Vienna

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Vienna - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Albertina Modern

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    Vienna's newest–-and hottest–-museum opened in 2020 in the Künstlerverein, a neo-classical palace and iconic Viennese building, just steps away...

    Vienna's newest–-and hottest–-museum opened in 2020 in the Künstlerverein, a neo-classical palace and iconic Viennese building, just steps away from the opera house and its sister museum, the famed Albertina Museum. Exhibits focus on modern and contemporary art, and the permanent collection features works by famous Austrians like Maria Lassnig and Arnulf Rainer, and leading international artists, including Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Anselm Kiefer, and Cindy Sherman.

    Karlsplatz 5, Vienna, Vienna, 1020, Austria
    01-534–830

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12; €23 Albertina Modern and Albertina
  • 2. Albertina Museum

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    One of the largest of the Habsburg residences, the Albertina rests on one of the last remaining fortresses of the Old City. The must-see collection...

    One of the largest of the Habsburg residences, the Albertina rests on one of the last remaining fortresses of the Old City. The must-see collection of nearly 65,000 drawings and almost a million prints is one of the most prized graphic collections in the world. All the Old Masters are showcased here: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt. The Batliner Collection includes excellent examples of French and German Impressionism and Russian avant-garde. The mansion's early-19th-century salons—all gilt boiserie and mirrors—provide a jewel-box setting. The excellent Do & Co restaurant, with a patio long enough for an empress's promenade, offers splendid vistas of the historical center, and the Burggarten is the perfect place to take a break.

    Augustinerstrasse 1, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-534–830

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €16.90; €23 Albertina and Albertina Modern
  • 3. Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur

    2nd District/Leopoldstadt | Museum/Gallery

    Founded in 1718, Europe's second-oldest porcelain factory is located in a former pleasure palace in Augarten Park, and is indeed a pleasure...

    Founded in 1718, Europe's second-oldest porcelain factory is located in a former pleasure palace in Augarten Park, and is indeed a pleasure palace for lovers of hand-made and painted porcelain. This company is renowned for its high-quality porcelain, delicate patterns, and constant innovation in its design and production. Augarten porcelain is still produced and painted by the hands of employees in the manufactory, just as it has been for almost 300 years. One wing of the factory houses a museum, designed around the 18th century bottle kiln that reaches to the roof top of the first level. Guided tours of the factory (Monday to Thursday at 10:15 am and 11:30 am) take visitors behind the scenes to see creators at work and to explain the different phases of the process as well as the history and evolution of the art. Your wonder, appreciation, and awe at the final creations and the fact that it takes a porcelain artist three months to create will be put to good use in the gift shop. Visitors looking for a more immersive experience can book a two-day seminar on the creation and painting of porcelain.

    Augarten Park, Obere Augartenstrasse 1, Vienna, Vienna, 1020, Austria
    01-211–24200

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €14 tour
  • 4. Belvedere Palace

    3rd District/Landstrasse | Castle/Palace

    One of the most splendid pieces of Baroque architecture anywhere, the Belvedere Palace—actually two imposing palaces separated by a 17th-century...

