Vienna Travel Guide
History is at the heart of Vienna both literally and figuratively. The narrow streets of the Innere Stadt (Inner City) meander around antiquated buildings providing an atmosphere so authentic that you almost expect a Vienna-native like composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or psychologist Sigmund Freud to round a cobblestone corner and greet you with "Guten Tag." Extravagant baroque palaces from the Habsburg Monarchy loom over the city, just as Mozart's classical arias pour from contemporary ... continue»
- #1 St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)
- #2 Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum)
- #3 Schonbrunn Palace
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The best times to visit Vienna are the spring and the fall. The tourist seasons correspond with the climate: Spring and fall's mild weather comes with mild crowds. Most visitors aim to enjoy the warm, sunny weather that accompanies the summer months. Between June and August, you can expect the city to fill up and room rates to skyrocket. December also sees a spike in tourism since many Europeans flock to the city for a taste of Christmas spirit served Viennese-style, but chilly temperatures can be a deterrent.Best Times to Visit Vienna»
Vienna is one of Central Europe's largest metropolises. Although they are often referred to numerically, each bezirke, or neighborhood, has its own name. The numbers climb as you stray farther from the Innere Stadt.
Innere Stadt (Inner City; 1st District)
Accessible via the Herrengasse U-Bahn station.
Innere Stadt once catered to the domestic needs of the Habsburg monarchy. Despite urban growth, the neighborhood remains Vienna's political and cultural hub, and is now home to the Austrian president and other politicians. This district is easily defined by the circular boulevard, the Ringstraße or Ringstrasse that surrounds it. You'll be able to tell when you've reached the Ringstrasse because the street names all end in "-ring." Meanwhile, the Danube Canal (Donaukanal) lies along the district's northeast side.
In addition to housing the city's finest (and most expensive) hotels and restaurants, Innere Stadt is marked by the immense Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) -- a 12th century cathedral sporting 445-foot-high spires. A few blocks west is the Hofburg Imperial Palace (Court Palace), once home to the royal family. There are plenty of things to see within the Hofburg complex, including the Wiener Sangerknaben (Vienna Boys Choir) and the Spanische Reitschule (Spanish Riding School) where visitors can watch talented equestrians.
Also found within the boundaries of the Ringstrasse is the Staatsoper (State Opera House), which plays a substantial role in Viennese culture -- and whose directorship is considered to be one of the most important positions in Austria. Music fans can also pay homage to Vienna's famous musical citizens, which include Mozart, Haydn and Schubert, at the Haus der Musik in the southern corner of the Innere Stadt.
Leopoldstadt (2nd District)
Accessible via the Praterstern Bf U-Bahn station.
Leopoldstadt sits directly across the Danube Canal on the northeast side of the city -- just a short subway ride away from Innere Stadt. Once the home of the majority of Vienna's Jewish population, which, at one time, included icons such as Sigmund Freud and Theodor Herzl, this area is primarily residential. It's also the home to the beloved Prater, a massive city park which features an amusement park and miles of tree-studded walking paths. Another must-see attraction is the Wiener Kriminalmuseum (Criminal Museum), which showcases evidence pertaining to some of Vienna's most gruesome murders.
The Vorstädte (Inner Suburbs)
The Inner Suburban districts three through nine circle the outer side of the Ringstrasse in a clockwise manner. These districts are home to many hotels and restaurants that are both conveniently located and less expensive than those found within the Inner City. The Inner Suburbs also boast a variety of museums and attractions that experts say are worth exploring.
Landstraße (3rd District)
Accessible via the Rochugasse and Kardinal-Nagl-Platz U-Bahn stations.
The 3rd District lies to the southeast of the Innere Stadt and is home to royal relics like the massive Schwarzenberg Palace and the rococo-style Belvedere Palace. The 3rd district is no less charming than the inner city; its streets are dotted with churches and monuments, and the Stadtpark, which separates it from the Inner City, offers plenty of green space for afternoon strolls.
Wieden (4th District)
Accessible via the Taubstummengasse U-Bahn station.
