What’s left to tell you about? The sights, of course! There is so much to do and see in Vienna. The architecture is breathtaking – I found myself admiring every building as we walked past. The city is so historical and you can certainly feel that when you’re walking about.
Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, marks the centre of the city. It stands on the ruins of two earlier churches dating as far back as 1147. The Roman-Catholic church is Gothic in style and is known for its beautiful coloured ceramic roof tiles. The roof was reconstructed after being damaged towards the end of World War II and the ceramic tiles were funded by Viennese citizens.
We stopped outside the Stephansdom on our first day in Vienna but didn’t venture inside until our last day. You need to pay to enter the middle of the church, but you can go in and look around the edges for free. Tip: Be prepared to pay if you want to climb the 137m South Tower for lovely views of the city or to visit the catacombs inside.
Fun facts: Antonio Vivaldi’s funeral was held in the Stephansdom in 1741. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s wedding was held here in 1782, as well as his funeral in 1791.
The Rathaus (Town Hall) in Vienna is Neo-Gothic and was built between 1872 and 1883. There is a large park in front of the Rathaus, the aptly named Rathauspark. When we were visiting in mid-February, we got to see the enormous Vienna Ice World skating rink right in front of the Rathaus. We saw so many ice skaters turn out – it seems to be a really popular activity! There were lots of food and drink stalls open where the skaters could grab a bite and warm up with hot tea after a skate. It’s open until March 8 so there are still a few days left to visit!
Wiener Riesenrad at the Prater
The Prater is an amusement park in Vienna and its most famous attraction is the Wiener Riesenrad (aka Viennese Giant Wheel). The ferris wheel is a symbol for the city of Vienna and was the tallest ferris wheel in the world from 1920 to 1985 measuring 64.75 metres high.
The Prater ferris wheel has been featured in a number of films, including The Third Man, the James Bond film The Living Daylights, and my personal favourite, Before Sunrise! Here’s a little clip of the ferris wheel scene in Before Sunrise:
Since S and I didn’t climb the tower in the Stephansdom, we thought we’d get a nice view of the city from the ferris wheel and we did! It was a beautiful sunny (but cold!) day when we went.
The Schönbrunn Palace is a World Cultural Heritage site and is the most visited sight in all of Austria. Schönbrunn was the baroque summer palace of the Habsburg family and remains mostly in its original condition today. Visitors can check out the beautiful palace gardens, visit the adjoining zoo, or take a guided tour of the palace.
Tip: You can save on admission by buying a combination ticket called the Sisi Ticket if you plan to visit the Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg Apartments and the Imperial Furniture Collection. The ticket is valid for 1 year and allows one entrance into each attraction.
We walked through the gardens and hiked our way to the top of the Gloriette, an elevated building in the garden which offers a view of the back of the palace and the sprawling gardens. At the top, we bumped into a fellow Canadian traveller from Montreal – small world! He offered to take our picture when he noticed that we were stuggling with our selfie. Thank you to the guy from Montreal who allowed us to get one nice picture of the two of us together in Vienna!
Auf Wiedersehen, Vienna! I can’t wait to come back again one day!
Can you recommend any sights to see in Vienna?