VIENNA – WHY GO?
Austria's capital city is a veritable Viennese strudel of culture, cafes and choirboys. Its historic heart encircled by the Ringstrasse, The city of Strauss is a mix of narrow medieval lanes, chic shopping streets and monumental architecture redolent of its great Imperial past.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Most of Vienna’s big sights can be found in the Innere Stadt, the historic city centre encircled by the Ringstrasse. See the Gothic cathedral (Stephansdom) and Schönbrunn palace – where Mozart performed before the court at the age of six – is a 1,441 room Baroque blockbuster. From here, you can visit the tombs of the Hapsburgs, where the infamous Empress Maria Theresa is buried.
Also not to be missed is the sprawling Museumsquartier – a vast modern arts centre that includes a big collection of Egon Schiele’s works, and Hundertwasser Haus – the world-famous housing complex that’s all curves, mosaics and vivid colours. You can also walk through the cobbled streets of the 18th century Spittelberg quarter, see the sleek Lipizzaner stallions put through their paces at the Spanish Riding School, or visit the former home of Sigmund Freud.
Vienna is also the world’s classical music capital. Mozart’s adopted city has some sumptuous concert venues and you can listen to music here every day of the week. Fans of the composer should also pop into the Mozart Museum at the aptly named Figarohaus.
If the pace gets too much, do what the Viennese do and chill in one of the city’s famous coffee houses for Kaffee mit Kuchen (an indulgent coffee-and-cake interlude) and polish off a slice of chocolate-y Sachertorte. An outing to Vienna’s Prater amusement park and riding trails is a must in summer. You’ll also find plenty of grassy spots for dawdling along the Danube and watching the boats.
MAKE A DATE
Vienna waltzes into the spotlight with the famous Viennese Opera Ball.
Opera, music and theatre take to the stage for the lively Vienna Festwochen.
Stock up with presents and glug the Glühwein at the Vienna Christmas Market.
In summer take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel in Vienna’s Prater amusement park while you share an ice-cream.