If you want to see 14th-century stained glass, a 15th-century pulpit, a 16th-century sarcophagus, 17th-century choir stalls, and the chapel where they baptised two of Mozart’s children, then grab your audio guide and step this way for the Stephansdom tour…
- Pass through the barriers to get close to the main altar and 700+ years of history
- Audio guide reveals lovely details and background stories
- Tour tickets available on site but consider an all-inclusive option
- Book full cathedral tickets* (with Dom Museum) online
- See also:
(Emperor Frederick III died in 1493 and is buried in the cathedral)
Part of the Stephansdom interior is freely accessible outside of services, but you need a ticket to pass through the barrier and view the main part of the cathedral in its entirety.
Otherwise, you’re left pressing your nose up against the railings among the masses, vainly wishing your smartphone had a bigger zoom.
In fact, by paying for entry you get to enjoy the cathedral in (relative) quiet.
And the audio guide provides an array of often intriguing stories and background information on the cathedral, its history, and the features inside.
The highlights for me were:
- The 1476 marble font in St. Catherine’s chapel, with its remarkable wooden crown featuring scenes that represent the seven sacraments
- The huge marble sarcophagus of Emperor Frederick III, complete with lamenting monks and bishops. It took so long to finish he only moved here 20 years after his 1493 death
(Sarcophagus of Emperor Frederick III, possibly produced around 1850–1860, by the printer F. Kargl with art by Josef Bucher; Wien Museum; excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
- The 17th-century main altar, whose black and white marble introduces a beautiful ebony/ivory quality
- The late 15th-century sandstone pulpit, complete with snakes, lizards, and frogs crawling their way up the handrail to be repulsed by a stone guard dog
Since Stephansdom is not as opulently Baroque as many religious buildings in Austria, it’s easy to get a feel for the spiritual atmosphere that people would have enjoyed even many centuries ago. You can imagine the awe it would have inspired.
Tickets & visitor tips
At the time of writing, a ticket costs €6.00 from the information counter for an adult (audio guide included).
But if you’re going to visit more than a couple of Stephansdom locations, consider the all-inclusive alternative covering the self-guided tour, access to both towers, the guided catacombs tour and the nearby Dom Museum.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
Stephansdom is a working cathedral, so entry may not always be possible should a service take place. The most reliable times to get in are probably in the afternoons(?).
- You can get round in half an hour if you want, but take time to look more closely at what you pass. The interior has lots of tiny details to delight the eye (like the frogs mentioned above)
- When at the main altar, look back down the nave for a beautiful view of the cathedral with the bright stained glass at the other end
- For another gothic church experience, walk along the pedestrianised Graben that leads off the square outside Stephansdom. At the end, turn left up Kohlmarkt to find the Michaelerkirche, parts of which date back to the 13th century
- For a baroque church experience, a walk along the Graben takes you past the astonishing Peterskirche (a top venue for classical concerts, too)
How to get there
See the main Stephansdom article for tips on finding the cathedral.
Address: Stephansdom, Stephansplatz, 1010 Vienna