What to see in Vienna. What to visit in the Imperial City and the Danube

There are many monuments and places of interest to see in Vienna, which makes visiting this imperial city a must on any tour of Europe.

Here we are going to summarize the most interesting things to visit in Vienna and what you should not miss. Surely you have other favorite places and Vienna has something for everyone.

Walking through its streets, visiting its palaces and knowing its churches will make you enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in the world. If you want to have more information you can read our travel diary through Central Europe, where we visited Vienna.

The main places to see in Vienna

You can take a look at our day trips in Vienna:

1. Ringstrasse

Vienna - RathausThe center of Vienna is surrounded by a circular avenue called the Ringstrasse. Along it we find most of the great monuments to see in Vienna.

In this beautiful street of more than 5 kilometers are the main places that we must visit in Vienna, such as the Votive Church, the University of Vienna, the Wiener Rathaus, the Austrian Parliament, the Hofburg Palace or the Vienna Opera, although you have many other points of interest also in it.

You have two options to go around the Ringstrasse. Or walking enjoying every corner or with the tram, lines 1 and 2, which runs through it completely and is a quick way to enjoy the street.

You can also enjoy it with a Vienna Night Tour that will leave you speechless.

2. Vienna State Opera

What to visit in Vienna - OperaThe Vienna Opera is the best known in the world, one of the main monuments to see in Vienna and possibly one of the most visited, both inside and out.

It has occupied this place since the 18th century and the most important opera houses in the world have been staged inside it, although it had a dark period when it was destroyed in World War II and many of its workers were killed. In 1955 it was reopened and today it is a benchmark in music.

You can visit the interior of the Vienna Opera with a wonderful guided tour that takes you through its ins and outs and in which they tell you its history and many anecdotes.

The most complete we know is this guided tour of Vienna and the Opera.

3. Austrian Parliament

Vienna - ParliamentAnother of the great buildings to visit in Vienna is the Austrian Parliament, also located on the Ringstrasse and one of the most imposing neoclassical buildings in Europe.

The Parliament of Austria, of a very daring design for the time in which it was built, the 18th century, was also badly damaged in World War II, so it had to be rebuilt. In this way we can admire its spectacular exterior appearance with statues of Greek and Roman characters.

And we can also visit its interior in a very interesting guided tour, with which to enjoy its Lobby and its Session Rooms.

4. Hofburg Palace

Vienna - Hofburg PalaceVienna is also a city of imperial palaces, thanks to the power that the Austro-Hungarian Empire had in the history of Europe. The Hofburg Palace is one of the jewels that we can visit in Vienna and it is also located on the Ringstrasse.

The Hofburg Palace was the official residence of the Habsburgs where we can tour the Imperial Apartments and admire the rich decoration of all its rooms and also the Sissi Museum, the most famous empress of the empire. In it we can learn about her life and details of what her time in Vienna was like.

Also noteworthy is the Platería de la Corte or the Spanish Riding School, a select institution dedicated to dressage since the 16th century.

5. St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Vienna - St. Stephen's CathedralWe finally enter the inner part of the historic center of Vienna, located between Ringstrasse and the Danube, and visit the Cathedral of Saint Stephen, the main religious building in the city.

It is one of the symbols of Vienna and from its exterior we must highlight its great tower of no less than 137 meters high and the Tiled Roof, the great jewel of this Gothic cathedral that had Mozart as its deputy musical director.

The interior of the Cathedral of San Esteban is also spectacular and in it we can discover the Pilgram Pulpit, one of its most characteristic elements.

6. Schonbrunn Palace

What to see in Vienna - Schonbrunn PalaceSchönbrunn Palace is another of the great imperial palaces to see in Vienna. It is a bit far from the city center but can be easily reached thanks to the city’s excellent public transport. This is the Schönbrunn Palace, an essential visit.

This imposing palace was the summer residence of the Habsburgs until the end of the monarchy and is one of the most important baroque buildings in Europe.

In addition to the royal rooms inside, we must also highlight its gardens, one of the most beautiful in Vienna and where we cannot help but admire La Glorieta, located just in front of the palace façade that overlooks the garden.

Another way to visit it is enjoying a concert in the palace.

7. Belvedere Palace

Vienna - Belvedere Palace - Lower PalaceThe third imperial palace to see in Vienna is the Belvedere Palace, although this is less visited and known than the other two. And that is also very close to the center. Despite them, it is also essential and a must-see.