The Wieden district, which sits just south of Innere Stadt, is one of the more fashionable residential areas. Most of the activity in this neighborhood takes place around Karlsplatz (Charles Square), home to the Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church), an immense baroque church framed by magnificent freestanding Roman columns. Sitting just north of Karlsplatz is the Wien Museum Karlsplatz (historical museum), which showcases everything from 16th-century Viennese armor to paintings by Gustav Klimt. Sudbahnhof train station is located at the southern edge of this district.
Margareten and Mariahilf (5th and 6th Districts)
Margareten is accessible via the Pilgramgasse U-Bahn station; Mariahilf is accessible via the Zieglergasse and Kettenbrückengasse U-Bahn stations.
Because it does not directly border Inner City, Vienna's 5th District (Margareten) generally doesn't see many tourists. However, further north along the border of the Ringstrasse, Mariahilf is known for its shopping opportunities. The 6th District is home to the Mariahilferstrasse, one of the city's busiest shopping streets, as well as the Naschmarkt, a fresh produce market, and the Flohmarkt, a bustling flea market.
Neubau (7th District)
Accessible via the Volkstheater U-Bahn station.
Many refer to this district as the "Neue (New) City" because of its stark atmospheric contrast to the historic Innere Stadt. Sitting west of the Ringstrasse, Neubau is home to the renowned MuseumsQuartier, a modern museum complex which houses the Leopold Museum, the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK) Museum of Modern Art and the ZOOM Kindermuseum (Children's Museum), to name a few. Just west of the MuseumsQuartier is the Spittelberg quarter, which features numerous boutiques, restaurants, cafés and pubs.
Josefstadt and Alsergrund (8th and 9th Districts)
Josefstadt is accessible via the Josefstädter Straße U-Bahn station; Alsergrund is accessible via the Friedensbrücke U-Bahn station.
Bordering the northern section of the Ringstrasse and sitting just north of Neubau, Josefstadt (8th District) features streets lined with cozy cafés and charming hotels, and it's also the home of Vienna's oldest performing arts venue, Theater in der Josefstadt. Josefstadt's neighbor to the north, Alsergrund (9th District) is often referred to as the Academic Quarter because of the nearby University of Vienna. Here you'll find the Sigmund Freud Museum, which showcases the life and works of famous neurologist Sigmund Freud. Another tourist hotspot is the Liechtenstein Palace, which is located just a few blocks north of the Sigmund Freud Museum and shelters the federal Museum of Modern Art.
The Vororte (Outer Suburbs)
Unlike the Inner Suburbs, the districts that make up Vienna's Outer Suburbs (10 through 23) are not laid out in any sort of organized fashion. Tourist sites here are few, but these areas are accessible by public transportation should you choose to explore, and hotels and restaurants are much less pricey.
Hietzing (13th District), the city's westernmost district, is home to the most popular attraction in the Outer Suburbs: Schönbrunn Palace. Constructed in the late 17th century by the Habsburgs, Schönbrunn Palace is made up of 1,441 rooms (only 40 of which are open to the public). Outside the palace are expansive gardens and the oldest zoo in the world.
Located northwest of Innere Stadt, the Währing (18th District) district is home to the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), which houses somewhere around 4,000 acres of gardens, parks and sports fields. The woods provide spectacular views of the city and the nearby Alps. Numerous heurigen (wine taverns) and vineyards surround the area.
Vienna is considered one of the safest capitals in Europe. Your main concern here is to keep an eye out for petty theft. The Prater amusement park and mass transit are popular hunting grounds for pickpockets.
The best ways to get around Vienna are on foot and by public transportation. Many historic attractions can be found within the compact Innere Stadt and are easy to reach with just a sturdy pair of walking shoes. But if you are interested in exploring some of the more remote districts, the city's subway, bus and streetcar routes will get you where you need to go. Taxis are also abundant. There are also several methods of public transportation connecting Vienna to the Vienna International Airport (VIE), including the City Airport Train (which costs €10 EUR -- about $13 USD -- for a one-way ride).Getting Around Vienna»