To be completely honest, my first reason alone should be more than enough motivation to visit Vienna. To put it simply, it is absolutely stunning. But reasons two, three and four are pretty good too …
1. As I already rather emphatically stated, Vienna is a beautiful city. I would go so far as to say it is one of the most magnificent cities in Europe and it certainly makes it into the top three on my list of favourite cites. And I do not say that lightly. I have visited over twenty cites in Europe in the past year alone, so making it into my top three is a bit of an achievement. Yet another city nestled against the Danube River, Vienna is crammed with beauty from one end to the other. If you Googled spectacular buildings in Vienna, the list would be seemingly endless. Several palaces, countless museums, beautiful churches – and those are just the ones that you would find in any standard tourist guidebook. Adding to its charm, central Vienna is full of the small, meandering streets so common in the older capitals across Europe. Yet the city feels spacious and breathable, a significant accomplishment for a major European capital in June at the start of tourist season.
2. The Art. If you didn’t already know, Vienna is a big art city. I certainly was not prepared for the quality and scale of the art museums in Vienna. Housing everything from medieval to modern, these museums are absolute gems in the art world. If you are not much of an art fan, don’t worry keep reading. Vienna is home to some of the most famous pieces in the world – pieces that even people who are not art connoisseurs know, love, and enjoy. One of the crowning jewels of Vienna’s art scene is Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’. Even if you do not recognise the name, you might find you recognise the painting. It certainly does not disappoint. It is absolutely beautiful. I am a bit of a Klimt fan girl so I would probably fly back to Vienna just to view ‘The Kiss’ and his other works like ‘Judith and the Head of Holofernes’. And that’s not all. Vienna’s multiple art museums are peppered with masterpieces by Schiele, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Raphael to name a few.
3. Still not sold on Vienna? Well the people of Vienna have as much to offer as the city itself. They are wonderfully friendly! Certain nationalities tend to come with certain stereotypes, many of which are in fact not true. I hadn’t heard very much about the friendliness of Austrians so I had absolutely no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to meet some of the friendliest people I have met all year. I stayed in a lovely Airbnb just outside central Vienna and had the most welcoming of hosts. My last morning was spent chatting over coffee in my hostess’s garden, enjoying the freshly homemade cherry cakes she had made! If ever there was a way to instantly win me over, baking fresh, delicious sweet treats is it.
4. Finally, on top of all of its grandeur and charm, it is the cleanest city I have ever been in. Cleaner even than Singapore. This might not be an important factor to some but I am slightly OCD when it comes to cleanliness, so for me, it was the final major selling point of the city. All of the beautiful buildings were made even more beautiful by the fact that they were spotless, as if built yesterday instead of more or less than two hundred years ago. It turned the already magical city into a bona fide fairy tale. After all, you never see the black stains of pollution on Cinderella’s castle or rubbish on the streets of Belle’s French village. If ‘Far Far Away’ existed, it would look like Vienna.
Vienna remains one of my favourite cites since I first visited it over ten years ago. It is certainly not a cheap city to visit but the expense is well worth it. If I could afford to live out my days in some tiny apartment there I happily would. And if anyone else has some tips or places to visit for the next time I am there, let me know in the comments! I will definitely be going back first chance I get.
Top: Natural History Museum
Middle: Outdoor Cafe in Vienna
Photography by Savannah Hayes