Austria is a country that is as well known for its scenic beauty as it is for its cultural activities. Situated in the Alps, it is a very popular place with skiers and hikers, but it is also a country that gave the world an important musical heritage, ranging from the classical composer Mozart to the Strauss waltzes and the Von Trapp family whose story was told in The Sound of Music. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Austria.
Our Vienna Travel Guide! So many layers to this wonderful Austrian city and we barely had time to scratch the surface. Vienna is one of those cities that offers something for everyone; culture, food, adventure.
Vienna is polished on the surface but dig a little deeper and there’s so much more to discover. Beyond the incredible museums, cathedrals, and markets, this Austrian city is an exciting year-round destination for all travelers.
While We All Know That You Shouldn’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, This is One Case in Which Evaluating Something on Its Appearance is Not Only Accepted, but Encouraged, These Libraries Are Known for Noteworthy Exteriors—think Soaring Architecture With Inspiring Interiors, and That’s Nothing Compared to the Millions of Books Housed Within Their Walls. So Whether You’re a Bookworm or an Architecture Lover, Start Adding These Beautiful Libraries to Your Must-visit List.
The Library of El Escorial, San Lorenzo De El Escorial, Spain Not Only is This Spanish Library a Work of Art, It’s Also Part of a Unesco World Heritage Site. Originally Commissioned by King Philip II, the Library’s Most Dazzling Feature is a Series of Seven Frescoes That Depict the Liberal Arts (Music, Rhetoric, Astronomy, and So on). The Town of San Lorenzo De El Escorial, Which is About 45 Minutes Outside of Madrid, Has Long Been a Favorite of Spanish Royals, and There’s Plenty More to See Here Beyond the Library, Including a Monastery, Gardens, and the Pantheons of Former Princes and Kings.
Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria The Austrian National Library is the Largest Library in Austria, With More Than 12 Million Items in Its Various Collections. The Library is Located in the Neue Burg Wing of the Hofburg in Center of Vienna, One of the Austrian National Library’s Most Jaw-dropping Features is the Huge Fresco on the Ceiling, Which Was Created by Painter Daniel Gran. The Dome is Also Decorated With Statues by Sculptor Paul Strudel That Pay Tribute to the Habsburg Rulers, Among the Exhibits Are Two Exquisite Venetian Baroque Globes: One for the Earth and One for the Sky, Each With a Diameter of More Than One Meter.
George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland The George Peabody Library (Part of Johns Hopkins University) Contains Over 300,000 Volumes Stacked in Five Decorative Tiers. The Books Are Impressive, Sure, but the Cathedral Like-atrium, Marble Floors, and Wrought-iron Details Are the Main Draw Here. Is It Any Wonder the Library Has Become One of the Most Popular Wedding Venues in Baltimore?
Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic The Strahov Monastery in Prague Was Originally Founded in 1143. Despite Wars, Fires, and Other Disasters, the Order Endured and Built Its Library in 1679. The Library’s Best-known Features Are Its Remarkable Ceiling, Which is Covered in Biblical Frescoes, and the “Compilation Wheel” That Can Turn and Rotate Shelves in Order to Make Books Easier to Find Without Knocking Any of Them Over.
Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), Egypt Alexandria Was Once Home to the Most Famous Library in the World. Now, Egypt Pays Homage to Its Biblio-heritage With This Sleek Granite Building. The Circular Structure, Designed by Norwegian Firm Snøhetta, is Covered in Carvings Done by Local Artists and Sits Next to a Large Reflecting Pool. Although There Are Plenty of Books in Three Languages (Arabic, French, and English), There Are Also Museums, a Planetarium, and a Lab Dedicated to Restoring and Preserving Ancient Manuscripts.
This volume is a treasure trove of photography from the last 175 years, following the evolution of Vienna from imperial capital to modern metropolis. Like a visual walk through time and cityscape, hundreds of carefully curated pictures trace the developments in Vienna’s built environment and the cultural and historical trends they reflect, whether the urban Gesamtkunstwerk of the 19th-century Ringstrasse or the experiments of “Red Vienna” in the 1920s, when the city had a social democrat government for the first time.
Vienna combines drama and elegance like no other. For centuries the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the stately city on the Danube, has been defined by vast palaces and imperial grandeur—but behind the Baroque opulence, Vienna is also a place of genteel coffee house culture, epicurean tradition, and a heritage of both delicate and daring music, art, and design, from Johann Strauss to Egon Schiele, from Gustav Mahler to Josef Hoffmann.
Caravaggio & Bernini: The Discovery of Emotions features some of the artists’ greatest works, but also charts their influence on others. And that influence proved to be powerful and enduring. Caravaggistas spread across Europe like termites. And so we could call this exhibition a battle of the swaggerers, the pomp of a very eclectic brand of Viennese historicism facing off against the theatrical push and preen of two great Italians.
From almost the beginning, Caravaggio, that man who arrived in Rome in the 1590s, is completely outrageous. Whom did he think were his principal patrons? Churchmen, of course. Did they care that he depicted John the Baptist in an extraordinary painting, circa 1602, as a carefree, lascivious, curly-haired boy with the cheekiest of grins imaginable?
Beethoven moved nearly 70 times while living in Vienna. Two of his former homes are open to the public, and many more are marked with commemorative plaques.
High above Vienna’s historic center, at the edge of the hilly Vienna Woods, the city’s Beethoven Museum, is housed in a onetime bakery complex dating back to the late Middle Ages, with an 18th-century annex containing a small apartment where Beethoven spent the summer of 1802. While living here, he composed his tragic “Tempest” piano sonata and began work on his 3rd Symphony, the “Eroica.”
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN is as Viennese as apple strudel. Though born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, he moved to the Austrian capital when he was in his early 20s, and then spent the rest of his 56 years changing the course of Western music from the city on the Danube. A quirky, cantankerous celebrity in his own time, he premiered his groundbreaking symphonies and concertos in Vienna’s grand palaces, escaped the summer heat in what are now its sleepy suburbs, and moved around between dozens of supposedly squalid apartments that sprawl across much of the city.