As travel experts, we often get asked to contribute to “best of” features. Recently, the Flight Network asked Inspiration’s Vice President, Stephanie Smith, to contribute to its curated list of the world’s most beautiful cities for 2020. Stephanie nominated Vienna, and the Austrian city was ranked 19th on their list. Featured on some of our Christian tours in Europe and river cruises on the Danube, Vienna boasts a unique combination of urban and natural beauty and is truly a feast for the senses.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna
The city’s famed Ringstrasse (“ring road”) is an iconic boulevard that encircles its old town district. The road was built in the 19th century after the dismantling of the city’s medieval walls. Today, the Ringstrasse is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Inside the ring lies some of the city’s most iconic buildings, like the enormous Hofburg palace complex. It was here that the House of Habsburg––one of Europe’s most influential royal families––ruled over much of Europe for six centuries.
Vienna’s abundance of parks, forests and agricultural land makes it one of the greenest cities in the world. Whether it’s the six million square meters of the green Prater city park or the three thousand rose bushes on display in the Volksgarten, nearly half of Vienna’s geography is dedicated to green space.
Volksgarten or “People Garden” of Vienna
Vienna is defined as Europe’s cultural capital and its natural beauty is matched only by the elegant artistry inside its many museums. Chief among the palaces inside the Ringstrasse is the domed Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, where visitors can see one of the most important coin collections in the world alongside the works of influential artists like Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
As one of the most diverse cities in Europe, Vienna is home to countless international communities, which makes the city a melting pot of tastes, smells and foods. Our Christian tour travelers love the traditional Austrian and German dishes as well as its multiethnic markets.
One of the more popular markets is the Naschmarkt (“munch market”), which dates back to an 18th-century farmers market. More than a mile long, it sells meats, fruits, vegetables, spices and more from around the world.
Naschmarkt in Vienna
More than anything else, Vienna is prized for its musical heritage. Beethoven’s career began in Vienna, and renowned composers like Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Brahms and Mahler all called this city home.
Whether it’s angelic sounds of the Vienna Boys’ Choir or the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, classical music is central to the Viennese culture. On any given night, 10,000 people in Vienna are enjoying a performance of classical music at one of the 15,000 concerts that take place every year.
In European cities, our travelers find themselves drawn to spiritually significant places. Vienna’s cathedrals are some of the most stunning in Europe. Most of the city’s classical composers wrote their music to be performed in these sacred settings, and travelers, upon visiting these landmarks, can imagine the spiritual impact of their music.
As one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it’s easy to understand why Vienna is on the bucket lists of so many world travelers. Which elements of Vienna’s beauty appeal most to you?