Vienna is true European city. It has the old and the new, the touristy and the artistic. It mixes them all up and you’re left with a fantastic city that I love to visit. I actually have been there 5 times already this year just visiting friends for the weekend.
Let me start with a little information about the city. It is home to close to two million people, almost 25% of the population of Austria. People started living here along the banks around 500BC, and the Romans built a fortified city here in 15BC. Vienna grew quickly from that simple fortification and by the time the Romans left in the 5th century AD, it was a nice sized town. It suffered like many settlements after the Romans pulled out, but it never fizzled into obscurity. By 880, it was large enough to be mentioned in the Salzburg Annals. Through the Middle Ages, the city flourished and by the end of the 13th century it was ruled by the Habsburgs, a rule that left an indelible mark on the evolution of Europe. The 18th century saw the city transform into a baroque city. Modern day Vienna exhibits the leftovers of every stage in its long history, and this is what I think really makes it a wonderful place to visit.
There are a few places I’d consider must-see attractions, especially if you’re planning your fist visit here. Start with the incredible Stephansdom, a majestic cathedral dating from the early 13th century. Then you can visit one of the many palaces – the best in my opinion are the Belvedere Palaces. Then there’s the Staatsoper, Karlskirche, Burgtheater, the Parliament building, Schloss Schonbrunn. The list goes on and on really.
Great food is another reason to plan a visit to Vienna. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself to be a foodie or just a regular person who knows what they like when they order from a menu, Vienna is going to provide. If I had to pick one, and that’s a VERY difficult thing to do in this city, I’d probably go with either Wiener Rathauskeller or Mörwald im Ambassador. Neither are budget places to eat, but the atmosphere and food quality make up for the prices.
All in, Vienna is a fabulous city, and I’d really recommend you give it a try one day soon.