Called the City of Music by some (famous composers who lived there include Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, just to name a few) and the City of Dreams by others (it was also home to father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud), Vienna has a long and storied past that has made it a premiere destination for travelers. With nearly 2.5 million inhabitants living in the metropolitan area alone, this city is by no means small. And considering the wealth of history and the many entertainment options available to visitors, you can see why it would be difficult to narrow down the sights you want to see when you visit this lovely and alluring locale. So here are just a few must-see attractions that can provide any traveler with some Instagram-worthy moment, not to mention fond memories of a trip to Vienna, Austria.
Schonbrunn Palace. If you thought Versailles was spectacular, you’re going to love this Austrian palace, which was also built in the grand and imposing Rococo style. With 1,441 rooms, it’s hard to believe that this was merely the home where the Habsburg monarch spent their summers. Originally used as a hunting ground (it was stocked with game), it was built out over time to include not only the palace, but also vast gardens punctuated by fountains, sculptures, and a gloriette atop a hill. Visitors to the palace will also enjoy the zoo, the Roman ruins, and even concerts and other entertainment, depending on the time of their trip. Schonbrunn Palace is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in Vienna, and it’s one attraction you can’t miss.
Stephen’s Cathedral. If you’re still up for some architectural splendor after a day at the Schonbrunn Palace, your next visit should be to this 12th century cathedral. With both gothic and Romanesque influences, this stunning structure will surely wow you, as it was intended to. It acts as the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, as well as the mother church of the Roman Archdiocese of Vienna, and as such, it is the most important religious structure in the city. It is widely recognized as an enduring symbol of the city by the tiled roof, which was crafted with unique colors and patterns.
Schmetterlinghaus. You may be looking for an opportunity to step away from the achievements of man and partake of the achievements of nature for a while, and the Schmetterlinghaus, or butterfly house, can definitely accommodate you. Located near the opera building (you could easily visit both), this butterfly zoo houses a rain forest environment within its walls that is home to an estimated 400 butterflies at any given time, not to mention the beautiful, exotic plants that feed them and act as their breeding grounds.
Ferris Wheel Square. Located at the entrance to the Prater amusement park is the Wiener Riesenrad, or Viennese giant wheel. At 212 feet tall, this Ferris wheel will offer you an excellent view of the city, and it’s hard to believe it was built more than a century ago (1897). From there you can pop into the amusement park for some fun rides and tasty treats.
Haus der Musik. The house of music offers visitors the opportunity to explore the rich musical history that Vienna is known for. And you can not only listen to the masters, you can also interact with exhibits and even create music of your own. Or if you’d rather sit and listen to a live opera performance,to see what’s happening at the Vienna State Opera House and other venues throughout the city. Your Vienna vacation can be both fun and relaxing when you pick just a few of the most memorable attractions to visit instead of trying to see it all.