Wieden Sights Walking Tour, Vienna (Self Guided)

Wieden is the 4th district of Vienna, it is near the center and also one of the oldest in the city. Although it was established as district only in 1850, it traces its roots all the way back to the 1100s, particularly its main street, by the same name. As the sight of the former royal residence of Ferdinand II, it is home to a number of wonderful historic landmarks and museums, as well as a number of select shops and cafes.
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Wieden Sights Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Wieden Sights Walking Tour
Guide Location: Austria » Vienna (See other walking tours in Vienna)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Author: Daniel

1) Karlskirche (must see)

This famous house of worship is located in Karlsplatz, Vienna, and is located just at the beginning of the First District. It sits about 200 meters from the Ringstrabe. The building represents one of Vienna’s finest examples of baroque style churches also. One of the really unique features of the place is its unusually shaped dome that sits atop the building. It is elongated in form.

The location has really become a very popular tourist attraction in recent times. This is due to the unusual styling of the building, and the contrast that it paints to other buildings in the area. The church is managed by a local Catholic order, but is still the local parish church for the area. It is also the home of the student ministry to the Vienna University of Technology. So, besides being an architectural marvel, it is also still quite functional.

History tells us that Emperor Charles VI ordered the building of the church in order to fulfill a vow he made to God. The black plague was striking Vienna hard in the early 1700s, so the Emperor made a promise that he would build a church and name it after St. Charles Borromeo, who was well known for caring for people who suffered from the plague. In exchange, he asked God to relieve the city of the disease.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien

2) Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien

The locals call this place the Wien Museum. The name can be a bit deceptive though. The whole complex is actually a series of 19 different locations, all under the umbrella of the Vienna Museum. The driving focus and mission of the institution is to present the history of the city throughout the ages.

The main campus is the Karlsplatz. There is also a major secondary location at Hermesvilla. So, if you decide to visit, you will want to make sure and at least visit these two. Apart from that, the other places include a list of highly specialized exhibits and protected excavation sites. The time frame for the historical collection can take you all the way back to the Neolithic.

The locations are, for the most part, open from 10 am until 6 pm Tuesday to Saturday. They are also open on most major holidays with reduced hours. You will want to confirm the hours of each location, though, to make sure you are able to visit. This is especially true of the more specialized museums that make up part of the 19 location museum complex.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Vienna Philharmonic

3) Vienna Philharmonic (must see)

The Wiener Philharmoniker is one of the most famous orchestras in the world and is consistently considered one of the finest. All of its members come from the ranks of the Vienna State Opera (VSO), and cannot even apply to the Philharmoniker until they have played for at least three years with the VSO. Until very recently, only men could ever hope to have a chance of playing with the famous Vienna Philharmonic.

Formed in 1842 as the Philharmonische Academie under the baton of Otto Nicolai, this is an interesting organization. All members have a vote in decisions about the orchestra, although there is an administrative committee made up of 12 orchestra members who generally handle the day-to-day administrative functions. There are paid support staff positions as well to carry out the day to day details as dictated by the orchestra. Conduction is done by guest conductors as there is no regular subscription conductor.

The unique sound is due to several factors, but probably one of the most important is the string section. All stringed instruments belong to the Philharmoniker, not the individual member. Some of these instruments have been played for centuries and in fact, four violins made by Stradivari are currently part of the mixture. Instruments are very carefully selected so that their unique sound will blend well with the others.

The waiting list for season tickets can be years long; however, there are a few tickets available for some programs. When plans are being made for a visit to Vienna, be sure to check and see if there are any seats available.

Why You Should Visit:
The building is intricately beautiful and the tour, fascinating.
The area itself is very happening so you should be checking it out.

One must enter a computer lottery to win the chance to buy tickets for events, but it is well worth the effort.
One could also get a (cheaper) last-minute standing room ticket if one tries.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station

4) Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station

This building represents the original home of the Stadtbahn of Vienna. It was the station for many years. The buildings above the ground are considered to be prime examples of an architectural style known as Jegendstil. As such, they are also considered part of the Vienna Secession, and used many of the classic styles associated with that important movement in design. They are part of the heritage of Otto Wagner to the city.

The Stadtbahn buildings are well known for their modern look, and particularly for their steel framework and marble outside walls. For the architectural world, it was the perfect melding of form and function.

