For those who love to travel, no tour of Europe would be complete without a visit to historical Vienna, the capital of Austria. Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled by the Habsburg dynasty, the country of Austria has traditionally has had close links with the Baltic states until the end of the second world war, and the raising of the iron curtain. Modern Vienna is a vibrant capital, and the cultural background is well represented in this large city.
Things to see
To travel to Vienna and not see the Hofburg, the seat of the imperial Habsburg dynasty, would be an unfortunate omission. It is guarded by a vast statue of Hercules, and it is truly an architectural masterpiece on an impressive scale. The Gothic masterpieces of Stephansdom and the Rathaus should also please fans of architecture. The Burggarten is where the Viennese sun themselves during fine weather, and this is the home of a beautiful and famous statue of the composer Mozart. The Wien Museum gives an insight into the history of the city, and for those who plan to travel to many of the sights, a 72-hour Vienna card or a weekly ‘Wochenkart’ give discounts and unlimited use of city transport.
The people of Vienna a very formal in their ways of address and speech, so for German speakers, it is advisable to use the formal ‘Sie’ rather than ‘du’ for ‘you’. The Viennese are also very conservative in their dress, however, one of the great paradoxes of the City is that its inhabitants are very progressive and liberal in their ideals. Coffee plays a great part in Viennese culture, and the capital is dotted with coffee shops (Kaffeehäuser). Although there are the usual coffee shop chains such as Starbucks in Vienna, traditional coffee houses are a deeply ingrained part of Viennese culture.
It is easy to travel to Vienna, and low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Niki serve Vienna airport. Ryanair flights travel to Bratislava and a regular bus service takes a mere 90 minutes to travel to Vienna.