Things To Do In Vienna
Vienna, the world’s most coveted destination for Christmas Markets, is more than just a winter holiday. This capital city of Austria offers tourists a delightful mix of palaces, theatres, museums, gardens and culture. There is Mozart’s music here, and ballerina shows, there is Hapsburg history and baroque architecture to go along; you can stroll down streets as old as 17th Century and sit down at a cafe to drink a traditional Austrian coffee. Don’t put a number on the things to do in Vienna, just come and do it!
Take a Ring Tour
The Ringstraße or Ringstrasse is the first road surrounding Vienna’s inner city. It was once a trench dug just inside the walls that surrounded the city, but was later filled in to make a round street where craftsmen lived. Now you can visit this street to shop, walk down an uber-chic avenue of Vienna or chill at a local coffeehouse with some coffee and cake. There are also many historic and landmark buildings on this street so if you want a drive-tour, then this is it - Opera House, Parliament, City Hall, Hofburg Palace… you name it.
Visit a couple of Coffee Houses… or more
There is a popular saying in Vienna about coffeehouses - that it is a place where ‘time and space are consumed but only the coffee is found on the bill.’ In a world where leisure seating at cafes and patisseries is a thing of the past, Vienna continues to give you that old world charming experience. Its coffeehouse culture is unique and has made it to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Visit any of their coffeehouses like Café Schwarzenberg (oldest cafe), Süssmund Kaffeebar, Café Central or Café Prückel - and enjoy decadent coffee with cakes, pastries or tarts. The best thing? When you are done, nobody will ask you to go.
See a Viennese Opera
Vienna is home to so many beautiful theatres that are not just good eye candy but produce world class operas and performances. When in Vienna, especially in summer, do not miss out on these productions. Visit the Vienna State Opera to watch an outstanding ballet recital or opera, most of them heavily discounted, mostly around 3 euros. Austria also has a legendary musical history, being the birthplace of Mozart. And Austria was his work centre, so if you are a fan of classical, attend one of the many concerts held around.
Visit the MuseumsQuartier
Vienna’s museums, most of them, are very conveniently located in one small area called the MuseumsQuartier, situated in the Hapsburgian Imperial stables. Here you can take a day tour to hop around museums, from the Art History Museum, Leopold Museum, Natural History Museum and MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art).
Tour Churches and Cathedrals
Vienna is home to some very ancient, very beautiful places of worship. Having been occupied by the Romans at one point, you will see much of their architectural imprint on the churches. Others have baroque intricacies that go a long way in endearing these places to visitors. The St Anne’s Church is one such place, with frescoes and larger than life ceilings made to echo off classical music. Live orchestras are regularly played here and the experience is magical. Another great site is the St Stephen's Cathedral, the 12th Century worship house that was destroyed and rebuilt after World War II.
Christmas markets, Christmas markets!
Why, Austria tops the list of best Christmas Markets of the world and Vienna, being the capital, doesn’t fall back. With the oncoming of the festive season, Vienna decks up in lights and boughs of holly to go fa la la la la, with stalls put up and small shops and kiosks set up to sell everything from Christmas toys, baubles, decorations, souvenirs, cakes, ale and more. These open night markets are wonderful really, and people come from far and wide to just be a part of this cultural extravaganza. The night markets start setting shop by November first week and go on until the New Year. Visit the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung and Christmas World at City Hall for the best experience.
Eat Cake at Sacher Cafe
The renowned Sacher Torte is what the Sacher Cafe is known for, among other delicacies. This rich, decadent chocolate cake, lathered with a layer of apricot jam and covered in chocolate ganache is heaven served with a swirl of whipped cream. It was invented by the hotel’s owner and Emperor Franz Josef to create something new for the desert menu. The Sacher Cafe has a very old world charm to it and you can order its other specials like apple strudel, melange coffee (milky coffee), chocolate tarts and croissants.
Admire Belvedere Palace
The Belvedere Palace in the Belvedere Complex is a stunning piece of baroque architecture. Some say it gives the Palace of Versailles a run for its money. The Complex also holds a garden, a zoo and museum for tourists to go around. The Belvedere Complex also sets up its own Christmas Night Markets in November-December, so that’s an added incentive.