Vienna … Perhaps for the first sightseeing trip you make in Vienna it would be best to take a standard tour around the city. The buses are excellent and modern. Just ask your hotel porter for tickets. This would make it possible for you to plan from there on what you want to see most. Because there is so much of interest to see in Vienna, it is impossible to cover it all unless you plan to stay for some time. Vienna is divided into 23 districts. The inner town, the first district, is the most important. It is surrounded by the Ringstrasse. Each section of the Ringstrasse has a different name. The one in the very center of the city is the Opern Ring, the others are the Schotten, the Karl Lueger, the Dr. Karl Renner, the Burg, the Kaerntner, the Schubert, the Park, and the Stuben Ring. These take in two-thirds of the Old Vienna. The other third is bounded by the Franz Joseph Kai along the Danube Canal. The Opera House, a magnificent structure, is located where the Kaerntnerstrasse, the main shopping district, meets the Opern Ring. It was rebuilt after extensive war damages and reopened in November 1955. The building was designed by the famous Austrian architect van der Null, who after realizing that he had designed the Opera House at street level (the only one in the world at that time not raised above street level) committed suicide.
Tickets for the symphonies and operas can be ordered through your hotel porter.
From the Opera House take a walk to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which was built in 1147 A.D. and partially remodeled from then to 1433, and also suffered much damage from bombs. However, the Gothic spire (448 feet) escaped damage. The Cathedral contains many beautiful pulpits, choirs, choir galleries, and a great organ. The catacombs connect with subterranean passageways which extend under the entire area around the Stefanplatz. Next on your list should be a visit to the Palace. The Hof burg Palace, whose oldest part was built in 1275 A.D. by Ottocar II, was the winter palace of the Habsburg emperors. It is now open to visitors who want to see the wonderful Habsburg collection. The renowned wrought-iron Michaeler Tor opens into the Michaeler rotunda. Off this are the imperial apartments and state suites, the private apartments of Franz Joseph, containing the personal furnishings of the Emperor, the suites of Empress Elizabeth, the gorgeous state apartments now used by the President of Austria and the rooms containing the imperial porcelain collection. Adjacent is the world famous Spanish Riding Academy which was founded in the 16th century. In the beautiful hall the famous Lipizzaner horses are put through the Spanish paces at regular performances. A main entrance leads from the rotunda to the central courtyard of In der Burg. Here too you should visit the Schweizerhof, from where you enter the unique collection of the crown jewels. You should also see the imperial chapel.
Another must is a visit to the National Library, one of the largest in the world. This contains a collection of papyri comprising 81,000 items, 1,200,000 printed books and a fabulous collection of manuscripts. The oldest known part of an illustrated Christian Bible is here too, as well as many other interesting early books and manuscripts. There is a music collection containing 19,000 volumes of printed music and 12,000 music manuscripts, a huge library and a collection of autographs. Other places of interest to the tourist in Vienna are the._Kapuziner church in whose crypt lie 144 Habsburgs (12 were emperors and 15 empresses), the House of Parliament and the University of Vienna. Nearby are the Minoriten Church, the Chancellery and the Votive Church.
In the 2nd Bezirk the Viennese Coney Island “Der Prater” is located with its well-known giant Ferris wheel. The immense imperial summer palace and beautiful gardens of Schoenbrunn in the western outskirts of the city are an absolute must. Don’t fail to walk through the interior of this palace. If you want to look down on Vienna from the crests of the Vienna Woods include the Kahlenberg and Cobenzl in your sightseeing. From Vienna there is good train service to the other fascinating tourist spots described below. Innsbruck can be reached in about 10% hours on a route that takes you to Linz, Salzburg, Kitzbilhel. Styria in the south is reached in about 4 hours.