An aerial view of Vienna's historic centre
local perspective

7 reasons why you should visit Vienna

Planning a trip to Vienna? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Hotel Domizil

Walking tour: Vienna city centre

Experience: Classical concert at St Peter's Church

Food tour: Sweet and savoury food scene

Day trip: Wachau Valley wine tour

At first glance, Vienna might seem steeped in its imperial past, echoing tales of grandeur with every cobblestone. But there's so much more to Austria's capital than meets the eye. Beyond its iconic landmarks, Vienna pulses with a vibrant energy, seamlessly blending the old with the new.

Wander through its bustling streets, and you'll find contemporary art galleries tucked next to historic theaters, and trendy cafes sharing corners with age-old taverns. The city's parks come alive with both locals and tourists and it's easy to find a secluded spot to enjoy a moment of tranquility.

Vienna's food scene is a testament to its evolving identity, where traditional Austrian dishes are reimagined with a modern twist. And let's not forget the coffeehouses, the beating heart of the city's beating heart, where people still gather for a coffee and conversation.

So, if you are thinking of visiting this beautiful, old city, here are just a few reasons why you should include it on your Central Europe itinerary.

Bright flowers in front of Palm House in Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, Vienna

1. Vienna has stunning gardens

As you wander through Vienna, you'll quickly realise how special its green spaces are. The gardens here aren't just patches of green; they're beautifully crafted landscapes that invite you to step back in time while enjoying a bit of nature in the city.

At the Schönbrunn Palace Garden, you'll find more than just manicured lawns. This vast expanse, once the summer playground of Habsburg monarchs, is dotted with fountains, statues, and the iconic Gloriette pavilion. And while you're there, don't miss the opportunity to explore the Schönbrunn Palace itself, a museum that offers a deep dive into Austria's imperial past.

The Belvedere Palace Garden is also well worth visiting. As you stroll through its tiered gardens and past reflecting pools, you'll be captivated by the artistry of baroque landscaping. And the best part? The Belvedere Palace, nestled within the garden, houses an impressive collection of artwork..

If you love flowers, make your way to the University of Vienna Botanical Garden. With over 9,000 plant species, it's a paradise for plant lovers and a serene escape from the city's bustle. Otherwise, wander through Volksgarten in the centre of the city. Amidst the rose bushes and statues, you'll find the Theseus Temple, a replica of the ancient Greek original.

You can also relax by the ponds in Stadtpark - keep an eye out for the iconic Johann Strauss statue as you walk through. This park is not just a green space; it's a cultural hub, often hosting open-air concerts and events.

A tram outside the opera house in Vienna

2. Public transportation in Vienna is efficient and frequent

Vienna is probably one of the few cities in the world where you are better off without a car. Honestly, the public transportation works so well that you’re able to get from one end of the city to the other within half an hour.

With its extensive network of trams, buses, and the U-Bahn (underground metro), getting around is both efficient and convenient. Public transport is punctual, clean, and well-maintained, the schedules are aligned, and you usually have to wait just a couple of minutes until the next vehicle comes.

People walking down the street in central Vienna

3. Vienna is a very diverse city

Over 30% of Viennese residents are not actually Austrian and this is part of what makes it such an interesting place. Located in Central Europe and having a great standard of living, Austria attracts many foreigners who choose this country as their home, may it be temporarily or permanently.

A lot of people also come here to study in one of the many good universities, or just stay for a semester or two as part of an exchange program. When you’re walking around Vienna, you’ll often people speaking languages other than German.

You can see the influence of other cultures in Veinna's food scene, which encompasses global foods as well as more traditional Austrian dishes. From lively multicultural festivals to neighbourhoods enriched by immigrant communities, Vienna's diversity is evident in every facet of city life.

A ball in Vienna

4. You go to a ball in Vienna

More than 300 balls take place in Vienna annually. If you're visiting during ball season between - January and March - attending one should definitely be on your Vienna itinerary.

The ball season is not just a series of events; it's a celebration of Viennese heritage. Each ball has its own theme and character, ranging from the opulent Opera Ball to the fun and lively Coffeehouse Owners' Ball. The city's grand venues, like the Hofburg Palace and the Vienna City Hall, are adorned with chandeliers, flowers, and drapes, setting the scene for a night of enchantment.

Going to one of these balls is like stepping into a fairy tale. The experience is heightened by the live orchestras playing classical waltzes, the debutantes' procession, and the opening ceremonies, which often include performances by renowned artists.

Attending a ball is one of the things I recommend to people the most when visiting Vienna, as it’s an experience for a lifetime. All you need is a ticket (it costs around €100 for adults and €30 for students) and formal attire - a suit and bowtie for the gentlemen and a long evening dress for the ladies.

Skyline of Vienna and the Danube from above

5. Vienna is the most liveable city in the world

Vienna has been named the city with the best quality of living for over ten years in a row! Each year, the international consulting company Mercer carries out a study to compare the quality of life in 231 cities around the world.

The study takes into consideration numerous factors like environmental conditions, medical care, education and infrastructure conditions such as the well-developed public transportation network, power and water supply.

It comes as no surprise that so many people choose Vienna as their home. It is not only amazing to visit - it’s even better to live here.

Donauinsel water playground for children on the Danube island in Vienna, Austria.

6. You can enjoy relaxing along the Danube

The Danube is more than just a river in Vienna; it's the city's playground. Cutting through Vienna, it splits the city into two, creating a special "island" in the middle. This spot is great for relaxed walks, sunbathing, and even swimming in some areas. If you're up for some fun, you can rent a paddle boat and explore the river.

The Danube also has a network of well-maintained cycling and jogging paths, great if you're looking for a bit of exercise or a place for the kids to play. And, if you like watersports, there are areas designated for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Along the riverbanks, you'll also find cozy cafes and eateries, where you can try local dishes with the river as your backdrop.

One big highlight is the Donauinselfest on Danube Island. It's the world's biggest open-air music festival and happens every year. Millions come to enjoy it, and the best part? It's one of the many free events in Vienna.

A classical music concert in Vienna

7. Vienna is a city of music

Music is the lifeblood of Vienna. Often dubbed the "City of Music," Vienna has been home to many of the world's greatest composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. As you stroll through its streets, you can almost hear the echoes of their masterpieces.

The city is home to several musical venues, from the grandeur of the Vienna State Opera to the historic Musikverein and the modern Konzerthaus. Whether you're a classical music aficionado or just a casual listener, attending a live performance in one of these iconic venues is a must.

Moreover, Vienna's musical legacy is celebrated year-round with numerous festivals, concerts, and events. If you enjoy music, be sure to book tickets to a concert while you're visiting.

The city's music schools also offer short courses, so if you're inspired, why not take a lesson or two? Dive deep into Vienna's musical world, and let its rhythms and melodies captivate your soul.

Planning a trip to Vienna? Stay at Hotel Domizil in the heart of the old town.

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Lyubomira Doncheva

Author - Lyubomira Doncheva

Lyubomira is a travel blogger from Bulgaria who has spent 5 years studying and living in Vienna, Austria. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Vienna, and has recently completed her Master's in Tourism in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Last Updated 28 August 2023

View of the Alps near Halstatt, Austria.

Austria

Situated in the heart of Europe, Austria has a rich history, long culture and truly spectacular scenery. From Vienna's Baroque architecture to rolling countryside and the majestic alps, there are many different sides of Austria to explore.