Few cities in Europe are as impressive as Vienna. With its fantastic architecture, opulent palaces and rich history, we guarantee the likes of Rome, Paris or London got nothing on the Austrian Capital! For the most skeptical of you wondering if the Austrian capital deserves such praise, a simple walk through some of the Vienna Ringstrasse attractions would surely be enough for you to agree with us.
Located around the Innere Stadt, this huge ring road is considered part of the Vienna Historic Centre UNESCO Heritage Site. Along with the Danube, together they completely enclose the heart of the city and, as such, the former city walls stood exactly where the Ringstrasse now runs, protecting this gem of a city from foreign invasions. However, the walls became obsolete due to the lack of serious threats and were eventually torn down. In its place, the Habsburgs then decided to erect all kinds of over-the-top structures in multiple styles to show off the power of their Empire, hence giving shape to the road we all know, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful this world has ever seen.
VIENNA RINGSTRASSE ATTRACTIONS
Built as a gesture of divine gratitude after Emperor Franz Joseph survived an assassination attempt, the Votivkirche is probably the city’s second most popular church after the Stephansdom. Located right next to the Sigmund Freud Park, this is a common place for locals to relax and hang out while having a drink, particularly in the summer. Impressive from the outside and surprisingly peaceful on the inside, this huge gothic cathedral may not sit directly along the famous ring road, but is nevertheless regarded as one of the most beloved Vienna Ringstrasse attractions.
Did you know the second oldest theatre in Europe is located in Vienna? Although the original venue was located next to the Hofburg Palace because the Empress needed a theatre next-door (otherwise how could she live?), this beautiful building has served as home to the Austrian National Theatre since 1888. On the inside, the main staircase is one of the highlights, with beautiful paintings portraying the theatre’s history and the usual majestic ambiance you can find in pretty much every palace/museum/music house in Vienna.
Opposite the Burgtheater you’ll find Vienna’s City hall, the Rathaus. And don’t find it too strange if for a second you feel like you’re in Belgium or the Netherlands, as this awesome building is meant to resemble traditional Flemish architecture. The Rathauspark sits right in front of the city hall and is another quaint green area where you can relax and enjoy the beauty around you.
AUSTRIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING
Where else can you find a Parisian-like theatre facing a Belgian-like building, which in turn is next to a Greek-like temple? Built in Greek Revival style, the Austrian Parliament Building is next on our list of Vienna Ringstrasse attractions. Along with the decorative Athena Fountain, which is filled with symbols of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it’s yet another example of the diversity of styles Vienna enjoys.
Projected as the very first public park in Vienna, the Volksgarten was appropriately named the “People’s Park” (that’s what it means). And the Austro-Hungarian rulers must have really wanted to impress its subjects as this small park is just lovely! Its rose gardens, temples, artistic fountains and multiple monuments of tribute to historical personalities ensure the Volksgarten remains as fantastic as ever!
Yes, the Ringstrasse also has a connection to one of the most popular Viennese landmarks – the Hofburg Palace! In this case to the Neue Burg, the most recent wing of this imperial venue. Among other exhibitions, inside the Neue Burg you’ll find the jaw-dropping Prunksaal, the main hall of the Austrian National Library and a true baroque treasure.
We could have chosen one of the two museums located at this square, but the whole ensemble is so culturally rich and visually impressive we decided to place the spotlight on the larger picture. The Maria-Theresien-Platz is built around a statue of Empress Maria Theresa herself, and on each side of this statue you’ll find two identical buildings facing each other. These beautiful buildings are actually the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Naturhistorisches Museum, two institutions as fantastic as they are unpronounceable.
Although the Volksgarten is the loveliest park in Vienna, it is by no means the only one. Split in two by the Wienfluss – the Vienna River – at the Stadtpark you’ll also find beautiful pieces of architecture scattered across its 28-acres area. Besides the statues and tribute monuments, the Kursalon Music Hall is perhaps the park’s most popular attraction.
VIENNA STATE OPERA
And finally the cherry on top! The Wiener Staatsoper is not only one of the Ringstrasse’s most popular sights, but a symbol of the entire city. Whether you choose to watch a live show or simply go on a guided tour, the building interiors will undoubtedly impress you, as each intricate detail seems to have been carefully thought of in order to create the most fabulous concert house in Europe. This is a must!
Here you have it! The Ringstrasse is one of the many reasons why Vienna is such a majestic city and definitely worthy of a visit! Have you ever walked the Ringstrasse? What other attractions in the famous ring road are worth visiting? Let us know on the comments below!