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Tourist information about Vienna

Vienna (Wien) is one of the great historical cities of Europe, for many centuries capital of the Habsburg Empire which ruled much of central and eastern Europe.

This role has produced a wealth of architecture while its musical heritage, with Beethoven and Mozart having lived and performed in the city, is second to none.

The original city lies within the Ringstrasse, although the Vienna Woods, with its Heurigen (wine taverns) should not be overlooked.

Along the Ringstrasse are some beautiful 19th century buildings, including the State Opera House, Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum, the City Hall and the State Parliament.

Fabulous exhibits

Stephansdom, St Stephen’s Cathedral, is at the heart of the city. Completed in 1433, it was restored after the cathedral caught fire in 1945.

The Imperial Palace, the Hofburg, now houses the Austrian president’s offices and museums; the chapel where the Vienna Boys’ Choir sings and the hall where the Lipizzan stallions perform.

The Imperial Apartments can be toured, while the Treasury has fabulous exhibits including the Imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

Magnificent gardens

The Schönbrunn Palace is Vienna’s equivalent to Versailles. Once the Habsburgs’ summer palace, it has 1411 rooms – some forty open to the public.

The gardens are magnificent and they and the palace are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The ‘Roman ruins’, a folly, see summer productions of Don Giovanni. Here too is the world’s oldest zoo dating from 1752.

The Belvedere Palace, built in the 1720s, offers fantastic views of the city. Next to the Danube is the massive Prater, the wooded park and home to the century-old Giant Ferris Wheel featured famously in The Third Man film.

Vienna isn’t well served by budget airlines but the major national carriers fly in to the city’s airport. Vienna International Airport is 18km southeast of the city and can be reached by motorways from all directions through the motorway A4.

Cruise boats on the Danube often also take in Budapest and Bratislava. The climate is moderate, but with some heavy snowfalls and low temperatures from December to March.