    One of the most splendid pieces of Baroque architecture anywhere, the Belvedere Palace—actually two imposing palaces separated by a 17th-century French-style garden parterre—is one of the masterpieces of architect Lucas von Hildebrandt. Built outside the city fortifications between 1714 and 1722, the complex originally served as the summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Much later it became the home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in 1914 precipitated World War I. Though the lower palace is impressive in its own right, it is the much larger upper palace, used for state receptions, banquets, and balls, that is acknowledged as Hildebrandt's masterpiece. The upper palace displays a wealth of architectural invention in its facade, avoiding the main design problems common to palaces: monotony on the one hand and pomposity on the other. Hildebrandt's decorative manner here approaches the Rococo, that final style of the Baroque era when traditional classical motifs all but disappeared in a whirlwind of seductive asymmetric fancy. The main interiors of the palace go even further: columns are transformed into muscle-bound giants, pilasters grow torsos, capitals sprout great piles of symbolic imperial paraphernalia, and the ceilings are aswirl with ornately molded stucco. The result is the finest Rococo interior in the city. Both the upper and lower palaces of the Belvedere are museums devoted to Austrian painting. The Belvedere's main attraction is the collection of 19th- and 20th-century Austrian paintings, centering on the work of Vienna's three preeminent early-20th-century artists: Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka. Klimt was the oldest, and by the time he helped found the Secession movement he had forged an idiosyncratic painting style that combined realistic and decorative elements in a way that was revolutionary. The Kiss—his greatest painting—is here on display. Schiele and Kokoschka went even further, rejecting the decorative appeal of Klimt's glittering abstract designs and producing works that ignored conventional ideas of beauty. An ambitious 2016 European Union initiative brought 3-D technology to the Belvedere. The project, entitled AMBAVis (Access to Museums for Blind and Visually-Impaired Persons), transformed Klimt's The Kiss into a remarkable and unprecedented interactive experience. Finger-tracking technology allows viewers to scan the relief, prompting audio to play.

    Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, Vienna, Vienna, A-1030, Austria
    01-795–57–134

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From €9
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  • 5. Haus der Musik

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    You could spend an entire day at this ultra-high-tech museum, housed on several floors of an early-19th-century palace near Schwarzenbergplatz...

    You could spend an entire day at this ultra-high-tech museum, housed on several floors of an early-19th-century palace near Schwarzenbergplatz. Pride of place goes to the rooms dedicated to each of the great Viennese composers—Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, and Mahler—complete with music samples and manuscripts. Other exhibits trace the evolution of sound (from primitive noises to the music of the masters) and illustrate the mechanics of the human ear (measure your own frequency threshold). There are also dozens of interactive computer games. You can even take a turn as conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic—the conductor's baton is hooked to a computer, which allows you to have full control over the computer-simulated orchestra.

    Seilerstätte 30, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-513–4850

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11
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  • 6. Kaiserliche Schatzkammer

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    The entrance to the Schatzkammer, with its 1,000 years of treasures, is tucked away at ground level behind the staircase to the Hofburgkapelle...

    The entrance to the Schatzkammer, with its 1,000 years of treasures, is tucked away at ground level behind the staircase to the Hofburgkapelle. The elegant display is a welcome antidote to the monotony of the Imperial Apartments, and the crowns and relics fairly glow in their surroundings. Here you'll find such marvels as the Holy Lance—reputedly the lance that pierced Jesus's side—the Imperial Crown (a sacred symbol of sovereignty once stolen on Hitler's orders), and the Saber of Charlemagne. Don't miss the Burgundian Treasure, connected with that most romantic of medieval orders of chivalry, the Order of the Golden Fleece. The €20 combined ticket that includes admission to the Kunsthistorisches is a great deal.

    Hofburg, Schweizer Hof, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-525–240

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12
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  • 7. Karlskirche

    4th District/Wieden | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Dominating the Karlsplatz is one of Vienna's greatest buildings, the Karlskirche, dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo. This giant Baroque church...

    Dominating the Karlsplatz is one of Vienna's greatest buildings, the Karlskirche, dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo. This giant Baroque church is framed by enormous freestanding columns, mates to Rome's famous Trajan's Column. These columns may be out of keeping with the building as a whole, but were conceived with at least two functions in mind: one was to portray scenes from the life of the patron saint, carved in imitation of Trajan's triumphs, and thus help to emphasize the imperial nature of the building; and the other was to symbolize the Pillars of Hercules, suggesting the right of the Hapsburgs to their Spanish dominions, which the emperor had been forced to renounce. The end result is an architectural tour de force. The Karlskirche was built in the early 18th century on what was then the bank of the River Wien. The church had its beginnings in a disaster. In 1713 Vienna was hit by a brutal outbreak of plague, and Emperor Charles VI made a vow: if the plague abated, he would build a church dedicated to his namesake, St. Charles Borromeo, the 16th-century Italian bishop who was famous for his ministrations to Milanese plague victims. In 1715 construction began, using an ambitious design by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach that combined architectural elements from ancient Greece (the columned entrance porch), ancient Rome (the Trajanesque columns), contemporary Rome (the Baroque dome), and contemporary Vienna (the Baroque towers at either end). When it was finished, the church received decidedly mixed press. History, too, delivered a negative verdict: the Karlskirche spawned no imitations, and it went on to become one of European architecture's curiosities. Still, when seen lighted at night, the building is magical in its setting. The main interior of the church utilizes only the area under the dome and is conventional despite the unorthodox facade. The space and architectural detailing are typical High Baroque; the fine vault frescoes, by J. M. Rottmayr, depict St. Charles Borromeo imploring the Holy Trinity to end the plague. If you are not afraid of heights take the panorama elevator up into the sphere of the dome and climb the top steps to enjoy an unrivaled view to the heart of the city.

