I Arrived in Vienna on the 25 august 2005 with the idea to see as much of the city as possible. My main target – Schonbrunn , the imperial residence of Empress Maria Theresia, Franz Joseph and the legendary Sissi. At the train station bought a 24h ticket ( there was an option for a 72h ticket ) for 5 euros and jumped on the U-bahn ( Metro) to the palace….
I am not sure you want to see so many tips from Schonbrunn here as I could put them on a separate page and write one tip with a link but I consider all the complex so wonderful ,that I dedicated to it my whole first page of tips.
Histoire de la ville
L’origine de Vienne remonte au VIème siècle av. J.C. quand les Celtes fondèrent une cité du nom Vindobona. En 15 av. J.C., les Romains en font le fort de la province de Pannonie pour lutter contre les Germains. Marc Aurèle y meurt en l’an 180.
Durant le Moyen-âge, Vienne devient la capitale d’un duché de la famille Babenberg, comtes puis ducs d’Autriche (don de l’empereur Otton Ier). Au XIIIème siècle, le roi Ottokar de Bohême tente de s’emparer du duché mais il est vaincu par les Habsbourg en 1278. C’est le début de leur règne qui durera près de sept siècles.
Lorsque les Habsbourg accèdent au statut d’empereur, Vienne devient la capitale du Saint Empire Romain Germanique. Durant cette période, la ville va connaître les honneurs ainsi que de terribles événements, notamment liés à la montée en puissance de l’empire ottoman.
En 1529, la ville est assiégée une première fois par les Turcs sous les ordres de Soliman le magnifique. 20 000 soldats et de nombreux résistants viennois repoussent l’envahisseur.
En 1683, Vienne est de nouveau assiégée par les Turcs. L’intervention de Charles V de Lorraine et des troupes polonaises de Jean III Sobieski renverse la grand vizir Kara Mustapha. Il sera décapité par le sultan Murad IV.
Entre temps, en 1679, la ville fut frappée par une épidémie de peste particulièrement virulente.
Le XVIIIème siècle s’avère intense d’un point de vue culturel jusqu’aux invasions Napoléoniennes de 1805 à 1808. De septembre 1814 à juin 1815 se déroule le congrès de Vienne qui définit une politique européenne suite aux guerres napoléoniennes. Vienne connaît à nouveau une période prospère connue sous le nom « époque Biedermeier ».
Le XIXème siècle s’affiche comme le siècle de la modernité de l’empire austro-hongrois. C’est l’époque des idées révolutionnaires, des artistes, des penseurs… Vienne devient la capitale européenne de la culture.
En 1918, c’est l’avènement de la République. Jusqu’en 1934, Vienne est surnommée Vienne la Rouge en raison de la prise de pouvoir des sociaux-démocrates.
En 1938, Hitler proclame du balcon de la Hofburg l’annexion de l’Autriche à l’Allemagne. C’est l’Anschluss. La communauté juive de Vienne est victime de terribles représailles.
Le 12 avril 1945, Vienne est libérée par les Russes. Il lui faudra des années avant de retrouver sa gloire passée. Aujourd’hui, Vienne compte de nouveau parmi les grandes capitales européennes.
As Schonbrunn consumed most of my day time – I went for a city center tour in the night.
http://www.wien.gv.at/wiengrafik/suche.htm > vienna interactive city map
http://www.your-friend.info/vienna/ pdf vienna map
http://www.your-friend.info/vienna/tour.html – download vienna’s audio guide
Things to Do
the Neptune fountain is situated right in front of you ,at the end if the flower carpets under the Gloriette. It seems to be operated by a computer that is in charge of the water jets – when I first saw it , it was working , the next moment – no water coming out of it. Go figure…..
It was conceived as part of the overall design of the gardens and park commissioned by Maria Theresa in the 1770s.
It reminds me alot of the massive castello in Milan ,even tho the Buildings of the Arsenal cover a much bigger Area. You have here an exhibition of Cannons , A museum , The military headquarters , in the back tanks and a military camp….I walked all around and it took me over half an hour. I even arrived at some sign that was saying “end of Vienna”
Directions: Located At the back of Sudbahnhof, there is no chance you miss such a massive structure.
The city hall is the first building that I remember seeing on a picture from Vienna. So no wonder it remained in my mind as the symbol of the city.
