'Vienna remains Vienna, and that's the worst anyone could ever say about it', quipped the Austrian writer Alfred Polgar. It also ranks among the world's most liveable cities.
The humorist Karl Farkas has a different angle on this. He said, 'We Viennese look with confidence into the past'. And what about the future? Well, it can probably look with confidence into that too. Few cities in the world match Vienna for its remarkably high quality of life. Throw in some excellent programs for sustainable development and we're talking about a city with a future.
We often see Vienna in terms of its grand past: angelic choirboys, monumental palaces, Fiaker (horse-drawn carriages) and flamboyance. The tones of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms and the filigree paintings or sketches of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka. But this is to ignore its dynamic present. Vienna has an astoundingly colourful contemporary culture and arts scene; a burgeoning culinary culture; bustling and lively pubs, bars, coffee shops and beer houses; picturesque vineyards on its edges; an idiosyncratic rock and club scene; and extraordinarily innovative performance arts.
Throw in lakeside excursions to Burgenland or trips to the Danube Valley, Znojmo in the Czech Republic or Bratislava in Slovakia and Vienna becomes not just the city we think we know but also one we still need to discover.
Best places to stay in Vienna
Tour de dessert: Europe’s most delicious pastries, cakes and tarts
American cafe culture has come a long way in the last two decades: corporate coffee has spawned near two generations of independent cafes that offer more than the old standby of roadside diner joe and pie.
Vienna's coffee houses
Shopping in Vienna
Vienna destination guides
Vienna on a budget
Dodging Vienna's tourist traps and making the most of the Austrian capital on a tight budget is easy when you know how. Read on to learn how to see Klimt masterpieces for free, fill your belly for €6 and score opera tickets for a song. 'Hofburg' by Chris Brown.
Schonbrunn Palace Evening: Palace Tour, Dinner and Concert
Enjoy a royal package with a self-guided audio Schonbrunn Palace walking tour followed by a three course dinner at Cafe-Restaurant Residenz. Within walking distance from the main entrance to Schonbrunn Palace and the Cafe-Restaurant Residenz lies the Orangery Schonbrunn where a concert of classical music with works by Mozart and Strauss will complete your evening.
Budapest Day Trip from Vienna
Take a drive through the enchanting countryside of western Hungary on this guided coach tour to Budapest. A city rich in traditions, it is situated on the banks of the Danube, where you'll be given the opportunity to enjoy lunch and see the main sights of the city. In the afternoon during an extensive coach tour, appreciate the historical and cultural importance of Budapest.
Riding the rails: classic train journeys of the world
Hand the porter your luggage, climb aboard and relive the golden days of railroading on these spectacular journeys. Copper Canyon Railway, Mexico The Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico (Copper Canyon Railway) features 36 bridges and 87 tunnels along its 655km length.