    Karlsplatz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1040, Austria
    01-504–6187

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8
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  • 8. Karmelitermarkt

    2nd District/Leopoldstadt | Market/Bazaar

    The market and lively surrounding area is one of Vienna's coolest food and drink hotspots and its sunny picturesque square is a favorite option...

    The market and lively surrounding area is one of Vienna's coolest food and drink hotspots and its sunny picturesque square is a favorite option for breakfasting and people-watching over coffee.The market itself has more than 80 vendors and has existed since 1671, making it one of Vienna's oldest–-and yet it never gets old. There's a farmer's market on Saturday and new spots serving international and Viennese cuisine are popping up all the time. Quieter and more spacious than the buzzing 6th and 7th districts, this area is a great alternative to the busier central areas. Allow ample time to wander the surrounding streets and linger in cafes and boutiques.

    Karmelitermarkt, Vienna, Vienna, 1020, Austria
  • 9. Kunsthistorisches Museum

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    Even if you're planning on a short stay in Vienna, you'll want to come here to visit one of the greatest art collections in the world, standing...

    Even if you're planning on a short stay in Vienna, you'll want to come here to visit one of the greatest art collections in the world, standing in the same class as the Louvre, the Prado, and the Vatican. This is no dry-as-dust museum illustrating the history of art, as its name might imply, but rather the collections of Old Master paintings that reveal the royal taste and style of many members of the mighty House of Hapsburg, which ruled over the greater part of the Western world in the 16th and 17th centuries. The museum is most famous for the largest collection of paintings under one roof by the Netherlandish 16th-century master Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Many art historians say that seeing his sublime Hunters in the Snow is itself worth the trip to Vienna. Brueghel's depictions of peasant scenes, often set in magnificent landscapes, distill the poetry and magic of the 16th century as few other paintings have done. The Flemish wing also includes masterful works by Rogier van der Weyden, Holbein, Rembrandt, and Vermeer, while the Italian wing features Titian, Giorgione, Raphael, and Caravaggio. The large-scale works concentrated in the main galleries shouldn't distract you from the equal share of masterworks in the more intimate side wings. There is also the remarkable but less-visited Kunstkammer, displaying priceless objects created for the Hapsburg emperors. These include curiosities made of gold, silver, and crystal (including Cellini's famous salt cellar "La Saliera"), and more exotic materials such as ivory, horn, and gemstones. In addition, there are rooms devoted to Egyptian antiquities, Greek and Roman art, sculpture, and numerous other collections. One of the best times to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum is on Thursday evenings, when you can enjoy a sumptuous gourmet dinner with a massive dessert buffet (€59) in the cupola rotunda. Just across from the seating area, take a leisurely stroll through the gallery chambers.

    Maria-Theresien-Platz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-525–240

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €16, Closed Mon. in Sept.–May
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  • 10. Mozarthaus

    1st District | Museum/Gallery

    This is Mozart's only still-existing abode in Vienna, with three floors of displays about his life and the masterworks that he composed here...

