Vienna is the capital of Austria, in CentralEurope.
It is an ancient fortress city that lies nestledon the eastern fringe of the Alps, on the banks of the Danube River.
One hundred years ago, this glittering citygave birth to an artistic and cultural revolution.
It was a revolution that changed the futureand forever secured, Vienna’s place as one of the world’s greatcities.
Free thinking flourished in its cafe’s andnew ideas in music and philosophy became embedded in its cobblestones.
Today, visitors flock to Vienna, to experiencea dynamic art culture, set amidst historic streets where Strauss’waltzes echo.
They come to drink coffee where some of theworld’s greatest thinkers such as Einstein and Freud, spent time, and to enjoy some of the world’smost magnificent artworks.
Although there is an efficient public transportsystem here, the best way to really savour Vienna is slowlyon foot.
Navigate the city by following the Ringstrasse, a wide boulevard around the downtown area, lined with extravagant palaces, galleries, museums and elegant private homes.
Many of Vienna’s main attractions lie within“the ring” and Stephansplatz is at its very heart.
Order a strong coffee with cream in one ofthe coffee houses here.
Cafes are the very essence of Viennese cultureand have been described as places “where time and space are consumed but onlycoffee is found on the bill.
” For generations, famous works have been writtenat these marble tables and the meaning of life debated.
Visit the Demel Bakery, the original confectionersto the Austrian Royal Family.
Order a sachertorte – a traditional chocolatecake and relax with an international newspaper.
Viennese attention to detail is not just restrictedto its master cake makers.
Enjoy the visual feast of the elaborate interiorsand the mosaic roof tiles of St Stephen’s Cathedral before heading up to its gothic steeple toenjoy the view out over the city.
Vienna was home to many of the world’s greatestcomposers such as Beethoven and Strauss and is known by many as the City of Music.
Stroll to the Vienna State Opera, one of thegreatest opera houses in the world.
Take a backstage tour and learn the storyof this building that has cast a spell over opera and ballet lovers since the 19th century.
A little further along the ring is the HofburgImperial Palace.
This impressive palace was home to the Hapsburgdynasty who ruled the area for centuries.
It currently serves as the official residencefor the President of Austria.
The palace is also home to the Austrian NationalLibrary where you can examine ancient manuscriptsand early copies of some great literary works.
Step outside the Palace and enjoy the fragranceof the hundreds of roses in the Volksgarten – or people’s garden.
Vienna in the early 1900’s attracted someof the greatest painters of the time.
Although their work at first shocked Viennesesociety, they eventually gained an enthusiastic followingand wealthy patronage.
Visit the Belvedere to see some of this workincluding Gustav Klimpt’s most famous piece, The Kiss.
Go further back in time to admire paintingsby European masters including Raphael, Rubens and Bruegel at the the Museum of ArtHistory.
Wander across to the Albertina where you cansee original works by Monet, Picasso and Matisse.
View mother nature’s masterpieces at thenearby Museum of Natural History which houses a collection of more than 30million specimens and artefacts.
The museum quarter, once housed the Imperialstables.
Relax with a drink or just watch the peoplego by in this cultural precinct which regularly features modern art installations.
Venture a little further afield to discoverthe Schonbrunn Palace just to the southwest of Vienna’s city centre.
You can almost believe the Emperor is aboutto step out onto the grounds of this 1, 400 room palace that used to be the summer residence of theHapsburg family.
Vienna has a long and proud tradition of winemaking and there are many vineyards lying withinthe city boundaries where you can enjoy traditional meals like Wiener Schnitzel matched with local wines.
Before you leave, the city’s outskirts, pay your respects at the final resting placeof some of Vienna’s most famous residents.
No visit to Vienna is complete without a visitto the historic Wiener Prater.
Climb aboard a wooden gondola on the 19thcentury Riesenrad and enjoy the timeless view over the city.
As the sun sets, visit St Charles Church, widely considered to be one of the city’sgreatest buildings.
Vienna at night is nothing short of breathtaking.
Dine in one of the traditional restaurants and then take in a show at the elegant Burgtheateror enjoy an open air performance in one of the squares.
Vienna is a truly inspirational city.
It is a city in which you can walk in thefootsteps of some of history’s greatest minds, explore monumental palaces and cathedrals, and stand before priceless artworks.
So pullup a chair, order a coffee and a generous slice of sachertorte, and let your heart be serenaded by this most lyrical of cities Vienna.