Austria’s vibrant Capital, Vienna lying to the East of the Country, draws visitors in for many reasons. This stunning city in the heart of Europe has had a turbulent past and has risen up to be one of the prime Capitals in Europe today, a place of art and culture, music and medicine with notable figures such as Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud having the city as a birth place it is easy to understand why it is also called “The City of Music” and “The City of Dreams”.
Topping the Mercers Quality of Life index world-wide is no surprise after staying in this amazing city and experiencing all that it has to offer. You don’t need to live there to appreciate it either as a weekend break away will introduce you to wonder that is Vienna and its many forms of entertainment from Opera and Art Galleries to Cafe Culture and Imperial Grandeur, it’s all here in Vienna just waiting for
you to discover it.
Vienna’s past spans back in time to the Neolithic age, where has been a settlement in place since 2500BC. Lying on the banks of the River Danube it became a fortified Celtic settlement around 500BC before being taken over as a Roman military camp in 15BC. In the early Middle Ages the Babenburg Dynasty came into residence and the city prospered. After the death of the last Babenburg heir Fredrick II, the city was seized by King Ottoker II, who was overthrown in 1278 by the Hasburg Dynasty led by Rudolf I. Under the Hasburg reign, Vienna became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1556.
The capital was seized twice by Napoleon in 1805 and 1809 and then saw more turbulence in 1848 when there was a revolution led by the citizens pushing for more political power. Then in 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand the country was again thrown into trouble with the outbreak of WW1. The defeat in 1918 led to the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The invasion by Germany at the start of WW2 led to major bombing in the city which caused heavy destruction. It wasn’t until 1955 when the city was granted full sovereignty from the Allied forces that the city could begin to flourish again.
Since WW2 the City has rebuilt itself and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. The city is now known for its high quality of life as well as its Imperial Palaces and grandeur. Having once been one of the biggest and most important capitals of the world before it’s fall in 1918, the city still oozes grandeur and opulence where ever you go and it is this plus the vibrancy that pulls people to this beautiful city.
What to do in Vienna in 3 Days.
A must do trip when in Vienna is to go and visit the Schönbrunn Palace. The palace and garden complex was built from 1696 and in 1996 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex consists of the Palace and Gardens and will take you on an unforgettable journey of the Hasburg Dynasty. Set aside a day for it if you have the time as there is so much to see with 44 rooms open for the public to see as well as superb gardens to wander around.
The Schönbrunn Palace is seen as one of the most important monuments in the country and it is a place packed with history. The former Imperial summer residence has seen Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart perform in the Hall of Mirrors in 1772 when he was only 6 years old.
The Room of Millions which is decorated from floor to ceiling with priceless Indian and Persian miniatures is regarded as probably the most magnificent Rococo room in the world. The palace is a lavish spectacle and most of the rooms that are open to the public are decorated in Rococo style with many having Bohemian crystal chandeliers. Although some rooms are more understated, the state and
guest rooms are very lavish. The place is a potent symbol of the power that the Hasburg dynasty had over such a long period of their rule in Austria.
The spectacular gardens seem to meld into the Palace and the huge space has plenty to entertain and delight its visitors with many fountains and spectacular planting, all in all a place not to be missed.
This is a place to visit for anyone interested in architecture or art and is regarded as one of Austria’s architectural highlights. This stunning building located in Kegelgasse 34-38, 1030 Wienthat, was designed by the artist and architect Fredrick Hundertwasser.
Although you can only view the house from the outside as they all have private residents, it is still a magical experience seeing them and opposite the house is the Hundertwasser village which is open to visitors. This amazing building which was built between 1983-1985 has the most amazing colourful exterior which has captivated its visitors for years. This truly is a place worth taking sometime out to go and see and although a bit further out from some of the usual tourist sites you can stop and have a coffee in the second floor coffee shop whilst there and is a great place to take some iconic photos.
Another historic landmark to visit is The Belevedre, a complex that consists of two Baroque palaces as well as an orangery and stables. This is where anybody interested in art will get to view Gustav Klimt’s famous painting The Kiss which is housed in the Upper Belvedere as well as many other pieces of his work.
There are also sculptures by Rodin on display as well as works of Monet and Renoir. The whole place seems like a work of art with stunning gardens to walk around. You should really set a few hours aside to see as much as possible as there is a lot to take in but if you are a bit pressed for time then stick to the Upper Belvedere. Although in the high tourist months it does get busy it is never too over whelming and is definitely worth a trip to.
Take a trip to the center of the old city and view the Imperial Palace. It was inhabited by the Hasburgs until 1918 who had ruled from here for more than seven centuries, while today it is the office of the President of Austria. Originally it was a medieval castle but all that now remains of that part of its history is the medieval chapel. The Hasburgs extended the Palace considerably as their power increased which means that there are a number of architectural styles in the Palace.
It is a place full of rich history and impressive imperial treasures and for an outsider it brings alive the history of this famous dynasty. The opulence on display is quite breathtaking and highlights the wealth that the family had and the manner in which they lived and the no where symbolises the heritage of Austria quite as well as the Imperial Palace.
Take time out for a coffee
No trip to Vienna would be complete without sitting down and having a drink in a coffeehouse. The traditional coffeehouses have played a part in the Viennese culture. There are many notable coffeehouses in the capital and once inside one you will find that there are plenty of enticing offerings, with a wide variety of coffees, pastries and international newspapers to keep you well-informed.
Viennese coffee culture is now, since 2011 , a part of the cultural heritage of UNESCO and is something that you should experience on your visit to the city and will end a very enjoyable day of sightseeing.
Vienna Weekend Trip – Final Words.
Vienna is truly a stunning city with so much history, grandeur and heritage that your weekend here will be packed with things to do and see. Whether you come for the art, architecture, history or coffee you will be sure to find plenty to do to keep you enthralled whilst in this amazing city.