The original station was opened to the general public in 1899. In 1981, the old line was converted to the newer UBahn rail system. Originally, plans were made to destroy the old Stadtbahn station. However, a cry of outrage from the people of Vienna saved the building. So, in order to make the buildings function in the new rail system, they were completely dismantled, and re-assembled on a structure that was 7 feet taller than before, so that they could still be used with the more modern UBahn rail system. Nowadays, one of these old Wagner buildings is used as a museum.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Secession Building

5) Secession Building (must see)

The Vienna Secession refers to a group of young artisans who decided to start their own movement within the world of art. The style is very 'nouveau' and is a radical departure from the more traditional types of art being created during that part of Viennese history. The famous 'new start' occurred in 1897, but Secessionism really took off at the beginning of the 20th century, when a fair bit of work from the group became part of the famous Belvedere Collection.

A building and exhibition hall designed by Joseph Olbrich was also established in 1897 as the 'headquarters' of the group. It is now the home for some of the most famous pieces of art from the movement's member such as Klimt and Frieze. The Viennese venue was actually chosen in 2004 to appear on the 100 euro coin, along with more information about the famous Secessionist group.

Why You Should Visit:
Interesting especially if you're a fan of Klimt, with the Beethoven Frieze as the biggest highlight – one of the architectural pieces you'll never forget!
The building's facade is quite stunning as well and you can see many tourists stand across the busy main road taking pictures.

The audio guide is very useful here; much easier to sit and listen as you look at each section than having to read explanatory notes.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

6) Naschmarkt

The Naschmarkt is Vienna's most popular market located at the Wienzeile, over the Wien River and stretches for over 1 kilometer, from Vienna Secession building to Kettenbrückengasse. A food market on weekdays, where you can buy any fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world, on Saturdays it becomes Vienna's biggest flea market. Here you can find anything a flea can offer, from furniture and home decorations to old clothes and vintage collectables. About 400 vendors offer paintings, porcelain, silverware, glassware, old photos, cameras, books, clocks, toys, LP's and junk from the attic. With magnificent Art Nouveau buildings as a backdrop, Naschmarkt is Vienna's must-see destination for both antique treasure hunting and Austrian culinary delights.

Operation Hours Every Saturday: 8 am - 5 pm
Theater an der Wien

7) Theater an der Wien

The Theater an der Wien may seem to be misnamed, however, the Wien river used to flow just beside the theater. The river was covered over and the Naschmarkt, the wonderful farmers market now occupies that area. To feel what it looked like at that time, enter from the Millöckergasse and imagine the river where the marketplace is. Confusing name aside, the theater is absolutely beautiful and should not be missed.

The rich history of the building begins with its inception by Emanuel Schikaneder who collaborated with Mozart on The Magic Flute. The building was completed in 1801 and was spectacularly appointed and had a huge stage to accommodate large sets. There have been ups and downs for this venue, but the good news is the building has been restored and again is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The acoustics are magnificent and operas are again being performed here along with concerts and contemporary productions.

Be sure to note the nod to Schikaneder over the entrance at the Papagenogate. The man and the three children are Schikaneder and his three boys portraying Papageno from The Magic Flute. Also be sure to see the memorial to Beethoven who lived in the Theater whilst working on Fidelio, his only opera.

Tours are around € 7 and are a wonderful way to get the entire history and see backstage areas.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cafe Drechsler

8) Cafe Drechsler

Cafe Drechsler offers traditional Viennese cuisine and a large assortment of fine coffees. This popular spot attracts a diverse crowd of club-goers, as it is open 23 hours a day. Its stylish facade was created by well-known British designer, Sir Terence Conran.
Majolica House

9) Majolica House (must see)

The so-called Majolica house is the inspiration of the legendary architect and designer Otto Wagner. The building is located at Linke Wienzeile 38 and number 40. Wagner designed the complex during his secessionist phase of design. The name of the building derives from the tile flower patterns on the outside façade which embellish the place with beautiful shades of green, blue and pink. No. 38 is offset in a golden color, and is adorned in medallions, designed to complement the flowers on the other side.

Wagner made this new style of architecture famous for its simple, yet elegant design. Exterior walls were left smooth and flat, and windows typically became less ordained than in previous Viennese styles of architecture. The simple, clean look was meant, in some fashion, to be representative of how clean and simple the apartment complexes were on the inside of the building.

The structures were built in the year 1899. At the time, Wagner was studying in the more formal style in Vienna. In fact, his commission to do this early work was made possible by members of a local guild of classical designers. Wagner ended up turning that world upside down when he made the decision to do the building design in this more modern style. It would end up being his hallmark throughout his entire design career.

