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One of the most historical and beautiful cities in the world is Vienna, Austria, thanks to its amazing architecture, museums, gardens, and unique attractions. This is also a very livable city full of music, festivals, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere with endless energy. Vienna is considered to be a gateway town between Eastern Europe and Western Europe, so come experience it for yourself with these top 10 things to do.
Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens
This Vienna attraction is one of the most iconic and photographed places in the city. There are well over a thousand rooms here, with favorite spots being Empress Maria Theresa’s garden apartments, the Imperial Apartments, and the Palm House. This building has been in place since the 1600s and has a Baroque style of architecture with lots of statues and windows. Plan enough time for your visit to the Schönbrunn Palace to also walk the gardens and check out the hedge maze, fountain, and statues. There are various tour options to choose from, including the Imperial Tour of 22 rooms, which takes about 30 to 40 minutes and costs €14.20 per adult, and the Grand Tour of 40 rooms, which takes about 50-60 minutes and costs €17.50 per adult.
Naschmarkt is a large outdoor food market that is typically open Mondays through Saturdays in Vienna. The market’s history dates back to the 16th century and has around 120 food and vendor stalls. You can walk among the stalls to get a bite to eat or shop for unique souvenirs. The market takes place on Wienzeile Street and gives visitors a glimpse into local life and culture. Stop by on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. or on Saturdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Naturhistorisches Museum is the city’s natural history museum with exhibits about mammals, minerals, fossils, and much more. This is one of the best natural history museums in all of Europe, so definitely plan to check it out if you’re curious about the world or are traveling with kids. Museum highlights include the 29,500-year-old Venus of Willendorf figurine, the dinosaur skeletons and the extinct Steller’s sea cow. The museum is open Thursdays through Mondays from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Children and youth are admitted for free, and the adult ticket price is €10.
The Hofburg has been the seat of Austrian rulers since the 1200s and is a huge complex with many buildings, courtyards, and rooms. This is a must-see place for anyone interested in architecture because there are Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic styles all represented in the buildings. Top sights to see at the Hofburg include the silver collection and the Imperial Apartments. The Hofburg is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., depending on the season. The adult admission price that includes an audio guide is €13,90, and the price with a guided tour is €16,90. Also consider visiting the Sisi Museum to learn about the unusual life of Empress Elizabeth.
St. Stephen's Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the top attractions in the city of Vienna and also known as Stephansdom. The original church dates back to the 12th century, and numerous reconstructions and improvements have been made since then. Visitors like to come here to see the views from the top of the Steffl’s Watch Room and to the viewing platform to see the Pummerin Bell. There are 13 bells at the cathedral, but this one is the second-largest free-swinging bell in Europe. Inside, you can see over a dozen alters, catacombs, small chapels, and colorful tiles. To learn more about the cathedral, you can take a daily 30-minute guided tour of the cathedral or the catacombs.
Prater Amusement Park
With all of the old and historical buildings and attractions in Vienna, it can be easy to forget that there are some great modern structures here as well. One example is the Prater Amusement Park between the Danube and Danube Canal. Here you’ll find a large Ferris wheel, old-fashioned rides, thrill rides, and food. You can learn more about how the park was built at the Prater Museum, see the statute at Prater Ziehrer Monument, visit the planetarium, and even watch the Liliputbahn miniature railroad. While at this park, you can also check out the Winter Market at Riesenradplatz to enjoy live music performances and hot beverages.
Tiergarten Schoenbrunn - Zoo Vienna
Tiergarten Schönbrunn is the zoo in Vienna and the oldest zoo in the world, dating back to 1752. This is when Franz Stephan had his royal menagerie housed in Baroque architecture buildings. There are still many original buildings in place here and hundreds of species of animals, including giant pandas and polar bears. The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., depending on the month. Adult tickets cost €18,50.
The Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School was established after Emperor Maximilian II introduced Lipizzaner horses in the 1500s. Today, this is a place to come watch a live performance and be amazed by the grandeur of classic horsemanship. The riding school here has been training horses for hundreds of years and stills teaches visitors about the art and passion of riding.
One of the most unique things to see in Vienna is the Hundertwasserhaus. It’s been called the city’s “nature and human-friendly house” and is brightly colored and very distinctive. It was finished in 1985 and is home to numerous artists at the corner of Kegelstrasse and Löwengasse. The public isn’t allowed to go into the residential structure, but this is still a great place to admire from the outside and snap a few photos.
The Third Man Museum
The Third Man is a classic film from 1949 that is widely embraced in Vienna. There’s a museum in town that has a private collection of memorabilia from the film, an excerpt from the film you can watch, and glimpses into life in the city after World War II. Gerhard Strassgschwandtner and Karin Höfler created the museum, and you can visit with or without a guided tour. This museum is open each Saturday from 2-6 p.m. and has 13 rooms and at least 2,300 original exhibits.