The capital of Austria and meanwhile an authentic pearl of the European continent – Vienna is a city you must put on your traveling list and visit at least once in a lifetime. It’s an extraordinary destination, a city of diverse culture and stunning architecture, where rich historical events whisper from every corner, and the stories about Freud, Strauss, Klimt and many other famous Viennese are being repeated over and over again. Oh, what an exciting city Vienna is, once you experience its spirit it will immediately find a special place in your heart.
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Vienna attractions and things to do
Even though you might have already visited Vienna or you were planning on doing that, you have probably had in mind checking out the top attractions of the city. To do this, you can easily get informed online, by your friends or even at the info tourist points in the city. However, this beautiful capital has a lot more to offer, and you would be surprised to find out that a lot of people miss out on the chance to visit the fascinating “hidden” gems of Vienna. So, besides the Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere, Albertina, Leopold Museum, Prater and the many other amazing things to see, you may wonder what else can impress you in this magnificent city. Well, in that case, check out the following attractions worth your attention:
Spectacular murals all over Vienna
This city is the perfect destination if you are interested in staring at some excellent artwork. It is the incredible and mega-famous paintings hung in various galleries that are attracting visitors from all over the world. Naturally, art can be experienced even on the outside of these galleries and museums; you just have to find the right locations in the city. One great type of art spread throughout Vienna, which can totally leave the sudden passengers speechless, is the power and the beauty of the murals applied or painted on the walls of the buildings. Just a simple stroll through the city can help you discover various paintings that nicely decorate the streets and give the artists a chance to express their creativity.
Depending on which area you are exploring, there are plenty of buildings decorated with different types of murals, so fascinating that it’s difficult to choose your favorite one. The ones divided as unique ones can be found on the streets of Wiener Brunnenmarkt, Gierstergasse, Albener Hafen and many others. For those of you familiar with the world-famous graffiti artists, you would be interested in seeing the artwork of ROA throughout the streets and the famous “Commander” by the great Shepard Fairey at Absberggasse 35.
The amazing library and learning center by Zaha Hadid
The recently passed away architect of the modern times, the grand Zaha Hadid, apparently left a mark in Vienna that would be a shame for you to miss it. You wouldn’t want to keep your eyes on the building once you spot on the Library and Learning Centre at the University of Economics in Vienna. The incredible exterior and the even more stunning and precise interior will make you experience modern architecture from a different point of view. It is a real hidden attraction of Vienna as it is rare when tourists come to visit this spectacular building. However, the library and learning center are not that lonely as plenty of students and academics visit it every day to gain more knowledge. And honestly, once you step inside the library you will immediately wish to become a student again so that you can spend your days in this lovely learning center.
Spend a day relaxing at the Danube Island
Within the capital of Austria, there is an island referred to as the Donauinsel which is known to be a recreational paradise. Located in central Vienna, between the Danube River and the channel called New Danube, this small island is everything you need to get a day off from all the sightseeing and the busy city. From swimming and sunbathing to inline skating and water-skiing, this island is prepared for your required rehab. There are even some great and free of charge nude beaches if you are eager to try out something like this in Vienna.
But apart from all the fun activities that will help you relax and enjoy your free time, there are even some things that can energize you even more. In case you didn’t know, the island is not deserted, yet it has many great coffee places and bars where you can grab a drink and start to party. The island is also a great destination if you are into outdoor music festivals which are occasionally being organized exactly here.
Visit the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial
What is also known to be the Nameless Library is located on Judenplatz, which is in the first district of Vienna. As you may know, this city holds a rich history when it comes to the Jewish population of Austria. And just like most of the towns where the Jewish people were terrorized in the past, Vienna also has a central memorial for the Austrian victims of the Holocaust.
The creation of the memorial is unique, and if you take a closer look you will find out that everything regarding the design of this memorial is in the details. For example, the corners of the monument represent a stack of books turned from the inside. However, they are empty to represent the loss created by the genocide of the European Jews. It is quite touching to visit this place of Vienna, but it is nice to pay some respect and visit this great design by the British artist Rachel Whiteread.
Historic homes and palaces
Head to Stephansdom Quarter, to discover a string of baroque mansions that dominate the streets, or delve out of the center to unveil splendid summer palaces, which provided seasonal residential needs for wealthy aristocrats and emperors of the past.
In Stephansdom Quarters, discover Mozarthaus Vienna, which was the home of famous musician Mozart! for, 1784 until 1787, and is also where he composed some of his finest pieces. Embark on a trip back in time with the easy nature and stylistic features of the grand buildings that govern this district. Also located in Stephansdom is the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene, which is decorated in a typically baroque style, with its majestically furnished rooms and fairytale staircase, for the war hero Prince Eugene.
Venture outside of this district to discover the Belvedere Quarter, home to even more lavishly designed palaces and residences. Here you can locate the Museum of Austria art, and a string of Prince Eugene’s summer palaces, including ‘Belvedere,’ which was originally built on what were the outskirts of the city.
Lastly, ensure you head to the Schottenring and Alsergrund district, where you can locate the famous and controversial psychologist, Sigmund Freud’s home. The gorgeous and lovingly restored home was the psychologist’s home between 1891 and 1938, and possesses all the features of a typical, yet grand Austrian home.
The Stephansdom lies in the heart of Vienna and is undoubtedly the city’s most similar feature, with its overwhelming gothic architecture and baroque appearance, undergoing numerous modifications over time, depending on the movement in art and architecture. Some of the internal features of the church include the Wiener Neustädter; a carved altar from 1447, which was a gift from Friedrich 3rd.
