Culture hopping in Vienna
Sightseeing in this European cultural capital
There’s hardly a city in the world that offers such a rich cultural experience as Vienna.
An international survey has revealed that Vienna is the most liveable city in the world for the tenth consecutive year. But what is it that gives Vienna such a good quality of life? It’s the combination of recreation, culture and entertainment which creates the perfect work-life balance. A short walk through the city centre is all you need to find somewhere to unwind. Parks, gastronomic hot spots and historical sites are all close at hand.
Everything is within walking distance in the city centre. Let us take you on a stroll through the city, past music, art and stunning architecture, to Vienna’s major central highlights.
Vienna State Opera
Empress Sisi, with her husband Emperor Franz Joseph, ceremoniously opened the Opera House in 1869. Since then, the importance of this architectural masterpiece has steadily grown. Today, the Vienna State Opera is one of the most notable opera houses in the world, and its repertoire is unrivalled on the international stage. For around 300 days each season, audiences enjoy 60 different operas and ballets.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The ‘Steffl’ is arguably one of Vienna’s most famous landmarks and the most notable Gothic building in Austria. If you want to see everything, it’s best to start from the bottom and slowly work your way upwards:
1. The catacombs: an eerie place under the cathedral’s nave containing the tombs of bishops and princes.
2. The cathedral’s three naves: as well as the ornate altars and side chapels, you can visit the famous cathedral treasury.
3. The ‘Pummerin’: St. Stephen's Cathedral’s most famous bell, the Pummerin, can be found in the 68.3-metre-high north tower. It is the second largest free-swinging church bell in Europe.
4. The south tower: 343 steps lead to the tower room in the south tower, the cathedral’s highest tower, at 136m. From there you have a splendid view over Vienna.
Mozart’s home was magnificent: four chambers, two private rooms and a lavish kitchen. Throughout his life, he liked to dress formally; Mozart was never seen without his wig, fancy clothes and buckled shoes. In the Mozarthaus in Vienna, you can admire the life and work of the musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, focussing on his years in Vienna from 1781 to 1791.
This is one of the most impressive palatial complexes in the world. Until 1918, it was the residence of the Habsburg emperors, and their seat of government. These days, you can admire the magnificent imperial apartments, stroll through the Sisi Museum and be enthralled by the classical equestrian skills of the Spanish Riding School. The Austrian President is also based at the Hofburg.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
This imposing museum of fine art is just a few minutes’ walk from the Hofburg. As you go in, you’re entering a world of art and beauty. Not only can you admire the imperial family’s extensive collections, but the museum also displays works spanning five millennia, from ancient Egypt to modern times. There’s a unique and comprehensive collection of paintings by Dürer, Raphael, Titian and Velázquez, as well as the largest Bruegel collection in the world.
Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet - even if you don’t know much about art, this is somewhere that will make you want to find out more. Some of the greatest masterpieces from the last 130 years of art history are on display in the Albertina, including Monet's ‘Water Lily Pond’, Degas' ‘Two Dancers’ and Renoir's ‘Portrait of a Young Girl’.
Although the walk from the opera to the Albertina, on to the Hofburg and then to the Kunsthistorisches Museum isn’t far, comfortable footwear is a must if you’re going to enjoy your day to the full. And so that you’re not caught out by the changeable autumn weather, make sure you’re well prepared. Högl sneakers and boots in gleaming snakeskin-embossed leather are on trend, practical and purpose-built for your cultural tour.
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