    This is Mozart's only still-existing abode in Vienna, with three floors of displays about his life and the masterworks that he composed here. Equipped with an excellent audio guide and starting out on the third floor of the building, you can hear about Mozart's time in Vienna: where he lived and performed, who his friends and supporters were, and his passion for expensive attire—he spent more money on clothes than most royals at that time. The second floor deals with Mozart's operatic works. The first floor focuses on the 2½ years that Mozart lived at this address (he moved around a lot in Vienna), when he wrote dozens of piano concertos, as well as The Marriage of Figaro and the six quartets dedicated to Joseph Haydn (who once called on Mozart here, saying to Mozart's father, "Your son is the greatest composer that I know in person or by name"). For two weeks in April 1787, Mozart took on a 16-year-old pupil from Germany named Ludwig van Beethoven. Concerts are staged here, and there are activities for children. Save on the entrance fee by purchasing a combined ticket for Mozarthaus Vienna and Haus der Musik for €18.

    Domgasse 5, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-512–1791

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11
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  • 11. MuseumsQuartier

    7th District/Neubau | Museum/Gallery

    The MQ—as many call it—is a sprawling collection of galleries housed in what was once the Imperial Court Stables, the 260-year-old Baroque complex...

    The MQ—as many call it—is a sprawling collection of galleries housed in what was once the Imperial Court Stables, the 260-year-old Baroque complex designed by Fischer von Erlach. Where once 900 cavalry horses were housed, now thousands of masterworks of the 20th and 21st centuries are exhibited, all in a complex that is architecturally an expert and subtle blending of historic and cutting-edge: the original structure (adorned with pastry-white stuccoed ceilings and Rococo flourishes) was retained, while ultramodern wings were added to house five museums, most of which showcase modern art at its best. The Architekturzentrum, Kunsthalle, Leopold Museum, mumok (Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig), and ZOOM Kindermuseum are all part of the MuseumsQuartier complex. In addition, the Quartier21 showcases up-and-coming artists and musicians in the huge Fischer von Erlach Wing facing the Museumsplatz. Lovers of modern art will find it easy to spend at least an entire day at MuseumsQuartier, and with several cafés, a lovely inner courtyard perfect for lounging and people-watching, restaurants, gift shops, and bookstores, you won't even need to venture outside.

    Museumsplatz 1, Vienna, Vienna, A-1070, Austria
    01-523–5881

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €13 to €34
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  • 12. Osterreische Nationalbibliothek

    1st District | Library/Archive

    One of the grandest Baroque libraries in the world, a cathedral of books, the centerpiece of the Osterreische Nationalbibliothek is the spectacular...

    One of the grandest Baroque libraries in the world, a cathedral of books, the centerpiece of the Osterreische Nationalbibliothek is the spectacular Prunksaal—the Grand Hall—which probably contains more book treasures than any comparable collection outside the Vatican. The main entrance to the ornate reading room is in the left corner of Josefsplatz. Designed by Fischer von Erlach the Elder just before his death in 1723 and completed by his son, the Grand Hall is full-blown high Baroque, with trompe-l'oeil ceiling frescoes by Daniel Gran. Twice a year, special exhibits highlight some of the finest and rarest tomes, well documented in German and English. From 1782, Mozart performed here regularly at the Sunday matinees of Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who lived in a suite of rooms in the grand, palacelike library. Four years later the baron founded the Society of Associated Cavaliers, which set up oratorio performances with Mozart acting as conductor. Across the street at Palais Palffy, Mozart reportedly first performed The Marriage of Figaro before a select, private audience to see if it would pass the court censor.

    Josefsplatz 1, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-534–100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8, Closed Sun.
  • 13. Ottakringer Brauerei

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Founded in 1837, and located in the historic workers' district of the same name and featuring an in-house well from which the water for the...

    Founded in 1837, and located in the historic workers' district of the same name and featuring an in-house well from which the water for the entire production is still sourced, the independent Ottakring Brewery is a traditional brewery with roots. It also has a creative, modern outlook, beer tastings, tours, workshops, festivals, and a craft beer sub-brand (BrauWerk) offering IPAs, Porters, and Vienna Pale Ales with fun names and flavors, which add up to a thoroughly cool old brand and a must-do beer experience. Register in advance online for guided tours (Monday to Friday 9 to 5:30). Guided tours meet at the Ottakringer Shop, Ottakringer Strasse 95.

