Vienna has a magnificent reputation as one of the most civilized cities on Earth. In fact, academics use the distance from Vienna as a measure of how close a country is to European civilization. The further away they are, the worse are their institutions.
Vienna lives up to the hype. It’s a city that manages to seduce you, right from the get go. It’s an eclectic city. It’s got that New York pace in some parts and that European laid back style in others. With its rich history, there’s a never-ending list of things that visitors can do. There are art galleries and museums galore. Plus, the city is one of the most interesting, both musically and culturally. You can even use it as a base to go on a Danube river cruise.
Here’s a brief intro to Vienna, a city that never ceases to fascinate us.
Best Time To Visit Vienna
The good thing about the city itself is that there really isn’t a best or worst time to show up. Sure, the weather it warmer in the summer. But the city is still livable between December and March, thanks to the temperate central European climate. What’s more, the locals make a big fuss over making the city as cozy as possible in the winter. There are buzzing markets as well as cozy cafes, some with outdoor heaters.
Things improve a lot by the time we hit April. Once the spring is underway, the city’s parks and gardens suddenly spring back to life in extraordinary fashion. Later on in the season, around May time, the city’s cultural character really asserts itself. This is festival season as well as the time when the Viennese begin hosting their outdoor parties. The season peaks with the arrive of Donauinselfest. This is Europe’s biggest open air party, held in the city, and entry is free.
During the summer months of July and August, temperatures in the city can rocket. This makes it a great time to just chill out and enjoy some of what the city has to offer. At this time of year, most people wind down by hanging out on the Danube and the canal. It’s worth noting that many of the cultural attractions close down at this time of year. This includes the state-run opera house and theater.
By the time autumn arrives, the culture picks back up again. Milder days are a great opportunity for people to explore the surrounding countryside.
What To See In Vienna
Vienna plays host to some must-see attractions. These include the Museum of Fine Art, also known as the Kunsthistorisches Museum. It also includes the Belvedere, Leopold Museum, and the Albertina. The city also plays host to three very impressive palaces that should be on your must-visit list too. These include the Ringstrasse, now more than 150 years old, the Hofburg and the Schonbrunn.
The city is also home to some of the most impressive modern architecture anywhere in Europe. The University of Vienna, for instance, has a new economics wing. The architecture here is very impressive, especially when you consider what a dump universities can be. There’s also the futuristic Zaha Hadid Library. This is supposed to be a center of learning within the city. To really get a feel for the place, you have to go inside and take a look. It’s quite spectacular.
Vienna is also home to some very unique, sacred religious sites. St Peter’s church, for instance, is a favorite tourist stop off. Often the church hosts concerts and events. Many visitors to Vienna report being able to turn up on the day and enjoy the entertainment. The architecture of the church is very detailed, both on the inside and out. The style is Baroque, making the church stand out among many of the other gothic churches in the local area. If you’re lucky, you might be able to stumble across a Capella choir rehearsal. The acoustics, according to some visitors, are stunning. Plus if you go in the Christmas season, there are beautiful decorations to get you in the festive spirit.
Cultural Customs To Bear In Mind In Vienna
In Vienna, there are certain cultural customs, just like anywhere else in the world. You’ll often hear the world “Gruss Gott.” This is just a formal way of saying hello. You’ll also hear the more common “Guten tag/morgan.” As in other places in the world, it’s normal to reply in kind.
Vienna is also a place in love with its titles. If you meet somebody with a university degree, you’re expected to know this fact. If you’re in a cafe, you’ll often hear guests saying “herr ober” to the waiter. This just means Mr.waiter, and it’s a way of getting their attention.
For more info on what to do and see in Vienna, do not miss this Vienna video series!