Built from Friedrich von Schmidt between 1872 and 1883. Originally the City hall was planed to be built elsewhere – on the parking place between the Weihburg and Johannesgasse. It’s present emplacement is due to the release in 1870 of the Parade square for construction.
During our business trip “summer 007” in october 2006, I was lucky to see the inside of this gorgeous building aswell .Our Gala dinner was there.
Open air galleries around the City hall – these are a masterpiece on their own. Galleries with beautiful ceiling paintings, marble floors and stone or marble columns at the sides. some of them are colorful ,some are obscure like a tunnel…all of them interesting in their way
The first time I saw her domes from the Rathaus platz , I thought – “Oh!the Elven forest and the glowing trees from “Lord of the Rings” movie!!!” Such a beauty she is – the Votiv Church…
The reason to build this church was the unsuccessful attempt to murder the young emperor Franz Joseph I in february 1853. Only a couple of days later , his brother – Erherzog Fredinand Max, ordered the construction of a monument church to express his gratitude. After the Arsenal, the monument was planned to be the second symbol of the restauration movement in the time after 1848, as an Army and a roman catholic church that will support the Throne.
The plans of the architect Heinrich Ferstel are showing a three ship gothic basilica with a two tower fassade. The decision of a gothic building was a reply to the Klaciscism that was characteristic for the architecture till 1848. Heinrich Ferstel won the competition to built the church over 75 other canditats , among which famous representants of the Neogothik as Vincenz Statz, Friedrich Schmidt and Georg Ungewitter
The grounding stone was put on the day of the marriage of the emperor in 1856
Directions: No way to miss it when you arrive at the Rathaus / City hall.Its towers can be seen well from there
As I first arrived at the cathedral square, there was a street artist showing his tricks to the hypnotized crowd. Called by viennese “Steffl”, the cathedral is for one or another reason , the most famous tourist site in Vienna
From the tower you can have a great view over the whole city – something I heard of too late…
Address: St.Stephens cathedral
This lovely Souvenir shop has everything you could imagine. Huge eggs with Gustav Klimt’s famous “kiss” , whole armies with shiny armors coming straight from the middle ages , King Arthur’s round table and his valliant knights, Statuettes of the fragile emperess Sissi, maps ,guides….
All those unpractical and beautiful objects that you would like to buy, and add to your collection.
Directions: Located in the Hofburg , to be more specific in the Neue Burg
Mariahilfer Strasse will take you from Westbahnhof to the Museumquartier and the Hofburg complex.
It is a well known shopping steet and you will find here all the latest fashion trends and boutiques.
Theme: Women’s Clothes
Walking around Maria-Hilfer-Strasse, my attention was drawn by this picture of a model with fur hat and blood running out of it. I first thought it was some kind of a new ad or billboard but when I looked on my left ,there was a stand.As I read ,I realised it was a campaign against the killing of animals for their fur. They had a tv showing the atrocious way the animals were kept and treated . It makes you want to cry….So ladies : No fur for me , the textile industry produces such great and much cheaper imitations. Don’t want to wear cadavers. how about you?
Starting from the Stephensdom ,the absolutely pedestrian Karntner Strasse is the shopping heart of the city. Filled with boutiques ,souvenir shops with wondeful displays and coffee houses when your legs get tired from the walking. It’s great to just take a walk , and hear around you people communicating in all the languages of the world.
Directions: When you find the Stephensdom you’re very close to Karntner strasse
Kartner strasse starts from the Stepherndom and takes you to the Opera. It’s a “pedestrians only” street where are located all the famous boutiques,Swarowski shop, the Malteser church.
You can just take a walk in the evening and go window-shopping as the shops are already closed / what I did / or use your ears and lisen to the music of spanish , italian , hebrew,arabic and all the languages people are using for communication around you. Ahh …wonderful!!! What a cosmopolitan feeling!!!
Somewhere in the middle there is a very famous bar at the top of a building , offering you a great panorama over the city. Just look for the glass elevator on your left side.
Look at your feet when you’re walking – the stars with the names of famous composers are laying there.
The Swarowski shops are always impressive to visit – so much wonderful objects, jewellry ,optics ,souvenirs ,shining and glowing all around you – it’s like entering a wonderland !!!
