Beauty of Architecture & Art in Vienna

Almost one week in to my three-week journey, I embarked to Vienna. Having learned my lesson in Prague and Budapest, I decided I should go to my hostel as soon as I arrived in Vienna. This resulted in having to navigate public transport once again, this time in German and not English. I made it though, and was delighted to find that my hostel was in a really good location! It was within walking distance of all the sights I wanted to see, which was awesome. I arrived in the afternoon, but decided to go walking around once I got settled in. I was rewarded with sun and fresh air, plus amazing architectural buildings, particularly the Parliament Buildings. And people were walking everywhere! That is one of my favourite parts about Vienna. It doesn’t really feel like a major city because so many people are walking around all through the day and night. Maybe this was just because it was almost Easter when I was here, but nonetheless, it was pretty neat.

My first full day in Vienna was on Easter Sunday, which was pretty cool. Most stores were closed, but all of the sight-seeing was still open, which was nice for me! Unfortunately, a major downside to my time in Vienna is that I was pretty sick. I got sick in Budapest (I think from drinking the tap water there, oops!) and it got worse once I got to Vienna, especially my first couple of days. However, walking around in the sunshine made me feel a million times better! In fact, the charm of Vienna captured me so completely, that I decided to cancel my plans to go to Frankfurt and extend my stay in Vienna an extra night. (I also partly wanted to do this because I was sick and the thought of going back and forth from different hostels and overnight busses didn’t sound too appealing.) Once I sorted this change out, I did some more sightseeing, starting with the Kunsthistorisches Museum which is apparently one of the top 10 museums in the world! It definitely did not disappoint, housing everything from Egyptian artifacts, to Greco-Roman artifacts, to Austrian artifacts and various special exhibitions as well. The architectural design of the building was also incredible-Austrians definitely have the most elaborate and exquisite architecture (that I’ve seen).

Afterwards I headed to the Hofburg Palace and grounds, which are massive and include various museums, restaurants, and parks. I checked out the Imperial Treasury nearby, which has elaborate jewels and pieces from Austria and Italy, plus a lot of Christian symbols. Following this I went to check out the Albertina Museum, which is basically a massive art gallery housing very famous artworks (particularly by Monet and Piccasso) and special themed exhibitions as well. Once the gallery had closed, I decided to head to a café and try the famous sacher torte cake, a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam in the middle. The one I tried wasn’t exceptional, but I tried it another time at a different café and it tasted pretty good, so I think it depends where you go to have it. It was an experience, anyway.

My next day in Vienna I still felt quite sick, but I was determined to get more sight-seeing in. I headed straight into the heart of the city centre to see Stephansdom, one of the oldest churches in Vienna which the city is built around. It’s really old and the inside of the church is marvelous. I headed to the side of the church to climb a tower, up 343 steps, to take in some views of Vienna. The tower was pretty sketchy, as it was winding and narrow all the way up with only one break in the staircase. The top was pretty disappointing. It was basically a room with windows that you could look out of, so it wasn’t the best for views, and considering we were up 343 steps, the views weren’t that great. Definitely not my best view from above that I’ve seen, but still cool to see.

Afterwards I made my way over to a slightly different area of Vienna called Karlsplatz, to see Karlskirche church. Now this church was definitely a sight to see! Situated in a lovely park full of flowers, Karlskirche is definitely more modern than Stephansdom, but still a lovely architectural piece. Inside is even more incredible. The church is quite ornate and decorated with beautiful paintings, particularly on the ceiling. There is a lift and stairs that take you up to a platform to view the ceiling paintings in more detail, which are definitely worth looking at. This church was definitely one of the nicest I’ve seen in Vienna; a must for sure. Following this, I headed to Belvedere Palace, one of many in Vienna. This one has two areas of the palace and is surrounded by lovely gardens. Upper Belvedere houses a lot of famous artwork, the most famous being Klimt’s “The Kiss” (they also have a replica that you can take photos of). Lower Belvedere also houses various artwork, as well as showcasing rooms of the palace which were exquisite.

The next morning was my last day in Vienna, which made me quite sad, because I wish I could stay there forever. Before I left, I was able to visit Secession art gallery, which houses the famous Beethoven Frieze by Klimt. It was really neat. Then I went to MUMOK in Museums Quartier, which has a lot of modern art, also pretty neat.

In conclusion, Vienna was my favourite place I visited throughout my trip. The architecture, artwork, atmosphere and lovely parks truly captured my heart! However, Vienna is expensive. I had a discount card for the time I was there, which helped a lot, and they also give out discounts to students, but admission to museums and art galleries still costs quite a bit (as does eating out). My favourite parts of Vienna were the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Karlskirche, and Belvedere Palace. The one thing I wish I would have done is gone to the opera; I didn’t bother looking for tickets because I thought they were really expensive, but later I heard that standing tickets are sold for 5 pounds. If you’re heading to Vienna, I would definitely look into this more. I hope whoever travels to Vienna enjoys it as much as I did, and I hope that I am able to return one day.

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