Vienna, the beautiful capital city of Austria, offers a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant culture that has been shaped by some of the world’s greatest thinkers, composers, and artists. With its splendid palaces, timeless music scene, delicious cuisine, and much more, Vienna promises a diverse and enchanting experience for every traveler. Here’s an extensive guide that includes travel tips, information, and all you need to know when planning a trip to Vienna.
History and Culture
Vienna is a city with a very deep history. Once the heart of the Habsburg Empire, the city’s rich past is evident in its beautiful architecture and world-renowned cultural institutions. From the historic Innere Stadt to the progressive Leopoldstadt, every district in Vienna tells its own unique story.
- Best Time to Visit: Vienna is beautiful all year round. However, the best time to visit is from April to October when the weather is warm. For winter enthusiasts, visiting during the Christmas season can be quite magical with the city adorned in festive lights and the Christmas markets in full swing.
- Getting Around: Vienna has an efficient public transportation system, including trams, buses, and the U-Bahn (subway). A Vienna Card can be very useful as it offers unlimited travel and discounts to many attractions. The city is also bike-friendly with numerous bike rental stations.
- Currency: Austria uses the Euro. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted but it’s always useful to carry some cash for smaller vendors.
- Language: The official language is German, but English is commonly spoken in hotels, restaurants, and tourist areas.
- Schönbrunn Palace: This UNESCO World Heritage site was the summer residence of the Habsburgs. Tour the imperial apartments, stroll through the world’s oldest zoo, and enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens.
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom): A stunning gothic masterpiece located in the heart of Vienna. You can also climb up the South Tower for a panoramic view of the city.
- Hofburg Imperial Palace: This was the winter residence for the Habsburgs. Today, it houses the Austrian National Library, the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Silver Collection.
- Belvedere Palace: Home to the Austrian Gallery, which displays Austrian art dating from the Middle Ages to the present day, including Gustav Klimt’s famous “The Kiss”.
- Vienna State Opera: For music and opera lovers, this is a must-visit. Book a guided tour, or better yet, a ticket to one of the performances.
- Prater: A large public park that houses the iconic Riesenrad Ferris Wheel and an amusement park.
Vienna’s shopping scene caters to everyone’s taste.
- Mariahilferstraße: This is Vienna’s largest shopping street, where you can find a multitude of international brand stores.
- Naschmarkt: Vienna’s most popular market offers a variety of fresh food, antiques, and exotic items from around the world.
- Kärntner Straße: This is one of the most exclusive shopping streets in Vienna, boasting high-end brands and jewelry stores.
- Neubaugasse: Here, you can find unique boutiques and second-hand stores.
Food and Drink
Viennese cuisine is hearty and diverse. You can’t leave Vienna without trying the Wiener Schnitzel, a breaded and fried veal cutlet, or Tafelspitz, boiled beef served with apples and horseradish. Viennese sausages and goulash are also local favorites.
In terms of sweets, the Sachertorte, a dense chocolate cake invented by Franz Sacher, is a must-try. Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) and Kaiserschmarrn, a shredded pancake, are other delightful treats.
Vienna is also famous for its coffee culture. Coffee houses are a staple of Viennese social life and are great places to relax with a coffee and pastry while people-watching or reading a newspaper.
Vienna offers a variety of nightlife options:
- Innere Stadt: This area offers plenty of high-end bars and clubs, as well as the famous Vienna State Opera for those who prefer a night of culture.
- Bermuda Triangle (Bermudadreieck): Located in the heart of Vienna, this area is famous for its lively bars and pubs.
- Prater: Not only a daytime attraction, the Prater amusement park turns into a nightlife hub with bars, clubs, and a beer garden.
- Summerstage: A summer-long festival with food, drinks, music, and a variety of cultural performances near the Danube Canal.
If you have a few extra days in your itinerary, consider taking a day trip to:
- Salzburg: The birthplace of Mozart and the filming location of ‘The Sound of Music’. It’s a picturesque town with a fortress, beautiful gardens, and baroque architecture.
- Wachau Valley: A famous wine region along the Danube River, known for its vineyards, charming villages, and medieval architecture.
- Bratislava: The capital of Slovakia is only an hour away from Vienna. Its old town, castle, and Danube River promenade make for an interesting day trip.
Vienna is a city with endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. This guide merely scratches the surface of what the city has to offer. From its historic buildings to its vibrant cultural scene, Vienna is a city that will capture your heart. Remember, the best way to experience Vienna is to take your time, wander through its beautiful streets, and let the city’s charm envelop you. Happy travels!
