Sophisticated culture and a sportsman's paradise, all in one city
Although Vienna is unquestionably one of Europe's great cities, its subtler charms sometimes go overlooked. Visitors who do visit this Hapsburgian playground will discover that Viennese delights come in many forms. The city's cultural treasures, for one, are almost overwhelming in their abundance. Baroque cathedrals mingle with medieval churches, and everywhere is art, music, and more art. Austria's most famous palace, Schönbrunn, was built to rival Versailles, and touring it is like passing through a giant, gilded music box. Vienna's actual music box, the stunning Vienna State Opera, is also unforgettable, and worth visiting even if you can't score tickets for a performance (which can be surprisingly inexpensive). Vienna also has attractions for those with a passion for the outdoors. Boating and water sports take place on the famous Danube, and escape to the verdant pleasures of the Wienerwald is quick and easy. The local cuisine is, fittingly, also rich and delightful. Fine restaurants offer perfectly executed schnitzel, savory goulash, and the decadent Sacher Torte. Or watch dusk melt into evening while devouring a char-grilled sausage at a laid-back wine garden. The fine blend of natural and man-made treasures makes time spent in Vienna both stimulating and uniquely relaxing. Bring your opera glasses and your hiking boots.