My mother always wanted to go to Vienna and see the "Blue Danube" so, for my parent's anniversary, the whole family went to Vienna with another family also stationed in Europe at the time. That was probably the worst vacation we ever had, but it was also the most memorable just because of the beauty of Vienna. Dad's friend booked us into a glorified hostel that had bunk beds with straw mattresses and no heat (not very romantic for my parents). Even though it was August, they had a big cold spell and we about froze. The road along the Danube River was closed for construction. My goal was to see the Lipizzaner horses because I was in my adolescent horse-crazy phase. There was an earthquake in the middle of the performance. I remember how massive and gorgeous all the buildings were and the fabulous pastries.
Vienna is a shining city that indeed emphasizes its history, as you can tell by many of its attractions. Visiting the city is such a unique, memorable experience that you'll likely want to come back time and time again. With so much to explore in Vienna, it's nearly impossible to find yourself bored, especially if you love a lively culture that treasures art, great food, classical music, and beautiful architecture. So, before you book your flight to the City of Music, check out some of these experiences. You can't miss out once you're there!
Constructed in 1696 as a hunting lodge, the Schönbrunn Palace later became the elaborate home to one of the most admired royal families of Austria, the Habsburgs. As it stands today, the palace is open to the public. Take a tour through the apartments of the Habsburg family, and visit the Hall of Ceremonies and Mirror Room before leisurely strolling through the gardens.
St. Stephen's Cathedral
This stunningly beautiful cathedral is Vienna's most cherished structure. This 12th Century gothic cathedral has more history than you could ever imagine, surviving the Turkish siege in 1683, having mourners come to pay their respects to Amadeus Mozart, and being the place where Napolean held his farewell proclamation in 1805. The structure also survived two attacks in World War II.
This museum of fine arts features a considerable assortment of masterpieces created by none other than some of the absolute greatest artists ever to live. Titian, Van Dyke, Velasquez, and Rubens all have their works hanging on the walls of the museum.
Hundreds of vendors set up their stands every Monday through Friday at the largest market around the Naschmarkt. This outdoor market in the Wieden District sells all sorts of local, fresh produce, dairy products, and meats. You can even sit down at any of the quaint eateries and cafes to appease your appetite after taking in all of the delicious smells.
Opening as an exotic menagerie in 1752, the Tiergarten is now known as the oldest zoo in the world. This unique zoo homes nearly 9,000 animals.
House of Music (Haus der Musik)
This small museum features works from some of the city's most famous composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Haydn, and Strauss. Walk through all of the exhibits to learn the mechanics of how we as humans hear a sound, and to view manuscripts and hear sound bytes from the musicians showcased in the museum.
Vienna State Opera
As the city's most beloved performing house, the Vienna State Opera is the nucleus of Viennese life. Book a 40-minute guided tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at all of this opera house's beauty and wonder.
This cultural establishment is one of the largest, most impressive collections of museums in the world. Right outside the Ringstrasse is where you can find the works of everyone from Leopold to Andy Warhol. Take a day out of your visit; there is so much to take in!
This 13th Century palace holds several excellent attractions. You'll need to spend most of the day there to receive the truly royal experience. Be sure to visit the Swiss Court and the Imperial Apartments.
The Belvedere Palace is two palaces conjoined by a beautiful 17th-century French-style garden. You don't want to miss the unique Baroque architecture or the authentic Austrian paintings on display.
Once designated the Jewish Ghetto in the 13th Century, this picturesque museum shows how Viennese Jews played a large part in the development of Vienna. This museum was once one of the largest synagogues ever to exist.
Does Vienna sound even more appealing now that you have learned about some of these one-of-a-kind experiences? Contact me to start planning your next memorable vacation!