Vienna, AT

Beautiful old buildings, a lot of history and classical music! Those are probably the things many people come up with first when thinking about Vienna. And I don’t disagree at all! It’s just that this is by far not what makes Vienna the great city it is. There are so many more attractions it has to offer! 

The Austrian capital is home of three world heritage sites:

The Palace and gardens of Schönbrunn, which used to be the summer residence for the Habsburger family and also includes the world’s oldest Zoo.

Then there is the Danube Limes „Vindobona“ which represents an ancient border of the Roman Empire.
And the historic centre of Vienna, which is the site with the biggest importance in Vienna’s modern life and is also main topic in this report.

But way more important than the sites, Vienna is also home to about 1.9 Mio people and the number is still rising.

Approximately by the year 2027, after around 120 years, the 2 Mio mark will be passed again. Wherever you look, but especially in the outer districts, you can see numerous construction sites of buildings being renovated or new ones being built. It’s very obvious that the city is growing, which means it needs to be adapted to current challenges as well as to future ones.

In the historic center, this is quite tricky, since on the one hand we want to preserve the historical buildings and areas in their original way, but we also need to modernize things in order to keep up with the times.

In the historic center, this is quite tricky, since on the one hand we want to preserve the historical buildings and areas in their original way, but we also need to modernize things in order to keep up with the times.

The UNESCO world heritage site is defined by the ca 4 km long ring road, along which one can find a collection of the most important buildings as well as the beautiful baroque Belvedere palace, that is located a bit off.

© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer

Back then it used to serve as some kind of summer home for the Habsburger in Vienna’s rural suburbs and from its location on a little hill, you have the iconic view onto the Belvedere’s garden towards the city center. 

The entire area is about the size of 371 hectares and everything can be reached easily by foot and explored in a day. But I’d recommend to take enough time to also discover the most surprising corners, get in touch with locals and enjoy traditional dishes.

© WienTourismus/Gregor Hofbauer
© WienTourismus/Gregor Hofbauer

The famous Viennese escalope for example or a Leberkäsesemmel (meatloaf sandwich) for busy situations. The Austrian kitchen is probably not the place to be for vegetarians or vegans, even though vegan Leberkäse already exists. But thanks to the many nationalities represented in the local community and the therefore high diversity in foods, the choice of a dish is probably the bigger problem anyways. Just as the coffee house culture, which was once brought to Vienna during the Ottoman sieges but nowadays is an integral part of local identity.

A cup of Wiener Melange in combination with either a slice of Sachertorte or an Apfelstrudel while reading the daily news sitting in a chair surrounded by the charming flair of one of the many traditional café’s – what better way of spending the afternoon could you imagine?

© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer

When strolling through the city, you definitely won’t get bored, alone by looking at the architecture, all the old buildings with their details and beautiful facades, but also modern constructions that go into some kind of symbiosis with each other, it almost feels like travelling through times. The area of the site reflects the architecture of three major periods, the middle ages, the Baroque period and the Gründerzeit (“the founders years”), which won’t let you forget the times of big history, but on the other hand, modern life isn’t forgotten either.

In the early mornings, crowds of people travel through or to the first district every day, to arrive to work. The big metro stations are a reminder to the actually big size of the city you might forget while only staying in the center.

The biggest connected complex of buildings in the area is the Hofburg, the Habsburger’s winter residence, which contains among many other premises the office of the federal president, the national library and the Albertina art museum. A perfect example to show, that there is a wide range of attractions in this area.

Right on the opposite side of the “Ring” (the ring road) there are more museums, the Natur- and the Kunsthistorische museum (museums of science history and art history) as well as the Museumsquartier, which is my personal favorite fusion of historic and modern architecture.

© WienTourismus/Julius Hirtzberger

No matter what taste, everyone will find the right piece of art to be astonished about in this place. It used to be a stall for horses in its beginning, but after many changes in use, today it contains various art galleries in all kinds of styles. From programs for children, over art university projects to live concerts and shows. Not only tourists like the place, but also residents of the city spend quality time there. And even though it has a variety of culinary offers, you can also choose to just sit down on one of the famous plastic furniture pieces called “Enzo’s”, and not spend any money at all.

In November and December, the MQ, as well as many other areas in the city host a Christmas market. Especially the one in front of the Rathaus (city hall) is visited by many tourists who enjoy traditional Glühwein (mulled wine) under the beautiful lights with romantic atmosphere.

© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

Maybe even in combination with music by Mozart, Haydn, Strauss, Beethoven or any other composer who once lived here. Their works can also be found the numerous concert halls and theaters, that open up their doors for visitors from all around the world during all seasons.

But it’s not single attractions that people love so much, it’s the great balance Vienna keeps in all the disciplines. An amazing part of 50% of Vienna’s city area is green space and bodies of water. Most of it lies in the outer districts where it’s used for farming and growing crops, but also the historical center contains big parks where you can enjoy the day. On a bench with a good book, meeting friends, having a picknick or play sports games. On sunny days the most different types of people in all ages come together at those places, joy on their faces visible. By public transportation or by bike, these beautiful spots can be reached very easily. And the good infrastructure is only one of the many criteria for the ranking of Mercer in which Vienna was placed first, in competition with over 500 other metropoles, the city kept its spot on top for highest quality of living ten years in a row.

But whether the result is calculated or just a pure estimation, whoever tells me the city is great, I agree.

I’m glad I can call Vienna my home!


• Vienna in Figures 2021:
• Management Plan UNESCO World Heritage Historic Centre of Vienna:
• Welterbe für junge Menschen Österreich: