Vienna is known as one of the most stunning cities in Europe. It is nestled on the iconic Danube River and was once the capital of the powerful Austrian Empire. While Austria may be a small country today, the capital Vienna was built to service a much larger Empire. One can see the grandeur of the Austrian Empire in the impressive Schonbrunn Palace (which is now considered Vienna’s crowning jewel).
Another must-see historic city to see while in Austria is the timeless city of Salzburg where the classic movie, Sound of Music was filmed. Austria is one of Europe’s most beautiful countries and its Austrian Alps boast some of the most majestic mountains in Europe.
Vienna – The Imperial City Worth Visiting
Vienna’s old city center has been a World Heritage Site since 2001 and the city is also known as the City of Music. It was the home of many famous classical musicians like Mozart and Beethoven.
- Former: Capital of the Austrian/Hungarian Empire
- Situated: On The Banks Of The Danube River
- Name: “Wien” In German
Vienna’s old city center is rich in architectural ensembles and has many Baroque palaces and gardens – reminders of its glorious imperial days at the heart of an empire in the past. Many of its grand buildings date from the late 19th century.
Everywhere one goes in the historic center, one is reminded of Vienna’s imperial grandeur is the legacy of the powerful Habsburg monarchy. For over six centuries the powerful Habsburg family ruled from Vienna.
A Modern City With A Powerful Heritage
Vienna is home to almost 3 million people – around a third of Austria’s population and was the largest German-speaking city in the world at the beginning of the 20th century. Vienna is a city with a time-honored coffee-house culture and is famous for being one of the most livable cities in the world.
- Population: 2 Million (Almost 3 Million Metro Area)
- Capital: Of Austria
Being in the heart of Europe, it is also an easy train ride from many other iconic European cities like Budapest, Prague, Munich, Bratislava, and Salzburg.
- Time Needed: Around 3 Days In Vienna
So is Vienna the most beautiful city in Europe? No, not really. But while many may consider other European cities like Prague, Paris, Rome, Budapest, and Lisbon to be more beautiful than Vienna, it is still one of the most stunning and historic cities in Europe. It is a city where one can feel the imposing presence of the imperial period of Europe.
Visits to Vienna are normally part of a Central European tour that includes Prague and Budapest. Another way is to take a relaxing and romantic cruise up the beautiful blue Danube – it connects some of Europe’s top cities like Vienna and Budapest. Visitors are often taken aback by just how different the European cities can feel from each other.
What To See In Vienna
It is one of the most visited cities in Europe drawing in over 17 million visitors every year. Take time in this magnificent to see the city’s magnificent museums, its fine concert halls, and one of the world’s great opera houses.
Today one can see the imperial art collection in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna – it is packed with countless priceless works by Old Masters. Another historic museum to see is Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum) – there are so many museums in Vienna that one will be spoiled for choice.
Top Attractions In Vienna:
- Hofburg Palace Complex: Includes The Imperial Chapel and Spanish Riding School
- Kaiserappartements: Imperial Apartments
- Kunsthistorisches Museum: Houses The Imperial Treasures
- Schloss Schönbrunn: The Habsburg’s 1441 Room Summer Residence
- Innere Stadt: The Historic Inner City
- Naturhistorisches Museum: A Natural History Museum
- Belvedere Palace: A Baroque Masterpiece
- The Vienna State Opera House: One of the World’s Largest And Most Impressive Operas
One of the atmospheric things to do while in Vienna is to go to classical concerts and listen live to the city’s rich heritage of composers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss (father and son), Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler, and others.
Another very different attraction while in Vienna is to see the WW2 Flak Towers – these are massive antiaircraft towers that were built so strong that people gave up trying to demolish them after the war. Today they are used for upmarket cafés with a view, fallout shelters, and more.