What to buy: Crystals crystals crystals – the most famous of the world, made with a revolutionnary , state of the art technology to work the crystal, giving the unimmitable Swarowski effect.
What to pay: depends on what you will be buying – some crystal souvenirs, jewellry, opricsfrom Swarowski ….anything from 12 euros to 2000 euros and more
Address: Kaerntnerstrasse 8
Directions: Located at the crossing of Kartner strasse – the Shopping street and Weihburggasse just two streets away from the Stephansdom
Phone: Phone: 01/5129032-33
And here it is – the main building of the Schonbrunn palace ,the residence of the Habsburg emperors with its sqare used for military parades, or to host the horse carriages of the aristocrats that were coming for the dance ball hosted by the emperess…
I decided as long as I was there to take the tour of the castle. You can choose between several options – a small tour a grand tour, guided or on your own, combined with some other sight entrances….took the unguided big tour – 40 rooms. Was expecting to see a guide, and I realised that the talkie walkes that everybody was having (except me) were the guide. Hmmm the castle…..too crowded, too dark, nothing special if you want my opinion. No life, no light, in the whole place…like a huge coffin…even the air was dead , passed away along with its glorious owners….If you want to see an exhibition of gold plated baroque furniture,huge wall tapistry and king’s bed, than you can go for it…otherwise, it is a waste of time.
open daily as it follows
1 april to 30 june and 1 sept to 31 oct – 8.30 am to 5 pm
1 juli to 31 august – 8.30am – 6 pm
1 nov to 31 march – 8.30am – 4.30pm
Address: Schloss Schönbrunn , 1130 Vienna
Directions: Station Schönbrunn of the U4 – the vienna subway
The construction of the palace begann in 1965 by the plans of Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. Maria Theresia with the help of Nicolaus Pacassi made in 1743 a reconstruction of the palace . Between 1817-1819 the facades were rebuilt by Johann Aman.
On the 19 feb 1945 only one bomb hit the palace, but on the 21 february 269 bombs severely damaged Schonbrunn, its gardens and the zoo.
The most severe damage during the bombings was registred in the middle palace building. A bomb hit the roof of the second floor and remained stuck in the ceiling of the big gallery with the paintings of Gregorio Gugliemis. She did not explode but demolished the easern ceiling painting representing the Allegoric of the Military power of Austria.Other bombs caused heavy damage in the garden area by the Main Gate, in the Eastern Cavallier quarters,Castle theater, the park, Gloriette, Desert house,Palm House and the zoo.
Straight after the end of the war began the rebuilding at first of the main building. In order to reconstruct the painting of the ceiling in the big gallery, were used diapositives dating before the war. The reconstruction works lasted two years and were finished in 1948.
I started my Vienna tour by spending about a day in Schonbrunn Palace. Not the castle itself,as I was slightly dissapointed of the baroque rooms ,overcrowded and too dark , but the gardens and the zoo.And probably the Desert house and the palm house ( I left those for the next time )…
Declared by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage site in 1996 , the palace and Gardens of Schonbrunn – UNESCO about Schonbrunn. For those of you that don’t speak German , “gesamtkunstwerk” in the text states for “Combined piece of Art” ,which is the castle and its amazing gardens.
Arriving there , the first thing you see are the tourist buses and the crowds heading the same way as you – to the gates of Schonbrunn.
You enter in the palace square through the carved gates with golden eagles perched on the white pilons on the sides. There you will see the horse carriages waiting to take you on a ride through the gardens and Vienna
Address: Schonbrunner Schlossstrasse 47
As The area covered by Schonbrunn is quite big ,you might need a map to clear up your view . I consider for myself maps as very useful devices and love to explore them whenever I get the chance.
