Essential Vienna

Tour Creator

Jeffrey has traveled to nearly 70 countries across all the habitable continents as a columnist and writer for publications including The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He…Read More Bio »

Vienna

GPS-directed

Remote Tour Included

1+hr/2.5hrs(Extended itinerary)

1km/2.5km(Extended itinerary)

Vienna is one of the Europe’s most stately and elegant cities. On our tour, we will explore and learn about Vienna’s long history, from its birth as a Roman encampment to the city that today is rated #1 in the world for livability. We will see where it all began back sometime around the year 15 BC and where Hitler annexed Austria with words, not bullets. And we will learn about the Habsburg family that controlled much of Europe and headed the Holy Roman Empire for almost 400 years.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional journalist

Written by a former The Wall Street Journal columnist, who has traveled to nearly 70 countries across all the habitable continents

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Hofburg Palace, Augustinian Church, and the Anker Clock

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home

Itineraries

Essential Vienna – Extended

Part 1

Part 2

  1. Rathaus - Home to Vienna’s local government, the Rathaus was part of a 19th century beautification project that tore down the city’s Medieval, defensive walls and replaced them classically beautiful government buildings. But the real story here is how Vienna came to build that wall in the first place. It’s the a story of kidnapping and ransom.
  2. Austrian Parliament Building - This is the home of Austria’s national government. But it was built for a representative form of government at a time when Austria was still a monarchy and the vast majority of people had no voting rights. So, why build it?
  3. Hofburg Palace - There are family dynasties … and then there’s the Habsburg dynasty. This palace is where the Habsburg ruled much of Europe and parts of the wider world for more than half a millennia. It’s always where Hitler claimed ownership of the country of his birth.
  4. Austrian National Treasury - Part of what was the small, original Hofburg Palace, the Austrian National Treasury is now home to one of the world’s most important collections of historical artifacts, including some that purportedly tied to Jesus Christ.
  5. Michaelerplatz - One of the newest and most elegant of the Hofburg Palace buildings, Michaelerplatz is most famous for the apartment of Austria’s most beloved Queen – Sisi. Alas, her story is one of Shakespearean tragedy.
  6. Josefsplatz - Emperor Joseph II wanted to be Austria’s enlightened ruler, playing a role in a political movement that, ultimately, would lead to Western-style democracy. Instead, he turned out to be just another dictator.
  7. Augustinian Church - Several famous weddings occurred here during the centuries. But, perhaps, what’s most interesting about this church isn’t who was married here, or even who’s buried here … it’s what is buried here.
  8. Memorial Against War and Fascism - This is one of the more controversial World War II remembrances in Vienna. It aims to never forget the atrocities wrought upon Jews, but in doing so, it has actually angered many of those it seeks to memorialize.
  9. Capuchin Church - Beneath this church lies the Habsburg Imperial Crypt. But gaining entrance as a deceased member of an imperial family is one of the more elaborate burial processes you’ll ever come across.
  10. Church of the Teutonic Order - What began as a Catholic order formed to protect Christians on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the Crusades morphed into one of the strongest religious armies in central and eastern Europe. It was here where the Teutonic Knights built their empire.
  11. St. Stephen’s Cathedral - Because of its colorful roof, St. Stephen’s is one of the most iconic churches in Vienna, and has been for more than 800 years. But if you look closely enough, you’ll find a bit of pornography designed into the façade.
  12. Stock im Eisen - Four-leaf clovers, a found penny and … a nail in a tree trunk? Back in the day, this is where Medieval craftsmen wished for a bit of good luck, or an improvement to their health.
  13. Plague Column - When you don’t have medicine to fight one of the world’s most horrific killers, you do what comes natural to a Medieval mind: You build a structure to honor God and then hope that saves you from the plague.
  14. St. Peter’s Catholic Church - Quite possibly the oldest church in Vienna … or maybe not. Either way, St. Peter’s is directly tied to one of the greatest rules of Europe, Charlemagne … or maybe not.
  15. Johannes Gutenberg Monument - The man behind the world’s most famous bible, and what is arguably the most important invention in the development of humanity, has no reason to be celebrated in Vienna. And, yet, here he is…
