If you’re going to pick a city in Europe that will deliver a beautiful but surprisingly unconventional break on the continent, then you need to choose Austrian capital Vienna.
This impressively large and developed city boasts a population of over 1.7 million, making it home to no less than a quarter of the country’s citizens. The quality of life Vienna provides its citizens and visitors alike is highly celebrated too; back in 2005, the Economist Intelligence Unit said the city was best in the world for quality of life, while in 2011 it was second only to Melbourne, Australia. On top of this, Mercer has also ranked Vienna top of its Quality of Living survey, overcoming hundreds of other shortlisted cities on its way to world domination.
So, if you’re going to check it out, you may as well do it in style. Consider checking into a top-class hotel like Kempinski Vienna, but don’t forget to pack an itinerary too – these key destinations should form a nice backbone to an exciting trip in Austria.
As the leading attraction in Vienna – and by extension, Austria – the Hofburg Palace has played host to some of the most powerful families in world history, including the Habsburg dynasty. Over the space of 700 years, it has expanded from a small and unassuming building to one of the largest buildings on Earth.
The Historic Centre of Vienna was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites back in 2001, and it’s not hard to see why. The area was earmarked for its combination of architectural styles from throughout the ages, from Baroque castles and gardens to late 19th century developments along the Ringstrasse. At the heart of the Historic Centre is St Stephen’s Cathedral, serving as an excellent nexus from which many cafes, bars and restaurants can be discovered.
Vienna also hosts the world’s oldest public zoo: Tiergarten Schönbrunn. The attraction, which opened in 1752, gets over two million visitors each and every year. While its age may lead you to believe that it will have fallen by the wayside in recent years, it’s extremely well-maintained and continues to be a fantastic place to get to grips with wildlife.
Finally, Vienna’s Museum District is a truly excellent way to embrace culture and art. A trip to the Museumsquartier will offer plenty of options, from the Naturhistorisches Museum and Castle Belvedere to the Museum of Modern Art and the Sigmund Freud Museum, dedicated to Vienna’s most famous psychologist. Meanwhile, there’s also the Military History Museum and Technical Museum for history buffs.
While this mini-guide may not give you a list of absolutely everything available to you in Vienna, you only have to explore it for yourself – it’s full of hidden gems, so don’t be afraid to go looking for your own activities too!