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Vienna - city of music

Updated on February 18, 2014
Schonbrun Palace
Schonbrun Palace

Mozart's House

Mozart's House
Mozart's House

10 must-see attractions in Vienna

A week in Vienna is an experience to savour - wonderful music, architecture, rich history, great food . . . enjoy!

1. Walk around the old city.

1. Walk around the old city. Accommodation in the old city is quite expensive but there are many apartments which can be booked so long as you get in early. Buy some fresh fruit, wine and cheese for meals and snacks before concerts and operas.

St Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) has a 10.15am Sunday service and another immediately following at about 11.30. It's worth hearing the organ and the choir. The congregation does not take part except for a hymn towards the end.

Vienna - City of Dreams

2. Schönbrunn Palace

2. Schönbrunn Palace. Take the underground to Schonbrunn station. From here it's a manageable walk to the Palace. The buildings are extensive and the main palace very impressive - large but balanced and grand yet graceful. The palace has a very good restaurant. We ordered a meal to share and it was still large for both of us. The range of tortes is fabulous - petit fours are offered so you can taste a few.

Gardens: Walk up the wide central path towards the huge fountain with its famous statue of Hercules and his horses set above the fountain, and on to the Gloriette - a stone folly built as a viewing platform to look back at the palace and grounds.

Palace: Audio guides are free and take visitors through the private apartments of Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth. The palace was originally a hunting lodge but was later developed into the summer palace for the whole court which brought all 1500 staff for six months of the year.

Video tour of Schonbrunn Palace

Composers' graves

3. For music lovers . . .the graveyards . . . Friedhof St Marx and Zentral Friedhof where many composers are buried: Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss and many others.

Classical composers of Vienna

4. An opera at the Volksoper

4. An opera at the Volksoper - we went by tram to Währingerstraβe 78 and saw Die Fledermaus - a comedy opera very well performed and very funny despite not knowing German.

Spanish Riding School

Spanish Riding School
Spanish Riding School

5. Spanish Riding School

5. Spanische Hofreitschule - Spanish Riding School at Michaelerplatz 1.

The horses are given daily exercises but they don't do formation dancing during these exercises. The building is part of the Hofburg (palace) and is stone with two balconies tiered around the sides for audiences to see the displays. The entry to the riding school building and the entry is opposite the entry to the palace apartments of the emperor. The riding school is ornate with large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A royal box is at one end.

The young horses are exercised on a sawdust floor by five riders, five horses at a time, each for half an hour, to jolly Viennese waltzes and marching music. The horses are first walked around the vast exercise and display hall and then figure-of-eight patterns and training for walking askew and 'dancing'. There is no formation work, only individual training for each horse.

Spanish Riding School of Vienna

Habsburg Palace

Habsburg Palace
Habsburg Palace

6. Habsburg Palace and 'Sisi' museum

6. Habsburg Palace and 'Sisi' museum. A spectacular palace with fine collections of gold and silverware, antique crockery etc. The Sisi museum is a museum of the life of Empress Elizabeth who died when a madman shot her.

Habsburg Palace

7. Musikverein

7. Musikverein - Concert hall of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The hall has some seating available on the stage behind the orchestra. For musicians this is a great place to see the conductor and performers at work.

8. Two Beethoven houses

8. Two Beethoven houses - the first Beethovenhaus (Molkerbastei) where Beethoven lived. A plaque on the front wall marks the spot but the building is now doctors' rooms.

Beethovenhaus (Schwarzspanierstraβe) has preserved the rooms where he lived as a museum although there are not many exhibits and the information is almost exclusively in German. There is a music desk with headphones for visitors to hear the music he composed at this house eg Symphony no 5.

Beethoven's houses in Vienna - Eroica

9. Mozarthaus (Domgasse) Concilium Musicum Wien

9. Mozarthaus (Domgasse) Concilium Musicum Wien

Vienna State Theatre

Vienna State Theatre
Vienna State Theatre

10. Vienna State Opera - take your pick!

10. Vienna State Opera - take your pick!

State Opera House in Vienna


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