Putting together an itinerary for seeing all the best sights this vacation? Perhaps you've got a few hours to kill between business meetings, and want to know the best stuff to see. Either way, our 10Best list should have you covered. While there are always great things to experience, there are typically things you wish you would have passed on as well. Hoher Markt located in the 1st District area is among our top picks for sightseeing in Vienna.


1st District

The Treasury houses the royal emblems of the Habsburgs and the sacred relics of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire. The emblems include a 14th-century scepter and orb, and an 18th-century mantle woven in gold and silver. The imperial crown is the finest piece of jewelry in the collection of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire and dates to the 10th century. Otto I the Great carried into battle the Holy Lance, a relic dating to the ninth century.

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1st District

Once a coal market, this pedestrian street leads to the Hofburg. It is home to some of the most exclusive shops in Vienna, including the famous patisserie, Demel Konditorei, which was founded in the late 18th century and is one of the city's most famous cafés. There are also outlets of Cartier, Burberry, Armani, Tiffany and Chanel.

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This public square is Vienna's oldest and was originally part of a Roman encampment. Ruins are visible under the market. During medieval days it served as a fish and cloth market and a popular execution spot. Completely refurbished following World War II, the square features the Nuptial Fountain and the Ankeruhr, a marvelous clock that links two office buildings. Every hour different historical cut-out figures, such as Marcus Aurelius, Charlemagne, Maria Theresa and and Franz Stefan, march in front of the clock accompanied by organ music.

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The Plague Pillar dates from the late 17th century and is the centerpiece of Graben, a pedestrian street that was once a Roman moat. Also known as the Trinity Pillar, this Baroque column was built to celebrate the end of the Plague of 1679. Constructed over many years, the carved stone pillar depicts images of Creation, the Plague, Passover, the Last Supper, and other biblical stories along with allegorical sculptures of Faith ridding the city of the Plague.

Read more about Pestsaeule (Graben) →

1st District

St. Michael's Square faces the elaborate entrance into the Hofburg from Kohlmarkt. It was an important crossroads as early as Roman times, and recent excavations have uncovered the remains of Roman and medieval foundations and drainage systems, along with the remnants of the old 17th-century Burgtheater. Michaelerkrakt, the semi-circular façade or St. Michael's Wing, is located to the west of the square.

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1st District

Am Hof, the former site of Roman camps and medieval jousting tournaments, is the largest square in the city. It is lined with historic buildings and monuments, including the Mariensaeule (Column of Our Lady), which dates from the 17th century; the palatial 18th-century Markleinisches Haus; the Burgerliche Zeughaus, which is the old citizen's armory; and the Collalto Palace, where the six-year-old Mozart made his first public appearance.

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1st District

This odd shaped "square" takes its name from the term "a place of asylum." Indeed, in former times the monks granted fugitives the right of sanctuary. In the center of Freyung stands the Austria-Brunnen, a 19th-century fountain with allegorical figures that represent the four main rivers of the monarchy: the Danube, Po, Elbe and Vistula. All the monarchal rivers are crowned by a fifth allegorical figure, a representation of Austria.

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11th District

Vienna's colossal main cemetery has more than 2.5 million graves, memorials and pantheons laid out over 600 acres. Many of Vienna's best known musicians, artists and politicians have been laid to rest here, including Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms. In keeping with the Viennese affinity for stylish burials, the cemetery contains a wide range of funerary monuments varying from the simple to the extravagant.

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1st District

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family lived here between 1784 and 1787, possibly his most joyous and productive years in Vienna. Here he wrote his famous opera "The Marriage of Figaro," along with the Haydn quartets and several piano concerti. On display are lithographs, engravings, portraits, letters, documents and copies of scores. Like many museums in Vienna, Figarohaus is equipped with a sound system that allows visitors to use headphones to listen to musical excerpts.

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The imperial court library became the Austrian National Library in 1920. The Prunksaal is the showpiece of the structure and the finest Baroque library in Europe. Paired marble columns frame the main room and bookcases line the walls. The collections consist of volumes from Prince Eugene's library, acquired during the early 18th century, and books removed from monastic libraries during the religious reforms of the later 1700s.

Read more about Österreichische Nationalbibliothek →