So after you pass the gates, where is the “group and pre-booked tickets” ticket office , you will enter a square with two fountains and the Palace in front of you. If you are not interested in visiting the palace rooms ,you can go either to the children’s museum if you have your kids with you – Situated on your right . If kids are left home ,than head to the magnificent gardens – free,Privy garden – 2 euro admission fee here, Maze – 2,60 euro, Zoo – 6 euro, Palm house admission fee here aswell , Desert house – fee,Wagenburg – Carriage Museum Schonbrunn
Address: the summer-residence of the emperor
The Privy gardens are situated on your left , once you enter the Schonbrunn park , just outside of the ground floor furnished for Crown Prince Rudolf. The designs date from 1750 for the Meidling Kammer garten( as this garden was formerly known ), and were probably made by the Lotharingian horticultural architect Louis Gervais. Today the central section of the garden has been restored the way it used to look back in 1750 ,with an octagonal bassin and a three-part broderie parterre. In the center there are patterns og different coloured types of sand , specially manifactured using food dyes. The beds are surrounded by mimiature topiarized trees arranged in horseshoe shapes. The central pavillion that was demolished after the IIWW, has been reconstructed as a contemporary interpretation of the Baroque original by Embacher Planung and is used as a viewing platform.
I missed them too – Probably next time …
Open from 9 – 17 h , and in july and August 9 – 18h
Entrance fee – 2 euro / kids 6 – 15 years old – 0,90 cents
Directions: After you enter the Schonbrunn Gardens , straight at your left side
As i was going on my “Schonbrunn rooms Grand tour” at some point I passed by an inner yard where there were kids dressed as little princes and princesses. So after the end of the tour , I went to find out if they have adult costumes too – I always wanted to get a photo with one of these as My friend Evina Schmidova – A very talented friend and photographer makes Amazing worn out photos. Unfortunately ,the lady replied it’s a Children’s museum , but I consider it still a great idea to spoil your kids and bring home great photos as a souvenir.
The museum is dedicated to the everyday life of imperial children , the way they dressed ,the way there are taught to greet the emperor and the emperess.
Open on Saturday ,sunday and public holidays from 10am to 5 pm
And daily on July and August also 10am to 5pm
Last admission it at 4pm tho
From 1 april till 30 nov ,there is a children’s opera inn german every 1st sonday in the month at 2:30 pm
Tickets are as follows :
children from 3 to 15 years old – 4,50 euro
Adults – 6,50 euro
Family ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 children – 17 euro
One adult and up to three children – 10,50 euro
Address: the summer-residence of the emperor
Directions: The entrance for the museum is on the parde square ,on the right side of the main entrance
Phone: ( 01 ) 81113239
After you take the tour of the baroque rooms in Schonbrunn castle you end up in the souvenir shop with all kinds of articles from the glorious days of the legendary emperess of Austria – Sisi ,and the Habsburg family. Rather a tourist trap – I browsed through the whole shop without finding anything that catched my eye.
Address: the summer-residence of the emperor
The tour of the castle rooms is scheduled – like every quarter of an hour or so. While you wait to be let in ,you are kindly advised to take a walk in the magnificent gardens of the castle . The flower carpets , perfectly arranged are definitely worth a walk. Antique statues at the sides guard the entrances of the alleys….
The gardens of Schönbrunn are open free of charge from 6am till 8 pm – but you are politely asked to leave the park half an hour before closure.
Address: the summer-residence of the emperor
The Gloriette is situated in a hill above the fountain , facing the Schonbrunn gardens, and offers a magnificent view over the castle , its gardens and Vienna.
Fischer von Erlach designed it as the crowning touch of the castle ensemble, but it wasn’t until 1775 that it was constructed,when Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg remodelled the park and built the Gloriette.
Built in Early Classicistic style ,you will enter the glazed central section walking up the steps, where is the Gloriette cafe. The flat roof of the cafe has been used as a viewing platform since the beginning of the 19th century.There is an entrance fee of 1,99 euro for adults and 1 euro for children. I did not have the time to go up there ,as the Zoo consummed all of my time but I left it for the next time I return:)))
working hours : 9 – 18h
Directions: In the Schonbrunn gardens , facing the castle
This alley is at the right side , leading you to one of the entrances of the Zoo. You might notice the zoo pavillion – where the coffee house is located and all around are the wild cats and bears.
The alleys are an amazing sight on their own , with their trees cut to form green vertical foritfied walls at both sides.
Located at the right side of the fountain, The Schonbrunn zoo, the oldest zoo in the world , is incredible!!! It is built in a way that you don’t feel the barrier between you and the animals…most of the time they are just at a reach of a hand….or at least seem like…
The zoo has several entrances – one is at the end of a alley , after you enter the gardens on your right ,where you see the coffee pavillion ,another one is at the side of the fountain. Between the two lay the colorful carpet gardens of the castle.
