IF YOU HAVE ONE DAY IN VIENNA…
Visit the Hofburg Palace: The entire city revolves around this vast complex comprising statues, figurines, museums, equestrian school, Treasury, National Theatre, chapels, halls and courtyards. It’s the seat of all things cultural and key to understanding the history of European and Austrian monarchy. Architecture, art and history merge in the former winter residence of the Habsburg dynasty (former rulers of Austro-Hungarian empire.)
The Kaiser apartments, Sisi Museum & Silver Collection is one series of exhibitions all under one roof:
I purchase a ticket for all three and wander in.
Ride in a horse-drawn carriage to take in Vienna’s sights:
‘Osterreichische’ Prunksaal or National Library State Hall:
Within the Palace grounds, this Baroque State Hall is one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. The ceiling is painted in elaborate frescoes, depicting warfare on one side and heaven and peace on the opposite.
It holds more than 200,000 original books in tall nutwood bookcases. These are currently in the process of being digitised to become the world’s oldest largest digital collection. www.onb.ac.at
Vienna’s much-loved Churches: Augustinerkirche, Peterskirche & St Michael’s:
St Michael’s is in Michaelerplatz, opposite the horse carriages. Easily identified: Winged angels & a tower that can be seen for miles.
Augustinerkirche is just around the corner, off Josefplatz, featuring a varied programme of music for evening performances. www.hochamt.at
Peterskirche, in Petersplatz, is one of Vienna’s most lavish and locally-loved churches.
Known for its Baroque architecture & artistic qualities, don’t miss the painting above the High Altar depicting the Immaculate Conception
‘Kapuzinerkirche’ or ‘Church of the Capuchin Friars’:
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this 1620s Church as it holds the burial vaults of all the Habsburg rulers. The surrounding historical area consists of the glamorous Donner Fountain (Goddess of Providence surrounded by laughing cherubs) and Chancellery building where key decisions were made in the lead-up to World War I.
Ride the subway to Prater for the romantic Ferris Wheel at sunset:
If you still find time in the day, head here just before sunset for stunning views from the top. More than 100 years old, the wheel stands testament to time, having survived natural disasters and war. 15 marvellously old-fashioned cabins turn at 2.7km/hr; slow enough to appreciate the views from all angles.
It’ll also give you a chance to ride the subway. Being a Londoner more accustomed to dark, polluted Victorian underground lines, I’m impressed with the cleanliness & efficiency here. With artwork and installations , the subway feels modern, artistic and safe.
Vienna is crammed full of sights and history. But in a day, the above are just some of my personal favourites. For more, see my ‘For Every Sight, A Coffee House’ post.
NEXT POST: IF TIME IS SHORT BUT YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE TRADITIONAL VIENNESE COFFEE HOUSES, I’LL SHOW YOU TWO OF MY FAVOURITES BY THE HOFBURG, FOR THE BEST!
- For Every Sight, a Coffee House: Vienna Insider Tips 1 (ani-shah.com)
- Vintage Smoking Shops Meet Antique Map Shops in Vienna’s Back Streets (ani-shah.com)
- Hofburg Palace, Vienna – A Glorious Monument to Royal Opulence (bulletinamaelstrom.wordpress.com)
- Vienna (pt. Eins) (lindsaymortensen.wordpress.com)