Take a Walk in Romantic Vienna…
We were doing a quick European tour before a week-long stay in Croatia: three days in Prague, three in Vienna, then a rapid 24-hours in Budapest. I hadn’t traveled this quickly since my college backpacking days. With so much on the agenda, I didn’t do any “homework” on Vienna. Thus, I had zero expectations. And then…WHAM!! We took a long walk in romantic Vienna & they city up & blew me away.
Why? What makes Vienna so special?
We stayed in a part of town that wasn’t too exciting (last-minute Kayak purchase). It had low buildings & closely-packed, rather boring streets. BUT, as soon as we put on our tennis shoes & took off running, heading down towards the theater district ~ we found ourselves standing on street corners, mouths open, literally in awe of this beautiful city.
Walking in Romantic Vienna….
“We were literally stopped in our tracks by the beauty of this city, mouths open, eyes turned up in awe. This is one of my favorite parts of travel: moments that leave you without words.”
Map of Vienna
There are 23 districts in Vienna, & over 1,000 miles of streets ~ so getting a handle on the city can be overwhelming! The most important area is District 1 (Inner Stadt): this is the heart of the city, where you’ll find most of its iconic buildings, such as Parliament, the Opera House, & famous cathedral Stephensplatz. And also the Hofburg, a gigantic former Habsburg palace that now houses several tourist attractions.
Most of the photos in this article were taken in District 1. There are many museums, parks, fashionable restaurants, & pedestrian-only streets here that could keep you busy for days. My advice when touring is to start in District 1, then work your way out from there.
Overview of Vienna
Vienna is a study in contrasts. It’s a city steeped in rich, regal history, with evidence of the Habsburg Empire all around. And yet, walking its streets still feels like you’re in an entirely modern city. Brimming with history….yet cutting edge. Elegant palaces…surrounded by contemporary art. Opulent coffee houses…alongside retro cafes filled with pop art. It’s this juxtaposition of the past & future that, I think, makes Vienna so exciting.
It’s this contradiction & juxtaposition of the refined, elegant past with the modernity of the future that makes Vienna so exciting.
Where Past Meets Future…
The “City of Music”
To call Vienna the “City of Music” is hardly a stretch. ALL the following composers lived or were born in Vienna: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss, & Johannes Brahms ~ among others. This is practically every great classical composer that ever existed!!
Almost every great, classical composer who ever lived ~ including Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Strauss, & Brahms ~ ALL either lived or were born in Vienna.
It’s astonishing to imagine all these composers living & working here during the mid-1700’s to early-1800’s. Haydn was the oldest, & when he moved back to Vienna at the age of 60, he mentored many of the younger composers ~ including Beethoven. He became known as “Papa Haydn,” & was much beloved by both the city of Vienna & his fellow composers.
Attend a Concert in Vienna!
Vienna is a place where you’ll want to enjoy classical music: the two were meant for each other. There are so many beautiful venues in Vienna ~ attending a concert in Vienna is a must! My friend & I attended the concert below….
Take a Walk in Romantic Vienna…
Vienna’s rich musical history, combined with its regal buildings, busty statues, & vine-draped wine taverns all lend to this vision of a “Romantic Vienna.” At any moment, you may turn the corner & hear strains of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, or look up to find a soaring cathedral, glowing in the moonlight.
Vienna is a city of romance. A city of poetry. A city filled with music. A city you may just fall in love with….,