Top Ten: What to See in Vienna

Palaces, cathedrals, museums, and cafes and more in a city filled with many wonders to behold. Below is what I feel are the top places we will check out. I would have to stay two weeks or more to check out everything, but we only have a few days so this is what I hope to see.

Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral):

The main Roman Catholic Church in Vienna and the seat of city’s Archbishop. The foundation of the church dates back 1147. Yet, the earliest surviving features are from the13th century, which includes the Giant Door and the Heathen Towers. The church suffered severe damage from a fire at the end of World War II but the church was rebuilt as a symbol of hope for the country.

The North Tower with a 21 ton Pummerin bell and can be reached with an elevator and its entrance is through the inside.

The higher South Tower is entered from the outside and you have to ascend 343 steps to get to the top.

The outside roof is made up of 230,000 colorful tiles and includes a double- headed eagle wearing the emperor’s crown and the Golden Fleece.

The website lists more details of what to see.

Hours: Cathedral – Monday- Saturday, 6 am – 10 pm; Sunday, 7 am – 10 pm. Tours (English): 10:30 am Monday- Saturday; Rooftop tour July-Sept. to 7 pm, daily. South Tower: Stairs open 9 am – 5:30 pm daily. North Tower: Lift open 8:15 am – 4:25 pm daily. Catacombs 10 am -11:30 am and 1-4:30 pm Monday- Saturday; 1-4:30 pm, Sunday and Public Holidays.

Admission: Cathedral- Free; South Tower €5; North Tower €6; Catacombs €6.

Address: Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria

The Hofburg

Vienna’s former imperial palace with ornate, baroque interiors, imperial apartments and silver museum in the center of the city. The oldest part dates from the 13th century and construction continued into the 20th century. The Imperial Palace was the residence and seat of government of the Habsburg emperors until 1918.

The complex is home to “Österreichische Nationalbibliothek” (National Library), “Schatzkammer” (Imperial Treasury), and houses a collection of musical instruments, a collection of weapons, a “Museum für Völkerkunde” (Museum of Ethnography) and the Spanish Riding School where you can see the Lipizzaner horses.

Hours: Sept.-June, 9 am – 5:30 pm, daily; July-Aug., 9 am – 6 pm, daily.

Admission: €13.90

Address: Michaelerkuppel, 1010 Wien, Austria

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Built in Italian Renaissance style, it is the setting for the artistic treasures assembled by the Habsburgs. The museum includes major art works of European art history. This includes Raphael’s “Madonna in the Meadow,” Vermeer’s “The Allegory of Painting,” along with masterworks by Rubens, Rembrandt, Durer, Titian and Tintoretto.

Hours: June-Aug., 10 am – 6 pm, daily (until 9 pm Thursdays); Sept. – May, 10 am- 6 pm, Tuesday- Sunday (until 9 pm Thursday)

Admission: €15 (under 19 free)

Address: Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien, Austria

Karlskirche – Laurenz Kleinheider

Karlskirche (St. Charles’ Church)

It was built to honor Karl Borromeo, patron saint of the fight against the plague. It is a mix of ancient Greek and Roman elements with Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque styles.

The opulent frescoes in the cupola by Johannes Michael Rottmayr contain 1,250 square meters of incredible splendor and beautiful colors. A panoramic elevator carries visitors to a platform at a height of 32.5 meters, where they can look at the frescoes from close up.

Hours: 9 am – 6 pm, Monday – Saturday; noon- 7 pm, Sunday and holidays

Admission: €8 (including lift)

Address: Kreuzherrengasse 1, 1040 Wien, Austria

MuseumsQuartier

Art complex of museums near the Imperial Palace. Leopold Museum has hundreds of masterworks of Austrian modern art. The mumok – Museum of Modern Art focuses its attention on the art of the 20th and 21st century. Kunsthalle Wein presents contemporary and modern art. AzW – Architekturzentrum Wein is Vienna’s architecture museum. ZOOM Children’s Museum is about questioning, touching, exploring, feeling and playing in art. If you need a break the MQ has artistic seating to enjoy.

Other museums in the complex are Dschungel, Leopold Museum, Halle E+G, weinXtra-Kinderinfo and Tanzquartier Wein (Check websites for more information).

