Strolling around Austria’s biggest city, Vienna, dubbed the City of Music, is like simultaneously stepping back in time and stepping up in class. You can trace the footsteps of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, or Schubert.
The famed Vienna Boys Choir’s roots date as far back as 1498 . Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart worked with the choir and Franz Schubert was once a member.
Vienna technically sits in two different climate zones. It’s located right at the border of the moderate middle European transitional climate and the drier Pannonian zone.
Vienna’s Spanish Riding School has kept the renaissance tradition of Haute École equestrian alive for more than 450 years.
Over the course of a century, Vienna’s population has hovered between 2 million. In October 2014, there were approximately 1.8 million inhabitants.
The Vienna Giant Wheel, or Wiener Riesenrad, was built in 1897 to honor the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I.
The 521 square miles of the Vienna Woods, or Wienerwald, are home to 2,000 plant species and 150 bird species. At least two endangered species ,Ural owls and green lizards, have made the forest home.
Almost 3 million people a year visit the city’s most famous church, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or Stephansdom, built in the 12th century. Thirteen bells hang from the tallest tower, which stands 448 feet high and is accessible by climbing 343 steps. But it’s the Pummerin bell, in the 224-foot-tall tower, that happens to be the second largest free-swinging European chimed church bell.
Be the belle of the ball: Every year, more than 450 balls take place in the Austrian capital. Viennese Ball Season runs from New Year’s Eve to Shrove Tuesday .
The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert is one of the hottest tickets in town.
Coffee is about more than just caffeination for Austrians. It’s part of their heritage. Viennese coffee houses, which originated in the 17th century, were put on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Vienna has bragging rights as the only world capital that produces significant quantities of wine within its city limits. With 1730 acres of “wine-growing surface,” there are more than 320 vintners. Eighty-five percent of the wine produced is white wine grape varietals.
The 13-mile Danube Island was open in 1981 to reinforce Vienna’s flood protection system and has become a prime recreation center, with a 820-foot family beach, a (free!) 53,820-square-foot waterpark, and a climbing park where guests can ascend 33 feet into the air.
Austria’s largest palace, Schonbrunn, has been one of Vienna’s most visited sites since 2003. If splurging on a palatial stay isn’t up your alley, the gardens around Schonbrunn Palace are equally majestic.
There is something very special about Vienna, and not just as a place to live. It is a tourist destination, and offers are absolutely outstanding.
Vienna isn’t just about art and history. City which wears its culture lightly, a city with its own vineyards, and more to the point, where cafe society was invented. Nowhere has the art of relaxing over coffee or hot chocolate been elevated to such heights, or accompanied by such good cake and quite so much whipped cream.