The capital city of Austria, Vienna, is the largest city in the country. Better yet, the historic city centre is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Also known as the world’s music capital, many famous composers have lived in Vienna. Music is literally in Vienna’s air! The City of Music has been home to some of the world’s most famous people with names like Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, and Strauss.
Vienna is simply magical, and it deserves the title as the most liveable city in the world. Whatever anyone can say about Vienna, words do not give justice to this dazzling beauty.
1) Get a glimpse into the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Lots of legendary classical musicians have lived and composed in the imperial city, but if you were to pick one name, it is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s name that dominates the City of Music. One of the Mozart-related attractions in Vienna is the Mozarthaus Vienna, and it is also on the top of my bucket list in Vienna. The house is his only Vienna apartment that still exists, displaying the life and work of the musical prodigy with emphasis on his years in Vienna from 1781 to 1791.
Upon entering the building, I asked for a regular adult ticket at the ticket counter but was given a student ticket instead. Thankful for my youthful appearance!
Every visitor was given an audio device that guides you around the house. You can enter the numbers on the walls in each room to the device and listen to the recorded commentary, describing Mozart’s life in Mozarthaus Vienna. I have been a great fan of Mozart’s works, so coming here was a big deal for me. Definitely enjoyed this experience!
There are plenty of other things that I wish I could have done during my trip. Here are some of the things you should not miss while in Vienna.
2) Hofburg Imperial Palace
One of the world’s biggest castle complexes, Hofburg Imperial Palace is no stranger to many travellers around Europe. The Imperial Palace now houses several museums, the Spanish Riding School, the parliament house as well as the seat of the Austrian Federal President.
If I could spend some time there, I would have visited the Imperial Apartments within the complex. The apartments were named after a few prominent figures who used to stay there: Franz Joseph, Empress Elisabeth and Tsar Alexander I. Each room is different, but still possesses lavish decoration, exquisite Flemish art pieces and detailed tapestries — essentially what you need for an Insta-worthy shot.
3) Belvedere Palace
As an art lover, I was so sad to have missed this place. Divided into two sections, the palace is indeed a paradise for art aficionados. The Upper Belvedere displays a huge collection of Austrian paintings while the Lower Belvedere hosts temporary exhibitions on various art eras. If you are not really into art, the extravagant facade and the massive palace garden are still worth a visit.
4) Vienna State Opera
I have always wanted to explore the biggest repertory theatre in the world — Vienna State Opera, partly because Mozart’s opera is often performed there. From ballet performance to musical concerts, the opera is always swarmed with tourists and locals daily. For those who are tight on budget, the opera sells cheap standing tickets for around 4 Euros 1-2 hours before each performance. Some people said the opera could get rather warm, so come dressed in layers.
5) St. Charles Church
Also known as Karlskirche, St. Charles Church has a baroque architecture with all the intricate sculptures and carvings. The best highlight of the church is probably the Panoramic view, which you can access through an elevator inside the church. It will give you a closer look at the beautiful frescoes in the cupola. The church also organises concerts regularly, mainly on Mozart’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – something that I would be dying to go for if not for the time constraint!
Dining out in Vienna
The classy, metropolitan city of Vienna has equally exciting food scene. Local Viennese love to dine out in town, enjoying the diverse selection of food and drinks. Rest assured, you will not go hungry in Vienna. Here are two restaurants that I have enjoyed my meals in Vienna:
One of the best spots to get your seafood fix in Vienna. You might think that Vienna has no ocean, but don’t underestimate their seafood selection. I literally had a feast of fresh fish at Konoba.
Only a handful of restaurants in the city can come close to Konoba’s expertise in fish. Some popular catches on the menu are Zander and Seabream. There is a wide variety of fish display on the counter, but the fresh fillet of anglerfish caught my eyes. Anglerfish is a rather grotesque deep-sea fish. In contrast to its unsightly appearance, the anglerfish is actually a high-quality fish that is high in collagen — perfect for those who are conscious of their waistlines. Being a seafood lover, I really enjoyed the grilled anglerfish.
Another memorable dining experience I had in Vienna was at Buongustaio. This modest, yet popular Italian restaurant in Vienna will have you savouring down on a good selection of cold cuts and cheese. I have had two exquisite meals in Buongustaio, and I still remember it to this day. It was that good!
Just try the cold cut platter, and trust me, you will love every second of being in food haven. Choose from the options of cold cuts and cheese at the counter to create your own platter. For instance, you may like to pick some prosciutto, lardo, and salami to pair them with creamy fresh mozzarella or brie and even some sweet fruits like cherry. It’s all up to you!
I particularly love lardo. Often gets misunderstood by most English speakers because it sounds similar to “lard”, lardo is actually not lard. It is essentially pork back fat that has been carefully cured in marble vats. What I fancy about lardo is the richness and the creamy texture with a hint of sweet and savoury kick. Best enjoyed with a glass of local house pour wine!
Best Time To Visit Vienna
From April to May or September to October. The mild weather during Spring and Fall attracts smaller crowds. The most popular season is during summer, between June and August, as tourists prefer the warm and sunny weather. However, do expect that the city to fill up with tourists and room rates to skyrocket.
Where To Stay in Vienna
I would recommend the Hilton Vienna to stay when in Vienna. The hotel is within close walking distance to many points of interest such as Vienna State Opera, Albertina and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Metro and train station are also nearby. The newly renovated room was clean, sleek and comfortable. I definitely enjoyed my stay there and thought the price was very reasonable.