the 14th century but displaying 18th-century Baroque motifs on its facade.

Am Hof

1st District

In the Middle Ages, the ruling Babenberg family built its castle on what is today's Vienna's oldest square, the Am Hof (which translates to "at court"). The Mariansäule—or Maria’s column---was erected in 1667 to mark victory in the Thirty Years' War. The onetime Civic Armory at the northwest corner has been used as a fire station since 1685 (the high-spirited facade, with its Habsburg eagle, was "Baroqued" in 1731). The complex includes a firefighting museum that's open on Sunday morning. Presiding over the east side of the square is the noted Kirche Am Hof, formerly a Jesuit monastery and now a Croatian church. At No.13 is the fairly stolid 17th-century Palais Collalto, famous as the setting for Mozart's first public engagement at the age of six. In Bognergasse, to the right of the church, is the Engel Apotheke (pharmacy) at No. 9, with a Jugendstil mosaic depicting winged women collecting the elixir of life in outstretched chalices. At the turn of the 20th century, the inner city was dotted with storefronts decorated in a similar manner; today this is the sole survivor. A fantastic permanent light installation became a fixture on the Am Hof in 2017; every day, for an hour at sundown, you can witness Olafur Eliasson's "Yellow Fog" transform the square into a supernatural wonder.

From March through November, there is an art and antiques market every Friday and Saturday from 10 to 5. Am Hof also hosts one of Vienna's celebrated Christmas Markets as well as an Easter Market.

Architekturzentrum Wien

7th District/Neubau

Besides the permanent show of Austrian architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries, an Encyclopaedia of Architects featuring more than 1000 master builders, urban planners, and theorists who did work in Vienna from 1770 to 1945 and an impressive image archive of photographs tracing Austrian architecture from 1980 to 2005, the center holds major exhibitions presenting the breadth of architecture history and visions of what is to come.

Museumsplatz 1, Vienna, Vienna, A-1070, Austria
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Rate Includes: €9, Daily 10–7


2nd District/Leopoldstadt
An elegant oasis of sculpted trees and elaborate formal gardens, Augarten Park dates to the beginning of the 17th century when this area was used as a small hunting area and lodge. In 1705, formal gardens were established by designer Jean Trehet, and the Lustschloss (a kind of pleasure palace or retreat for entertainment) was rebuilt after being destroyed by Ottoman troops. Today, the palace is the headquarters of the Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur (Augarten porcelain factory), one of Europe's oldest porcelain factories. In 1775, the Augarten was opened to the public by Emperor Joseph II and the inscription "Allen Menschen gewidmeter Erlustigungs-Ort von Ihrem Schaetzer" ("A place of amusement dedicated to all people by their Cherisher") can still be read at the main gate to the Augarten from Obere Augartenstrasse. Gravel paths crisscross the park's 128 acres under the shade of leafy chestnuts, lime, ash, and maple trees. There's also a sprawling playground, a lovely cafe in the park's center, and two Flaktürme (Flak Towers), built by the Nazis to defend Vienna against air-raids during WWII. At the southern tip of Augarten is MuTH (Musik and Theatre), the 400-seat concert hall and home to the Vienna Boys Choir. Next door is a summer outdoor theater.
Obere Augartenstrasse 1, Vienna, Vienna, Austria


1st District

Built during the 14th century and presenting the most unified Gothic interior in the city, the church is something of a fraud—the interior dates from the late 18th century, not the early 14th—though the view from the entrance doorway is stunning: a soaring harmony of vertical piers, ribbed vaults, and hanging chandeliers that makes Vienna's other Gothic interiors look earthbound by comparison. Napoléon was wed here, as were Emperor Franz Josef and his beloved Sisi. Note on the right the magnificent Tomb of the Archduchess Maria-Christina, sculpted by the great Antonio Canova in 1805, with mourning figures trooping into a pyramid. The imposing Baroque organ sounds as heavenly as it looks, and the Sunday-morning high mass (frequently with works by Mozart or Haydn) sung here at 11 can be the highlight of a trip. To the right of the main altar, in the small Loreto Chapel, stand silver urns containing some 54 hearts of Hapsburg rulers. This rather morbid sight is viewable after mass on Sunday or by appointment.

