Well I doubt if I can actually identify 7 things you must do and see while in Vienna.Vienna is the most rewarding city of Central Europe perfect for an all year round holiday. It has four distinct seasons and you can never get short of experiencing attractions.
From its stunning heritage of imperial times, to astounding Gothic and Baroque churches, unending list of cultural institutions, an opulent opera evening, endless coffee-cake sessions in oldest and newest cafés of the city, to strolling in the only wine producing district within the city limit, Vienna offers diversified sights and sounds to create a life long memory.
1.Check out the magnificent heritage!
With the long imperial history of Austria, Vienna reflects its most elaborate monuments right at the heart of the city in the old quarter of the town. The first stop must be the ornate Hosburg Palace which in current times is the official residence of the President of the country as well as home to the most amazingly curated museums and art galleries.
Vienna Hofburg is immense, a real good look can take few hours. Make sure to visit the museum of Empress Elizabeth better known as Empress Sisi, one of the most interesting queens of the world. A walk through her museum is a great way to know her life from personal to public.
I was particularly thrilled to see her portable medicine chest that she carried while in travels and her personal workout station. Check out the Imperial apartments, relishing the regal way of life, moving on to the amazingly curated royal furniture collection that hosts 16500 artifacts from 16th century onwards. Note that all of these and more can be savoured by 1 single ticket which gives you an access to Vienna Hofburg with Imperial Apartment, the Museum of the empress ie Sisi Museum, Imperial Silver Collection and the Schönbrunn Palace! Alternatively you can buy a Vienna City Card that allows you entry to all of these and more.
2. Pay a deep visit to St. Stephen`s Cathedral!
A holiday in Vienna is incomplete without seeing the St. Stephen`s Cathedral. The imposing gothic architectural marvel is considered a symbol of Vienna and is one of the most grand ones across Europe!
The church was initiated by Duke Rudolph IV in 15thcentury. The long history of the church has not affected its popularity, even after hundreds of years visitors throng this church dedicated to patron saint St. Stephen.
Built out of limestone, the church measures 351 ft in height and 446ft tall at its highest mark. 13 bells adorns the tower room of the cathedral while southernmost tower that took 65years to be constructed is the singular most spectacular icon of Vienna. If you are adventurous enough make sure to climb 343 stairs that lead to the tower room, the view of Vienna is unmatched from here.
3. Show some art love at Belverde Palace !
Vienna is full of palaces but this beautiful baroque piece Belverde Palace is not only a must heritage see but also is the trove of Austria`s largest and most valuable art collection from middle ages. Divided in two quarters the Upper and Lower, the Upper palace boasts of hosting the entire 18th,19th and 20th century art originated from Austria.
Of these exquisite showcasing are Gustav Klimt`s world famous ‘ Judith’ and ‘The Kiss’. The architectural gem was built by an architect called Johann Lukas Hildebrant as the summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy in 18th century outside the limits of the then city. So if you are an art lover you know where to head off in Vienna.
4. Get passionate about biking on the Ringstrasse!
Ring Road or Ringstrasse is the circular grand boulevard road of Vienna that cuts across this beautiful city`s most prominent district for a stretch of 5 kilometres. It is said that the road is a willful desire of Kaizer or emperor Franz Joseph and was built in the year 1857.
Today it is the green crown of Vienna, perhaps the greenest thoroughfare that has an exclusive lane for the bikers and demarcated tram tracks. If you have loved biking as a growing teenager, this should be your chance to renew your passion. Most Viennese bike to work or otherwise, so renting a bike isn’t difficult at all or at the best borrow one from your friendly hotel manager.
5. Indulge over a Sachertorte!
War over a cake ! Yes you are reading it right. I will let you know about that in my next food blog, the fascinating war around this world famous dessert indulgence but for now believe that a long session over sachertorte and Viennese espresso is mandatory. Honestly there can be nothing as palette fulfilling as enjoying this rich cake in layers after a long que at Demel Bakery or even better at The Sacher Hotel.
All old cafes serve their own ‘sachertorte’ but the original sachertorte is only at Hotel Sacher. The inevitable combo is the espresso that is served with loads of whipped cream.
6. Gorge over a sparking wine!
Weingut Wien Cobenzl – Vienna is the only city in the world that boasts of wineries within the city limits. Away from busy old district of Vienna, up in the elevated terrains lies Cobenzl, one of the best vineyards of Vienna. The city administration has encouraged a revival of old traditional wine making of Austria and currently 700 hectres of land across both sides of river Danube are now being ultilised for the same. Cobenzl vineyard that sits atop 19th district of Vienna offers a stunning wide angle view of the city and endless green of the vines. They organize curated wining tasting, sales and awesome vineyard walks, and as if it was not enough Cobenzl also is one of the most amazing wedding venues of Austria. Once your late afternoon vineyard trip is over, make sure to head off to their wine tavern or the cozy ‘heurige’ as the locals say for the most relaxing and amazing time – yes a traditional farm meal or supper with loads of wine awaits you there.
7.Shake a leg with Mozart !
Well Mozart is everywhere in Vienna! If you were just thinking of a regal evening at the Vienna State Opera you are right! Surely enjoy the musical evening at the baroque opera address that still holds a different programme everyday annually with over 60 operas and ballets and needless many of them are influences or directly connected to Mozart`s composition. Surely a lifetime experience.
One a lighter note do not forget to exchange a quick hello with the men who dress up as a look alike of Mozart as they sell tickets for smaller opera or musical events strolling in neighbourhood streets of the State Opera. And if still your heart is not full with Mozart, then don’t forget to carry back a box of Mozartkugel or Mozart chocolates.