Here’s a list of common words and phrases useful for tourists visiting Vienna. For better representation, each row representsGerman, English, Turkish, Arabic, and Farsi, respectively.
|German||English||Turkish Türkçe||Arabic عربی||Farsi فارسی|
|Hallo||Hello||Merhaba||مرحبا (Marhaba)||سلام (Salam)|
|Auf Wiedersehen||Goodbye||Hoşça kal||وداعا (Wadaeaan)||خداحافظ (Khodahafez)|
|Bitte||Please||Lütfen||من فضلك (Min fadlak)||لطفا (Lotfan)|
|Danke||Thank you||Teşekkür ederim||شكرا (Shukraan)||متشکرم (Moteshakeram)|
|Ja||Yes||Evet||نعم (Naam)||بله (Baleh)|
|Nein||No||Hayır||لا (La)||نه (Na)|
|Entschuldigung||Excuse me||Affedersiniz||عفوا (Afuwan)||ببخشید (Bebakhshid)|
|Ich verstehe nicht||I don’t understand||Anlamıyorum||لا أفهم (La afham)||من نمی فهمم (Man nemifahmam)|
|Wie viel?||How much?||Ne kadar?||كم؟ (Kam?)||چقدر؟ (Cheghadr?)|
|Wo ist…?||Where is…?||… nerede?||أين هو…؟ (Ayn hu…?)||…کجاست؟ (…Kojast?)|
|Toilette||Toilet||Tuvalet||حمام (Hammam)||دستشویی (Dastshooei)|
|Hilfe||Help||Yardım||مساعدة (Musaeadah)||کمک (Komak)|
|Essen||Food||Yiyecek||طعام (Taam)||غذا (Ghaza)|
|Wasser||Water||Su||ماء (Maa)||آب (Ab)|
|Guten Morgen||Good morning||Günaydın||صباح الخير (Sabah al khayr)||صبح بخیر (Sobh bekheir)|
|Gute Nacht||Good night||İyi geceler||تصبح على خير (Tusbih ala khayr)||شب بخیر (Shab bekheir)|
|Sprechen Sie Englisch?||Do you speak English?||İngilizce konuşuyor musunuz?||هل تتكلم الإنجليزية؟ (Hal tatakallam al-ingliziyya?)||آیا انگلیسی صحبت می کنید؟ (Aya inglisi sohbat mikonid?)|
|Es tut mir leid||I’m sorry||Özür dilerim||أنا آسف (Ana asif)||متاسفم (Moteasefam)|
|Ich habe mich verlaufen||I’m lost||Kayboldum||أنا ضائع (Ana daa’ea)||گم شدم (Gom sh|
|Können Sie mir helfen?||Can you help me?||Bana yardımcı olabilir misiniz?||هل يمكنك مساعدتي؟ (Hal yumkinuk musa’adati?)||آیا می توانید به من کمک کنید؟ (Aya mitavanid be man komak konid?)|
|Krankenhaus||Hospital||Hastane||مستشفى (Mustashfa)||بیمارستان (Bimarestan)|
|Polizeistation||Police Station||Polis karakolu||مركز الشرطة (Markaz al-shurta)||ایستگاه پلیس (Istgah-e-polis)|
|Entschuldigung, wo ist die Toilette?||Excuse me, where is the toilet?||Affedersiniz, tuvalet nerede?||عفوًا ، أين الحمام؟ (Afuwan, ayna al hammam?)||ببخشید، دستشویی کجاست؟ (Bebakhshid, dastshooei kojast?)|
|Ich möchte…||I would like…||… isterim||أود… (Awad…)||من می خواهم… (Man mikham…)|
|Wie komme ich zu…?||How do I get to…?||… nasıl gidilir?||كيف أصل إلى…؟ (Kayfa asil ila…?)||چگونه به … بروم؟ (Chegooneh be … beravam?)|
|Ist es weit?||Is it far?||Uzak mı?||هل هو بعيد؟ (Hal hu ba’id?)||آیا دور است؟ (Aya door ast?)|
|Ist es in der Nähe?||Is it near?||Yakın mı?||هل هو قريب؟ (Hal hu qareeb?)||آیا نزدیک است؟ (Aya nazdik ast?)|
|Ich bin allergisch gegen…||I am allergic to…||… alerjim var||أنا أعاني من حساسية ضد… (Ana a’ani min hasasiyya did…)||من به … حساسیت دارم (Man be … hasasiateh daram)|
|Könnten Sie das bitte wiederholen?||Could you please repeat that?||Bunu tekrar eder misiniz, lütfen?||هل يمكنك تكرار ذلك من فضلك؟ (Hal yumkinuk takrar dhalik min fadlak?)||لطفاً آن را تکرار کنید (Lotfan an ra tekrary konid)|
- Schönbrunn Palace: This former imperial summer residence is one of Vienna’s most popular attractions. Its vast gardens, luxurious rooms, and the world’s oldest zoo are a must-see.