Address: Schonbrunn palace – zoo garden
Directions: Right of the Fountain you will find one of the entrances
I was mingling from the pink flamingoes through the pecari and some indian cow ,when all of a sudden I saw this black panther walking in my direction some 3-4 meters away from me. The time I realise we are separated by a window , my heart made a jumpturn….
The other felins are kept in cages , some walking back and forth like the tiger , other lazily resting like the gracious cheetah.
A living koala was something I wanted to see all my life. And the main reason I got into the Schönbrunn zoo. Is there anything sweeter than the sight of a sleeping koala? maybe a moving koala ;))))
Needless to say , I enjoyed the whole zoo, it went far beyond my expectations!!!
The panda couple was sitting side by side in the living room , watching a football game or a soap opera…hahahahha…than one of them decided to take a walk.
Koalas have been my all time favorite animals, but I adore aswell horses , pythons , cats – all animals are fascinating actually !!!
Address: the summer-residence of the emperor
2000 – After two and a half years of construction, the newly equipped aquaria-terraria house and the newly constructed crocodile pavillion were opened. For the first time you can observe the crocodiles under water .Here you will find the largest living coral reef in Austria in an aquarium with a volume of 80,000 liters, a glass tunnel under water where you can see the “amazon habitat”. And one of the largest breeding spaces in the world of the highly endangered corned iguana ( a real miniature dinosaur )
On this place from 1752 until the end of the monarchy in 1918 was located the chicken yard equipped with an artificial stream and bordering the alley of the administrative building.
In the aqarium house you will see tropical reefs in huge salt water aquariums with fish in all the colors of the rainbow, as you pass through a tunnel where other big fishesss swim above your head and at your sides…
on one of the photos you can see this fascinating butterfly fish and a black ball of needles, spying on everything with its orange eyes – spooky thing!!!
In the tropical forest house constructed over an area of 1000 square meters,the moisture in the air is over 80% which makes it weird to breathe . The rainforests of Kalimantan Island (Borneo) are used as an example for this ecosystem.You will be walking throgh dense forest vegetation on a wooden bridge over water ,where big gray fish swim, and small water streams runing at the sides as colorful birds with unknown names sing from the branches.
On the second floor that you access with an elevator, Huge gargoyles called flying dogs (like the one on the pic) originating from India are hanging from the glass ceiling just over your head, trembling like leaves blown from a soft wind Bringing you to the thought – could they just come to life and fly to suck your blood?( they are probably feeding on fruits..hahahaha).I was right – checking the official zoo page – Egyptian Fruit Bat :)))
Long forgotten mysterious asian temple gates emerge from the vegetation.
An underground blue cave with flying bats.Pythons in a terrarium. Banana tree with fruits . Giant parasite red flower.
I actually took the tour twice as you miss something either going on the top floor for the bats and midssing the cave at the bottom ,or vice versa.
Address: Schönbrunn zoo – the tropical house
It is a great idea to have your kids touch the mini goats and some other animals. They sure will love it. It would be a even better thing if you bring a carrot or some veggie to feed them – even tho In am not sure it is allowed ,but it’s what the animals are looking for when they come to sniff around you.
There were some birds as far as remember that could be pet.
Ooops bad Idea – feeding the animals is forbidden , aswell as irritating them , riding them …see second pic for the behaviour rules.
The Palace of justice was the first building of the Ringstrasse / Ringstreet that I saw upon arrival in Downtown Vienna. Ringstrasse is the name that combines several streets , forming a circle that includes most of the Palaces , churches and things to see in cental Vienna.
As I spent my whole day in Schonbrunn, I first experienced the beauty of Vienna center at dusk, while the sky was indigo blue and the buildings had their facades beautifully lit , to reveal their breathtaking architecture.
Address: Schmerlinplatz 11
Directions: located at the right of the Parliament building
The University can be found when you walk from the City hall on Dr.K.Renner – Dr. K Lueger Ring street to the left – towards the Votiv Church.I have not found much info about the University at Ringstrasse ,except that it was built between 1873 and 1883 after the plans of Heinrich Ferstel . its Facade reminds me of the National Theater in Sofia/Bulgaria.
