Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere)#9 in Best Things To Do in Vienna
If you're can't get your art fix at either the MuseumsQuartier or the Kunsthistorisches Museum, you're sure to find satisfaction at Belvedere. There are actually two palaces here – separated by an ornate 17th-century French-style garden – which some say are the best examples of Baroque architecture in the world. Formerly home to such notable Austrian figures as Prince Eugene of Savoy and Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the buildings now house an impressive array of Austrian art from such renowned artists as Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka. Travelers love the gardens, ornate buildings and array of paintings on display at this attraction.
Belvedere Palace sits just southeast of the Innere Stadt, between the Wieden and Landstrasse districts. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Lower Belvedere building offering extended hours on Wednesdays. Admission varies depending on the different buildings you're interested in visiting and special exhibits on display; though, children up to 18 can enter for free at all sites. Guided tours are available and there are a variety of combo ticket packages available as well. For more information, visit the palace's website.
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#1 St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)
Towering above the streets of the Innere Stadt, this massive cathedral is the true centerpiece of Vienna. St. Stephen's has stood in this very spot since the early 12th century, but little remains of the original aside from the Riesentor (Giant's Gate) and the Heidentuerme (Towers of the Heathens). The Gothic structure standing today was built in the early 1300s and has survived the Turkish siege of 1683. It was here that mourners came to pay their respects to Amadeus Mozart in 1791. In 1805, Napoleon used St. Stephen's doors to post his farewell edict. And it weathered attacks from both German and Russian armies during World War II. Today, this stunning cathedral remains an active house of worship, a national icon and a top tourist attraction.
After you've toured the main section, head underground to the catacombs where many victims of the Great Plague of Vienna were laid to rest. Move on to the gruft, or vault, where numerous urns contain the remains of members of the Hapsburg royal family. Before you leave, you should climb the 343 steps to the top of the South Tower or use the elevator to reach the lookout terrace at the North Tower – you'll be treated to a spectacular view. Visitors call this one of those "must-visit" attractions in Europe, praising the gorgeous church and its surroundings.
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