The Belvedere Palace was also the summer residence of the Habsburgs and another jewel of Viennese Baroque. Its gardens are also spectacular and a haven of peace and tranquility.

This palace does not stand out for its decoration, something that is important in the other two, but it has numerous works of art distributed in the museums it houses, such as the Museum of Baroque Art, the Austrian Gallery or the Museum of Medieval Art.

8. Votive Church

We are finally talking about the churches of Vienna, all of them spectacular and some of them that you should not miss on your trip to Vienna. The most important of all is the Votive Church located at the beginning of the Ringstrasse and a must-see.

The main characteristic that we must highlight of the Votive Church are its two tall towers of its main façade that reach 99 meters in height and that are visible from a large part of the city.

Inside we must highlight the stained glass windows and its high ceilings, which gives it a great feeling of majesty. Don’t miss the Vela Bárbara either, which is no less than 4 meters high and 3 meters wide and is located behind the Altar.

9. San Carlos Borromeo Church

Vienna - St. Charles Borromeo ChurchJumping to the other end of the Ringstrasse we arrive at the Church of San Carlos Borromeo, another of the icons of Vienna and that will leave you speechless when you are in front of it. And also when you cross its doors into its interior.

The Church of San Carlos Borromeo reminds us of other civilizations thanks to the Greek style of its façade or the Roman style of its columns, inspired by Trajan’s Column in Rome. It was built in 1713 by order of San Carlos Borromeo who had promised it if the city survived a deadly plague outbreak.

Inside, the High Altar stands out, with a really impressive painting that represents San Carlos ascending to heaven and the dome, which you will not be able to stop admiring.

10. Church of Saint Peter

Vienna - St. Peter's ChurchThe Church of Saint Peter is not as well known as the previous ones that we have talked about, but it will give you a great surprise when you discover it walking through the historic center of Vienna and discover its imposing facade.

It is another of the main ones in the city, and is inspired by the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. In that place the first Christian church of Vienna was formerly located. Its facade is very narrow because it is located between alleys but it is very striking due to its towers and its green dome.

Its interior is the best thing about the church and visiting it is a unique experience to do in Vienna. It is full of statues and golden decoration and we must highlight the pulpit, the main altar and the frescoes of the dome.

11. Vienna Imperial Crypt

Vienna - Imperial CryptAlso located in the historic center of Vienna we find the Imperial Crypt, which is a must-see, whether you are a great connoisseur of the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or if you are not. The upper part is the Church of the Capuchins, also recommended, but the best is in the crypt.

In the Imperial Crypt of Vienna are the tombs of the main members of the Habsburg dynasty that reigned during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, highlighting the tombs of the most famous, Empress Maria Teresa, her son Francisco José and his wife, the Empress Sissi.

A very interesting visit that you will enjoy even more if you know the funerary rite that was performed for the Habsburgs.

12. The best museums to see in Vienna

Vienna - Natural History MuseumIn Vienna there are dozens of museums and we cannot highlight any above the others. For this reason, we dedicate a generic section to them.

Two of them are located opposite each other in twin buildings off the Ringstrasse. These are the Art History Museum, which is the most visited museum in Vienna, and the Natural History Museum, where we can explore the history of mankind. Both museums are not only impressive for their collections but also for their buildings.

It is also worth mentioning the Albertina Museum, where we can find works by Picasso, Miró, Renoir, Cezanne or Monet among others, so painting lovers have an essential appointment.

13. Hundertwasserhaus

Vienna - HundertwasserhausFarther from the center of Vienna we find Hundertwasserhaus, a very curious residential block where impossible shapes prevail over straight lines and that surprises anyone who visits it.

Despite being far away, it is a must-see if you are in Vienna since it will surprise you as it has nothing to do with the usual architecture that you can find in this imperial city.

It was designed in 1977 by the versatile artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who was commissioned by the mayor of Vienna to build social housing, which today is another tourist attraction in the city.

14. The Prater

Vienna - PraterNot far from there is the Prater, Vienna’s amusement park, which is also the oldest in the world. The Prater Ferris wheel is one of the most famous places in the city and from it you have great views.

And not only is it the oldest amusement park in the world, it still has some attractions from the time of its opening, so it has a special charm that forces you to visit it. In addition, it is a public park with numerous green areas.

Speaking of parks to see in Vienna, Stadpark also deserves special attention, the most important park in Vienna and a good place to relax.

You can find more information about what to see in Vienna on the official Vienna tourism page.

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