Vienna: A Symphony of History, Culture & Dining

Tamara Trione


Called the "City of Music,” Austria’s illustrious capital was home to some of the most influential classical composers in the world such as Mozart, Haydn, Strauss, and Beethoven. In addition to world renowned classical music offerings, this elegant European city is also known for its vibrant art scene and stunning Baroque architecture. Vienna’s fairy-tale palaces, coffee house culture and festive Christmas markets make it a magical place to visit. It’s a city where you will encounter imperial splendour at virtually every corner with beautiful buildings, walkable streets, and delicious food & drinks.

Visit the Beautiful Belvedere Palace & Museum

Take a trip to the glorious Belvedere Palace, one of Europe's most stunning Baroque landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Belvedere is not only a grand palace, but also a museum which houses one of Austria's most valuable art collections – with key works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. The Belvedere's main complex consists of two palaces, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, and beautiful grounds with Baroque style gardens.

The Upper Belvedere houses the world's biggest Klimt collection and "The Kiss". You wouldn’t visit the Louvre and not see the Mona Lisa, so don’t visit the Belvedere and skip Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. This world-famous iconic painting hangs in the permanent exhibition area at Upper Belvedere. The Lower Belvedere acted as a residential palace to Prince Eugene of Savoy, and the lavish splendour of the owner is reflected in the Groteskensaal (Hall of the Grotesque), the Marble Gallery and the Golden Room. Special Exhibitions are now held in both the Lower Belvedere and in the Orangery.

After strolling through the majestic Belvedere, a perfect place to enjoy a meal or a cocktail with breathtaking views over Vienna (by day or by night) is the Aurora Rooftop Bar, which is located in close proximity to Belvedere Palace at the Hotel Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere. This stylish hotel features local contemporary art and the chic rooftop bar where guests can sip cocktails beside an open fire pit. 

Experience Vienna's Imperial Heritage at the Hofburg

Vienna’s Hofburg Imperial Palace is one of the biggest integrated palace complexes in the world. It’s like a city within a city and includes a multitude of fascinating museums, a church and chapel, the Austrian National Library, and the Spanish Riding School. For more than seven centuries, the empire of the Habsburgs was ruled from here and it served as the residence of the Imperial Family. Even after the monarchy, it still remains the official seat of the Austrian head of state.

If you are an architectural buff, no visit to the Hofburg is complete without a look inside the Austrian National Library. This is Europe’s largest Baroque library that houses over 200,000 historic books on its richly decorated shelves. The Grand Hall room is breathtaking, and is considered one of the most beautiful library rooms in the world. If you are a horse lover, you can take a look behind the scenes of the Spanish Riding School and learn about their equestrian traditions and their stars - the world-famous Lipizzaner stallions. The extensive offering of museums at the Hofburg is rounded off by the Weltmuseum Wien, the House of Austrian History, the Ephesos Museum, the Papyrus Museum, the Collection of Arms and Armour, and the Austrian Film Museum. So much rich culture in one spot is very rare!

Immerse Yourself in the Music and Culture of Vienna

Music is everywhere in Vienna. A night out at the Vienna State Opera is one of the best ways to spend an elegant evening enjoying music in Vienna. Called the Wiener Staatsoper (in German), the Vienna State Opera is one of the top opera addresses in the world, with first class productions of the very highest calibre and a different programme every day. Around 50 operas and 20 ballets (danced by the Vienna State Ballet) are performed at this iconic venue per season, which runs annually from September 1st to June 30th. Iconic names like Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, and Enrico Caruso have all performed here. Tom Cruise filmed a stand out scene and action sequence on location at the Vienna State Opera when it served as a film location for the movie Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation.

You also can also enjoy a classical music concert at some of Vienna's landmark churches, such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Karlskirche (Church of Charles), and St. Peter’s Church. Vienna’s church concerts allow you to take in the breath-taking atmosphere in some of the world's most beautiful churches surrounded by wonderful classical music. 

See Vienna’s Enchanting Christmas Markets

Vienna is an absolute dream during the holiday season! From mid-November until Christmas each year, Vienna’s gorgeous squares are transformed into some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. Here are some of the magical Christmas Markets in Vienna that you definitely don’t want to miss!

Chriskindlmarkt Am Rathaus is the most renowned Christmas market in Vienna, located on Rathausplatz square. Here Vienna lights up during Advent with the scent of Glühwein (mulled wine) hanging over the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt set against the lovely backdrop of the Neo-Gothic town hall. It’s a wonderland featuring incredible light installations, a giant Christmas tree, a carousel, a ferris wheel, and an illuminated ice skating rink. If that isn’t enough, more than 100 wooden stalls offer yuletide gifts – from handmade wooden toys to lavish tree decorations and Christmas candles. Food vendors offer Viennese specialities from smoked sausages to apple strudels and spicy punch, and there are carol concerts around the Christmas tree as well as train rides on the Christkindl Express in the Rathauspark.

Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace is set against the impressive Baroque backdrop of the world-famous Belvedere Palace, making it one of the most romantic Christmas markets that is dazzling with charm and elegance. This picturesque market is adorned with angelic lights, the sweet sound of Christmas carols, and more than 40 festively decorated market stalls offering traditional handcrafted goods, elaborate decorations, and culinary delights.

Christmas Village at Maria Theresa Square is one of the larger Christmas markets set in another glorious location, sandwiched between two museum gems - the Natural History Museum and the Art History Museum. This atmospheric market offers around 70 colourful wooden huts where you will find lovely souvenirs, handicrafts, hand-made decorations and presents for the holidays.

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