Top 5 Unmissable Things to Do in Vienna
As capital city of Austria and located in central Europe, Vienna (or Wien) is a beautiful destination that in parts seems almost unchanged for centuries. There is so much to see and do and many culinary delights to experience that it is really worth a visit, even if just for a short time. Here’s a list of 5 unmissable attractions for a city break like no other.
1. Visit Stephansdom
Located in the centre of the city, Stephansdom is the city cathedral and an immensely popular attraction. A gothic rebuild, it stands in the same location of churches dating back to 1147. As a Roman Catholic Church it is beautiful both inside and out with intricate carvings, paintings and much more. For a particularly interesting visit to this historic site, take a tour of the catacombs. Tours run frequently almost every day and at just over €5 for a ticket it is a memorably macabre addition to your visit.
- U-Bahn stop: Stephansplatz (U1 or U3)
2. Have Coffee at Café Landtmann
For a coffee break, do it in style at Café Landtmann: opened in 1873 it is a breath-taking place and once a favourite haunt of Sigmund Freud, among many others. Stepping into the café is like entering a coffee shop in 1900, the décor is extremely traditional and tables are waited. You can really relax and soak up the atmosphere of Vienna while you order some coffee along with a piece of world famous Sachertorte. A rich dark chocolate cake, it was invented at the Hotel Sacher (also worth a visit if your budget stretches a little further!). You will find it served in most Viennese cafés, but it doesn’t get much better than a slice offered at this luxurious, yet affordable café.
- U-Bahn stop: Schottentor (U2) or Rathaus (U2)
3. Experience the Sisi Museum
Like every country, Austria has its own national icons- Udo Jürgens and Falco, for example. Completely beloved in their own country, it is always a source of confusion for foreigners who cannot help but have no idea who they are. In a similar fashion, Sisi is one of those icons that few outside of Austria have heard of.
An Empress in the 19th Century, her story particularly stole the hearts of the Austrian people when it was turned into an incredibly successful film in 1955. Since then she has become the most popular royal in Austrian history, and the source of numerous attractions, including the Sisi museum. Fret not if you don’t know her story, the museum stylishly walks you through it with an audio guide and numerous artefacts on show. It is an interesting look at the icon of a nation and a great way to understand and appreciate the Austrian culture. Entrance is €12,50 for adults.
- U-Bahn stop: Herrengasse (U3)
4. Marvel at Schӧnbrunn Palace
Located a little further out of the city, Schönbrunn palace was built during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th Century. The childhood home of Marie Antoinette and later the home of Empress Sisi, this Baroque Palace is quite a sight to behold. Take a walk through and you will see it largely unchanged from when its last residents left. It tells the story of both Maria Theresa and Sisi and their families with artefacts and an audio guide. It has a melancholy tale to tell where both women are concerned, but it is still worth visiting and experiencing yourself. The main tour entrance fee is €12,90 for adults.
- U-Bahn stop: Schönbrunn (U4)
5. And Finally, Pick up Souvenirs ‘am Graben’
Graben is one of the most famous shopping streets in Vienna, and the only place you’ll need to find your souvenirs. Just around the corner from Stephansdom, it leads through to streets with designer shops mixed in with traditional and historic ones. Walk up Kohlmarkt towards the blue dome topped Hofburg and you will come across Julius Meinl- a historic coffeehouse and now supermarket that stocks food from all over the world, but walk further up and you will find the incredible Demel. Opened in 1786 it is a coffee shop with a separate area selling chocolates and sweets as souvenirs. As historic and unique as you would expect, it stocks beautifully packaged items that may make the best souvenir you’ve ever bought!
- U-Bahn stop: Stephansplatz (U1) or Herrengasse (U3)
And there you have it: top 5 unmissable things to do in Vienna. There is so much more out there to see including the Ferris wheel in Prater and Belvedere Palace, so take the time to walk and explore this truly unique city and you might find some incredible gems along the way.
By Sarah Sutton