Guide to Vienna

This European capital has a dazzling repertoire.  It has been called the city of music, the city of dreams, and is one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Austria’s largest and capital city, Vienna, has an accolade of honours. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in 2010, was voted as the top city in the world for quality of living.  When visiting, you will notice how well-maintained it is.

Vienna has a variety of old and new visitor attractions in a beautiful setting.  By walking the city’s famous ringed street, the Ringstrasse, you can see many important sights; the Rathaus (city hall), Museum of Fine Art and Museum of Natural History, the Parliament and the Burgtheater, one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.  You can also tour the Ringstrasse by tram or on a Fiaker, an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage.

The city’s reputation for music stems from the Viennese Classicism era.  It has been the home of many famous composers, and is the birthplace of the Waltz and operettas.  Today, the impressive Vienna State Opera is the stage for international opera stars with guided tours and different shows on almost every day.

Sigmund Freud, the famous psycho-analyst, gives Vienna its reputation as a city of dreams (or analysis thereof). Freud’s former residence, where he received patients, is now home of the Freud museum.  Here you can see how he and his family lived prior to abandonment during the Second World War.

Vienna provides the location for some major international organisations such as the United Nations which is located in the Vienna International Centre by the Danube River.  This area is known locally as UNO City, and is Vienna’s modern side. 

For some of classic Vienna on a grand scale, go to Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, a former imperial summer residence.  There is a palace, palm house, gardens and Vienna Zoo.  This small zoo, the oldest in the world, is popular with tourists with numerous exotic animals such as elephants, lions and pandas.  Schönbrunn is slightly out of the city and takes around one half day to explore. 

For Vienna’s religious history visit one of its many churches.  St Peter’s Church (Peterskirche) is an umissable 18th-century church that can be identified by a striking copper domed roof, the inside of which is adorned with beautiful frescoes. Vienna’s most important and most visited religious building is St Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) which was consecrated in the 12th-century.   It can be spotted easily due to its ornate, patterned roof.

Vienna’s motto is ‘now or never,’ and there has never been a better time to visit than now.

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