Castle Hotels of Vienna
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Grand and glittering, a stroll through this capital city of empire reveals baroque palace façades that protect interiors brilliant with chandeliers of Bohemia crystal, gold-trimmed mirrors, and ceilings painted with cavorting cherubs and classical frescoes.
Stroll a little more and allow your senses to fill with music of the masters whispering in the air, to smell a mokka drifting from a historic coffeehouse patronized by members of Viennese society, and to imagine a bewhiskered archduke or elegant empress stepping out of a horse-drawn carriage in front of a splendid palace.
The old section of Vienna, including most of the major sights, is encircled by the broad avenues of the Ringstrasse or Ring, upon which the ancient city walls once stood.
Excellent public transportation will whisk you anywhere in the city you wish to go. Walkers will love the Karntnerstrasse, the pedestrian-only main street, which passes by some of the most important sights.
Some great reasons to visit
St. Stephan’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) The spire of the Gothic masterpiece marks the heart of historic Old Vienna. The ancient narrow streets and passageways surrounding St. Stephan’s are well worth taking the time to explore as well.
Hofburg Palace For six centuries the Habsburgs called the Hofburg home. It now holds the Imperial Apartments, treasuries, the National Library, six museums, and the Winter Riding School.
Kunst Historische Museum—Museum of Fine Arts is one of Europe’s finest museums with fine collections of Rubens and Bruegel the Elder.
Schloss Schönbrunn in the 13th district is the magnificent Habsburg summer palace that was completed during the reign of Maria Theresa.
Schloss Belvedere Across the garden from the Schwarzenberg Palace Hotel, this stunning baroque palace was built in the 18th century by Prince Eugene of Savoy as his summer residence.
Attend a concert Attending a concert in Vienna is a highly rewarding experience. The State Opera House, Musikverein, and Konzerthaus are the main venues. Open air concerts are popular during the summer.
Viennese coffee houses When the Turks left behind sacks of coffee beans after one of their 17th-century sieges, the drink of the East became an integral part of Viennese life. Ordering can be as complex as knowing the lingo in a Starbucks (was that an Einspänner, a Mazagran, or a Brauner you ordered?), but the atmosphere of a traditional coffeehouse dates back to the 19th century, and the pastries are oh so divine. Places to try are the Café Central, Café Hawelka, Café Landtmann, Café Mozart, and the Café Demel.