Vienna has offered a home to some of the world’s most famous people, including powerful monarchs, giants of classical music, groundbreaking scientists, and celebrated artists.
Follow in the footsteps of various personalities with the below guides…
(The memorial to Empress Elisabeth)
Many major locations in the city centre are Habsburg-related, but the palace tours at Schönbrunn and the Hofburg offer a particularly close look at the lives of the more notable representatives of this centuries-old dynasty.
One individual perhaps deserves her own location guide, though:
Empress Elisabeth (Sisi)
Several museums and palaces carry a strong Sisi theme: look inside her apartments, enjoy topical exhibitions, view clothes and other items from her life, and much more…even down to the railway carriage she travelled in.
And if you’re wondering why Sisi gets all this attention, read a quick introduction to the life and importance of this iconic figure.
Composers & musicians
(Beethoven’s grave in the Zentralfriedhof)
Wander around Vienna and it feels like every second building bears a plaque highlighting some connection or another to a world-famous composer. To get closer to the likes of Beethoven and Mahler, try these guides…
(If you just want to listen to the music of Mozart, Strauss, and others in a classic Viennese setting, consider these concert venues.)
See the Mozart location guide for a map, photos and detailed notes on the Mozartwohnung and other places he lived, venues he played in, the Mozarthaus museum, monuments, memorials, and even his grave.
(Contrary to popular belief, Mozart did not end up in a mass, unknown grave).
Although long-employed by a court outside of the city, Haydn still lived and worked in Vienna for many years.
The guide includes photos and a location map.
Ludwig van Beethoven lived, drank, and performed in an awful lot of places in Vienna and the Beethoven location guide points you at the top ones.
Johann Strauss (II)
A true son of the city, and this Strauss guide takes you around all the right locations.
Gustav Mahler spent most of his life outside Vienna. But the city educated him and he ran the world-famous opera house here for about ten years. As such, he pretty much counts as an honorary Viennese.
The Hamburg-born composer spent the last 25 years of his life in Vienna and developed an intimate association with the famous Musikverein.
Dear Franz started his musical education in earnest in Vienna before moving on to Paris. But he returned regularly for visits and concerts.
This Liszt guide highlight the commemorative plaques and key locations for retracing his few steps in the city.
Art and design
(Secessionsgebäude, once home to Klimt and other artists)
The composers tend to overshadow other creative types in Vienna’s history. But the city nurtured some remarkable talents that now enjoy global recognition.
For a closer exploration of the life and works of Viennese artists, use these guides:
Perhaps no other artist is more closely associated with Vienna. Follow his life around the city with this Klimt guide, which also points you to all the places you can see his paintings and other works.
If you’re pressed for time, simply head to Upper Belvedere to see The Kiss.
The artist Egon Schiele studied, worked and died in Vienna. Here’s a guide to relevant addresses (with a map and photos), including all the places you can see his works.
If you only have time for one address, then visit the Leopold Museum, home to the most important Schiele collection.
Many of the iconic buildings in Vienna bear Wagner’s fingerprints, particularly the railway stations along the U6, U4 and S45 subway and train lines.
This Otto Wagner guide highlights landmark Viennese buildings from his life and work, with a map, photos, and numerous annotations.
If one man could turn the banal into architectural artistic wonders, then it was Hundertwasser. Use this guide to find your way to the colourful highlights of his life and career in Vienna.
I can particularly recommend the Hundertwasser Museum in the Kunst Haus Wien – a joyful celebration of his art, life and philosophy.
Other famous Viennese
Sigmund Freud spent much of his active working life in Vienna in an apartment on Berggasse. And the good news is you can walk around it, since it’s home to the Sigmund Freud Museum (reopened in 2020 after a complete makeover).
More guides to come as I get round to further travels…