Lying to the east of Austria on the banks of the Danube, Vienna is the country’s capital and its most visited city. Often described as Europe’s cultural capital, Vienna is famed for its splendid historic buildings, from hulking imperial castles to neo-Baroque theatres, as well as its buzzing cultural scene. An intellectual bohemia, Vienna has inspired the opuses of a host of world famous composers, from Mozart to Beethoven via Schubert, Strauss and Brahms. Sitting at one of its pavement cafés as dusk breaks over the boulevards, it is easy to be swept back to a past time. However, as well as its continued homage to an impressive heritage, Vienna has come to the fore of urban development, winning awards for its innovative outlook. A taste for the trendy and an eye for the progressive have combined to give the city its unique character. Here, travellers can enjoy medieval history alongside daring contemporary art, classical music with experimental theatre, traditional Austrian food and gourmet gastronomy.
Sightseeing opportunities in Vienna abound, and for travellers wanting to dive into the history of the area, there’s no better place to start than with its famous castles. A trip to the Schönbrunn Palace, a World Heritage Site, is a daytrip in itself, since not only the palace but also the grounds are open to visitors, with their immaculate French-style gardens and the on-site Tiergarten, the oldest zoo in the world. First established as an imperial menagerie in 1752, today the zoo houses over 750 animals including the most recent additions, giant pandas, emus, armadillos and Siberian tigers. The Imperial Palace or Hofburg is another favourite historic haunt for visitors. The former home to the Habsburg dynasty has been extended over its life to include various residences, a chapel, treasury, riding school and two museums. In particular the Kunsthistorisches Museum has been a roaring success with visitors, who flock here to marvel over its extensive collection of artworks built up by the Habsburgs, including pieces from the Renaissance Masters and various relics and antiquities.
Apart from the historical sites of interest, Vienna is known for its vibrant arts scene. The Museumsquartier is a good starting place for your artistic fix: particular highlights of this artistic complex are MUMOK, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Albertina. All around the city there are countless galleries and museums dedicated to everything from cutting edge contemporary art to work by the Masters to musical instruments. Look out for the smaller, kookier museums too, as they often house incredible collections. Everywhere you look in Vienna there is art to be found. Explore the Vienna underground, some of it's stations are listed buildings in their own right, not least due to their ornamental Jugendstil design by Otto Wagner.
With art, music, history and culture at your fingertips, you’ll have plenty to do of a day in Vienna. And at the end of your day, to relax, why not wander down some of the smaller streets and source a traditional wine tavern (Heurige) while you plan your next day of sightseeing in this bustling, vibrant and beautiful city.
Last Edit by HT Helper on 19/09/2011 EDIT NOW >>