Vienna, Austria’s capital city, is historically significant, architecturally stunning, artistically vibrant, culturally rich, and gastronomically excellent. The Roman-era settlement of Vienna is located on the Danube River. More than half of the city’s Baroque structures were erected during Empress Maria Theresa (18th century) and Emperor Franz Joseph (19th century), and they stand in contrast to modern glass and steel constructions today.
Vienna, with its stunning architecture, walkable streets, delectable cuisine, and a variety of things to do both indoors and outdoors, is a wonderful holiday destination. Vienna’s city limits include vineyards, parks, and the forested Vienna Woods (Wienerwald in German), a protected natural environment. Vienna allows dogs on public transportation and in restaurants and shops. Viennese culture is characterized by “coffee culture,” which features prominently in everyday life. Coffee houses are popular meeting places where people can relax while eating their favorite cakes.
The “City of Music,” Vienna, was the home of classical composers Schubert, Mozart, Haydn, Strauss, Brahms, and Beethoven. The city’s Ball Season extends from November to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, when nearly 500 balls are held—with the Viennese Waltz and exquisite formal clothing on display in full force.
Best Time to Go
As opposed to the scorching summer or freezing winter, spring and fall in Vienna present more mild weather conditions that are pleasant for tourists. Because there are fewer visitors during these off-seasons, it is also easier to explore the city’s attractions without large crowds. Although hotel rates may be lower compared to other seasons, keep in mind that you will need extra layers as temperatures tend to dip into the high 60s/low 70s range.
In contrast, Christmas markets and beautiful decorations bring people from all around during wintertime – even though it means braving colder tempsIt appears that there is no such thing as an incorrect time to visit Vienna. Take a travel umbrella, a coat, and remember the old adage “There’s no such thing as bad weather; only the wrong clothing.”
Things to Know
The Perzy family has been making snow globes in their factory located in the 17th district of Vienna for over a hundred years. Their snow globes come in a variety of sizes and depict well-known landmarks such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, animals, cakes, and more. Snow globes have become increasingly popular souvenirs among visitors of Vienna’s Christmas markets.
Vienna is the only city in the world with wineries within its borders. Visitors may hike, bike, or sample a Heuriger, a seasonal wine tavern, in Grinzing’s outskirts. The majority of wineries create white wines, particularly Grüner Veltliner and Weissburgunder.
Now known as SörkBacık, it was formerly the site of a Debrecen Power Plant. The Danube Island (Sörkbacik) was built in order to protect the city from flooding and has since become a major recreational center with a beach, waterpark, restaurants, and nightclubs. Every summer, an open-air music concert dubbed the Danube Island Festival is held there (Donauinselfest).
Austria’s most popular dish is Wiener Schnitzel, which are thin slices of veal that have been breaded and fried. They are usually served with parsley potatoes or potato salad. Veal is the meat most commonly used in this dish, but chicken may also be prepared as schnitzel.
The Sacher Torte, originating from Vienna, is a chocolate cake layered with apricot jam and coated in chocolate. It’s rumored to have been made by Franz Sacher, 16 years old at the time, for Prince Metternich when thenormal chef was unwell. Austria celebrates National Sachertorte Day on December 5th every year.
In addition to delicious coffee and pastries, Vienna is also famous for its hot dog stands. You can choose between sweet or spicy mustard to top your dog.
If your single local Vienna shopping bill exceeds EUR 75.01, you may claim a refund of the Austrian value added tax if you live outside the European Union. Ask for a Global Blue Cheque and a Global Blue Envelope, which will contain a list of all refund offices worldwide. (Global Blue is an international payment provider that offers tax-free shopping.) Remember to staple the original invoice to the Global Blue Cheque when you make your purchase.
When you’re ready to leave Austria (or any other European Union country), go to Vienna International Airport’s eValidation service counter and present your stamped Global Blue Cheque along with your passport. You can choose to either get your refund in cash at one of the 700+ offices worldwide, or you can opt to have Global Blue send the money directly to you via check.
How to Get Around
Vienna has an expansive public transportation network that includes buses, trains, trams, and underground lines. These are all operated by Wiener Linien and make getting around the city relatively easy. You can purchase tickets from machines located at underground stations as well as tobacconists and online; you can also buy them onboard (although it will be slightly more expensive). In addition to single tickets, passes are available for extended periods of time.
