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 in the articles below.
- How to save time and money when sightseeing
- Sightseeing buses
- Most popular tourist spots
- Museums in Vienna
- Vienna with kids
- Vienna then and now: historical photos
The old town & the Hofburg Palace
This is the partly-pedestrianised historic centre of Vienna (purple in the map), where you’ll simply want to walk around and soak up the atmosphere and beautiful architecture. Notable highlights are:
- Hofburg Palace complex (the former winter residence of the Habsburgs)
- Imperial Apartments (inside the Emperor’s home)
- Sisi Museum (the story of Empress Elisabeth)
- Silberkammer (full of court silver and porcelain)
- Imperial Treasury (with its royal jewels and religious relics)
- Heldenplatz and the Neue Burg (home to the national library, various museums, and important collections)
- Burggarten (park area with the Mozart monument)
- …and much more.
- Spanish Riding School (where you can see the world-famous Lipizzaner stallions train and perform)
- Albertina (a palace and renowned art museum that houses the Batliner collection)
- Stephansdom cathedral (which 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 Graben (the street leading from Stephansdom to the Hofburg palace)
- The Ankeruhr (an Art Nouveau mechanical clock and quite the curiosity)
- The Imperial Crypt (a little macabre, but the Kapuzinergruft houses the tombs of dozens of Emperors, Empresses and their relatives)
The grey area on the map covers a range of sights built around the giant Ringstraßen boulevard that encircles most of the old town. You can walk it or take the sightseeing tram. Notable highlights are:
- The Kunsthistorisches Museum (one of the world’s greatest museums of art history, packed with various treasures from hundreds of years of Imperial acquisitions)
- The Natural History Museum (everything from geology to giraffes in one of the world’s most beautiful museums)
- The Stadtpark (a lovely park with its own Otto Wagner-designed station and the famous golden Strauss statue)
- The MAK (museum of design and contemporary art, with wonderful temporary exhibitions, too)
- The Rathaus (the town hall, with the square in front a common venue for major events like the film festival)
- Parlament (Austria’s national parliament building)
- The Museumsquartier (modern art quarter with various museums and cultural spaces, including the Leopold Museum and Museum of Modern Art)
The astonishing summer palace of the Habsburgs, with a surrounding park and numerous surprises for the visitor (marked in yellow on the map). Notable highlights:
- Schönbrunn Palace (Vienna’s most popular tourist destination)
- The palace gardens (a feast of colour and horticultural craftsmanship)
- Vienna Zoo (the world’s oldest zoo and home to giant pandas)
- The Gloriette (a lovely building put up mainly to improve the view from the palace)
- The Maze (probably don’t need to explain what this is)
- The Desert House (plants and animals from more arid parts of the world)
- The Palm House (a tropical house full of exotic plants)
- Wagenburg (the Imperial carriage museum)
- …and much more
- The Technisches Museum (a museum of technology just outside the Schönbrunn complex)
Art lovers, in particular, will enjoy the Belvedere complex and surrounding area, full of Baroque palaces, gardens and art collections (marked in blue on the map). Notable highlights:
- Belvedere (the former residence of Price Eugene of Savoy)
- Upper Belvedere (palace, art museum and home to Klimt’s The Kiss)
- Lower Belvedere (ditto, but without The Kiss)
- Belvedere 21 (contemporary art)
- The Gardens (beautifully laid out between the palaces)
- The Botanic Gardens (next to Belvedere and somewhere to find Edelweiss)
- Karlskirche (a giant baroque church. The square in front of it also hosts numerous seasonal events)
- Schwarzenbergplatz (the huge Russian memorial and a wonderful lighted fountain)
- The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (museum of military history with some historic exhibits, such as Napoleon’s coat and the car in which Franz Ferdinand was assassinated)
The Prater is a huge parkland area and entertainment complex popular with locals (marked in red on the map). Notable highlights:
- The entertainment complex (a huge collection of funfair rides, restaurants, etc.)
- The Riesenrad (the famous giant Ferris wheel and star of various movies like The Third Man)
- Madame Tussauds (the Austrian branch with its waxwork displays)
Other major sights
There’s a lot to see in Vienna, and here are some other popular places to grab a sight to savour, perhaps a holiday snap or two, and even a snack to stave off sightseeing fatigue.
- The Donauturm observation tower (if you want to see everything in one go, then visit this for views across the river)
- Zentralfriedhof (the main cemetery, where the likes of Beethoven, Schubert and others are buried)
- Hundertwasserhaus (Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed several stand-out buildings in Vienna. This is the most famous)
- Haus des Meeres (an aquarium and vivarium in a converted flak tower)
Visiting at Christmas
The city is hugely popular with visitors during late November and December. Discover seasonal events and attractions, explore Christmas customs, get visitor tips and shopping suggestions, and more in the Christmas in Vienna section.
For example, enjoy an insider view of 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. And once you’ve finished your Christmas punch, you can take a look at the city’s Christmas lights.
Visiting at New Year
Vienna fills up at the end of December, too. Get an overview of all the fun, games, events and more at the New Year in Vienna section.
Visiting at Easter
And no surprise to discover that the city attracts plenty of interest around Easter, which is why I have an Easter in Vienna section for you.
For example (and equally unsurprisingly), there are several Easter markets.
Finally, if you’re interested in all the locations associated with the great names that lived or worked in the city, such as Beethoven’s grave and other famous graves, then there are various musician and artist trails to follow. Notable examples:
Next up is Beethoven…