An Introduction to Vienna

3-Hour Tour

Get a Solid Feel for the Imperial City

Hofburg, Stephansdom, Ringstrasse, Nachtmarkt, MuseumsQuartier

Led by an expert local historian, you’ll gain a rich overview of the Innere Stadt’s major sites and enjoy immersion into Viennese culture from waltzes and pastries to world-class museums and classical music. Along the way, you’ll gain a solid feel for Vienna’s past and present from its centuries as the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s ruling city through the dark chapters of Anschluss and WWII concluding with the social and political makeup of Vienna today.

Highlights

Explore the clash between tradition and innovation at the Baroque Hofburg and the modernist Loos House.

Stroll through narrow streets reminiscent of Old Vienna, passing places known by Mozart, Sigmund Freud, and Prince Eugene of Savoy.

Take in the grand Vienna Opera House and Ringstraße, while your expert historian guide explains the 19th-century rise of Vienna's commercial and intellectual classes.

At the unique Secession building, learn of the city's turn-of-century avant-gardism, including figures like Klimt and Mahler.

Pass by the Viennese Naschmarkt (literally nibble market), the lively outdoor market where locals meet, shop, and partake!

Weave through the Museumsquartier, home to Vienna's world-class concentration of museums, while discussing the present-day cultural and political orientations of Austria and its capital.

Tour Details

Price

Private tour – $390 USD (1-10 persons)
*your guide all to yourself

 

Small groups – $125 USD per person
*still intimate with 8 persons or less


Departure time

Private tours daily at 9:30 AM and 2 PM

 

Small groups

  • Monday 9:30 AM
  • Wednesday 2 PM
  • Friday 9:30 AM
  • Saturday 2 PM

Meeting point

Private tours include a pick-up at your central hotel or flat

Small groups:

Café Hawelka
Historic family cafe frequented by Vienna’s artistic community since 1945
Dorotheergasse 6, 1010 Wien

Availability

Year-round


Duration

3 hours


Group size

Private tours: 1-10 persons
Groups of over 10 should contact us at info@insightcities.com in order to get a special rate for their party.

 

Small groups: 2-8 persons


Participation requirements

As this is a walking tour, please contact us if you have any mobility issues or concerns


What to bring

Comfortable walking shoes


About your guide

Read about our Vienna guides


Cancellation policy

For cancellations 48 hours prior to your scheduled tour, Insight Cities offers a full refund. We cannot refund cancellations within 48 hours of a scheduled tour as we need to pay our guide.

Itinerary

large stone palace with green dome

An introduction to Vienna

It was famed Austrian silent movie actor and filmmaker Erich von Stroheim (1885-1957) who said of Austria’s beautiful capital, If I speak of Vienna it must be in the past tense, as a man speaks of a woman he has loved and who is dead. He was absolutely right about Vienna being a city of the past. And not just a city of one past, but of many pasts. Vienna is notable for its layers of history built one on top of the other, from ancient Roman ruins to the Hofburg – the Habsburg’s imperial palace – and beyond.

horse and carriage riding past palace in snow

Michaelerplatz and the Hofburg

Our tour begins at Michaelerplatz, where the Hofburg the Habsburg’s imperial palace and the seat of power since the 13th century dominates the square.

Clockwise from the palace is the green and gray Loos House, designed by Austrian architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933). On the building’s grand unveiling in 1910, the emperor at the time Franz Joseph I (1830-­1916) was so unimpressed at its unadorned, modernist style that he refused to use it! He even went as far as to demand that the drapes in all the windows in the Neue Burg wing of the palace be permanently drawn, so he could avoid glimpsing such “an eyesore” in the vicinity of his imperial abode!

In the center of the square is an excavation of 18th-century housing, medieval cellars, and Roman buildings; evidence of the city’s earliest history as a Roman legionary fort, when it was known as Vindobona.

Stephansdom and the Graben

Our tour continues down Kohlmarkt and the Graben currently one of the city’s most fashionable shopping districts, and home to such varied sights as a plague column commemorating the 17th-century outbreak of bubonic plague, a Baroque church, grand buildings in many different architectural styles, and the national architectural icon of Austria: Stephansdom.

From here, you can see buildings in every direction designed by famed Austrian architects such as Otto Wagner (1841­-1918), whose Wiener Secessionist style (the city’s answer to Art Nouveau) stands in contrast to Loos’s restrained and unadorned creations.

tour guide pointing up and explaning something on cobbled street

Mozart and the Ambiance of Old Vienna

From Stephansdom, we explore the narrow streets behind the cathedral, where the ambiance of old Vienna can still be felt today. Here, we discover places connected with famous names like W.A. Mozart (1756-1791), who lived in this quarter during the last ten years of his life, or Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), who built his famous Winterpalace nearby.

The Ringstraße and Naschmarkt

We continue towards the State Opera House, touching Albertina Square where we find remnants of the old city walls and a famous art collection. We then stroll along the Ringstraße, a grand boulevard built in the middle of the 19th century, where most of Vienna’s luxury hotels have been established within the walls of old palaces.

We continue our walk towards the Secession building and pass by the Viennese Naschmarkt, the colorful traditional food market where the Viennese meet to mingle and shop.

The Museums ­Quartier and Maria­-Theresien­-Platz

Finally, we weave through the Museumsquartier and Maria­-Theresien­-Platz, home to the city’s largest concentration of museums. Along the way, your expert guide shares insight into the present-day cultural, political, and economic orientations of Austria and its capital.

close-up of stone 2 stone sculpture figures looking at one another

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Karlsplatz Pavilion, an old railway station.
The Austrian Parliament building.
Tour group in a narrow street in Vienna