The Hofburg Palace
The Hofburg Palace in Vienna is definitely the must see location for any visitor to Vienna. Originally built as a fortified medieval castle, every successive Hapsburg Emperor expanded and altered it, creating a sprawling mass of buildings that became their main residence.
Now, it is the home of the President of Austria, as well as the venue for a variety of museums. These museums are the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum devoted to the life of Empress Elisabeth, the Imperial Treasury, the Albertina Art Gallery and Film Museum. Plus, it is home to a spectacular Silver museum dating back to the fifteenth century. It is the only museum in the world devoted to Globes. Concerts by the Vienna Boys Choir are among the many events held at the Hofburg every year.
The Spanish Riding School
The world-famous Lipizzaner Stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna are one of the most irresistible sights in Vienna. Bred for generations within the area, the Lipizzaners reflect the ethos of the imperial Hapsburg era.
The horses’ graceful movements made to the accompaniment of classical Viennese music are totally eye-catching.
Apart from watching one of the Lipizzanner shows, it is possible to take a guided tour behind the scenes and discover just how the horses are trained. The Baroque building itself is spectacular, forming part of the Hofburg Palace.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Schloss Schonbrunn in Vienna was the Hapsburg Emperor’s lavish summer palace on the outskirts of Vienna. Take a guided tour around the private Imperial apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi, explore the Imperial Carriage Museum and spend several hours within the stunning gardens surrounding the palace. The Palm House with its vast collection of exotic and tropical plants is the largest in Europe.
Art lovers will adore the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna due to its superb art collection. One of the most notable features is the Bruegel Room, devoted to the work of Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel, one of the first artists to chart the activities of ordinary people at work and at play.
Elsewhere in the museum are masterpieces by countless artists. These include Gustav Klimt, Raphael, Titian and Tintoretto. There are also collections of armor, ancient musical instruments, sculpture and antiquities from the Ancient World.
St. Stephan’s Cathedral
St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna with its iconic colored tiled roof dominates Vienna and is the perfect place to get some stunning views across the city. A lift takes visitors to the viewing platform on the North Tower.
An alternative option is the much higher South Tower but this is not for the faint hearted as it involves 343 steps winding up a narrow 67 meter staircase before reaching a centuries old observation spot used by watchmen and fire fighters.
A large market is held in the square during Christmastime.
Colorful, idiosyncratic and different, the KunstHausWien in Vienna has become one of the most photographed sites in Vienna.
Designed by artist and architect Friedrich Hundertwasser, it champions curves over straight lines and sets out to blend with the landscape. The result is a mish-mash of colors, styles and vegetation.
The KunstHausWien in Vienna with wavy, undulating floors and an exterior of varying materials contains the world’s only permanent exhibition devoted to Hundertwasser’s work.
Not far away is the Hundertwasserhaus, a building made up of 52 apartments. Each apartment is painted a different color, while trees cover the roof and emerge out of windows.