Historic city of music on the Danube, Vienna is steeped in the legacy of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Strauss and Mahler. Naturally music is a fervent part of the Austrian soul.
Amongst Imperial Palaces of the Hapsburg dynasty, cathedrals, museums and galleries prepare yourself for a noteworthy architectural feast.
Yet modern Vienna blends with its historic past creating a wonderful European cultural vacation city waiting for the GLBT traveler to experience.
Renowned for its distinct café culture and imperial nostalgia, Vienna boasts a sizeable gay and lesbian scene. With a café on every corner serving Viennese coffee specialties and much more, several of these coffee houses have been claimed by our community. Plus numerous cocktail bars, nightclubs, restaurants, shops and spas are eager to welcome the gay tourist and make them feel right at home.
But even beyond the obvious gay and lesbian gathering spots, Vienna has a very queer history. For centuries homosexuals have left their distinctive marks on Austrian arts, culture and politics, sometimes subtle, yet always noticeable. Often a gay visitor is confronted with the truth about an historic figure when they discover he or she was “family”.
A couple of sightseeing tours of Vienna combine the city’s gay history with a fascinating walking tour of the old city. These can be found in the Vienna Queer Guide published by the gay-friendly Vienna Tourist Board and available by mail in advance of your visit upon request or at their website for immediate downloading.
One tour commences at the Belvedere Palace, the summer residence of the gay Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), the other starts at the famous Vienna State Opera House which was built by architects who were both business and life partners. Each of these tours will give a fascinating retrospective of Vienna’s gay past as you discover the city’s current gay community hang-outs. Even Franz Schubert earns his place on the tour along with several other well known names from Austrian royalty.
With over one hundred and twenty museums, galleries and palaces to visit during your stay this is a city with much to offer every desire and curiosity. Anyone with an inquisitive mind or sense of adventure will be dazzled by everything which is Vienna.
The Ringstrasse boulevard-once the showcase of the monarchy-completely encircles the historic city center. A sightseeing tour by streetcar ride around the “ring” is a five kilometer stretch of magnificent buildings including the Imperial Palace, the Vienna State Opera, City Hall, the University plus several museums and galleries. The golden statue of Johann Strauss and the Mozart memorial are both located in beautiful parks along the Ringstrasse.
With so much history to explore it’s hard to decide where to begin. However a few places stand out as priorities for memorable learning experiences.
The House of Music is a must to understand everything which musical notes or scores mean to Attractions in Vienna and the world. With over 5,000 square meters of space located in the historical palace of Arch Duke Charles of the Hapsburg Dynasty, this hands-on exhibit traces the science of music, the great composers and musicians of the past and today’s musicians. You can even be the virtual conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic and the orchestra will obey your baton commands and give you their reaction to your musical talent – applause or jeers! After your tour, the attic of the building houses the Cantino Café where you can enjoy Tapas and other delicacies surrounded by a roof-top view of the city and St. Stephan’s Cathedral.