Josefsplatz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria

Belvedere 21

3rd District/Landstrasse

The Belvedere's museum of contemporary art is housed in the structure originally built for the 1958 World Expo, the design of which won architect Karl Schwanzer the Grand Prix d'Architecture that year. The structure was modified and reopened in 2011 as a space to showcase the best of Austrian modern art of the past 70 years

Arsenalstrasse 1, Vienna, Vienna, 1030, Austria
sights Details
Rate Includes: €9, Closed Mon. and Tues., Wed. and Fri. 11-9; Thurs., Sun. and Holidays 11-6

Blutgasse District

1st District

Today this block, bounded by Singerstrasse, Grünangergasse, and Blutgasse, is a splendid example of city renovation and restoration, with cafés, shops, and galleries tucked into the corners. Nobody knows for certain how its gruesome name originated—Blut is German for "blood"— but one legend has it that Knights Templar were slaughtered here when their order was abolished in 1312. (There are roads named "Blutgasse" in villages surrounding Vienna, so many believe the name to be in remembrance of massacres suffered at the two Turkish invasions.) In later, pre-pavement, years the narrow street was known as Mud Lane. You can look inside the courtyards to see the open galleries that connect various apartments on the upper floors, the finest example being at Blutgasse 3. At the corner of Singerstrasse sits the 18th-century Neupauer-Breuner Palace, with its monumental entranceway and delicate windows. Opposite, at Singerstrasse 17, is the Rottal Palace, attributed to Hildebrandt, with its wealth of classical wall motifs, a contrast to the simple 18th-century facades on Blutgasse.

Böhmische Hofkanzlei

1st District

This architectural jewel of the Inner City was built between 1708 and 1714 by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. He and his contemporary, Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, were the reigning architectural geniuses of Baroque-era Vienna. They designed their churches and palaces during the building boom that followed the defeat of the Turks in 1683. Both had studied architecture in Rome, and both were deeply impressed by the work of the great Italian architect Francesco Borromini, who brought to his designs a freedom of invention that was looked upon with horror by most contemporary Romans. But for Fischer von Erlach and Hildebrandt, Borromini's ideas were a source of triumphant architectural inspiration, and when they returned to Vienna they produced between them many of the city's most beautiful buildings. Alas, narrow Wipplingerstrasse allows little more than an oblique view of this florid facade. The rear of the building, on Judenplatz, is less elaborate but gives a better idea of the design concept. The building first served as the offices of Bohemia's representatives to the Vienna-based monarchy, and still houses government offices today.


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The intimate Burggarten in back of the Neue Burg is a quiet oasis that includes a statue of a contemplative Franz Josef and an elegant statue of Mozart, moved here from the Albertinaplatz after the war, when the city's charred ruins were being rebuilt. Today the park is a favored time-out spot for the Viennese; an alluring backdrop is formed by the striking former greenhouses, now the gorgeous Palmenhaus restaurant and the Schmetterlinghaus. Enchantment awaits you at Vienna's unique Butterfly House. Inside are towering tropical trees, waterfalls, a butterfly nursery, and more than 150 species on display (usually 400 winged jewels are in residence). The park also has entrances on Hanuschgasse and Goethegasse.

Opernring, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
sights Details
Rate Includes: €7, Apr.–Oct., weekdays 10–4:45, weekends 10–6:15; Nov.–Mar., daily 10–3:45


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One of the most important theaters in the German-speaking world, the Burgtheater was built between 1874 and 1888 in the Italian Renaissance style, replacing the old court theater at Michaelerplatz. Emperor Franz Josef's mistress, Katherina Schratt, was once a star performer here, and famous Austrian and German actors still stride across this stage. The opulent interior, with its 60-foot relief Worshippers of Bacchus by Rudolf Wyer and lobby ceiling frescoes by Ernst and Gustav Klimt, makes it well worth a visit.

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Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring 2, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
sights Details
Rate Includes: From €7.50, Guided tours daily at 3, though subject to change

Café Central

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Part of the Palais Ferstel complex, this is one of Vienna's more famous cafés, its full authenticity blemished only by complete restoration in recent years. In its prime (before World War I), the café was "home" to some of the most famous literary figures of the day, who dined, socialized, worked, and even received mail here. The denizens of the Central favored political argument; indeed, their heated discussions became so well known that in October 1917, when Austria's foreign secretary was informed of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, he dismissed the report with a facetious reference to a well-known local Marxist, the chess-loving (and presumably harmless) "Herr Bronstein from the Café Central." The remark was to become famous all over Austria, for Herr Bronstein had disappeared and was about to resurface in Russia bearing a new name: Leon Trotsky. Today things are a good deal more yuppified: the overpriced coffee now comes with a little chocolate biscuit, and the pianist is more likely to play Sinatra ballads than Strauss. But you can linger as long as you like over a single cup of coffee and a newspaper from the huge international selection provided.

Collection of Historical Musical Instruments

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See pianos that belonged to Brahms, Schumann, and Mahler, along with collections of a variety of ancient and antique instruments in this Neue Burg museum. Also here is Anton Karas' zither, on which he played "The Third Man" theme.

Heldenplatz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
sights Details
Rate Includes: €12 includes Imperial Armory and the Weltmuseum Wien, Wed.–Mon. 10–6