For most visitors coming to Vienna, the elegant and mannered capital of Austria, culture and history are the strongest draws, and you’ll get a closer look by dropping the transport and wandering through the streets on foot. Some of the architecture is beyond stunning. Make sure to see the Stephansdom Cathedral and Vienna’s Imperial Palace, the Hofburg. Take the 3-hour bike tour or ramble through the Museums Quartier complex of museums, cafes, restaurants and bars. Don’t forget the coffee and pastries!
Reawaken Your Senses: Festwochen
Wiener Festwochen, or the Vienna Festival, is a world-renowned, annual culture festival spanning 5 to 6 weeks every May and June. The festival is open-air and the opening celebrations are held in Vienna’s main square in front of the City Hall, making for an extremely atmospheric arena perfect for opera, classical music concerts and cutting edge theatre from all around the globe. An explosion of international and European culture, beautifully put together, the festival began in 1951 and continues to highlight Vienna’s long heritage as one of Europe’s greatest cultural centres. Festwochen is a sensory spectacular you shouldn’t miss.
Charmingly Crooked: Hundertwasserhaus
The Hundertwasserhaus is a bizarre-looking and charming apartment building designed by the painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser and built between 1983 and 1985 by the architect Josef Krawina. The colourful façade of bright blue, yellow and red looks slightly wobbly and wonky due to Hundertwasser’s desire to avoid straight lines and flat surfaces in his design, based on harmony with nature. The house also features undulating floors, roof gardens and trees growing inside its rooms with their branches sticking out the windows. Already one of Vienna’s most popular sights, the Hundertwasserhaus contains a total of 250 living trees and bushes.
Tropical Wonder: The Imperial Butterfly House
There are few things as beautiful as relaxing in a balmy climate, the air filled with colourful and exotic butterflies, which is what you’ll find at the Schmetterlinghaus: The Imperial Butterfly House. Situated in the Palm House, overlooking the gardens of the Imperial Palace, it’s worth coming for the architecture alone. Wander past trickling waterfalls and exotic, tropical flowers and be dazzled by the intense colours of the hundreds of species of butterflies that are kept here. The atmosphere is humid and a steady 27°C, which means it’s an excellent trip to make on a chilly day.