Vienna is among the cities that make you feel small but positive. The old-world grandeur is tangible as you stroll through avenues of Vienna, the capital city in Austria, and admire the magnificent buildings all around you. While this may be true for numerous European cities, Vienna can take the magic to a new level. When I was in Vienna, I felt that wherever I went, I was sure to be near a massive structure with statues, pillars, and old words.
Vienna was the capital city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many famous people have made Vienna their home city, from Ludwig van Beethoven to Sigmund Freud to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. With its baroque-style buildings and horse carriages, and magnificent museums on every corner, Vienna hasn’t lost its energy throughout many centuries of modernization and growth. If you are in Vienna at the turn of 21 21st century, you’ll be just the same as when you were there a century ago. The only difference is that now you can also shop at H & M.
The most appropriate word I could use to describe the atmosphere of Vienna is “royal… While the Austro-Hungarian Empire may be long gone, the city is full of its remains and proudly displays the memory of its grandeur. Looking at the architecture that isn’t quite real can make you feel small and unimportant, triggering feelings of awe, humility, and thanksgiving to the people before us. Let’s face it, the sound of horses’ hooves clicking across the cobblestones of the streets as they drag gorgeous carriages indeed transports your mind back to the past.
Palaces, cathedrals, and museums That’s what the historic city center of Vienna is about. There are more old museums and historical sites than I could count, and they’re generally close to each other, making it a simple trip by walking. It is possible to take the tram along the Ringstrasse, however, which is a tram that takes you through the city’s inner ring of Vienna, taking you through all the sights and visiting all the locations that you may like to see.
Without further ado, let’s get into all the details about the best things you can do during your stay in Vienna, the capital of Austria!
1. MARVEL AT ST. STEPHEN’S CATHEDRAL
If you’re taking the Metro to the historic city center, you’ll end up just on Stephanplatz. Stephanplatz is situated in the center of Vienna and is a trendy gathering spot due to its being very easy to get around from there!
The square’s name is St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom in German), located just in the middle of the Metro. It’s impossible to ignore it; it’s among the tallest 10 churches in the world! It’s a Gothic or Romanesque church is also the main cathedral for Vienna’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and is now an emblem of Vienna. With its colorful ceiling, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a landmark that everybody recognizes Vienna with.
The church also is of significant historical importance. Many prominent royals have been married within the church, including Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Anne from Bohemia in Hungary. Funerals of royals and royal funerals of political leaders have taken place in the cathedral as well.
As I entered St. Stephen’s Cathedral for the first time, I couldn’t resist feeling calm. I’ve visited many churches across Europe, but St. Stephen’s Cathedral has undoubtedly left the most impression upon me. It’s not just stunning both from inside and as it appears from the exterior, but the cathedral is filled with a soaring and constant spiritual atmosphere that I’ve never seen any other place.
2. EXPLORE SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE
Another building from the past that’s an icon symbol of Vienna includes Schonbrunn Palace (Schloss Schonbrunn in German). The palace is usually the first thing you’ll see when you search Vienna, and it’s because it’s the most extravagant structure in the entire city. Its historical significance cannot be denied, having been at the center of power for more than 300 years. The Habsburg royals have used this palace for their summer home, such as Franz Joseph. I spent a significant portion of his time there.
3. ENJOY A RIDE ON THE VIENNESE GIANT FERRIS WHEEL
Are you a lover of theme parks? I, for one, am a massive fan of carnivals and theme parks. This is why I was thrilled when I discovered there was an actual Ferris Wheel right in Vienna! As the name implies, it’s massive!
The Viennese Ferris Wheel that is the largest in the world (Wiener Riesenrad in German), was constructed in 1897 as part of the celebrations marking the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I. It’s an excellent idea! If I were an Emperor, I’d create a Ferris Wheel too. I’d turn a whole part of Vienna into an amusement park while I’m at it. This has been built, and the wheel is situated in the middle of an amusement park named Prater.
Yes, you read that right. There is an amusement park in the middle of Vienna.
It is no secret that the Ferris Wheel has gone through several turbulent times throughout the history of the world. It was going up in flames in 1944 and was rebuilt a few years later (together with several other buildings within the town, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral). When the Coronavirus outbreak that followed, it was reported that the Giant Ferris Wheel actually stopped operating for the first time in the past 73 years!
A trip in the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel is twelve EUR for each adult and 5 EUR for children. It lasts 10 to 20 minutes. Purchase the skip-the-line ticket beforehand if you’re planning on checking the ride out. It’s similar to regular access. However, you do not have to wait in line!
There’s a Panorama Museum on the site in which you can learn more about the past of the wheel, along with an eatery and a gift shop.
4. HAVE FUN AT THE MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS
Another excellent entertainment space located in the Vienna city center is Vienna’s most popular entertainment venue, the Museum of Illusions (Museum of Illusionen in German). The name implies that the museum allows visitors to explore exhibits created with optical illusions.
They’re truly unique! Sometimes, the illusions are so amazing that you may feel a little confused while walking across the galleries; you’ll never stop feeling at times awestruck. You’ll also be encouraged to snap photos and take selfies throughout your visit, So don’t hesitate to snap a few photos! Fantastic Instagram pictures are just waiting for you.
The museum has attractions such as the Upside Down Room and the Chair Illusion, the Vortex Tunnel, and much more. I, for one, am in love with it. Infinity Room while I was there. The mirrors all around give the illusion of the infinite, which is fantastic. I’d never seen myself from numerous such perspectives before.
5. VISIT THE KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM
It would not be an article on Vienna If we didn’t close this with another museum, wouldn’t it?
Kunsthistorisches Museum is a grand building that will absolutely impress visitors, particularly its magnificent dome. Although it’s a museum, it is more like an elegant palace. It’s even more stunning on the inside if one can believe it!
The museum houses collections like The Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities or the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection. It is considered to be one of the top museums in the history of art. It’s also the most extensive museum in Austria!
There are always exciting exhibits to visit, and many are subject to change depending on the season and season. If you’re a lover of art, then there’s always something interesting within this museum. Kunsthistorisches Museum!
A single ticket typically costs around 16 EUR for an adult. Ages 19 and over old can visit the museum at no cost.