Vienna Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

Vienna Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia


Vienna is the capital of Austria, in Central
Europe. It is an ancient fortress city that lies nestled
on the eastern fringe of the Alps, on the banks of the Danube River. One hundred years ago, this glittering city
gave birth to an artistic and cultural revolution. It was a revolution that changed the future
and forever secured, Vienna’s place as one of the world’s great
cities. Free thinking flourished in its cafe’s and
new ideas in music and philosophy became embedded in its cobblestones. Today, visitors flock to Vienna, to experience
a dynamic art culture, set amidst historic streets where Strauss’
waltzes echo. They come to drink coffee where some of the
world’s greatest thinkers such as Einstein and Freud, spent time, and to enjoy some of the world’s
most magnificent artworks. Although there is an efficient public transport
system here, the best way to really savour Vienna is slowly
on foot. Navigate the city by following the Ringstrasse, a wide boulevard around the downtown area,
lined with extravagant palaces, galleries, museums and elegant private homes. Many of Vienna’s main attractions lie within
“the ring” and Stephansplatz is at its very heart. Order a strong coffee with cream in one of
the coffee houses here. Cafes are the very essence of Viennese culture
and have been described as places “where time and space are consumed but only
coffee is found on the bill. ” For generations, famous works have been written
at these marble tables and the meaning of life debated. Visit the Demel Bakery, the original confectioners
to the Austrian Royal Family. Order a sachertorte – a traditional chocolate
cake and relax with an international newspaper. Viennese attention to detail is not just restricted
to its master cake makers. Enjoy the visual feast of the elaborate interiors
and the mosaic roof tiles of St Stephen’s Cathedral before heading up to its gothic steeple to
enjoy the view out over the city. Vienna was home to many of the world’s greatest
composers such as Beethoven and Strauss and is known by many as the City of Music. Stroll to the Vienna State Opera, one of the
greatest opera houses in the world. Take a backstage tour and learn the story
of this building that has cast a spell over opera and ballet lovers since the 19th century. A little further along the ring is the Hofburg
Imperial Palace. This impressive palace was home to the Hapsburg
dynasty who ruled the area for centuries. It currently serves as the official residence
for the President of Austria. The palace is also home to the Austrian National
Library where you can examine ancient manuscripts
and early copies of some great literary works. Step outside the Palace and enjoy the fragrance
of the hundreds of roses in the Volksgarten – or people’s garden. Vienna in the early 1900’s attracted some
of the greatest painters of the time. Although their work at first shocked Viennese
society, they eventually gained an enthusiastic following
and wealthy patronage. Visit the Belvedere to see some of this work
including Gustav Klimpt’s most famous piece, The Kiss. Go further back in time to admire paintings
by European masters including Raphael, Rubens and Bruegel at the the Museum of Art
History. Wander across to the Albertina where you can
see original works by Monet, Picasso and Matisse. View mother nature’s masterpieces at the
nearby Museum of Natural History which houses a collection of more than 30
million specimens and artefacts. The museum quarter, once housed the Imperial
stables. Relax with a drink or just watch the people
go by in this cultural precinct which regularly features modern art installations. Venture a little further afield to discover
the Schonbrunn Palace just to the southwest of Vienna’s city centre. You can almost believe the Emperor is about
to step out onto the grounds of this 1,400 room palace that used to be the summer residence of the
Hapsburg family. Vienna has a long and proud tradition of winemaking and there are many vineyards lying within
the city boundaries where you can enjoy traditional meals like Wiener Schnitzel matched with local wines. Before you leave, the city’s outskirts, pay your respects at the final resting place
of some of Vienna’s most famous residents. No visit to Vienna is complete without a visit
to the historic Wiener Prater. Climb aboard a wooden gondola on the 19th
century Riesenrad and enjoy the timeless view over the city. As the sun sets, visit St Charles Church, widely considered to be one of the city’s
greatest buildings. Vienna at night is nothing short of breathtaking. Dine in one of the traditional restaurants and then take in a show at the elegant Burgtheater
or enjoy an open air performance in one of the squares. Vienna is a truly inspirational city. It is a city in which you can walk in the
footsteps of some of history’s greatest minds, explore monumental palaces and cathedrals, and stand before priceless artworks. So pull
up a chair, order a coffee and a generous slice of sachertorte, and let your heart be serenaded by this most lyrical of cities Vienna.

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