Vienna (Wien) is the world-famous capital of Austria. It is the largest city in Austria, with a population of about 1,6 million, and it is the cultural, economical and political center as well. Vienna is situated in the heart of Europe, and it is one of the favourite destinations among tourists, due to its historical and breath-taking monuments. Vienna is a magical city where you can feel history on the streets and in the museums, shops cafés and restaurants.
History of Vienna
Vienna has a long and colorful history, which began when the Roman Empire created a fort in this area, called Vindobona. In the 11th century, Vienna became an important trading place, and later it became the capital of the Austrian Habsburgs. Vienna's golden period was during the reign of Emperor Franz Josef from 1848 until 1916. During the 19th century, Vienna became the capital of the Austrian Empire and later of Austria-Hungary. In that period, Vienna was one of the most significant cities in Europe. Following World War II, Vienna (like Berlin) became a divided city under allied occupation. It has since then became the unified capital of the Republic of Austria.
Today, the city is a lovely, peaceful place with lots of historical memories and friendly locals.
The Monuments of Vienna
You can find in Vienna lots of monuments, from the magnificent Baroque buildings through "golden" Art Nouveau to the latest architecture. In Vienna, there are over 27 castles and more than 150 palaces, but the most significant sights are the following:
Hofburg (the castle of Vienna) with its amazing measures and lavish magnificence was the symbol of the magnitude and affluence of the old Austria.
Schönbrunn Palace, which is situated 6 kilometers from the city center, can be reached by underground (U4) easily. Originally, it was a small castle but a hunter's castle was added to the building and later a zoo was also established next to it.
St. Stephen's Cathedral is the seat of the Archbischop of Vienna, Cristoph Cardinal Schonbron OP.
Other important monuments are the Opernring, the Rathaus, the Burgtheater, the Belvedere Palace and the Karlskirche.
Visit the following page of Vienna Sightseeing Tours in order to select a guided tour of Vienna or half-day, one-day excursions in the area. The tour organizers will pick you up from your hotel or apartment, and drop you off at the State Opera at the end of the city tour.
Vienna is a large city, and as such, it offers shopping possibilities from cheap goods all the way to the most luxurious products. The two main shopping streets are Mariahilfer Strasse and Kärntner Straße. Mariahilfer Strasse actually happens to be the longest shopping street of Europe. Kärntner Straße is a pedestrian area mainly for tourists, while a one-lane road goes through Mariahilfer Strasse, which has lots of medium-priced stores as well. The most luxurious products can be found in the vicinity of Hotel Sacher by the Opera.
You have the possibility to shop at the Vienna flea market Saturday morning only, but the free markets are open every day. The Naschmarkt is a "must see" of you are in Vienna. It is a market where you can buy lots of local specialties (cheese, ham, wine, etc.). In addition, there are lots of great Asian restaurants around Naschmarkt (sushi bar, Japanese tea bar, running sushi).
Restaurants and Austrian Cuisine
Vienna is a favorite destination for gastro-tourists, as it has lots of elegant restaurants and coffee-houses. The Austrian cuisine is known all over the world for its traditional food like Wiener Schnitzel, Linzer and Sacher cake. Don't forget to try the local apple pie (Apfelstrudel).
The famous amusement district, called Prater, with its merry go rounds, shooting galleries, side shows and slot machines is a great place for even those who do not speak German. The symbol of Prater is the great ferris wheel. About 250 attractions can be found in the Prater, ranging from slot machines, auto-drome rinks, ball toss and shooting booths, exciting roller coasters, ghost trains to flight simulators.
Vienna - The Capital of Music
Vienna can certainly be regarded as the world's musical capital. More famous composers have lived here than in any other city: Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Mahler. The city's concert halls are very popular, and the Vienna State Opera attracts visitors from all over the world. You can also enjoy classical music by the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra or by the Symphony Orchestra in the Concert House. The city hosts more than 200 classical, pop and rock concerts and festivals every year.
Distances from Vienna
Prague: 350 km (217 miles)
Brno: 130 km (80 miles)
Bratislava: 70 km (43 miles)
Budapest: 250 km (155 miles)
Salzburg: 300 km (186 miles)
2011 Vienna Music Film Festival
Between July 1 and August 31, the Vienna City Hall Park (Rathausplatz) turns into a pulsating meeting point for film- and music-lovers, with giant screens of opera, operetta, dance and concert performances free of charge. In addition, top restaurateurs offer an interesting culinary world tour from 11 a.m. to midnight. Films start at sunset.
The Vienna Card
When you visit Vienna, it is strongly recommended to purchase the Vienna Card. It provides free public transportation on the metro, bus and tram lines of Vienna, and various discounts for museums, theaters, concerts, shops, cafés, restaurants, etc. The card also includes a discount for the City Airport Train between the airport and the city center (ticket back and forth for 7,5 EURO instead of 10 EURO).
Price of the Vienna Card is 18,5 EURO for 72 hours, and it is available at hotel receptions, tourist information centers (the office at Albertinaplatz is open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.), at the Schwechat airport (from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.), and at the major ticket offices of the Vienna Lines (like Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Westbahnhof, Landstraße/Wien Mitte). You may also purchase the card by phone on +43-1-798 44 00-148.
The card is valid from the time it is issued, and free use of public transportation is available for 72 hours. The museum, shopping and restaurant discounts are available for the full length of the final day. When you purchase the card, you will also receive a 120-page book of discount coupons.
Here are some hotels, pensions and apartments we strongly recommend as accommodation in Vienna:
1. Hilton Vienna Plaza***** If you want absolutely the best quality and hotel service for your stay.
2. Pension Continental**** Great location in the heart of Mariahilferstrasse and very competitive rates in relation to the 4 star category of the pension.
3. Hotel Corvinus*** Also in the heart of the city center, with beautiful and spacious rooms well above the category average. Rates vary upon availability.
4. Pension Hargita** If you want to stay in the city center, need a clean room and don't want to pay a lot of money, take a look at this nice little pension.
5. Continental Apartments Spacious self-service apartments within easy reach of the tourist sites.
6. Liechtenstein Apartments Budget apartments within walking distance of the city center.
7. K&T Boardighouse 2 Beautiful rooms surrounded by cafés, restaurants and Vienna-Flair.
8. Pension Suzanne*** Right by the State Opera and the pedestrian zone, with traditional Viennese atmopshere. Most of the apartment-type rooms have a small kitchenette as well.
Our clients sometimes send us special requests regarding their accommodation in Vienna and other cities in Austria. We have gathered some of these requests on the following page: Clients' Requests