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Vienna: the capital of Austria, and perhaps the world capital of elegance. This is a city where every piece of architecture, from a Hapbsurg-era royal palace to the wall behind a gas station, are worthy of a photo; where people bow to one another after a chance collision in the street; where even a simple beverage like coffee comes with a presentation fit for a queen. Some might say all this class is a leftover from centuries under Hapsburg rule. The city of vienna austria was, for centuries, the seat of the royal court, and the fact that the royal family lived smack in the city centre seems to be in people’s subconscious even today. As a result, vienna dwellers are an irresistible bunch; they’re formal and unfailingly polite when the occasion calls for such, but can equally surprise you with a sudden outburst of quirky Austrian wit. Visitors to the city of vienna austria are often greeted with a reception fit for royalty, as residents, many of whom are fluent in English, go out of their way to offer directions and advice. It’s no wonder that prospective visitors are constantly on the lookout for cheap flights vienna austria or cheap flights hotels vienna austria. They’d like to spend as little cash getting there (and staying there), so that they can splurge once they get there and experience this sophisticated city to the fullest. Not that vienna is all pomp and palaces. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll uncover a vibrant electronic music scene, street performers in the summer, and all kinds of other hidden gems. But then, this is all stuff you might find back home, too. Let’s focus on the kind of stuff you won’t see across the pond: intricate palaces, extravagant churches, and gargoyles carved above the doors of what, you discover with a twinge of disappointment, is simply some random person’s residence. Tourists love Vienna, not only because it’s beautiful and hospitable, but also because it’s easy to get around. Public transportation service is convenient and far-reaching, while the city seems to have built almost with future tourists in mind. Many of the old, visit-worthy buildings sit within the old town, encircled by the ring road, making your tourist checklist easy to tick off in a short period of time. Here, you’ll find gems like
St. Stephen’s Church
, the apostle clock, and countless other beautiful buildings. But your vienna visit doesn’t end once you step outside the ring road. The city of vienna austria boasts numerous other tourist stops, like the Donauturm Tower, the Prater park (a fun amusement park), and the much-photographed Schonbrunn Palace. Many tourists choose a mix of U-Bahn (subway), trams, taxis and good old-fashioned walking as their vienna transportation of choice, but if the weather’s warm and you’re feeling energized, why not cycle instead? The compact city of vienna austria is a cyclist’s paradise, with bike paths running along major streets, parks and rivers. If you’re in shape, just about any tourist attraction should be no more than a half-hour bike ride away. Bike tours and bike rentals are available. It would be a bit of a waste to visit a city like Vienna and not get a glimpse of at least a few of its impressive museums. For a bit of old-world feel, the Belvedere is a must-see. Home to the Austrian Gallery, this palace was originally meant to be a summer home for the Hapbsurgs—though it’s easily accessible by public transport today, back in the Hapbsburg days this eye-catching property sat outside the city limits. It’s your call whether you want to explore the art collections on display in the Belvedere’s two segments, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, or simply wander the elegant gardens and admire the lavish property from outside. Vienna boasts an impressive collection of diverse museums—you can find everything from art to natural history to the coffin museum to the Freud museum—but anyone short on time might opt to head straight to the Museum District, or Museumsquartier. This colorful blast of oddly-shaped buildings is more than just a collection of museums; it’s also an architectural wonderland, widely photographed and examined from all angles. You’ll find homes and trendy cafés in the mix. Oh, and yes, in case you were wondering, you will find a Mozart museum in vienna austria too. While the true Mozart mecca lies three hours away in Salzburg, Vienna still boasts its fair share of Mozart-themed souvenirs, like Mozart chocolates and Mozart liqueur. The gorgeous Schloss Schonbrunn castle is Vienna’s top-visited attraction by far. Take a voyeuristic tour through perfectly reconstructed royal bedrooms and sitting rooms, then step back outside and climb up the hill for a breathtaking view or visit the world’s oldest zoo. The Hofburg Palace is another favorite photo stop. The Hapsburg residence until 1918, this impressive complex now houses an immense collection of jewelry, plus the offices of the President of Austria. Some visitors choose to visit the area surrounding the Donauturm Tower. This “new” quarter of Vienna reeks of sixties and seventies architecture and looks like a miniature version of the Canadian city of Toronto, complete with two curved buildings a la Toronto City Hall, and a tower. While not quite the record-breaking height of its Canadian counterpart, the Donauturm Tower does offer an impressive view of Vienna and its surrounding hills. For a close-up view, head to some of Vienna’s famous churches. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a breathtaking example of Gothic architecture, is a popular stop. It contains catacombs full of Hapsburg intestines and, perhaps more relevant to tourists, a tower offering a lovely view of downtown Vienna. One of Vienna’s most photographed churches is the Karlskirche. Famous for its status as the largest Baroque cathedral north of the Alps, this church is as impressive from within as from the outside. Take the elevator to the top of its dome and look down for a true idea of just how high this church is. Vienna is chock-full of historic sites to explore; remember, this is the site of the congress of vienna—the place where post-Napoleonic Europe was born. Don’t forget to also sample some of the world-famous Vienna music. The city of vienna austria is home to a gorgeous Opera House, and also to the vienna boys choir. No visit to vienna austria is complete without a stop in a Koffeehaus, or coffee shop. Like North America, vienna austria has an almost ritualized coffee culture; unlike North America, the coffee drinking of vienna takes place not while walking to work, talking on your cell phone with a Styrofoam cup in your hand, but in small cafés where you can read or chat with friends.