An Elegant, European Empire (Once)
Vienna, known locally as Wien, is elegance personified. The city that was ruled by the mighty Hapsburg Empire for over 600 years now offers a genteel atmosphere of history, culture and beauty.
You can still see the remnants of their expansive kingdom – with not just one, but two palaces in Vienna. The Schönbrunn palace at the edge of town was their summer residence. You know, just a little place to sit back, relax and rule. Those who lived there caged themselves in – along with animals. You can now visit the Tiergarten, the oldest zoo in the world. The main palace, the Hofburg, dominates the town center. This sprawling complex grew with the family empire from the 13th century until just before WWI. And while no one has lived here in over 90 years, the palace still functions as the Austrian President’s office and is home to government workers and the prized Vienna Boys’ Choir.
Vienna is capital of culture. With over 100 museums, 27 castles and 150 palaces to discover. You’ll find an extensive collection of important works at the Albertina, in the Innere Stadt (First District). Home to one of the the largest print rooms in the world, explore nearly 65,000 drawings and one-million old master prints.
Also on the edge of the First District, the magnificent St. Charles’s Church. One of the most outstanding baroque churches north of the Alps, it boasts a dome that rises over 230 feet high – and stands as a major landmark on the Viennese skyline.
The capital of Austria hasn’t just culture – but mouthwatering cookies and cakes. Go beyond the ubiquitous strudel. Stop at the Sacher Hotel for the original Sachertorte, a dry chocolate cake with apricot jam that is recreated in pastry shops the world over. Enjoy after a dinner of Wiener schnitzel – available in almost any restaurant that serves traditional Viennese cuisine.
Vienna - rooted in history with a nod toward the modern and cosmopolitan. It truly is a city for the 21st century. For a glimpse into the cradle of classical music, hop on the train for Salzburg – just 2 1/2 hours away. Visit Mozart’s home and fill the hills with your own rendition of The Sound of Music. With your Eurail Austria pass, you can see so much more of this country. Like the storybook lakeside village of Hallstatt, the gem of the Salzkammergut Lake District. Explore the snowy peaks of alpine Tirol.
With two major train stations, Vienna allows travelers easy access by rail to other countries, too. Get to Budapest or Salzburg in less than 3 hours or Prague or Munich in less than 5 hours. With such close proximity to each other, we’ve created the Central Europe Triangle Pass. Talk about taking the right angle. For those who have “gone west” in the past, this is your opportunity to cover more central ground – all with one pass. Get one-way, 2nd class rail travel between your choice of two itineraries. See the cities you’ve longed to see, without going off on a tangent. And never setting foot in an airport.
Contributed by: Kathryn, who works with our web department, has travelled extensively throughout Europe – utilizing all forms of public transportation!