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Why Austria Is The Perfect Place To Visit
Ever feel like when you live in a wonderful place you never truly appreciated the true beauty of it? I find myself discovering the amazing beauty and lifestyle of living in Austria. More specifically, Vienna.
With a population of under two million, it is the cultural, economic, and political centre.
Apart from being regarded as the “City of Music” because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be “The City of Dreams”. Home to the world’s first psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud.
In 2018, for the 9th time in a row, Vienna was named the world’s Most Livable City.
Each year the international consulting firm Mercer does a survey to evaluate the quality of living in 230 cities around the world. Once again in 2018, Vienna has come out on top.
The survey compares the political, social and economic climate, medical care, education, and infrastructural conditions such as public transportation, power and water supply.
Who wouldn’t want to live here? Let alone, not appreciate it?
Here I have put together for you a guide of must see monuments, towns, cities, as well as great places to eat and drink.
To be honest, this post could be 5x longer than it is, but I just could not list every single thing.
If you are heading over here, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. I will be your ultimate insider guide. 🙂
Let’s Start With Vienna Shall We?
The name Schönbrunn means “beautiful spring”
Schönbrunn is one of Vienna’s icons and a must-see while you’re in town.
It is the former imperial summer residence and The Grand tour will show you through forty rooms with fascinating stories spanning three centuries.
Kaiser Franz Joseph, the longest-reigning emperor of Austria, was born in Schönbrunn. He spent most of his life writing letters there, and died in Schönbrunn at the age of 86.
In November 1918, the palace became the property of newly founded Austrian Republic. The palace was preserved as a museum after the downfall of the Habsburg monarchy.
You can soak up Austrian culture and cuisine by taking the Schönbrunn Palace Evening Tour. The package includes a tour of the palace (with audio) , dinner and a concert. An excellent day or evening visit for a Viennese cultural insight.
The City Center
Stephansplatz and Kärntner Strasse
In 1974, the Kärntner Strasse, one of the main shopping streets in Vienna was converted into a pedestrian zone. I love walking along the Kärntnerstrasse which starts at the Vienna Opera which is right around the corner the from the world famous Hotel Sacher.
This street is great if you enjoy sitting outside, enjoying the scenery and people going by. Have a coffee and cake in one of the café houses.
There are many great sites in walking distanc eclose by. Or you may decide to just shop till you drop!
The Kärntner Strasse begins at Karlsplatz and leads you to the world-famous Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral).
Stephansdom – St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is an emblem of Austria and symbol of Austrian identity.
Known as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna, it is a cultural heritage site and monument that is the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is 107.2 meters long and 34.2 meters wide. It has four towers. he tallest of these is the south tower at 136.44 meters.
Of the 13 bells that hang in the cathedral, the Pummerin, located in the 68.3 meter-tall north tower is the second-biggest free-swinging chimed church bell in Europe.
Seven services are held on weekdays and ten on Sundays.
Visitors mostly opt to explore the city center on their own. If you prefer to gain some historical knowledge using a tour guide, I recommend taking the 2-hour walking tour of Vienna.
Aside from the cathedral you will visit the museums around Maria-Theresien-Platz, the Ring Road, the Neo-Gothic Town Hall and the impressive Austrian Parliament Building.
Next you will walk through the Volksgarten (People’s Garden), Heroes Square, and the Hofburg Palace.
The tour does not leave out the Burggarten (Castle Garden), the former Emperor Franz Joseph’s private garden.
Your guide will give you great commentary on the history, culture, and people of Vienna as you walk.
End the tour with visits to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Vienna State Opera, and the Graben shopping street where you Will find the finest traditional shops.
Parks and Gardens in the Center of Vienna
City Hall Park
Bruno Kreisky Park
Here you can find information on the 23 Districts of Vienna.
The Volksgarten and the gardens of the Imperial Palace are designated World Heritage sites.
In the spring, 400 different kinds of roses blossom in the Volksgarten!
Wiener Staatsoper – The Vienna State Opera
Most tourists like to start their walk at the top site at Karlsplatz which is the Vienna State Opera.
Members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra.
At the end of the walk through the Kärntner Strasse pedestrian zone, you will find the Fiaker (horse-drawn carriage) which can take you on a tour through the cobblestone streets of the inner city, while serving as a guide with a little history lesson along the ride.
Other Great Sites To See In Vienna
- Spanish Riding School
- Hundertwasser Haus
A great hotel in the city center is the Ritz-Carlton Vienna. The staff is awesome and will treat you like royalty.
If you have any questions or special needs, they will take care of everything for you.
