NOT TO BE MISSED IN VIENNA
If you are travelling to Vienna, these are the locations that should top your bucket list
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Josh Tuesday
02 February 2019
The ever-changing face of Vienna is a beautiful harmony between historical buildings and contemporary scenery. The Austrian capital is a city to be visited at least once in a lifetime. Vienna is one of the most enchanting destinations in Europe. While there are many architectural wonders in the very centre of the city, which carry certain advantages if visited in the cosy Christmas period, Vienna offers many options for all-year-long travellers, which you should make sure not to miss.
The St Stephen's Cathedral is one of the eye-catching views among the streets of the city. Located in the Stephansplatz, the cathedral was initiated on top of the ruins of two earlier churches dating back to 1147. Thought of by Duke Rudolf IV (1339-1365), the St. Stephen's Cathedral was built in a Gothic/Romanesque style and has become one of the symbols of Vienna through its recognisable multi-coloured tiled rooftop. Being the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, the cathedral has turned into the most religious building in the Austrian capital city.
The Belvedere Palace with its grand-scale garden layout and large palace ensemble is another location to put on your bucket list. Consisting of the Upper and Lower Belvedere, this historic building complex also hosts the Palace Stables, the Belvedere Museum and the large Orangery. Located on the south-eastern edge of Vienna, in the city's third district, the location can be reached by taking a bus from the centre of the city. The complex was built in the Viennese' characteristic Baroque style architecture, at times of extensive construction when the Austrian capital was part of the Habsburg dynasty and was considered an imperial capital city. Intended as the summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, the Belvedere Palace is laid out with extensive gardens, decorative fountains, Baroque sculptures and carefully designed alley layout, all hidden behind spectacular iron gates. Photographs of this magical location really do not do justice, so NOMADSofORIGIN recommends you visit the palace with the very first chance you get.
The Austrian National Library with its varied collections of over 12 million items is one of the must-see locations in Vienna. Located in the very centre of the city in the Neue Burg Wing of the Hofburg, the building is the largest library in Austria. Formerly known as the Imperial Court Library, founded by the Habsburgs, the complex currently features special archives, museums and the unique Imperial Butterfly House.
Located by the Albertina Art Museum only a couple hundred meters away from the famous Opera House, there is a location, known as the Imperial Butterfly House. Built at the beginning of the last century, during the Art Nouveu period, this tropical oasis is housed with one of the most beautiful palm houses in the world. This was the place where Sisi, Empress of Austria, and Emperor Franz Josef I used to relax and admire the wonders of nature. Currently around four hundred of the gentle and colourful butterflies inhabit the house, graciously floating past the exotic plants and waterfalls. Open for visitors the location offers an adventure in the natural environment of various butterfly species, which coexist freely and ready to be admired. Given the central location of the Imperial Butterfly House, visiting nearby locations of historical significance such as the Opera House and the gardens of the Burggarten Palace has been made easier than ever.
The Schönbrunn Zoo, situated at the famous Viennese Schönbrunn Palace, is the oldest operating zoo on the planet Founded in 1752 as an imperial menagerie, today its main purpose serves to fulfil the nature and animal species conservation. Much of the baroque era is still well preserved when it comes to the architecture of the Schönbrunn Zoo. Visitors will not only get to admire the variety of species around the facilities but will also notice that many elements of the architecture still reflect a true image of the 18th century Versailles buildings.
Stirring away from the historical buildings, and there are more than we can even list, Vienna offers a coffee house culture, which serves as a type of institution for intellectuals and creative individuals. Browse through the streets of the Austrian capital and you will find one of the many coffee places with charming atmosphere of friendly staff and customers, dim lightning and mahogany coat stands. Those venues will take you back in time when some of the country's greatest intellectuals and creative minds used to visit them. From Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, to Arnold Schoenberg, the expressionist-style composer, we recommend you spend some time in Vienna's iconic little cafés. With their vintage newspaper stands and waistcoat-dressed waiters Viennese locals have transformed with their fine taste all their coffee houses into a sort of living rooms that will fill your soul. Apart from the homes of hot beverages and the delicious cake displays, some of the venues in the Austrian capital also offer an impeccable choice of wine bars and elegant restaurants. Make sure to explore the history of Vienna but don't forget to also experience the spirit of the country through its iconic venues and local people.