Directions: accross the Votiv church
Arriving at Michaelerplatz you will discover this marvelous entrance to the Hofburg complex passing under the Michaelerkuppel dome. Recently discovered ancient roman ruins in front of the entrance make an amazing contrast in architectural styles with the magnificent baroque palace.
Phone: 533 75 70
The Stifts church was built at the south side of the Stifts barracks to serve as Military hospital belonging to the Holy Cross. Built in 1739 probably by the plans of Joseph Emanuel Fischer v. Erlach.Being rebuilt afterwards.
Directions: Located at the corner of Mariahilfer Street and Stiftgasse, just one block away from Museumsquartier.
Their green domes can be seen from the Palace of justice – you just need to cross the city garden to get there.
The Museum of fine arts and the Museum of national history stand face to face are separated by the Maria-Theresia square with the statue of the emperess in the middle guarded by her horse mounted guards from all four corners.
Address: various museums
Vienna has two major train stations that service different locations depending where you want to go:The West Train Station called Westbahnhof and the South Train Station aka Sudbahnhof. They are to be found on both sides of the town center and are easely acessed by metro or by foot.
The Wester Train Station was destroyed during World War II in 1945 after almost 9 years of existence. It was rebuilt and fully electrified al the way to Vienna under the mandate of Republic Minister Dipl.Ing. Karl Waldbrunner between 1950 and 1953 by workers and technicians from the railway .
Shuttle service to the Vienna airport from the center of the city.
In 16 minutes the City Airport Train takes you from the Air terminal into the heart of Vienna to the airport.
Trains runs 7 days a week , 365 days a year.
Located by the Hilton hotel and the city park
one way ticket – 9 euro
both ways – 16 euros
Phone: +43 1 25 250
It’s the first time I used austrian airlies to fly and I would reccomend them as the best ones. Both flights were extremely smooth , service was impeccable , everything on schedule . At the same time the flight of Bulgarian Air to Sofia was delayed because of fog on the Sofia airport. Not the one I was on with Austrian Airlines. On the same day we landed , the airport was closed just before and short after . Excellent!!!!
One way ticket for all kinds of transport costs 2 euros. It’s a better option to buy a 5 euro 24h Vienna card for all the transport vehicules or a 72h vienna card for 12 euros.
The Vienna card is valid for trams,busses and subway 24h a day.
To use this service you need a city bike card ,that you can get at your hotel
You are charged 1 euro for every use of the city bikes and as following:
the first hour is free,the second hour – 1 euro,third hour 2 euros per hour,4th till 120 hour – 4 euros per hour. To end up the renting period ,you need to return the city bike to any of the city bike stations indicated on the map of Vienna city bike.
By loss of the bike you will be charged 600 euros.
The sign – Attention Pickpockets I’ve found at the entrance of Schonbrunn palace , but it is probably valid for Vienna in General (as in every big city – keep a close eye on your stuff)
In the Ubahn in the evening you can see some spooky characters.That’s why they’ve put recently webcams and huge rooms with equipment and monitors in the main stations.
Better safe than sorry….
Vienna in November/December is a bad idea.Especially if you want to visit the gardens of Schonbrunn. They are a sad sight in winter – statues are wrapped to be protected from cold weather , flowers carpets are gone ,crows and wind haunt the place, the naked branches of the trees and bushes scratch you as you pass…
TOB BE AVOIDED IF POSSIBLE
located by Museumquartier in the center ,”Centimeter” is a great pub ,that reminds me of most of the pubs I’m used to from the Alps . They even play those apres-ski hits that I know. Food is good aswell – if you want to have a beer it’s the place to go.
Looking at the website ,I discovered that this is a chain of pubs through Vienna and I bet every other is as good as the one I visited. Recommended!!!
Address: Stiftgasse 4/Ecke Siebensterngasse 1070 Wien
Theme: Eating and Drinking
most of the Rock and Metal bands passing through Vienna perform here.
Address: Adalbert-Stifter Street ,20
Theme: Live Music
Fernwärme – an energy recycling plant designed by Hundertwasser
Train Station Spittelau – Modern Architecture.
On the way to Vienna, all around the city you will see them , Wind electricity generators ,spread in the fields….hundreds of them…Holland has its windmills , Vienna – her wind generators…..