The Vienna Tourist Board provides the media (people like me) with statistics on the most popular attractions in the city. According to their numbers , the top 10 sights are…
(The ranking is a little old, but still more or less accurate I reckon, based on my local knowledge. )
1. Schönbrunn Palace
The palace, the park and associated attractions pull in over four million visitors a year. The centerpiece is the palace itself, former home to the Imperial family and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Find photos, tips, and guides to the area here.
2. Vienna Zoo
Many of those visitors also find their way into what is the world’s oldest working zoo, given its location in the grounds of the palace. Much improved in recent years, its biggest pull is probably the giant panda enclosure. Learn more about the zoo and its animals.
3. The Albertina Museum
This museum in a converted palace has one of the world’s finest graphic art collections, including works by Michelangelo, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Klimt and Warhol. The Albertina staterooms are a treat, too.
4. The giant ferris wheel (Riesenrad)
Vienna’s iconic ferris wheel is a star of the silver screen, featuring in such classics as The Third Man, Vienna Blood and Before Sunrise. The views of the city from up top are pretty good.
5. The Hofburg and associated sights
The Imperial apartments, Sisi Museum and Imperial Silver Collection are all located in the same area of the Hofburg Palace, the winter pendant to Schönbrunn Palace. The Hofburg forms a large complex full of parks, museums and, of course, the Spanish Riding School.
6. Kunsthistorisches Museum
Vienna’s top museum for historical art, featuring regular exhibitions and permanent collections covering the antiquities through to Renaissance and Baroque art. Perhaps most famous for its globally-important collection of Bruegels. More info on the museum here.
The summer residence of Prince Eugene is now a venue for exhibitions and boasts its own extensive art depot (including the world’s biggest Klimt collection). Like the Albertina, marvel at both the art and the interiors in the two Belvedere Palaces. Oh, and this is where you find Klimt’s The Kiss.
This tall and newly-refurbished viewing tower has an observation deck plus a revolving restaurant and coffee house. Great (obviously) for views of Vienna.
9. Kunst Haus Wien
Another art museum and home to the Hundertwasser Museum. Be sure to visit the artfully-designed café inside, too.
10. Naturhistorisches Museum
And, finally, Vienna’s Natural History Museum, where there is much debate as to whether the collections or the building itself are deserving of most praise. Same can be said of many of Vienna’s museums. Did I mention this one has dinosaurs?