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With culture, clean air and cheap and reliable public transport Vienna is an ideal place to visit.

You might see that the majority of the city resembles a film set of a period drama. But don’t be fooled by the grand imperials buildings and all the ticket touts dressed as Mozart

There is much to be discovered in this great European City.

So where is Vienna? And what are the best things to do here?


1. Walk The Ringstrasse

The Ringstrasse Vienna, commonly known as the Ring, was the result of a Habsburg-era initiative that aimed to connect the suburbs to the Imperial Centre.

Work started on the grand boulevard with a decree by Franz Joseph I in 1857.

Today it serves as the main orientation aid for visitors.

Reasons To Visit

It was built to show off the best of the Habsburg Empire.

A stroll around the Ring is is the easiest way to admire some of the city’s grandest buildings.

Travelling the short distance between Karlsplatz and Schottentor will allow you to take in the State Opera House, Hofburg, Burggarten, National Library, Natural History, Art History and World Museums, Volksgarten, Parliament, the Burgtheatre and the Town Hall.

2. Weiner Riesenrad

It stands proudly at the entrance to the Prater amusement park.

The Riesenrad Ferris Wheel is to Vienna what the London Eye is to London.

Built in 1897, this landmark starred in the 1940s thriller The Third Man and a ride in one of its 15 stately gondolas feels like stepping back in time.

Reason To Visit 

You can get a fantastic 200 foot high view of Vienna. 

3. Hofburg Palace

The ornate Hofburg Palace was a beating heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Today, it’s the official residence of Vienna’s president and home to many of the city’s top museums, attractions and galleries with some pretty famous dancing horses as well.

Reasons To Visit

A walk through the Hofburg will provide a potted history of Austria.

Travellers have the opportunity to learn about the life and macabre death of Empress Elisabeth, the ‘Princess Diana’ of the Habsburg Empire.

At the Sisi Museum, you can admire the Baroque splendour of the Prunksaal (State Hall) at the Austrian National Library.

Next, head to the Spanish Riding School to see the Lipizzaner horses perform their nifty dressage work.

4. Museums Quartier

The Museums Quartier, commonly known as the MQ, provides everything from world’s finest Egon Schiele collection to an array of trendy bars, cafés and restaurants to the sculpture park-come-mini golf course. 

Reasons to Visit

The Leopold Museum, one of Vienna’s finest art museums, is home to 44 Schiele paintings and various works by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and members of the Wien Werkstätte movement. 

MUMOK boasts the city’s premier contemporary art collection including works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

5. Sigmund Freud Museum

Sigmund Freud lived and worked at Berggasse until 1938 when he and his family were forced to move to England to escape the Nazi’s persecution of Vienna’s Jewish population.

Today, this site is a thoughtfully curated museum where you can watch rare archive footage of Freud and learn about some of his most intriguing patients.

Reasons To Visit

It’s a fascinating window into life during Vienna’s intellectual golden age.

The Sigmund Freud Museum hosts events and has an excellent gift shop.

6. Palmenhaus

Palmenhaus, from one of the pretty Burggarten park by the Hofburg, is the world’s grandest greenhouse.

It’s home to towering trees and plants from all over the world.

The Palmenhaus doubles as a restaurant and bar serving modern Austrian specialities such as Schnitzel and lighter Mediterranean bites and cocktails.

Reason To Visit

Its centrality makes it a great spot for a memorable first-night dinner or drinks.

It’s incredibly photogenic with excellent opportunities for taking a popular Instagram-worthy snap.

7. Café Central 

This café opened in 1876.

A typical Viennese Kaffeehaus, it’s always been a favourite with brainy locals. Freud, Trotsky and Stefan Zweig are known to have stopped for coffee here.

Cathedral-like domed ceilings and patisserie selection ensure it remains a draw for locals and tourists alike.

Reasons To Visit

Inside, the glittering decor and world-class cakes alongside delicious pastries are worth waiting in line for.

Enjoy fluffy pancakes or warm Apfelstrudel dusted with icing sugar.

Don’t forget to have some custard-filled Cremeschnitte slices too.

8. Naschmarkt

Built in the 16th century, this open-air market appears like a cross between London’s Covent Garden and Dinerama.

You should taste your way around Vienna’s diverse culinary history as you work through everything from the barrels of sauerkraut to shawarma and the Tel Aviv-style sabich at Neni Am Naschmarkt.

Reasons To Visit 

Whatever you’re craving, you’ll find it all here.

It’s a great place to stock up on cheese, wine and sausages.

Remember to take cash since many places won’t accept card payments.

9. Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ At The Upper Belvedere Palace

‘The Kiss’ is the final painting of Gustav Klimt’s Golden Period which forms the centrepiece of the world’s largest collection of the artist’s works present in Vienna’s beautiful Upper Belvedere Palace.

Depicting two lovers locked in an embrace in a meadow of flowers, ‘The Kiss’ stands out thanks to Klimt’s use of gold leaf and a background stuffed with gold, silver and platinum flakes.

Some people claim this is a representation of the artist himself with his life-long partner Emilie Flöge. 

Reasons To Visit

It’s one of the world’s most recognisable paintings.

‘The Kiss’ is marked as a significant watering down of the erotic intensity of Klimt’s earlier works. 

Thousands visit each year to get a glimpse of this revolutionary work.

Admire the work of other artists on show and take a walk through the gardens of the Baroque palace complex.

10. The Jewish Museum

It’s always been important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

The world’s oldest Jewish museum opened in Vienna in 1895 but was closed and plundered by the Nazis in 1938.

Many valuable objects remain missing but the present day museum was founded in 1988 and moved to Dorotheergasse in 1903.

Reasons To Visit

It preserves the memory of the 50,000 Austrian Jews killed during the Holocaust.

The museum showcases the extraordinary contributions made to every aspect of Viennese life by Jewish citizens throughout the ages.

It’s a must-visit place for any trip to Vienna.

11. Sachertorte

Vienna’s signature cake, a moreish combination of chocolate sponge, dark chocolate ganache and apricot jam, is not just a dessert.

Its recipe is a closely guarded secret and a fierce rivalry exists between Hotel Sacher and Demel as both claim the original recipe to be theirs.

You’ll find this sweet treat in cafés across the city/ 

Reason To Visit

Wondering which Sachertorte is best?

Taste both to find out.

12. Neubau District

This used to be Vienna’s edgiest up-and-coming neighbourhood but has now settled down into a comfortable kind of cool. Think Clerkenwell crossed with the best of Berlin.

Rents are still reasonable in the 7th districts making it an ideal home for lots of boutiques, bars and restaurants.

Reason To Visit

The fantastic food standard.

Erich, a subterranean taqueria, has one of the city’s best drinks and its sister restaurant, Ulrich, provides an excellent brunch.


Vienna Unwrapped is a destination site for independent culture travellers, run by native Viennese Barbara Cação.

While exploring Barbara’s personal reviews of her home city and surroundings, visitors can plan and book their own walks, tours, restaurants, and concerts, or receive bespoke Vienna travel planning advice and itineraries through Vienna Unwrapped’s Travel Concierge.

Barbara Cação is a Vienna contributor to Lonely Planet and the Daily Telegraph, and has shared her local insight on some of the world’s best travel blogs.