    Ottakringer Platz 1, Vienna, Vienna, 1160, Austria
    664-618–2129

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €9 tour (incl. tasting)
  • 14. Prater

    2nd District/Leopoldstadt | Amusement Park/Water Park

    In 1766, to the dismay of the aristocracy, Emperor Josef II decreed that the vast expanse of imperial parklands known as the Prater would henceforth...

    In 1766, to the dismay of the aristocracy, Emperor Josef II decreed that the vast expanse of imperial parklands known as the Prater would henceforth be open to the public. East of the inner city between the Danube Canal and the Danube proper, the Prater is a public park to this day, notable for its long promenade (the Hauptallee, more than 4½ km [3 miles] in length); the traditional amusement-park rides; a planetarium; and a small but interesting museum devoted to the Prater's long history. If you look carefully, you can discover a handful of children's rides dating from the '20s and '30s that survived the fire that consumed most of the Volksprater in 1945. At the amusement park there are 250 rides, many of which will make thrill-ride enthusiasts happy, and on hot days, there is a water park to splash around in. For little ones, there is an interactive ride featuring polar bears and penguins. Madame Tussauds is also on-site if you want a photo with famous Austrian native sons and daughters (Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to mind). The best-known attraction is the 200-foot Ferris wheel that figured so prominently in the 1949 film The Third Man. It was one of three built in Europe at the end of the 19th century (the others were in England and France, but have long since been dismantled); the wheel was badly damaged during World War II, but restored shortly thereafter. Its progress is slow and stately (a revolution takes 10 minutes), and the views from its cars are magnificent, particularly toward dusk.

    Riesenradplatz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1020, Austria

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Park free, Ferris wheel €12
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  • 15. Schönbrunn Gardens

    13th District/Hietzing | City Park

    The palace grounds entice with a bevy of splendid divertissements, including a grand zoo (the Tiergarten) and a carriage museum (the Wagenburg...

    The palace grounds entice with a bevy of splendid divertissements, including a grand zoo (the Tiergarten) and a carriage museum (the Wagenburg). Climb to the Gloriette for a panoramic view out over the city as well as of the palace complex. If you're exploring on your own, seek out the intriguing Roman ruin. The marble schöner Brunnen ("beautiful fountain") gave its name to the palace complex. Then head over the other side of the gardens to the playground and the newly grown maze.

    Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse, Vienna, Vienna, A-1130, Austria
  • 16. Schönbrunn Palace

    13th District/Hietzing | Castle/Palace

    Originally designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in 1696 and altered considerably for Maria Theresa 40 years later, Schönbrunn Palace...

    Originally designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in 1696 and altered considerably for Maria Theresa 40 years later, Schönbrunn Palace, the huge Habsburg summer residence, lies within the city limits, just a few metro stops west of Karlsplatz on the U4. Bus trips to Schönbrunn offered by the city's tour operators cost several times what you'd pay if you traveled by subway; the one advantage is that they get you there with a bit less effort. Travel independently if you want time to wander through the grounds, which are open dawn to dusk. The most impressive approach to the palace and its gardens is through the front gate, set on Schönbrunner Schloss-Strasse halfway between the Schönbrunn and Hietzing metro stations. The vast main courtyard is ruled by a formal design of impeccable order and rigorous symmetry: wing nods at wing, facade mirrors facade, and every part stylistically complements every other. The courtyard, however, turns out to be a mere appetizer; the feast lies beyond. The breathtaking view that unfolds on the other side of the palace is one of the finest set pieces in all Europe and one of the supreme achievements of baroque planning. Formal Allées (promenades) shoot off diagonally, the one on the right toward the zoo, the one on the left toward a rock-mounted obelisk and a fine false Roman ruin. But these, and the woods beyond, are merely a frame for the composition in the center: the sculpted marble fountain; the carefully planted screen of trees behind; the sudden, almost vertical rise of the grass-covered hill beyond, with the Gloriette a fitting crown. Within the palace, the state salons are quite up to the splendor of the gardens, but note the contrast between these chambers and the far more modest rooms in which the rulers—particularly Franz Josef—lived and spent most of their time. Of the 1,441 rooms, 40 are open to the public on the regular tour, of which two are of special note: the Hall of Mirrors, where the six-year-old Mozart performed for Empress Maria Theresa in 1762 (and where he met seven-year-old Marie Antoinette, developing a little crush on her), and the Grand Gallery, where the Congress of Vienna (1815) danced at night after carving up Napoléon's collapsed empire during the day. Ask about viewing the ground-floor living quarters (Berglzimmer), where the walls are painted with palm trees, exotic animals, and tropical views. As you go through the palace, glance occasionally out the windows; you'll be rewarded by a better impression of the formal gardens, punctuated by hedgerows and fountains. These window vistas were enjoyed by rulers from Maria Theresa and Napoléon to Franz Josef.

