Walking through the pristine streets of Vienna gives you the feeling of being part of a centuries-old high society. Its impressive white stone buildings line each street and square, with historic houses and cafes around every corner.
It’s easy to relinquish yourself to this art-lover’s wonderland. The city is brimming with museums and music, just waiting to be soaked in. So, when in Wien, see the art, hear the music, and give yourself over to its cultural dream.
Vienna is home to many extraordinary museums, with subjects ranging from natural history to modern art. No matter which sort of art you’re interested in exploring, there’s a museum for you.
One museum you should make sure to put on your list is the Belvedere (Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien). The Belvedere is a property consisting of baroque palaces and grounds. The palaces were built in the early 18th century and originally served as the summer residences of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Today, the complex features a collection of museums and gardens. The upper Belvedere museum houses all kinds of marvelous art from the Middle Ages to the present day, including historical Austrian art and French Impressionist pieces. However, the most enchanting exhibit may be the one dedicated to Gustav Klimt. The exhibit, the largest collection of Klimt’s work in the world, includes famed paintings “Kiss” and “Judith I.” While you may have seen reproductions of these works before, their in-the-flesh presence is at once magnificent and overpowering. This museum is not to be missed.
Another attractive area for art fans is the MuseumsQuartier (Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien). The complex focuses more on contemporary art, featuring the Leopold Museum and the Museum of Modern Art – mumok, and includes a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes. Whether or not modern art is your cup of tea, there’s plenty to enjoy during an afternoon in the MuseumsQuartier.
Above: The MuseumsQuartier, taken with La Sardina Camera 8Ball, Lomography
As a classical hub, Vienna is well-known for its music. Its musical history is omnipresent, monuments throughout the city’s squares and parks memorialize its culture.
Whether or not you decide to see a show or take a tour, pay a visit to the Vienna State Opera House (Opernring 2, 1010 Wien). Its grand architecture and history make it worthwhile. (Though visitors should take heed — watch out for the tourist-trap ticket salespeople, complete with costumes, ready to pester you at every turn.)
Another famed attraction for music enthusiasts is Mozart’s house (“Mozarthaus,” Domgasse 5, 1010 Wien). While Mozart’s birthplace is in Salzburg, this is the house where he lived during the 1780s. Other tributes to Mozart can be found throughout the city as well, like the statue of him in Burggarten (Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Wien).
Vienna is home to many impeccable parks. They’re lush and manicured, with art installations around every turn. There are the gardens at the Belvedere and Burggarten, as previously mentioned, for instance.
Another charming Viennese park is Stadtpark (1010 Wien). Stadtpark is a large park in the center of the city that is divided in two by the Vienna River. It’s full of monuments to famous figures from Viennese history, along with a couple restaurants and plenty of space to sit and relax.
Above: Art in Vienna’s Stadtpark
Vienna is a fairly formal city. It’s on the expensive side and a certain decorum seems expected. When dining out for dinner, reservations are often required, and occasionally difficult to come by. Before arriving in Vienna, choose some restaurants and make a few reservations ahead of time.
While in Vienna, make sure to have lunch or coffee at a historic cafe. Many old cafes that served as haunts for famed Viennese artists are nestled throughout the city. Just around the corner from Mozart’s house, for instance, is Café Diglas (Wollzeile 10, 1010 Wien). Open since 1875, the cafe serves Viennese dishes along with traditional cafe fare. Its historic atmosphere and decor truly take you back in time, making it a lovely place to take an afternoon break from sightseeing.
Make sure to try traditional Austrian cuisine as well. One great place for this is Restaurant Pürstner (Riemergasse 10, 1010 Wien). The restaurant, which has been owned by the Pürstner family for three generations, features plenty of typical local dishes. The friendly servers wear traditional outfits and the walls are filled with historical artifacts and stuffed animals. It’s a warm and hospitable restaurant that offers a tourist-friendly traditional Austrian meal.
Above: Evening streets in Vienna
Between its art, music, outdoor spaces, and eateries, there’s an abundance of locales to explore in Vienna. Roam the streets of this time-honored city and discover all the cultural wonders it has to offer.