It’s quite hard to find anywhere in central Vienna that doesn’t have something worth pointing at while going “Ooooh”.
Find photos, reviews, descriptions, insider tips and links to relevant websites in the articles below. And if you want to make sure you hit the hotspots, read up on the top 10 things to see or consider a sightseeing bus tour.
The Natural History Museum (NHM) has everything from geology to giraffes in one of the world’s most beautiful museums. Its architectural twin is the Museum of Art History (KHM), packed with some of Europe’s greatest art treasures.
See the museum section for more on, um, Vienna’s museums.
Summer and winter palaces
These are the big ones. The most impressive, perhaps, is the summer home of the Habsburgs. Discover all the palace and its park have to offer in the Schönbrunn section, which includes an interactive map and directions.
The winter palace, the Hofburg, is also packed with attractions, including tours of the Imperial apartments, several museums and even a butterfly house. And of course there’s Belvedere, with its two Baroque palaces and gardens.
Other major sights
OK, there’s a lot to see in Vienna (you can view some panorama tours at the 360 Wien website). But here are some popular places to grab a sight to savour, perhaps a holiday snap or two, and even a snack to stave off sightseeing fatigue:
- If you want to see everything in one go, then visit the Donauturm observation tower for views across the river and entire city (and a revolving restaurant and coffee house).
- Stephansdom cathedral dominates the city center landscape and is free to go partway inside, with ticketed options for full access, the Treasury, South and North Towers, and other “attractions”.
- The Peterskirche is a beautiful baroque church just a short walk from Stephansdom. Another baroque church is the Schubertkirche, which has a famous connection (the hint is in the name).
- The giant Ferris wheel (Riesenrad) is well-known from films like The Third Man.
- If you’re looking for a more macabre experience, visit the home of emperors past in the Kapuzinergruft (Imperial Crypt) or the peaceful setting of the main cemetery – the Zentralfriedhof. You’ll find Mozart’s grave in St.Marx cemetery.
- The artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed many stand-out buildings in Vienna. The most famous is Hundertwasserhaus.
- When you get tired of buildings, drop into the converted flak tower that is now the Haus des Meeres (aquarium and vivarium).
- The curious-looking monument in the center is a plague column (Pestsäule), the historical equivalent to antibiotics, but remarkably less effective in containing disease. Another curiosity is the Ankeruhr, an Art Nouveau mechanical clock.
Visiting at Christmas
The city is hugely popular with visitors at the end of the year. Discover seasonal events and attractions, explore Christmas customs, get visitor tips, shopping suggestions and more in the Christmas in Vienna section.
Enjoy an insider view of all the Christkindlmarkt and other main Christmas markets, or discover which one is best for your needs. Then get handy tips on how to make the most of your market visit. Once you’ve finished your Christmas punch, you can take a look at the city’s Christmas lights.
Following in famous footsteps
See the room where Freud kept his famous couch in the Sigmund Freud museum or visit the locations associated with the lives of Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Klimt, Schiele and Otto Wagner. Pay your respects to the greats of classical music at the graves of Beethoven and others.