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 Vienna attractions when you visit this storied city.
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.
2. Spanish Riding School
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. Vienna top attractions tend to favor history and culture from the Habsburg dynasty, but the city also has an impressive selection of activities for every traveler. Use our recommendations to plan a visit sure to cover a variety of interests:
1. 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. Check out these inexpensive four and five star tours.
Whether or not you’re a horse lover, this stop is one of the most popular Vienna tourist attractions, and we can assure you it 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.
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. Or choose a romantic candlelit dinner for two. This is the amusement park featured in the 1948 film noir classic, The Third Man, starring Orson Welles.
4. Demel Bakery
If you are in the mood for a sweet treat then do not miss Demel Bakery. The favorite of Empress Sisi, Demel Bakery has been in business since 1786 and used to deliver delicacies to the Palace daily. Designed in the neo-Baroque style, the interior looks much like it did in the days of serving the Royal family.
The cafe’s real claim to fame, however, is its feud with the Hotel Sacher over the “Original Sacher Torte.” According to the lore, Eduard, the son of Franz Sacher, refined his father’s recipe and brought it to the Demel Bakery where he worked after the Hotel Sacher’s bankruptcy in the 1930s. New owners of the hotel began to sell Sacher torte beginning in 1938 under the trademarked name. World War II interrupted the dispute, which was resumed in the 1950s and was finally settled in 1963. The Hotel Sacher gets to use the name “Original Sacher Torte” and Demel gets to use a triangular decoration with “Eduard-Sacher-Torte” on top.
If you would like to learn more about Cafe Demel’s heavenly treats you can visit the museum located in the basement. If you are into food (and who isn’t), this 4-hour walking tour of Vienna food might be for you.
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).
6. Schoenbrunn Palace
One of the most popular top attractions in Vienna, this 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 photographer’s 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! We love the Hop On Hop Off buses and Vienna’s include Donauinsel among many other stops.
8. St. Stephen’s Cathedral St. Stephen’s 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.
9. 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. Save 20% with this 4.5 star rated tour.
10. 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. Skip the line with this highly rated tour.
Vienna is a perennial destination for visitors who are drawn to its Old World magic, stunning architecture, art and cultural treasures, and courtly hospitality. We hope you enjoy your visit and found our list of must see Vienna attractions helpful!