Other Viennese Churches that are well worth the visit include Michaelerkirche, with its grand and superior medieval interior that screams neo-classicism. Like many other churches in Vienna, it was developed and modified throughout the ages, such as later additions of carved angels towering above the high altar, emphasize the importance of the baroque era.
Check out Maria-Treu-Kirche, a baroque style church which dates back to 1860, beholding an immortalized statue of Mary, hovering above the bustling square before it. The facade of the Kirche is richly designed and sheds light on the city’s architectural past and achievements.
Vienna has a hugely artistic past, and its presence still hangs over the city today; if you’re a prolific art lover and happen to be visiting Vienna, these quintessential art museums and history museums will satisfy your interests.
Check out the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna’s grandest collection of Art from across the world and periods. Built in 1891, the Wein has been constructed to house vast arrays of artworks compiled by a wealthy imperial family. The museum offers artworks from modern masterpieces to lost ancient treasures from the depths of European history. One of the most famous and sought after pieces that can be found here is Raphael’s ‘ Madonna in the Meadow.’ Don’t miss this stunningly beautiful architectural masterpiece and all that it comes with.
If you’re searching for an extensive collection of modern art to wallow in, ensure you don’t miss the Leopold Museum, with works collected by Dr. Rudolph Leopold. Bask in the art worlds of everything from expressionism to the art nouveau period. This funky white cube style building steers away drastically from the grand streets of Vienna, it screams a more active and unique approach to architecture, and it is the center point for fashion and culture in the city. Thus, if you seek something quirky and fresh during your stay, head on down to the Leopold museum for that satisfaction.
Vienna’s Museum of Natural History holds a vast collection of 20 million objects, dating back to pre-ancient history and a range of other eras. Discover endless taxidermy, insects, stones and gems even through to minerals and rocks that bear significant meaning and importance. His most renowned object in the natural history museum is the ‘Venus Von Willendorf,’ which is an unfathomable 29,500 years old; it is regarded as one of the most significant discoveries of all time, since its emergence in 1908, in Southern Austria.
Finally, head to Bank Austria Kunstforum Wein, which boasts 9000 classic and modern artworks, mainly focusing on the post-war avant-garde. In recent years, this hotspot has developed into a target for young art lovers and visitors, priding numerous exhibits from top names, such as Van Gogh and Picasso. Its intricately designed exhibitions are based upon themes, which in itself is a huge pull factor for visitors.
Day trips from Vienna
While in Vienna, why not extend your horizons and discover some nearby treasures? There are many excursions and guided trips to all of these destinations and more. Tick a few more hotspots off your bucket list!
Hop on a coach and venture through typical alpine Austrian countryside to the Danube Valley, sheltered by medieval ruins, fairy tale castles and abbeys. Winning the title of UNESCO world heritage site, it certainly lives up to its status; take a romantic boat trip along the famous Danube River to the picturesque town on Melk, that boasts even more mysterious castles and medieval cobbled streets in similar Austrian fashion. Take part in one of many guided tours that are available, to make your trip more worthwhile.
Check out Austria’s second major city of Salzburg, which is interestingly the birthplace of musical genius, Mozart. Revel in a fairy tale fantasy old town, which is dominated by beautifully structured Austrian houses in a classic medieval style, earning it the prize of a listed world heritage site. Discover the history of royal residency at the Mirabell Palace and gardens; completed in 1606, this royal location has witnessed numerous coronations, weddings, deaths and more, it’s an unmissable site and an absolute national treasure.
Head on down to Bratislava, the capital of the beautiful European country of Slovakia. Only an hour’s drive from Central Vienna, you will experience a delicious taste of Slovakian charm, with its medieval old town, that you can partake in guided tours to bask in constitutional history. Make sure you check out Michael’s gate and Bratislava Castle, which date all the way back to the Stone Age. Also, ensure you don’t miss the rococo style palaces that dominate the city, and acted as the destination for Hungarian aristocrat gatherings and meetings.
Tick off another country from the list by taking a day trip to Hungary’s capital, the magical city of Budapest. Located in Western Hungary and upon the banks of the Danube River, experience a taste of the country’s grand architecture and royal history. Visit the royal palace, with its beautiful splendor and history of royal residents; it has survived years of being destroyed and rebuilt, still standing proudly today. Cross the Szécheny chain bridge that transports you across the Danube River in style, with views of the gigantic Budapest parliament, which boats magnificent, sharp architecture, with its great red roofs towering high above the ground.
A local Beisl is perfect for a sweet gourmet pleasure
Have you never heard of this word before? Well don’t worry; it would be a surprise if you did know what it was. Even though the word may not be familiar to you, its main characteristics are something you have heard of before. If you are looking for a place to fill up your stomach with some delicious traditional dishes, then a local Beisl is what you’re looking for. Serving some great traditional meals and home-made beers, Beisls are quite popular in the culinary culture of Austria. Along with your walk through the city you may encounter plenty of Beisls, so don’t be skeptic whether you should enter what it seems to be entirely unknown to you or not. It is a great experience to dine at such a “restaurant”, having in mind that this type only exists within the borders of Austria.
Now that you’re ready for your next big trip to lovely Wien, we can only recommend you to check out some movies filmed in the wonderful capital of Austria. The city is exquisite, and it would be a shame not to visit it, even if it means just for one day. One of the most spectacular capitals in Europe is waiting for you, so share this article among your friends to let them know about these beautiful “hidden” attractions of Vienna and start packing for a new adventure.