7 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Vienna

Jul 22, 2021

Vienna may not be a well-known city in the U.S. but, as the capital of the nation with the second largest economy in Europe, it's home to a lively arts scene, great shopping, delicious cuisine, and fine festivals. And when you combine top-notch sightseeing with stunning architecture, Vienna offers the perfect combination of beauty and mystery.

Its rich history and vibrant attractions give visitors a chance to see sights like St. Stephen's Cathedral, the historic Hofburg Palace, Schloss Belvedere, the Spanish Riding School, and many other treasures. Vienna is a great first stop on your European vacation.

Top tourist attractions in Austria include the Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna's main attraction. Visit this spectacular palace today, and you'll be able to see all of the most popular landmarks, like the fountain in the famous Galerie des Gl├╝cksbier.

A third reason to go to Vienna: its wonderful nightlife. Spend a few hours walking through some of the best bars in the city and enjoying a nice glass of wine, a famous Wiener Schnitzel or two, and some unique Austrian cuisine. Plan your visit with our list of the best sights and things to do in Vienna.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Photo of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna: en.wikipedia.org

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) is the spiritual center of Vienna. Legend has it that the Roman Emperor Constantine received the Holy Trinity in this building, converting to Christianity. Although destroyed in an earthquake in 1511, the present Romanesque structure has a Baroque interior and a 15th-century roof.

Belvedere Palace

Photo of Belvedere, Vienna
Belvedere, Vienna: en.wikipedia.org

Belvedere Palace, erected in the mid-1800s by King Ludwig I, is located on the Vienna waterfront. Inside, visitors can tour the interior and see exhibits featuring works by famous artists. The palace, which is owned and maintained by the City of Vienna, is open most days, although it closes for a few months each year to allow for renovations. Admission prices range from free to euro 40 (depending on the exhibition). However, a ticket does not guarantee admission, and visitors will need to arrive before the opening hours.

Sch├Ânbrunn Palace

Photo of Sch├Ânbrunn Palace
Sch├Ânbrunn Palace: en.wikipedia.org

The park's Austrian Habsburg rulers had a very grand place built to serve as their own personal summer residence. It is known as the best-preserved example of a romantic gothic palace in the world. With its magnificent gilt stuccowork ceilings, opulent chandeliers and ornate rococo decor, the palace has always been a glorious monument to the architectural gilding that was once so important in Vienna. The park has been landscaped by Hans-Caspar von Fraunhofer, who also designed the park in the mid-1800s and created many of the gardens that are open to the public today. His famous "Infinity Loops", for instance, now adorn each side of the main staircase and make you feel like you're walking along the very edge of a precipice. There is also the rose garden (1726) and the European heritage garden (1635), along with the Archduke's and Equestrian Loggias, which features fine examples of Baroque architecture.

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Photo of Kunsthistorisches Museum
Kunsthistorisches Museum: en.wikipedia.org

The city of Vienna is best known for its famous Golden Triangle of Art, in which Vienna's collections include works by artists like Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Titian. However, the city also boasts some of the most spectacular art collections in the world. These museums can be visited by the public with no charge and include the Kunsthistorisches Museum (with its rich collection of European and international art), the Museum of Art, and the Neue Galerie, which house the extensive collection of modern art, with works by artists like Duchamp and Picasso.

Albertina Museum

Photo of Albertina
Albertina: en.wikipedia.org

Vienna's first great art museum is housed in the stately Albertina, a neoclassical building that dates back to the late 18th century. Its extensive collection is spread throughout the seven rooms of its two main galleries and includes a huge collection of Impressionist and modern works, including paintings by Monet and Degas, and a number of 20th-century paintings by Klee and Schiele, as well as works by Picasso, Gauguin and many others. The galleries are filled with large works by the likes of Rembrandt and Caravaggio, and the museum also boasts a vast collection of ceramics, carvings and sculpture from the Middle Ages to the 18th century.

Natural History Museum

Photo of Natural History Museum, Vienna
Natural History Museum, Vienna: en.wikipedia.org

In summer, it may feel like there is not enough space in Vienna's Museum Quarter (Wiener Museumsbau) for all the people seeking out the city's many museums. Luckily, the natural history museum is also located in the Museum Quarter and covers much of the field of natural history. Although the "largest natural history museum in the world" by some rankings, its collections are only focused on the fields of zoology and botany, as well as some branches of geology and paleontology. It houses three indoor exhibition halls, which are mainly dedicated to exhibition displays on dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals and plants. The museum also contains many free exhibits, which means that you do not need a ticket to visit.

Prater Park

Photo of Prater
Prater: en.wikipedia.org

Vienna's most famous park is home to the beautiful Prater Lake. Boasting the largest urban population of the 300,000-plus-strong world population of Bostrichia viridistriga, or rainbow lorikeets, the park is an excellent place to see this colorful bird. The Prater Park itself is a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic or coffee in the shade of its rows of large willow trees, relaxing amid the fairy-tale parks and playgrounds and landscaped walks that make it popular with locals. A small patch of the lake and shoreline are set aside as a bird sanctuary and public-access lake. The park also boasts numerous bars and restaurants, and offers an excellent opportunity to see some of Vienna's famous brown- or red-tailed street cats, often called "catspies," which live in the bushes and alleys.