Not only does Vienna attract millions of tourists every year, but the 1.8million people who live there also have one of the best qualities of life in the world. In fact, the capital of Austria was voted the most liveable city in the world for 2018, according to a report by the Economist (breaking Melbourne's seven-year winning streak.) Jaw-dropping architecture, soul-stirring music and a vibrant food and coffee culture will attract even the pickiest travellers to this unique destination. Come here for a weekend city break, or visit for longer to explore the surrounding area as well.
There's a multitude of things that make Vienna fantastic to visit and explore, not least of which is its fascinating history. This is, after all, the place that produced such famous figures as Sigmund Freud, and where world-renowned musicians including Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven have worked.
Originally settled back in 500 BC, Vienna has come under the rule of many different leaders over the centuries. In the 1200s, Rudolf I took control and established the Habsburg rule, and 200 years later it became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Fast forward to the 19th century, when Napoleon conquered the city twice. Shortly afterwards, however, he was defeated, and Francis I, Emperor of Austria, took over. During World War II, Hitler had a strong hold on Vienna, the capital of his homeland. And in 1955, Austria regained its political independence thanks to the Austrian State Treaty.
All around the city you'll see landmarks telling the story of Vienna's past, from the Renaissance-era Hofburg palace to the stately Vienna City Hall. Baroque architecture and imperial buildings add to the city's grandeur, while museums filled with masterpieces reflect its importance as a cultural hub of Europe.
If you like whiling away the afternoon with a book and a strong coffee, you're in luck; coffee culture in Vienna goes way back. In fact, it's one of the most important coffee cities in the world, alongside places like Stockholm, Rome and Havana.
The first Viennese Coffeehouse (aka Kaffeehaus) opened in 1680s, paving the way for the hundreds of establishments that dot the city today. Whether you're after the traditional cream-based Viennese coffee or a more experimental variety, there's plenty of opportunity to get that caffeine kick. Head to the iconic Cafe Central on the corner of Herrengasse and Strauchgasse to get a taste (literally) of the authentic Vienna coffee experience.
Apart from history and coffee, Vienna is probably best known for its musical history and wealth of classical music offerings. The Vienna Mozart Concert Hall offers regular shows in a historic venue, as well as a four-course dinner if you go for the upgraded option! And the Musikverein, home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, has a calendar full of events year-round.
Travel tip: Be sure to check the event schedule on their website before your trip.
On any given night, you'll be able to find concerts showcasing music by Mozart, Strauss, and countless others. It's no wonder Vienna is often referred to as the City of Music.