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom): A landmark of Vienna, this magnificent cathedral features stunning Gothic architecture and offers panoramic city views from its south tower.
- Vienna State Opera: Known as “Wiener Staatsoper,” this is one of the leading opera houses in the world. The venue offers a variety of performances, including opera, ballet, and concerts.
- Belvedere Palace: This historic building complex consists of two Baroque palaces, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. It also hosts an art museum featuring works by Klimt and Van Gogh.
- The Hofburg: This vast complex has been the seat of power for the Habsburg dynasty. It now serves as the residence of the President of Austria and includes several museums and the Imperial Apartments.
- Albertina Museum: One of the most important art museums globally, it houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with approximately 65,000 drawings and approximately 1 million old master prints.
- Vienna Prater: A large public park in Vienna’s 2nd district, it’s home to the Riesenrad, an iconic Ferris wheel, and the Wurstelprater amusement park.
- Kunsthistorisches Museum: It houses the Habsburgs’ extensive collections of art, including works by Vermeer, Durer, Raphael, and Velazquez.
- Spanish Riding School: This traditional riding school for Lipizzan horses offers public performances and training sessions in a breathtaking setting.
- Naschmarkt: Vienna’s most popular market offers a variety of food and beverages from all over the world. Also, don’t miss the flea market on Saturdays.
- Vienna Woods (Wienerwald): This is a great place for hiking, walking, and enjoying nature. It is home to many vineyards and offers stunning views over Vienna.
- Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum): This museum houses an extensive collection of artworks and historical artifacts, including an impressive collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art.
- Leopold Museum: Located in the MuseumsQuartier district, it houses one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art, featuring artists such as Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.
- Karlskirche: This is one of Vienna’s greatest and most interesting buildings. The Baroque church features a stunning combination of architectural styles, and its elevator to the dome offers a unique perspective on the building’s interior frescoes.
- The Vienna Secession Building: Known as the Secession, this exhibition hall was built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich for exhibitions of the secession group. It has been a venue for contemporary art exhibitions.
- The Danube Tower (Donauturm): Standing at 252 metres, it offers stunning views of Vienna and beyond. The tower also features a rotating restaurant and café at its top.
- Hundertwasserhaus: This colorful and unusual apartment house in Vienna is a fantastic example of the work of artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
- The Austrian National Library: The largest library in Austria, with 7.4 million items in its various collections. The library is located in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.
- St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche): This Baroque Roman Catholic parish church is known for its ornate design and impressive frescoes. It’s one of the oldest churches in Vienna, possibly dating back to the early 4th century.
- The Museum of Applied Arts (MAK): It is an arts and crafts museum with a collection ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. A notable highlight is the Vienna 1900 section dedicated to the Vienna Secession movement and Art Nouveau.
- Prunksaal (State Hall): Located within the Austrian National Library, the State Hall is one of the world’s most beautiful historic libraries. It houses over 200,000 volumes, including a collection of ancient, medieval, and modern manuscripts.
- Vienna Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum): The museum houses extensive collections of minerals, meteorites, fossils, prehistoric artifacts, and animal specimens from all over the world. Its dinosaur hall and the collection of meteorites are particularly popular.
- The Imperial Crypt (Kapuzinergruft): Beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery, the Imperial Crypt serves as the resting place for members of Austria’s former Habsburg dynasty. You can see intricate and historical sarcophagi, including that of Emperor Charles VI, Maria Theresia, Franz Joseph I, and Empress Elisabeth (Sisi).
- Danube Island (Donauinsel): A long, narrow island in central Vienna, it is a recreational paradise offering beaches, restaurants, cycling paths, and even water-skiing.
- The MuseumsQuartier: One of the world’s largest complexes for modern art and culture, offering a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. The Leopold Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (mumok) are situated here.
- The Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel (Wiener Riesenrad): Located in the Prater in the Leopoldstadt district, it is one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions and symbolizes the city district.
- Austrian Parliament Building: A historic building with magnificent Greek-inspired architecture. Guided tours are available, allowing you to explore its grand interiors.
- Vienna City Hall (Rathaus): An imposing neo-Gothic building that serves as the city’s administrative centre. It also hosts various events, such as the Viennese Christmas market and the Rathaus Film Festival.
- The Vienna Technical Museum (Technisches Museum Wien): This provides a broad view of technological development over the centuries. See exhibits on heavy industry, telecommunications, film and photo technology, energy production, and more.