Must-See Places In The Impressive Vienna
KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM – Egyptian sarcophagi, Flemish Baroque canvases, bejewelled goblets – there’s enough art in this sumptuous gallery to last a lifetime. Paintings to prioritise include Raphael’s Madonna of the Meadow, Bruegel’s Tower of Babel and Vermeer’s Art of Painting.
ALBERTINA – Housed in a former imperial residence from 1744, the Albertina serves as a repository for almost a million prints, drawings and other works of graphic art (only a small fraction of which is on show), and has more recently broadened to include French Impressionist and Russian avant garde paintings, Giacometti sculptures and photography displays.
MUMOK – Inside the Museums Quartier complex, MUMOK houses Vienna’s finest collection of 20th-century art inside a dark basalt block. Besides artists of international renown such as Picasso, Magritte and Paul Klee, rotating exhibits cover home-grown art moments, including the shocking Viennese Actionism of the 1960s.
STEPHANS DOM – St Stephen’s Cathedral is Vienna’s Gothic masterpiece, with a roof tiled in a dazzling chevron pattern, and a riot of decorative stonework within. It’s free to enter the side aisle for a quick look inside; other parts of the cathedral, such as the towers, treasury and catacombs, have separate fees of around US$5 each, or US$18 for a combined ticket.
SCHLOSS SCHONBRUNN – The pomp and ceremony of the Habsburg Empire is revealed in all its gilded glory in this palace three miles west of the city centre. The grandest part of the 18th-century apartments is the frescoed Great Gallery. Grand Tour tickets allow entry to the east wing, including the sublime Blue Chinese Salon, with its fine floral wall paintings on rice paper.
SECESSION HALL – Vienna in the 1890s was a centre of Art Nouveau (called Jugendstil in German).The Vienna Secession was the leading movement and its exhibition hall, topped by a dome of golden laurel leaves, is typical of the time, it’s still used for changing displays, but the star exhibit inside is Gustav Klimt’s bewitching Beethoven Frieze from 1902. The exit of nearby Karlsplatz subway station is another fine example of Jugendstil design.
SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL – An unequalled equestrian show is put on in this wing of the Hofburg Palace, with white Lipizzaner stallions performing balletic moves to classical music. The big performances sell out months ahead, but tickets to watch the morning training are easier to come by.
KONZERTHAUSO – The Konzerthaus is a major venue in classical music circles, but its programme also finds room for world music, rock and jazz. Up to three simultaneous performances can be staged in these hallowed halls – in the Grosser Saal, the Mozart Saal and the Schubert Saal. Concerts and other events take place almost daily, except from early July to mid September.
VIENNA BOYS’ CHOIR – Founded in 1498, the Vienna Boys’ Choir is the most famous of its type in the world. Performance venues vary, as does the style of music, though the choral harmony is always beautiful. The most regular events are the Sunday morning masses in the Hofburg Palace.