The subway is called U-Bahn in Vienna; local trains are Schnellbahn or s-Bahn; the tram is known as Straßenbahn here, and Autobus refers to the bus system. Taxis can be found at most of the city’s taxi stands. For ridesharing, Uber operates in Vienna.
There is bus, train, and taxi service into the city from Vienna International Airport, as well as Uber for ridesharing.
If you’re looking to see Vienna on a budget, the Vienna City Card is your best friend. Not only does it provide discounts on many tourist attractions, but you also get free rides on most public transportation lines! And if you’re feeling adventurous, take advantage of one of the 120 bike stations around town operated by CityBike Wien. Just be warned – Vienna is one of the mostbike-friendly cities in Europe, so traffic can be hectic!
Grand Hotel Wien
The hotel, which dates back to 1870 offers an array of luxurious furnishings including five restaurants, two bars, and their very own Grand Spa No.605. Their exquisite rooftop terrace is open from March until October where you can enjoy cocktails whilst marveling at the panoramic views. The perfect shopping experience awaits you as the hotel is centrally located near Kärntner Straße- one of Vienna’s most historic streets filled with high-end shops.
The Four Seasons Hotel in Vienna is a 5-star luxury hotel located in the city center. It has a total of 201 rooms, including 43 suites. The historic building was formerly four palaces that have been joined together, and contemporary facilities include a fitness center, indoor pool, and spa. An array of dining options is available at an outstanding steakhouse, Italian restaurant, cocktail lounge, and seasonal Atmosphere Rooftop Bar.
K & K Palais Hotel
This hotel is located in the center of town and housed in the former residence of Emperor Franz Joseph. The rooms are air-conditioned and come with flat-screen TV’s, coffee machines, minibars, and elegant furnishings. Families can enjoy the playground, laundry facilities, snack bar, and available child care.
Mraz & Sohn
This family-run restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars for its inventive take on Austrian and cuisine from other countries. Tasting menus with several courses are available and provide a chic but relaxed dining experience, complete with courteous service. It’s advised that you make a reservation beforehand.
Restaurant Dots located in Vienna’s Stadtpark offers creative takes on rural Austrian cuisine. The restaurant features a variety of seafood, wild boar, and other dishes sourced from local ingredients. Guests can choose to dine a la carte or select the tasting menu. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling ahead.
Dine inside an 1822 greenhouse that overlooks Hofburg palace gardens, which has been updated with modern glass and steel. The menu offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options including seafood, steaks, and (of course) schnitzel. Reservations are suggested.
Things to Do
The Schönbrunn Palace, one of Vienna’s top attractions for its architecture, history, and Baroque gardens, is one of Austria’s most popular tourist destinations. The rooms where Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Maria Theresa once lived are visited to see the furnishings, art, and opulent décor.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The Stephansdom, also known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is a Romanesque church that has been rebuilt numerous times since World War II, including its original design with Baroque and Gothic architecture. On foot or via one of the towers for a view of Vienna from the roof walk.
The cultural complex, located in the heart of Vienna, includes 60 institutions that cover contemporary art, history, architecture, music, fashion, theater, dance, literature, photography, street art and children’s culture. Visitor visits are welcome; the courtyard is designed for visitors and locals to enjoy with distinctive furnishings as well as cafés and restaurants.
The Vienna Zoo is the oldest zoo in the world, dating back to the mid-18th century. It was built in the Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace and visitors can tour it at their own pace or go on one of several tours that are offered. These include backstage tours, themed tours focusing on a certain animal, as well as morning experiences where you get to explore either the rainforest or aquarium and then have breakfast afterwards.
The climate of Vienna is continental, with cold winters and warm summers. From time to time, the city experiences severe weather events, including blizzards. Despite the fact that it snows frequently, there isn’t usually much snowfall.
January is the driest and coldest month, while July is the warmest and wettest. Hurricanes do not affect Austria, however tornadoes can occur during the summer.
In winter, December through February, temperatures are quite chilly, and weather begins to warm up in late March. Spring is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. The fall is mild; it’s a good time to visit Vienna.