Europe has more than its fair share of elegant cities, but Vienna really does shine among them. Sat on the banks of the River Danube, Austria‘s capital is renowned for its beautiful baroque architecture and sprawling palaces as well as its incredible musical heritage which has earned it the moniker, the City of Music.

Vienna owes much of its grandeur to its time as the capital of the powerful Habsburg Empire, during which it became a centre for arts, science and music. Everywhere you look you’ll see magnificent buildings, from Hofburg Palace which served as the imperial winter residence, to the awe-inspiring Schönbrunn Palace where the Habsburg rulers would spend the summer.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its iconic tiled roof and soaring towers stands proud in the centre of the city, while the Ringstrasse that runs around the historic centre is lined with beautiful buildings such as the City Hall, Vienna State Opera and the Palace of Justice. It’s also where you’ll find a handful of the city’s museums and galleries including the Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum, and Kunsthistorisches Museum. Just beyond the ring road is the Belvedere Palace and Belvedere museum, home to works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.

Vienna isn’t just a beautiful city to look at, and there is plenty going on beneath the surface. Its theatres and concert halls are alive with opera, ballet, classic and contemporary music while those with an interest in equestrianism will want to visit the Spanish Riding School where beautiful Lipizzan horses perform classical dressage.

Duck into one of the city’s many coffee shops in between sightseeing for a mélange and a slice of sachertore, or hole up in a cosy wine tavern at the end of the day. Its residents certainly think it’s a wonderful place, with the city topping the annual Mercer Quality of Life Survey for the ninth consecutive year, and few who visit Vienna leave without feeling the same.

What to do

  • Marvel at the city's incredible architecture - the Hofburg and Schönbrunn palaces are sure to take your breath away
  • Watch the beautiful Lipizzan horses perform at the Spanish Riding School
  • Explore the magnificent museums and galleries
  • Indulge in coffee and cake in one of Vienna's charming coffee shops