Austria's colorful capital Vienna is a city steeped in history and the tones of Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven still fill its tree-lined streets and cobbled alleyways, while its grand palaces loom large all over the city. From past to present, Vienna's also got a cutting edge contemporary side to it, with a vibrant modern art scene, thriving cafe culture, and some very fine restaurants serving up Michelin-starred dishes. Nightlight's not lacking either with bars, pubs, and clubs to rival any city.
Things to see
The beating heart of the city, Stephansplatz is a bustling square where mime artists entertain passersby, couples sit sipping coffee in pavement cafes, and shoppers with bags bursting at the seams spill in and out of stores. This is also where you'll find the gothic grandeur of St Stephen's Cathedral with its red-marble monument of Emperor Frederick III and 18th Century tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Climb its 553 steps and you'll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the city. The baroque Hofburg Imperial Palace will march you through the city's history, and is home to a myriad museums, the Burgkapelle where the high-pitched trills of the Vienna Choir Boys can be heard every Sunday, and the Spanische Reitschule with its Lipizzaner horses. Schoenbrunn Palace with its bohemian crystal chandeliers and white porcelain tile stoves is a complex of epic portions and you can spend a whole day exploring Empress Sisi’s former summer residence and pottering around its pretty park and zoo. Vienna State Opera is one of the world's most prestigious opera houses and the place to catch top-calibre music all year round.
Hotels in Vienna
Hotels in Vienna come in all shapes and sizes, so you'll have no problem finding accommodation to suit your budget and needs. For a slice of luxury, Vienna's high-end landmarks feature indoor pools, sensuous spas, and fine dining restaurants, and rooms range from sprawling suites to modern doubles with deep soaking bath tubs, room service, and well-stocked minibars. Mid-range options are plentiful and most offer WiFi, flat-screen televisions with satellite channels, and tea and coffee making facilities as standard. Budget hotels in Vienna are somewhat limited so it's a good idea to book well in advance if you're after a cheap hotel.
Where to stay
If you want to stay in the heart of things during your trip to Vienna, hotels located around Innerstadt Vienna will put you within strolling distance of the city many must-see sites such as St Stephen's Cathedral, Hofburg Imperial Palace, and Vienna State Opera. For river views, Leopoldstadt, in the 2nd District, is home to many hotels which over look the Danube Canal as well as those close to the leafy Prater Park home to the Riesenrad, a 64-meter tall Ferris wheel. Neubau has good links to the center for sightseeing as well as its own cafes, shops, and restaurants, and is ideal for families who want a more relaxed base but is still within a few minutes ride on the U-bahn to the center.
How to get to
Vienna International Airport's located just outside of the city, 16 kilometers away, and receives flights from all over the world. Getting to the city center from the airport's a doddle thanks to good public transport links. The cheapest option is to take the Vienna S-Bahn line S7 to Wien-Mitte and from there the line U3 to Stephansplatz which is right in the heart of the city. You can also take the City Airport Train to Wien-Mitte, or the Vienna AirportLines Bus. Once you're in the city, the five U-bahn lines are the easiest way to get around with trains every 2 to 7 minutes which'll whisk you to all the most important sites.