The Famous Vienna Markets
Vienna’s markets are in season throughout the year for shopping, cuisine and conversations.
Naschmarkt – Vienna’s most well-known and most frequented market. Here you can find almost everything your heart desires. Cheese, wine, sausages, even mushrooms from Holland! (Not that kind!)
Karmelitermarkt – Located is Vienna’s second district, this is an up and coming market with a growing numbers of bars and galleries. Definitely worth checking out.
Brunnenmarkt – It is the largest street market in Vienna, where you can find a lot of oriental spices and food. If you like Turkish food or spices, you will love this place!
Rochusmarkt – Formerly known as the market Augustinermarkt, this market changed its name after a move in the 1990’s to the vicinity of the Rochuskirche.
Alte Post – Get the best Viennese honey here. On Friday evenings, the market offers both wine and beer tastings. Visit on Saturday for breakfast and brunch.
Want to visit more great markets in Vienna?
Here is my list of the Top 7 Markets In Vienna.
Best Places To Have Cocktails In Vienna
They do really great frozen Strawberry Daiquiris here. Their Mojitos are not bad either. I like this place as it is quiet, relaxing, plus you have a nice view over Stephansplatz and the Kärntnerstrasse.
Motto am Fluss is located right in the city center, with great cocktails and wonderful ambiance. The staff is very friendly, but make sure you have table reservations. Another great place is Eberts Cocktail Bar with a huge range of drinks and cocktails but a little on the loud side. Fun when having drinks with a group of friends.
There are lots of other great places to have cocktails in Vienna. Here are the Top 7 Places To Have Cocktails In Vienna.
Wine Taverns In Vienna
A Heurige (pronounced Hi- Ree – Ga) is wine tavern. There are many of these located all of Austria.
In Vienna, there are a lot of great spots to eat traditional Austrian food and taste our great wine.
How can you visit Vienna and not eat at one of the wonderful wine taverns?
Heurigens are prominent in Vienna’s 19th District close to the Vienna Woods.
If you’re going to eat, you might as well do it right!
Whether you want to have a Kümmelbraten – pork roast with crispy roasted skin, Blunzen – blood sausage, similar to black pudding: for the adventurous!, or my personal favourite, Schweinsbraten – roast pork, you will not be disappointed.
You can enjoy some good solid food and refreshing dry wine. In Vienna, Heurigens are second only to coffeehouses.
I have put together for you my Top 7 Wine Taverns in Vienna.
More Great Places To Visit In Austria
Hallstatt – Upper Austria
This is a picture of Hallstatt, a village in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region.
Hallstatt is Austria’s oldest and possibly most photographed village. What a spectacular Alpine village!
A funicular connects to Salzwelten, an ancient salt mine with a subterranean salt lake and multimedia presentations on the village’s mining history.
The village is about 300 km from Vienna (roughly a 3-hour drive). Hallstatt has a population of less than 900 people.
Take a short walk from the market square to to take pictures of the historic village and one of the most photographed points in the world. Houses built into the mountain, the lake, and the amazing mountains in the background.
Wörthersee – Carinthia
Me At Wörthersee (Carinthia, Austria)
Wörthersee is the most famous lake in Carinthia and the largest of Carinthia′s many lakes.
It is also one of the warmest Alpine lakes.
Lake Wörthersee is 19.4 square kilometres big and extends over 16.5 kilometres, surrounded by hills in a plain called Klagenfurter Becken.
The lake and its surroundings are shaped (or even created) by glaciers during the last ice age.
The deepest spot of Lake Wörthersee is 85 metres deep.
Lake Wörthersee has little circulation in the water which goes up to 26 degrees centigrade during the summer. It is Austria′s most popular and most famous summer sports site.
If you want to see Vienna and its surroundings, I recommend doing it by bike! It is a dream to ride along the danube and stop at the most beautiful of places.
FIVE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT AUSTRIA
1. The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world. It dates from 1191, when Duke Leopold V fought in the Battle of Acre during the Third Crusade.
2. The world’s largest emerald (2860 carat) displayed in the Imperial Treasury of the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) in Vienna is a must-see.
3. Vienna’s Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof) has over 2.5 million tombs (more than the city’s live population), including those of Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Schubert, Schoenberg and Strauss.
4. 62% of Austria’s total land area is covered by the Austrian Alps.
5. The Krimml Falls (Krimmler Wasserfaelle), in the state of Salzburg, are Europe’s tallest waterfalls, reaching a height of 380 meters.
Heading to Vienna or Austria soon? Let me know and I can guide you.
Have you been here before? Share your experiences with me in the comments section below.