Few cities can boast the imperial grandeur of Vienna, once the centre of the powerful Habsburg monarchy.
There's a grandeur everywhere, from Lipizzaner stallions performing elegant equine ballet to the angelic tones of the Vienna Boys' Choir and outrageously opulent palaces.
Vienna is one the most musical cities in the world. This is partly due to the many great composers and musicians who were born, lived and worked here. Visiting Austria's capital means experiencing the works of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Johann Strauss (both father and son), Liszt, Brahms, Bruckner and many others in venues such as the Staatsoper and Musikverein.
The music of Bach and Händel continues to be performed in the city's historic churches. Vienna's Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments, paired with a visit to the Haus der Musik, goes deeper into the texture of music and how it is created.
Venues for classical music are augmented by great clubs and live rock and jazz places.
It's hard to imagine a more livable city.
Regulars sit in cosy coffee houses solving world chaos over the noble bean; Beisln (bistro pubs) serve delicious brews, wines and traditional food; talented chefs are taking the capital in new culinary directions; and an efficient transport system will ferry you across town from a restaurant to a post-dinner drink in no time at all. It's safe, has lots of bicycle tracks and even has its own droll sense of humour.
New Old City
Vienna is a city where postmodernist and contemporary architectural designs contrast and fuse with the monumental and historic. The MuseumsQuartier is a perfect example, with modern museum architecture integrated into a public space created around former stables for the Habsburgs' horses.
Twentieth-century designs such as Loos American Bar are little short of inspiring, while contemporary Vienna is constantly being given new and exciting infrastructural designs such as the Twin City Liners boat landing (with the restaurant, bar and cafe Motto am Fluss) and the enormous Hauptbahnhof (train station).