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Stephanie Murray, Senior Short Break Specialist

"Steeped in tradition and elegance this city is beyond beautiful. Dabbling in traditional Austrian food is a must - from eating at a würstelstand (sausage stand) to sipping on a Vienna coffee, food lovers will be on cloud nine. The inner city contains virtually all of the best sights of Vienna such as the stunning St Stephen’s Cathedral or dare to go up the Danube Tower sitting at 826 feet high, with excellent views of the old city and Vienna Woods."

Vienna at a glance

Vienna's history as a capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has ensured a legacy of grand architecture, majestic palaces and cultural maturity that is almost unsurpassed. Artistry and regal romance continue to reign in the city today, making it a popular short break destination for those seeking to enjoy a heightened atmosphere of culture and the arts.

Situated on the Danube River, Vienna’s early history has close ties to both the river and the Celtic peoples. By the 15th century Vienna had become home to the Habsburg dynasty as well as a cultural centre for the arts. Growing in influence, the city built upon its reputation as a leader in architecture, music and science, laying claim to a host of innovators and trend setters including Sigmund Frued, Franz Shubert, and Marie Antoinette.

With a longstanding tradition and love of opera and classical music, Vienna undoubtedly lives up to its nickname ‘City of Music’. From the time of Viennese Classicism through to the early part of the 20th century famous composers made Vienna a hive of musical activity. Mozart, Brahms, Strauss and Beethoven all worked in Vienna and today their music can still be heard floating out of concert halls around the city.

Aside from the many museums in the city, much of Vienna’s past can be enjoyed while exploring the city’s grand palaces and elaborate gardens of Hofburg and Schönbrunn. Captured within the royal residences is a true sense of history building upon itself from one era to the next, with new additions continually added as each new successor took the throne. From early beginnings dating back to the 13th century to modern restoration efforts, the palaces continue to play an important role in the city’s regal charm.

A cultural haven with a wealth of historical sights, Vienna is a lavish city break treat, indulging visitors with a taste of tradition and a high regard for the art of life. From concert halls to palaces to cafés, Vienna is an art form to be experienced.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Art and culture
  • Stunning architecture
  • Historical attractions

Getting around

Vienna has a large and well organized public transport system made up of the S-Bahn (suburban railway), the U-Bahn (underground railway) and the Wiener Linien (Vienna Lines) that operate bus and tram routes throughout the city.

One ticket covers all modes of transportation and can be purchased to cover various lengths of time.

Dining in Vienna 

Food is a way to many hearts, and there is no exception in Vienna. The Naschmarkt is a food lovers paradise, there are many stalls selling a wide selection of local produce but inside there are also food stalls to sample. There are also a hive of wonderful restaurants in the city.

Café culture is a biggie here, as cafés have long been an integral part of Vienna’s history and the coffee house culture has earned a unique place on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Drinking a cup of coffee is an all-day affair and locals linger over cups of steaming brew while engaging in hours of conversation, card games and the enjoyment of pastries and tarts.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Wiener Schnitzel – A thin cutlet of veal breaded and pan-fried in butter or oil.
  • Sachertorte – A dense, chocolate sponge cake, created with thin layers of apricot jam and encased in firm chocolate icing.
  • Austrian Goulash – Beef stew seasoned with tomatoes, onion and paprika, this hearty dish pairs well with a beer.

Shopping in Vienna

Visitors can shop to their heart’s content in Vienna as there are a number of shopping hotspots. The Goldenes Quartier is home to international brands and luxury shopping, the Kohlmarkt is the pedestrianised street of fine Viennese jewellers and fashion, the Tiffany & Co and Cartier boutiques are also based in the Kohlmarkt. For something contemporary, the Graben is the street where there is a mix of luxury well-known brands and independent shops. Lastly, the most popular Karntner Strasse is the main high street in Vienna and there is a wealth of luxury brands and high street fashion brands such as Zara and H&M.

Osprey Holidays top tips

It can be very difficult to get tickets for a performance by The Spanish Riding School; an easier way to see the beautiful Lipizzaner horses in action is to buy a ticket for their morning exercise which takes place in the Stallburg on Josefplatz from 9.40am Tuesday to Saturday.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Vienna designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Vienna hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 1,975,271
Languages German
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Visit the Prater Park with its huge funfair full of stalls, ghost trains, merry-go-rounds and a Ferris Wheel.

Distance from airports
Vienna International 18 km
Railway stations
Wien Westbahnhof

Things to do in Vienna

  • Hofburg Imperial Palace: This magnificent former Royal residence was the centre of the Hapsburg empire and the birthplace of Marie Antoinette in the 18th century.
  • Liechtenstein Museum: One of the world’s most impressive art collections, with masterpieces from the early Renaissance to the Baroque.
  • Vienna Opera House: Home of Vienna’s internationally renowned opera scene, you can take a guided tour of the fascinating interior.
  • Stadtpark: Established in 1862, this beautiful city park has a statue of musician Johann Strauss in the centre.
  • The Spanish Riding School: Watch the world famous Lipizzan horses perform classical dressage in the magnificent 18th century indoor arena.
  • Belvedere Palace: This former royal summer residence, built in a baroque style, is now home to the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere. The museum houses a fabulous art collection, which includes masterpieces from the Fin de Siècle and Art Nouveau periods, including Gustav Klimt’s most famous work, ‘The Kiss’.
  • Naschmarkt: Vibrant outdoor flea market on a street lined with great restaurants and cafes.

Tours and Excursions

The Spanish Riding School

This Vienna institution was named for the country of origin of the Lipizzan (or Lipizzaner) breed of horse that is used exclusively at the school. Both horses and riders are trained in classical dressage techniques, designed to strengthen the body and mind. The Spanish Riding School puts on highly acclaimed performances for the public every month and it is also possible to watch the horses during morning training on a weekly basis.

City Tour and Schönbrunn Palace

This introduction to the Austrian capital takes you along famous Ringstrasse and passes the city’s most majestic buildings including the State Opera, Museums of Fine Art and Natural History and City Hall, before arriving at the former imperial summer residence, Schönbrunn Palace for a guided tour.                                               

Mozart Concert at the Musikverein

The Vienna Mozart Orchestra brings to life the works of Austria’s most famous composer in the opulent surroundings of the Musikverein. A must see for Mozart fans during a visit to Vienna.

Melk Abbey & Danube Valley

Travel from Vienna to Wachua, a spectacular valley along the Danube where you will find medieval castles, charming towns and imposing monasteries. A highlight of the tour will be a visit to Melk Abbey and during the summer you will take a boat trip from Spitz to Melk. In the winter months the boat trip will be replaced with lunch and a walking tour in one of the picturesque towns of Krems or Dürnstein.


We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.