    Schönbrunner-Schloss-Strasse, Vienna, Vienna, A-1130, Austria
    01-811–13–239

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €13.50, €15.50 for guided tour
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  • 17. Sigmund Freud Museum

    9th District/Alsergrund | Historic Home

    Not far from the historic Hofburg district, the marvels and pains of the 20th century come into focus here at the the former practice and private...

    Not far from the historic Hofburg district, the marvels and pains of the 20th century come into focus here at the the former practice and private quarters of the father of psychoanalysis. The museum outlines Sigmund Freud's work and peronal life, as well as his impact on the world of psychology via memorabilia, private letters, biographical details, photos, films, and a library, It's housed in the apartment where Freud and his wife lived from 1891–1938 and raised their six children. The waiting-room furniture is original but the consulting room and study furniture (including the famous couch) can be seen only in photographs. The collection of telegrams (photocopies of the originals) from the State Department is chilling; they chronicle frantic efforts to help the Freud family escape Austria after the Nazi Anschluss in 1938.

    Berggasse 19, Apt. 6, Vienna, Vienna, A-1090, Austria
    01-319–1596

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €14
  • 18. Stephansdom

    1st District | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Vienna's soaring centerpiece, this beloved cathedral enshrines the heart of the city—although when first built in the 12th century it stood...

    Vienna's soaring centerpiece, this beloved cathedral enshrines the heart of the city—although when first built in the 12th century it stood outside the city walls. Vienna can thank a period of hard times for the Catholic Church for the cathedral's distinctive silhouette. Originally the structure was to have had matching 445-foot-high spires, a standard design of the era, but funds ran out, and the north tower to this day remains a happy reminder of what gloriously is not. The lack of symmetry creates an imbalance that makes the cathedral instantly identifiable from its profile alone. Like the Staatsoper and some other major buildings, it was very heavily damaged in World War II, but reconstruction loans have been utilized to restore the cathedral's former beauty. Decades of pollution have blackened the exterior, which is being painstakingly cleaned using only brushes and water, so as not to destroy the facade with chemicals. It's difficult now to tell what was original and which parts of the walls and vaults were reconstructed. No matter: its history-rich atmosphere is dear to all Viennese. That noted, St. Stephen's has a fierce presence that is blatantly un-Viennese. It's a stylistic jumble ranging from 13th-century Romanesque to 15th-century Gothic. Like the exterior, St. Stephen's interior lacks the soaring unity of Europe's greatest Gothic cathedrals, much of its decoration dating from the later Baroque era. One particularly masterly work should be seen by everyone: the stone pulpit attached to the second freestanding pier on the left of the central nave, carved by Anton Pilgram between 1510 and 1550. The delicacy of its decoration would in itself set the pulpit apart, but even more intriguing are its five sculpted figures. Carved around the outside of the pulpit proper are the four Church Fathers (from left to right: St. Augustine, St. Gregory, St. Jerome, and St. Ambrose), and each is given an individual personality so sharply etched as to suggest satire, perhaps of living models. There is no satire suggested by the fifth figure, however; below the pulpit's stairs Pilgram sculpted a fine self-portrait, showing himself peering out a half-open window. As you stroll through the aisles, remember that many notable events occurred here, including Mozart's marriage in 1782 and his funeral in December 1791. The bird's-eye views from the cathedral's beloved Alter Steffl (Old Stephen Tower) will be a highlight for some. The south tower is 450 feet high and was built between 1359 and 1433. The climb up the 343 steps is rewarded with vistas that extend to the rising slopes of the Wienerwald. The north steeple houses the big Pummerin bell and a lookout terrace (access by elevator).