Hours: mumok – 2 pm – 7pm, Monday, 10 am – 7 pm Tuesday- Sunday (until 9pm Thursday); Zoom – 8:30 am – 4 pm, Tuesday – Friday (July – Sept. 12:45 – 5pm daily); Kunsthalle Wein – 11 am – 7 pm daily (to 9 pm Thursday); AzW – 10 am – 7 pm daily

Admission: mumok €11 (under 19 free), Zoom check website for different entry prices; Kunsthalle Wein €12 (under 19 free); AzW €9

Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria

Staatsoper (Vienna Operahouse

The Vienna State Opera is constructed in the Neo-Renaissance style. It was almost entirely destroyed in World War II but was rebuilt to its former glory. The foyer includes 16 oil paintings by Moritz von Schwind. Nine tapestries in the Gustav Mahler Hall show scenes from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute.” These are among the sites you can see in doing the tour of this famous opera house.

Hours: Pre-booked 40 – minute guided tours only. Tour times vary and are usually scheduled around rehearsals.

Admission: €9

Address: Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria

Secession Building

The large, white, cubic building was designed by architect Joseph Maria Olbrich in 1897 as the manifesto of the Secessionist movement. The dome is made up of 3,000 gilt laurel leaves. The laurel symbolizes victory, dignity and purity.

Inside you can see the 1902 Beethoven Frieze painted by Gustav Klimt in celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven. My son was fascinated by the painting when I showed it to him in the book. He thought the creature in the middle was a scary beast.

Hours: 10 am – 6 pm, Tuesday- Sunday, Guided tour 11 am Saturday.

Admission: €9.50

Address: Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Wien, Austria

Belvedere Gardens – Daniel Plan

The Belvedere

Prince Eugene of Savoy, was a Hapsburg general who was instrumental in the defeat of the Turks in 1683 and became rich in the process of conquering them. He commissioned the construction of this palace, which consists of two separate buildings: the Upper and Lower Belvedere, which are connected by a stunning baroque garden.

You can find artwork in the palaces from the Middle Ages to the present day. The collection includes the largest Klimt collection, with the golden paintings “The Kiss” and “Judith” as the highlights. Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka as well as works of French Impressionism and the Vienna Biedermeier era round out the exhibition.

Look for the Marble Hall in the Upper Belvedere with a lavishly frescoed ceiling. The Austrian State Treaty was signed here in 1955.

The garden includes statues of the Eight Muses and the Sphinxes.

Hours: Upper Belvedere – 9 am – 6 pm daily (until 9 pm Fridays); Lower Belvedere, Orangery, Palace Stables – 10 am – 6 pm daily (until 9 pm Fridays); Quartier Belvedere – 11 am – 6 pm, Wednesday-Sunday (until 9 pm Wednesday and Friday).

Admission: Upper Belvedere €15; Lower Belvedere, Orangery, Palace Stables €13; Quartier Belvedere €8.

Address: Upper Belvedere — Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria and Lower Belvedere — Rennweg 6A, 1030 Wien, Austria

Hundertwasserhaus

This house was designed by artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The building is made of different colors and oddly shaped. More than 200 trees and shrubs on the balconies and roof terraces allow for greenery. It can be only viewed from the outside. The artist created a shopping center next door that you can visit. In the Kunst –Café on the ground floor of the Hundertwasserhause, a free film can be watched in which Friedensreich Hundertwasser leads viewers in person through “his” house.

Address: Kegelgasse 36, 1030 Wien, Austria

Schloss Schonbrunn

The former baroque summer residence of the Habsburgs with imperial ceremonial rooms and magnificent gardens. The grounds are free of charge and open all year long. It is home to fountains, statues, monuments, trees and flowers as well as the Café Gloriette.

The Imperial Carriage Museum, Crown Prince Garden, Orangery Garden, Maze and Labyrnith, Zoo, Palm House and Desert Experience House are also part of the palace park and can be visited for an admission fee.

Hours: Palace – 8 am –dusk daily; Grand Park 6:30 am – dusk daily; Privy, Orangery, Maze and Gloriette – 9 am – dusk daily; Children’s Museum – 10 am – 5 pm Saturday and Sunday (daily during school holidays);

Admission: Palace €14.20 (22 rooms), €17.50 (40 rooms), €20.50 (with tour guide); Privy, Orangery and Gloriette – 3.80 for each, Maze €5.50; Children’s Museum €8.80. There are several admission prices and combination passes for the complex, depending how many sights you want to visit.

Address: Schloß Schönbrunn, 1130 Wien, Austria

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