It’s not surprising that Vienna wears its cultural history so proudly. Capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, base of the Habsburg dynasty, and home to some of music’s greatest composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, and Johann Strauss, it has made outsized contributions to Western Europe’s cultural and political heritage. (Less proudly, but nevertheless notably, it was also the stomping ground of a young Adolph Hitler.)
The city’s Old Town, which forms the urban center and is bounded along one edge by the famous Danube River, is now registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its proud musical traditions and myriad performance venues, it is a prime destination for lovers of classical music and opera. And resplendent in lavish architecture, Baroque art, and wide boulevards, it is a pedestrian tourist’s paradise. Just outside the city center is the Schonbrunn Palace, the expansive summer retreat of a series of Habsburg monarchs, which makes for one of the region’s most popular tourist landmarks. It’s no wonder that Vienna has been voted the world’s most livable city.