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Historic Cities: Vienna

21 August 2015

Stunning Vienna is known for its musical heritage, incredible architecture and famous former inhabitants. Nicknamed 'The City of Dreams', owing to its association with psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, who famously scrutinized the content of dreams for clues to the human psyche, this grand city boasts a wealth of history amongst its many charms.  Austrian rail holidays would not be complete without a visit to Vienna, the beautiful nation's capital.

Viennese Architecture

Famed for its palaces and historic monuments, the architecture of Vienna is one of the city's many highlights. From the sumptuous structures of the Hapsburgs, such as the exquisite Schönbrunn Palace, to the iconic St Stephen's Cathedral, with its incredible tiled roof, Vienna is filled with fantastic architecture open for exploration. Steeped in rich Imperial history, the buildings of Vienna offer an insight into the city's intriguing history, in addition to their remarkable beauty and grandeur.

Sights to watch out for include the impressive Ringstrasse, the boulevard that encompasses the Old City, and the 19th-century Vienna State Opera, which combines Vienna's architectural heritage with its dedication to music and performance. Alternatively, stroll around the medieval parts of Vienna, and delve into the history of this long-standing city.

Music and Culture

As well as fine buildings and friendly locals, Vienna is renowned for its inspiring culture and its love of music. During the day, the Viennese love nothing more than a quiet moment spent in one of the city's many coffee houses, where the rush of the modern era is set to one side as newspapers, conversation and delicious fresh-brewed coffee take centre stage. Here, locals and visitors alike can enjoy Viennese specialties, such as sachertorte, which boasts the reputation as the world's most famous chocolate cake.

In the evening, Vienna offers music in abundance like no other city can. With over 200 Vienna Balls per year, as well as opera, ballet and concerts of Strauss and Mozart performed frequently in the elegant Renaissance Kursalon, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to music. With its heritage of world-class musicians and composers that were born to the city including Schubert, Strauss and Kreisler, it is unsurprising that Vienna has kept its musical tradition and 19th century balls alive and celebrated to the present day.

Vienna's musical legacy is also represented in the fascinating Haus der Musik, a museum dedicated to the music of Vienna. With floors of the museum assigned to Vienna's classical composers and to the Vienna Philharmonic, the Haus der Musik is an excellent destination for music-lovers to explore.

On Vienna holidays by train with Great Rail Journeys, experience the wealth of culture this glorious city has to offer. From the Musical Heritage of Austria & Germany to Vienna, Salzburg & the Danube, and even an exciting adventure through Europe's Grand Imperial Cities, our selection of holidays to Vienna allow you to enjoy the very best of this superb city.