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Filled with architectural marvels and renowned cultural attractions, Vienna is easily one of Europe’s most breathtaking capital cities. Located on the Danube River, Vienna is the capital of Austria and is home to nearly two million residents. The area of Vienna has been occupied since roughly 500 B.C., so it’s no surprise that it boasts a long and illustrious history. If you’re planning to visit this enchanting Austrian city near the Alps, be sure to see the following must-see attractions.

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Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens

The Schonbrunn Palace is a glorious Baroque structure that features apartments once lived in by Empress Maria Theresa. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace, and its surrounding gardens are one of the city’s most-visited attractions. The palace is filled with period furnishings and masterful art pieces. For 300 years, the palace has been the summer residence for the nation’s most illustrious royals. Today, people come from all over the world to explore its undeniable grandeur.

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The Hofburg

The Hofburg has been the official home of Austria’s rulers since 1275. This palatial structure is today’s seat of government. Situated on nearly 60 acres, the palace complex features as many as 2,600 rooms that are richly adorned. The Hofburg includes various attractions such as its Imperial Apartments, Hofburg Treasury, and revered Sisi Museum. There’s much to marvel at when it comes to the complex’s exterior and interior, so make sure you set aside a day to explore its must-see elements.

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Vienna State Opera House

The city of Vienna has long been renowned for its arts and culture. It’s not surprising, therefore, that one of its most revered and beloved attractions is the Vienna State Opera House, a stunning venue that has hosted some of the world’s greatest composers. When visiting, do your best to procure tickets to a symphony performance or ballet so you can witness this splendid attraction as it comes to life with music and dance.

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The Albertina

One of the world’s most celebrated art museums, The Albertina is home to works created by Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, and many more great artists throughout history. Founded in 1805, The Albertina boasts one of the largest and most impressive print rooms on the planet. No art lover should miss the chance to witness this museum’s illustrious collections.

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St. Stephen's Cathedral

One of Vienna’s most iconic features, St. Stephen’s Cathedral dates to the 12th century. Though essentially destroyed during WWII, the cathedral has been rebuilt and features daily services for worshippers. The cathedral is the seat of Vienna’s Archbishop and remains one of the city’s most important religious structures. People come from all over the world to marvel at its richly adorned altars and precious artworks.

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Demel

Established in 1786, the illustrious Demel is the oldest café and bakery in the city. Vienna, of course, is famous for its cuisine and coffeehouse culture, so a visit to a café like Demel should be high on your to-do list. Known officially as Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel, this café serves centuries’ old recipes that include dishes and pastries that were the favorites of Austrian royals. Although Demel is famous for its violet sorbet, its Sacher Torte is a treat you don’t want to miss.

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The National Theater

Founded in 1776 by Emperor Joseph II, the National Theater is easily the nation’s most important. Architecturally impressive, the theater is just as jaw-dropping on the inside with its frescoes painted by greats like Gustav Klimt. Throughout the year, the National Theater hosts some of the most acclaimed plays and performances in the German-speaking world.

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Museum of Fine Arts

Vienna’s museum of fine arts, known officially as the Kunsthistorisches Museum, is world-famous for its art collections, particularly those that comprised the art collection of the Hapsburgs. Housed in buildings that date to the late 19th century, the museum owns celebrated masterpieces like Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel, Madonna of the Meadow by Raphael, and The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer.

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Vienna Zoo

The Vienna Zoo is a beloved attraction of the city. The zoo began as Emperor Francis I’s animal menagerie in 1752. Today, the zoo is home to more than 750 species. People come from near and far to visit its giant pandas in particular, but you’ll find delightful animal exhibits that feature some of the globe’s most fascinating critters.

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Kartner Strasse

One of the most elegant avenues in Vienna, which is saying something, Kartner Strasse is home to sophisticated shops, boutiques, and cafes. The street is famous for its lime trees and streetside cafes that serve some of the city’s most delectable traditional fare like Wiener Schnitzel and goulash. If you want to bring home a special souvenir to commemorate your trip to Vienna, you’ll want to set aside some time to shop here.

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