Vienna’s history goes back as far as the first century, when Romans settled here, naming the town Vindobona. The settlement prospered over the following years, slowly becoming an important European city, with trading industries in amber and salt in the Middle Ages. The very best years by far for Vienna were in the 19th century, when Vienna became a forerunner in the leagues of most powerful cities on the continent. Sadly, both World Wars took their toll on the city, like many places in Europe, but Vienna today is as captivating a lustrous as it always was – a hotbed of refined culture and charm. Popular Attractions
Vienna’s streets are nothing short of spectacular, and a walk around the city’s historical center is an essential Vienna activity. Hotspots to visit and admire include St Stephen’s Cathedral, The Belvedere, both Schönbrunn and Hofburg Palaces, and you must take a stroll along the Graben Vienna, one of the city’s most beautiful shopping streets. Also don’t miss the Vienna State Opera House, which is not only essential to see from the outside – performances here are sure to leave you dazzled. On a warm day, walk through Stadpark, Vienna’s biggest city park. This not only provides you with a little green space to enjoy, but here you can find landmarks dedicated to the late and great of Vienna, its musical prodigies and other memorable figures. Vienna has over 100 museums, so plenty to entertain the curious traveller. The Kunsthistorisches Museum is a magnificent building and home to Vienna’s main art museum, and its twin standing opposite, the Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum), is also worth checking off the list. Art lovers should also take a look at the Leopold Museum for modern Austrian works, and the Vienna Museum will give you a decent history of the city. Food
Austria doesn’t have much of a distinct cuisine, but the closest thing it has to famous food is Viennese cuisine. Vienna is the birthplace of the majority of the country’s signature dishes. Wiener Schnitzel and apfelstrudel are among the few you may be familiar with, but you will also find more unheard-of food, plus plenty of meats, cheeses, and mounds of pastries. Transport
Being the capital of Austria, Vienna International Airport is well connected to Europe and other destinations across the globe. Flights to and from European destinations are naturally very regular and inexpensive, and you can also catch connections from major international cities in Asia and North America. Tips for Travelers
If you want to see a performance at the Vienna State Opera House and don’t mind standing, get in line a few hours before a performance and grab a ticket for just €4. This isn’t necessarily recommended for the operas as performances can push three hours, which makes a lot of standing time. The ballets are far more suited as they are relatively short. Taking a leaf out of Germany’s book, Vienna has an exceptionally efficient public transport system and you’ll be able to get almost everywhere in the city using the subway or tram. If you intend to do a lot of exploring, consider buying a ticket for 24 or 72 hours to save you a bit of money. Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world. Petit crime such as pickpocketing is sometimes a problem, but no more than average for a European city. Fun Facts
Vienna Zoo, or Tiergarten Schönbrunn, is the oldest zoo in the world, founded in 1752. The river that runs through Vienna is the River Danube, the only river in the world to run through four different capital cities. The other three are Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade. Vienna is often referred to as the ‘City of Dreams’, thanks to Sigmund Freud. The famous psychotherapist spent a large portion of his life in Vienna, and thus had a sizable impact on the city.