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In terms of holidays and educational things to do, below you will find our favourite things to do in Vienna:
1 – Embassy of the United States in Vienna
Construction began of the current Embassy of the United States in 1902, led by the celebrated architect Ludwig Baumann. The neo-Baroque style building was officially purchased in 1947 by the United States government, and has been the country’s home in Vienna ever since.
Visiting the United States Embassy is a great opportunity for any fans of architecture. The building is grand and imposing, with a central entrance way introduced by towering, sculpted columns. The building feels more like a turn-of-the-century palace than an embassy. Either way, a visit here is a memorable and inspiring tribute to Baumann’s architecture.
Entry: Free to see from outside
Opening hours: This is a functioning embassy so must be seen from the outside; we prefer the early morning for the best light.
2 – National Bibliothek (Austrian National Library)
An Austrian institution dating back almost 500 years, this palatial library houses over seven million works of literature. The chief architect, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, also designed the famed Schönbrunn Palace, which appears later in this list.
If you’re captivated by the smell of leather-bound books, cavernous reading rooms and domed ceilings adorned with vibrant artwork, this is the place for you. The collections include portraits, maps, and some stunning wartime photography. Themed exhibitions, vast quantities of books (dating back to the 1300s) and sanguine beauty make the National Library the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon in Vienna.
Entry: 7 Euros
Opening hours: 9am – 9pm every day including Sunday
3 – The Schönbrunn Palace
As one of Austria’s most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason, no list of Vienna’s hotspots would be complete without the Schönbrunn Palace.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 14th Century, this gargantuan palace contains 1,441 rooms, a greenhouse with over 4500 species of plants, a zoo, a vast desert botanical exhibit, and even a museum of carriages and vehicles used by the Austrian aristocracy.
The gardens of the Schönbrunn warrant a day in themselves, with beautifully maintained grasses and flowers, along with a faux-Roman ruin from the 18th Century, an Orangery, a maze, and a separate observation building, known as the Gloriette. The Gloriette boasts an observation deck with views of the palace and the city, and offers refreshments in a very regal style in their white-pillared and sculpture-lined cafe.
Be sure to check ViennaTourism for updates on special events like Mozart concerts in the moonlight at the Schönbrunn, or stay updating by viewing the calendar on the official Schönbrunn Palace website.
Entry: From €12, 90 for an Adult and €9, 50 for children. Private tours are available at a premium.
Seven days a week
1st April to 30th June 8.30 am to 5.30 pm
1st July to 31st August 8.30 am to 6.30 pm
1st September to 31st October 8.30 am to 5.30 pm
1st November to 31st March 8:30am to 5:00pm
4 – The Casino Vienna
As much as we love the cultural and historic side of Vienna, we know that sometimes, you need something with a little more flair. So when the evening comes and you feel ready to hit the town, we recommend you start at The Casino Vienna.
Situated in a baroque palace on the central street of Wallnerstraße, you’ll be hard pressed to find a location more suited to a casino. For the dress code, think James Bond. Casino Vienna describes their style as “classy and neat”, so bring your evening gown and a blazer, or, if you’re caught short, the casino will hire you out a jacket for the evening.
Housing a restaurant and cafe, the Casino Vienna is open from 3pm until 4am, so there’s always time for a light dinner and one or two drinks before you hit the tables (although we recommend a clear head may be better for your bank account).
Check the website for more information on special promotions and offers, including the weekly ‘Ladies Day’. Remember, you’ll need to check in with an official identity document (read: driving licence or passport), so don’t leave it in the hotel.
Entry to the casino: Free, but a ‘classy’ dress code applies, and of course, under 18’s are not allowed. If you are unfamiliar with casino games it’s possible to practice before you play these days on your phone or tablet device at a number of mobile casino sites. This has the added benefit of getting you up to speed with the rules of the various casino games you are likely to encounter.
Opening Hours: Every day from 3pm – 4am
5 The Spanish Riding School, Vienna
The Spanish Riding School dates back over 450 years, and is recognized as the oldest riding school of its kind in the world. The stables are home to 68 Lipizzan stallions, Europe’s oldest breed of horse. You can read more about the Lipizzans and their unique characteristics on the Riding School’s website, listed below.
If you’re an avid fan of dressage, you can book tickets to the gala evenings and performances, usually held at weekends, through the website. Tickets are sold out early and demand is high. Prices vary and the cheapest seats start from around forty euros, ranging up to hundreds for the premium packages. Remember that in June and July the horses take a short summer holiday in the countryside, so no performances are held during this time.
Otherwise, you can visit the two hour horse and riders’ training sessions in the morning, which are open to the public. Tickets are available to purchase on arrival, but coming early is recommended; the morning training sessions can be busy. Spectators are treated to an inside look of the horses training and performing routines to music.
The Spanish Riding School is a part of the Hofburg Palace, so we recommend starting early to and getting both activities in on the same day.
Entry: Variable, but a price list and event dates is available here http://www.srs.at/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Dates-and-Prices.pdf
Opening Hours: Again, variable. Morning training sessions run from 10am – 12pm, and guided tours begin at 15:00.