    Stephansplatz, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-5155–23767

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Cathedral only free. ll €6 all-inclusive guided tour tickets include the catacombs, North Tower, and South Tower.
  • 19. Wiener Staatsoper

    1st District | Arts/Performance Venue

    Vying with St. Stephen's Cathedral for the honor of the emotional heart of the city, the opera house is a focus for Viennese life and one of...

    Vying with St. Stephen's Cathedral for the honor of the emotional heart of the city, the opera house is a focus for Viennese life and one of the chief symbols of resurgence after World War II. Its directorship is one of the top jobs in Austria, almost as important as that of the country's president, and one that draws even more public attention. The first of the Ringstrasse projects to be completed (in 1869), the opera house suffered disastrous bomb damage in the last days of World War II—only the outer walls, the front facade, and the main staircase survived. The auditorium is plain when compared to the red-and-gold eruptions of London's Covent Garden or some of the Italian opera houses, but it has an elegant individuality that it shows off beautifully when the stage and auditorium are turned into a ballroom for the great Opera Ball. The construction of the opera house is the stuff of legend. When the foundation was laid, the plans for the Opernring were not yet complete, and in the end the avenue turned out to be several feet higher than originally planned. As a result, the opera house lacked the commanding prospect that its architects, Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg, had intended. Even Emperor Franz Josef pronounced the building a bit low to the ground. For the sensitive van der Nüll (and here the story becomes a bit suspect), failing his beloved emperor was the last straw. In disgrace and despair, he committed suicide. Sicardsburg died of grief shortly thereafter. And the emperor, horrified at the deaths his innocuous remark had caused, limited all his future artistic pronouncements to a single immutable formula: "Es war sehr schön, es hat mich sehr gefreut" ("It was very nice, it pleased me very much"). Renovation could not avoid a postwar look, for the cost of fully restoring the 19th-century interior was prohibitive. The original design was followed in the 1945–1955 reconstruction, meaning that sight lines from some of the front boxes are poor at best. These disappointments hardly detract from the fact that this is one of the world's half-dozen greatest opera houses, and experiencing a performance here can be the highlight of a trip to Vienna. If tickets are sold out, some performances are shown live on a huge screen outside on Karajanplatz. Tours of the opera house are given regularly, but starting times vary according to rehearsals; the current schedule is posted under the arcades on both sides of the building. Under the arcade on the Kärntnerstrasse side is an information office that also sells tickets to the main opera and the Volksoper.

    Opernring 2, Vienna, Vienna, A-1010, Austria
    01-514–44–2606

    Sight Details

    From €10 for standing room tickets, €10 for guided tours Rate Includes: No performances Jul.–Aug.
  • 20. Wieninger

    21st District/Floridsdorf | Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    The driving force behind the WienWein group, pioneer Fritz Wieninger is a masterful vintner. He exports to the United States and elsewhere,...

    The driving force behind the WienWein group, pioneer Fritz Wieninger is a masterful vintner. He exports to the United States and elsewhere, but luckily there are some bottles left to be savored in this pleasant, tree-shaded inner courtyard and tavern. The food is not typical heuriger fare; instead, expect more contemporary choices, like roasted scampi burgers with mango-avocado dip. It's across the Danube in Stammersdorf, one of Vienna's oldest heurige regions.

    Stammersdorferstrasse 78, Vienna, Vienna, A-1210, Austria
    01-292–4106

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed late Dec.–mid-May. Lunch only Sat. and Sun.

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