Top 10 Vienna Attractions for First Timers

vienna attractions

Vienna and the Danube

Beauty and culture combine in Vienna attractions befitting its reputation as the crown jewel of the historic Hapsburg Empire. Be sure to enjoy the marvelous mix of old and new when you visit Vienna.

Often labeled as Europe’s “cultural capital,” Vienna is a metropolis with charisma, vivacity and style. With infrastructure and architecture that can only be described as “candy for the eyes,” Vienna attractions reflect its exquisite attributes, too, in a marvelous mix.

Vienna is located on the banks of the splendid Danube River. With an expansive system of woods, parks and open spaces, Vienna is a city of natural beauty.  More so, it is filled with history and culture and has an impressive selection of activities for every traveler’s interests. 

The Kunsthistorische Museum
Also known as the Fine Arts Museum, this immense building connects to the Imperial Palace. The gorgeous architecture surrounds one of the biggest collections of fine art that was collected by the Royal family over the centuries.  Be sure to set aside plenty of time to explore this beautiful place with art from classic artists such as Rembrandt.

English: Spanische Hofreitschule in Vienna.

Spanische Hofreitschule (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spanish Riding School
Whether or not you’re a horse lover, this Vienna attraction will be fun for the entire family.  This is the home of the famous Lipizzaner stallions who are versed in the classic art of dressage. These dancing horses will entertain and amaze you.  After watching the performance, you are encouraged to tour the stables where the horses are cared for. If the price of the performance ticket is too dear, you can opt, as we did, for the reasonably priced Saturday Morning Exercise with Music, which was a fine spectator experience in the historic arena.

vienna attractions

Prater from the Ferris Wheel – creepy and creaky in winter

If you enjoy amusement parks, this is the place for you. With over 250 attractions featuring haunted houses and thrill rides, there are over 6,000,000 square meters of excitement for you to explore and enjoy.  Be sure to ride the famous Wiener Riesenrod, a giant Ferris wheel where you can experience the beauty of Vienna from up top. This is the amusement park featured in the 1948 film noir classic, The Third Man, starring Orson Welles.

vienna attractions

Demel Bakery Photo Credit: Hickerphoto

Demel Bakery
If you are in the mood for a sweet treat then do not miss Demel Bakery. The favorite of Empress Sissi, Demel Bakery has been in business since 1786 and used to deliver delicacies to the Palace daily. Though the building looks much like it did in the days of serving the Royal family, it is truly modern. If you would like to learn more about their heavenly treats you can visit the museum located in the basement.

Discover the best Vienna hotels.

Also known as The Ring, this boulevard loops around the center of the city. It is an interesting way to see the city if you like to walk and get a feel for the atmosphere and stately architecture. You can walk to Parliament, Town Hall, and the Vienna State Opera.  If you would rather rest your feet, you can take the Ring Tram. We found it convenient to stay on Kaertner Ring, adjacent to the opera, in the magnificent, historic Hotel Bristol (see our review, here).

English: Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schoenbrunn Palace
This Vienna attraction is a vast baroque style palace that is surrounded by beautifully maintained grounds. Used as a summer home for the Imperial family, it has lavish state rooms and is finely appointed. Be sure to tour the gardens that surround the palace, they are a photographers dream!

Also called Danube Island, this is a man-made 13 mile-long structure that was originally used to protect the city from floods. There are tons of recreational activities that you can engage in as well as plenty of food and drink options.  If you visit during June, be sure to take part in the huge cultural festival complete with live music!

St. Stephens Cathedral St. Stephens Cathedral is one of the most well known Vienna attractions and is nestled in the heart of the city. As one of the most photographed structures in Vienna, it is pictured on many postcards. Housing 18 altars and 23 bells, it simply stunning. You can enjoy the spectacular architecture of the main cathedral, or if you are feeling a little adventurous, explore the catacombs underneath. Albertina There is never a shortage of museums and art in Vienna. Albertina is another must-see museum that houses a vast collection of beautiful art. It boasts having the Batliner collection which changes intermittently. They also have temporary collections by current artists.

Belvedere Palace (Lower Belvedere), Vienna, Au...

Belvedere Palace (Lower Belvedere), Vienna, Austria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Belvedere Palace This Palace is so sprawling that it is divided into four parts known as the upper and lower Belvedere, the Orangery, and the Palace stables.  Tour Prince Eugene’s living quarters which have been preserved in their original state. The stables of the Palace house one of the most extensive medieval art collections to date. Set aside some time, as the scale of the palace dwarfs other Vienna attractions. Tip: All this sightseeing is sure to whet your appetite for the famous Vienna Sachertorte, the original of which can be found at the historic Hotel Sacher in the City Center. Don’t miss this decadent classic dating from the 1830’s!


    • Betsy Wuebker says

      Bula Suzanne – And you’ll see they loved Sisi in Budapest, too. She has a bridge named after her. 🙂

  1. Alex Jacobson says

    Thank you, Betsy. Your post is very informative. Will you be so kind to tell me where have you already been? I’m not talking about Vienna, but the whole country – Austria. Maybe Salzburg for example? This beauty will streak you :3