Walking Tours in Vienna, Austria

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Creating your own self-guided walk in Vienna is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Donau City Walking Tour

Donau City Walking Tour

Donau City is the 22nd district of Vienna and is located on the North bank of the Danube River. This previously undeveloped district is now the most modern part of Vienna, with contemporary office and apartment buildings, skyscrapers, international centers and the Vienna Islamic Centre. Take the following tour to catch some of these incredible sights!

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Vienna's Modern and Art Deco Architecture Walking Tour

Vienna's Modern and Art Deco Architecture Walking Tour

Vienna’s architectural displays represent a wide array of time periods and styles. The popular Art Deco style, or Jugendstil, impresses visitors with its bold design and façade. This walking tour will introduce you to some of Vienna’s modern buildings of the 20th century.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Alsergrund & Josefstadt Tour

Alsergrund & Josefstadt Tour

Alsergrund, the ninth district of Vienna, is associated with many notable names of Viennese art and science. It is the birthplace of Romantic composer Franz Schubert. Ludwig van Beethoven died here in his apartment at Schwarzspanierstraße 15. Berggasse 19 is the former residence and office of Sigmund Freud.

Josefstadt is the smallest district in Vienna. Most mayors of Vienna have lived here,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Old Town Museums Tour

Old Town Museums Tour

Thanks to its glorious past, Vienna is home to almost one hundred museums. This wonderful city offers a wide range of local history and culture museums exhibiting Vienna’s unique history and culture. This tour will guide you to most famous museums located in the Old Town of Vienna.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Old Town East Walking Tour

Old Town East Walking Tour

The Innere Stadt, first district of Vienna, is part of the World Heritage Site Historic Centre of the city. Originally the inner city was divided into four quarters, which were designated after important town gates. Take this tour to explore the beautiful landmarks, art galleries and shops in the East area of the Innere Stadt.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Music Venues Walking Tour

Music Venues Walking Tour

To call Vienna the "Music Capital of the World" would not be an exaggeration. It is home to a vast range of magnificent music venues where you can enjoy the sounds of Mozart’s arias, fabulous compositions by the "King of Waltz" Johann Strauss, famous Viennese Waltzes and other superb works of world-known musicians. Come enjoy the majestic sounds you will hear in some of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Vienna for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Vienna has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Vienna's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Vienna PASS, Vienna City Card, or Vienna Card. A city pass combines all or multiple Vienna's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Vienna hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth, Hotel Royal, DO&CO Hotel Vienna.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Vienna, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Vienna typically costs somewhere between US$20 and US$100 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to admire Vienna's best-known landmarks in comfort from the open top of the bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able to get on and off at any of the stops along the route. The tickets are valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

- Pedal your way around Vienna on a 3-hour bike tour to see the city's most spectacular highlights stopping at some of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions along the way from a knowledgeable group leader.

- Follow an expert guide on a 2.5-hour walking tour of classic Vienna to see the city's greatest landmarks such as the Imperial Palace, Sacher cafe, and St Stephen's Cathedral, plus a number of hidden gems only the locals know about!

- Travel back in time for a glimpse of what the life of the Austrian monarchs was like on a 2-hour tour of their fabulous summer residence and the matching beauty baroque gardens. Feel yourself like a royal, if only for a few hours!

- Follow the trail of Graham Greene's “The Third Man” novel made into a movie in 1949 by Orson Welles, depicting post-WWII spy-ridden Vienna. Explore this fascinating city as it was more than 60 years ago.

- Give yourself away to the sounds of music on a memorable Mozart-filled evening in Vienna attending a combo of the world-renowned Vienna Mozart Orchestra concert and a lavish 3-course dinner at the elegant Bristol restaurant visited, back in the day, by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and other historic figures.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Vienna, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Salzburg, Melk Abbey and Danube Valley, Wachau Valley, Mauthausen, or Vienna Woods and Mayerling. For as little as circa US$60+ to US$160+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites - harmonious blend of natural and cultural beauty manifested in Austria's medieval towns and countryside, visit Mozart's birthplace and original filming locations of "The Sound of Music" movie, admire picturesque Danube valley with ancient castles, grand monasteries and cute little villages, explore historic locations bearing sometimes grim memories of the past (e.g. the horrors perpetuated by the Nazis) and pay tribute to the Holocaust victims at one of the largest Nazi labor camps during World War II, take a boat trip along the Danube or down to the largest subterranean lake in Europe, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Vienna and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.