Michael Wing, Hofburg Imperial Palace
Visit Old Town Vienna
Most of the things to see and do when you visit Old Town Vienna are close to each other. The Ringstrasse is a series of 9 boulevards that surround Old Town Vienna. The boulevards or rings used to be the old town walls, but the walls were torn down to make streets. In the center of Old Town Vienna is the Imperial Hofburg Palace. Once you reach the Old Town by subway or cab, it’s easy to walk among the attractions.
St Peter’s Church, Old Town Vienna
Visit Vienna – Hofburg Imperial Palace
The Hofburg Imperial Palace in the Old Town was once the winter palace of the Hapsburgs. The Hofburg Imperial Palace is now the President’s residence. The buildings are spread out and have various exterior styles. The Michael Wing is the most photographed section of the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Hofburg Palace includes the Imperial Silver Collection, the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments.
Also in the Imperial Palace complex is the Spanish Riding School with its famous Lipizzaner stallion performances. The Spanish Riding School was founded in 1752 with horses from Slovenia. On the other side of the plaza is St. Michael’s Church. Mozart’s “Requiem” was first performed at St Michael’s Church. Also on the plaza is the Demel Bakery and Cafe, which was formerly the imperial bakery.
Natural History Museum, © Can Stock / Spectral
Vienna Museum Quarter
The Vienna Museum Quarter is on the grounds of the Imperial Palace at Maria-Theresa-Square. There are 12 museums in the Vienna Museum Quarter including the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Vienna Museum of Modern Art, the Leopold Museum and the Academy of Fine Arts.
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the leading museums in the world. The Picture Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts has works by well known artists such as Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The Museum of Fine Arts also includes the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection and the Coin Collection.
At the nearby Neue Burg, exhibits include the Collection of Historical Musical Instruments, the Collection of Arms and Armour and the Ephesus Museum. The Museum of Ethnology on Heldenplatz and the Austrian Theatre Museum on Lobkowitz Square are also part of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Butterfly House © Can Stock / tupungato
Imperial Palace Area – Other Sights
The southeast edge of the Imperial Palace grounds includes the Butterfly House, the Albertina art museum and the Vienna State Opera. The Albertina has more than a million prints and drawings, including works by Munch, Chagall, Monet and Toulouse-Lautrec. After a visit to the Opera, try the famous sacher cake (sachertorte) at the Cafe Sacher across the street.
The northwest edge of the Imperial Palace grounds includes City Hall (Rathaus), the Austrian Parliament Buildings with the statue of Athena, the Votive Church with its twin spires and the Burgtheater Imperial Court Theater. The Burgtheater was built in 1748 and is well known for its performances in German.
St Stephen’s Cathedral, © Can Stock. / sborisov
St Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Old Town Vienna was rebuilt after a fire in 1258. The Cathedral was also heavily damaged during World War II. Climb 340 steps in order to enjoy views over the city from the tower. The catacombs underneath St Stephen’s Cathedral serve as the final resting place for a many of the Hapsburgs. Nearby is St Peter’s Church with its beautiful colored turquoise dome and turrets.
Burgtheater, © Can Stock / manfredxy
Viennese Coffee House
People in Vienna are famous for spending major amounts of time each day at a Viennese coffee house. Try Viennese coffee at a traditional coffeehouse. Viennese coffee has two shots of espresso and uses whipped cream and a bit of chocolate in place of cream and sugar.
Popular coffee houses include Cafe Demel, Cafe Sacher, Cafe Landtmann, Cafe Museum and Cafe Central in Palais Ferstel. Palais Ferstel was the social center of Vienna in the early 1900s and it includes Cafe Central, ballrooms and salon areas. Sigmund Freud used to stop in at Cafe Landtmann.
Belvedere Palace, © Can Stock / vladacanon
Visit Vienna – Belvedere Palace
Belvedere Palace was built in 1721 and includes the Upper Belvedere, the Lower Belvedere, the Palace Stables and Gardens. See Gustav Klimt’s painting “The Kiss” at the Belvedere Palace.
- DO&CO Hotel Vienna – Old Town luxury hotel across from St Stephen’s
- Hotel Sans Souci Wien – near the Museum Quarter
- ibis Wien Hauptbahnhof – by the train station