One consequence of COVID-related restrictions on movement was the increase in armchair travel opportunities. Even though Vienna has long reopened, various organisations still let you explore the sights and sounds of Vienna from afar via livestreaming, video recordings and other forms of virtual tours.
- See also:
Vienna from your armchair
(Travel the streets of Vienna from the comfort of your own home)
The list of virtual tours seems to grow daily, but I’ve picked out a few highlights and examples for you. Feast upon them until such time as you can experience the joys of Vienna in person…
The YouTube channel of the official tourist information service is your friend, here. Their VIENNA/NOW Sights playlist, for example, has brief introductions to top locations like the State Opera House.
The VIENNA/NOW Top Picks playlist takes you on short, themed journeys through the city. So you can view, for example, a selection of Christmas markets or Art Nouveau landmarks.
(Though, frankly, Christmas markets are only half the fun without inconceivably large amounts of the kind of food and drink you
probably definitely won’t see in healthy eating guides.)
Virtual tours of locations
(Go inside Schönbrunn Palace’s staterooms)
Many sights themselves allow you to go inside and explore the buildings through recorded tours, virtual presentations, and even live tours. Your best bet is simply to browse official homepages and look for appropriate links.
Some examples I’ve stumbled across recently:
- Schönbrunn Palace has a collection of photo slideshows that build a virtual tour of the Habsburg summer palace.
- Take a 3D or Virtual Reality tour of the Ernst Fuchs Museum featuring interior design from the cofounder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism.
- Wander around the interior of the Burgtheater (essentially the national theatre)
- Peek inside the Konzerthaus, one of Vienna’s top classical concert venues
- Have a look around the transport museum of the municipal transport authorities (Wiener Linien)
Virtual art tours
(Browse Bruegel’s masterpieces inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum)
But if the people can’t come to the exhibitions than (some of) the exhibitions can come to the people…via virtual presentations. For example:
- The Kunsthistorisches Museum has the world’s greatest Bruegel collection, which you can view up close via their online 360° tour. Their YouTube channel also has numerous video tours of exhibitions including this one that takes you through the museum’s highlights (with a focus on the picture collection).
- Belvedere collates all its digital guided tours on this page, which includes artist discussions and lectures as well as video tours through their art collection. They also have a virtual tour experience for the medieval collection housed in the palace stables
- Explore the Vienna section of Google Arts & Culture. It presents highlights from the collections of many of the top Viennese art museums, including the Albertina, Belvedere, Kunsthistorisches Museum, MAK, and Leopold museums.
The Google site may include virtual tours of the buildings. For example, roam through the astonishing State Hall of the National Library there.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and some of Vienna’s many tour guides took their expertise online to offer live tours of the city. For example (at the time of writing):
- Heygo lets you join prescheduled tours where a guide takes you on a themed walking tour via a livestream on your browser. Tours are free but you have the opportunity to tip the guide at the end.
- Virtually Vienna offer private themed or custom tour experiences.
- The United Nations building has bookable live sessions for groups with their official tour guides.
(Stream performances at the State Opera House)
One or two institutions and music festivals began streaming both live and recorded performances while audiences were absent. Check over the events pages for festival links to see what might be available even now tat audiences have returned. A notable example is the Staatsoper’s streaming service (which was free during our lockdowns).
I suspect many of these resources will continue even as we all travel “normally” again. And I’ll be adding more as I discover them in my own virtual travels.
So put the kettle on, grab a bar of chocolate, and enjoy a virtual trip to Vienna.