City breaks

10 things to do on a city break in Vienna

9 October 20194 min read

A view of St. Stephen's Cathedral on Stephansplatz Square at sunrise in Vienna, Austria

Packed with impressive architecture, history, culture and arts, the beautiful city of Vienna is the perfect option for a weekend getaway. Here's ten of the best things to do when you visit.

1. Visit the Spanish Riding School

The famous Spanish Riding School is a must-see on a trip to Vienna. Home to the beautiful Lipizzaner breed of horses, a guided tour will give you an overview of the history and allow you to see the stables, tack room and impressive grand performance hall with its sparkling chandeliers.

Performances by the horses are given on Saturdays and Sundays during select months throughout the year, and it is essential to book well in advance.

2. Experience the buzz of the Naschmarkt

In contrast to the grand and imposing architecture of the city, the open air market, or ‘naschmarkt’, is chaotic, vibrant and bustling.

Open Monday to Saturday, hundreds of vendors gather to sell culinary delights from all corners of the globe, and the flea market on a Saturday sells everything from scarves and rugs to trinkets and antiques

3. Relax with a coffee

Coffee houses are an important part of Viennese heritage and culture. It’s not about simply grabbing a hurried cappuccino and dashing off – it is an experience and you are encouraged to linger and relax.

People come to coffee houses to read, write and watch the world go by, and just one drink would entitle you to stay the whole day without being moved on.

While you are there, be sure to sample one of the city’s specialities such as apple strudel or Sachertorte (a type of chocolate cake).

4. Take in an opera

The world famous Vienna State Opera is well worth a visit, and a guided tour will allow you to experience the beautiful architecture and décor, and see what goes on behind the scenes.

However, to truly experience it in all its glory, book in advance and enjoy a ballet or opera.

5. The Museumsquartier

A vibrant and atmospheric area of the city, this creative hub is home to exhibition halls, arts centres and museums. Here you will find the Leopold Museum, which houses one of Austria’s largest collections of modern art, the Kunsthalle Wien and the MUMOK.

6. The Schönbrunn Palace

Pay a visit to the hugely impressive Schönbrunn Palace where you can take a guided tour around the grand rooms of the building, relax in the enchanting gardens, get lost in the maze, and take a look around the zoo, which is one of the oldest in the world.

7. Sample a glass of Viennese wine

Unusually for a city, Vienna boasts its own vineyards and produces excellent wine. So forget opting for your usual tipple on a city break here and sample a glass or two of the city’s own produce.

In the summer, you can even take a trip to the rustic wine taverns dotted among the vineyards.

8. St Stephen’s Cathedral

Lying in the centre of the old town, this imposing gothic structure towers above Vienna. Take a trip to the catacombs below, or climb one of the Stephansdom Towers which will afford you beautiful views when you reach the top.

9. Sigmund Freud Museum

This museum is set in the former home and office of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Here you can see letters, photos and original furnishings, as well as enjoy temporary exhibitions.

10. Hofburg Palace

The enormous Hofburg Palace has housed Austria’s rulers since the 13th century and is a huge complex of buildings. Pay a visit and marvel at the imperial silver collection, enjoy finding out about the Empress Sisi in the Sisi Museum, and experience the splendour of the Imperial Apartments.

The Hofburg Palace Gardens also house the beautiful palm house where you can enjoy a coffee in magnificent surroundings.

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