  16. Hoher Market - Executions and eggs – they go together like … well, nothing. But it was here at Hoher Market, Vienna’s first public market, where locals could buy their daily produce and watch public executions.
  17. St. Rupert’s Church - St. Rupert’s compete with St. Stephen’s for the title of “Vienna’s oldest church.” But the more interesting story at this church has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with salt.
  18. The Original Wall - One of the last remnants of the original defensive wall that encircled Vienna.
  1. Rathaus - Home to Vienna’s local government, the Rathaus was part of a 19th century beautification project that tore down the city’s Medieval, defensive walls and replaced them classically beautiful government buildings. But the real story here is how Vienna came to build that wall in the first place. It’s the a story of kidnapping and ransom.
  2. Austrian Parliament Building - This is the home of Austria’s national government. But it was built for a representative form of government at a time when Austria was still a monarchy and the vast majority of people had no voting rights. So, why build it?
  3. Hofburg Palace - There are family dynasties … and then there’s the Habsburg dynasty. This palace is where the Habsburg ruled much of Europe and parts of the wider world for more than half a millennia. It’s always where Hitler claimed ownership of the country of his birth.
  4. Austrian National Treasury - Part of what was the small, original Hofburg Palace, the Austrian National Treasury is now home to one of the world’s most important collections of historical artifacts, including some that purportedly tied to Jesus Christ.
  5. Michaelerplatz - One of the newest and most elegant of the Hofburg Palace buildings, Michaelerplatz is most famous for the apartment of Austria’s most beloved Queen – Sisi. Alas, her story is one of Shakespearean tragedy.
  6. Josefsplatz - Emperor Joseph II wanted to be Austria’s enlightened ruler, playing a role in a political movement that, ultimately, would lead to Western-style democracy. Instead, he turned out to be just another dictator.
  7. Augustinian Church - Several famous weddings occurred here during the centuries. But, perhaps, what’s most interesting about this church isn’t who was married here, or even who’s buried here … it’s what is buried here.
  8. Memorial Against War and Fascism - This is one of the more controversial World War II remembrances in Vienna. It aims to never forget the atrocities wrought upon Jews, but in doing so, it has actually angered many of those it seeks to memorialize.
  9. Capuchin Church - Beneath this church lies the Habsburg Imperial Crypt. But gaining entrance as a deceased member of an imperial family is one of the more elaborate burial processes you’ll ever come across.
  1. Church of the Teutonic Order - What began as a Catholic order formed to protect Christians on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the Crusades morphed into one of the strongest religious armies in central and eastern Europe. It was here where the Teutonic Knights built their empire.
  2. St. Stephen’s Cathedral - Because of its colorful roof, St. Stephen’s is one of the most iconic churches in Vienna, and has been for more than 800 years. But if you look closely enough, you’ll find a bit of pornography designed into the façade.
  3. Stock im Eisen - Four-leaf clovers, a found penny and … a nail in a tree trunk? Back in the day, this is where Medieval craftsmen wished for a bit of good luck, or an improvement to their health.
  4. Plague Column - When you don’t have medicine to fight one of the world’s most horrific killers, you do what comes natural to a Medieval mind: You build a structure to honor God and then hope that saves you from the plague.
  5. St. Peter’s Catholic Church - Quite possibly the oldest church in Vienna … or maybe not. Either way, St. Peter’s is directly tied to one of the greatest rules of Europe, Charlemagne … or maybe not.
  6. Johannes Gutenberg Monument - The man behind the world’s most famous bible, and what is arguably the most important invention in the development of humanity, has no reason to be celebrated in Vienna. And, yet, here he is…
  7. Hoher Market - Executions and eggs – they go together like … well, nothing. But it was here at Hoher Market, Vienna’s first public market, where locals could buy their daily produce and watch public executions.
  8. St. Rupert’s Church - St. Rupert’s compete with St. Stephen’s for the title of “Vienna’s oldest church.” But the more interesting story at this church has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with salt.
  9. The Original Wall - One of the last remnants of the original defensive wall that encircled Vienna.

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