Home of the eponymous musical classicism, Vienna boasts a historic centre, the Innere Stadt, which is a World Heritage Site. Running through Austria's capital evokes both the splendours of the Habsburg era and medieval Austria, in a renovated city with an unparalleled quality of life.
"It is no coincidence that the music of the soul comes from Austria. It is no coincidence that Mozart was born in Salzburg and Schubert in Vienna, it is the organic expression of these cities that are not petrified but have remained Austrian landscapes," wrote Ernst Lothar in his book "Melody of Vienna".
Set on the Danube river, Vienna stands proudly in eastern Austria, close to the borders with Slovakia and Hungary. Known as the "City of Dreams" because Sigmund Freud lived here, it is also called the "City of Music".
From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, Viennese classicism has (re)defined the art of European music and continues to radiate centuries later. During your walk or run through Vienna, you will discover the sublime State Opera House, built during the 19th century, which honours the famous artists of the Austrian capital.
The Innere Stadt, in the heart of intimate Vienna
In the heart of the city, the Innere Stadt, you will enter the splendours of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The imperial palace Hofburg, which together with its outbuildings occupies a large part of the first district, is located here. In the Hofburg, if you feel like it, you will discover the museum of Sissi, the empress whose youth was the subject of a series of romantic books. But also the emperor's flats, and the court silver treasure room, where the crown of the Holy Roman Empire is displayed together with other regalia.
A few steps away, you will quickly lose yourself in the museum district. Here you will find an imposing complex of buildings in the former imperial stables. The nearby Albertina Palace, which was also a residence of the Habsburg dynasty, was built in 1801 to house the works of art collected by Duke Albert of Saxony-Teschen. Today, it is a museum with one of the richest collections in the world,
with almost a million prints and over 65,000 drawings by masters! A true paradise for art lovers.
The town hall or the Austrian parliament, as well as St. Stephen's cathedral, are other places worth visiting and which you will have the opportunity to see on your Viennese trip. Once you've had your fill of architecture, don't hesitate to turn back towards the Hofburg, and then head for the Volksgarten!
This "People's Garden", located around the Hofburg Palace, was built on the former city fortifications that were destroyed by Napoleon in 1809. It is a popular place for runners and walkers alike, and you will enjoy the peace and quiet of this park with its clean lines, right in the heart of the capital!
From Wieden to Fasanviertel
Around the centre of Vienna is the Ringstrasse, a ring boulevard built on the route of the old city wall, which encloses the Innere Stadt. It is dotted with important monuments from the Austrian imperial era and is one of the most beautiful boulevards in the capital. On the other side of the Ring, there are many equally attractive districts. One of these is Wieden, Vienna's fourth district, which is located in the Gürtel, which was built on the site of the old city wall. Originally one of Vienna's oldest suburbs - its name first appears in writing in 1137 - its main street, Wiedner Hauptstraße, is believed to predate it. It runs south from Karlsplatz and the pleasant Resselpark.
Not far from it you will find one of the most important religious buildings in Austria, the Church of St. Charles Borromeo, built at the end of the 18th century on the orders of Emperor Charles VI, from which the name Karlsplatz (Charles' Square) is derived. This is because the church was located on the axis between the Hofburg and the Neue Favorita, a palace further on in Wieden which also belonged to the royal family. If you pass by it on your run, you should know that since its sale by Maria Theresa of Austria, it has become a school, now the Theresianum Gymnasium, which also houses the Austrian Diplomatic Academy.
On the way to Fasanviertel, you will undoubtedly come across the huge Belvederegarten, which houses the eponymous palace, one of the city's largest baroque palaces.
Built at the beginning of the 18th century, it now houses a museum, one of the highlights of which is the Gustav Klimt collection. Don't hesitate to walk through its wonderful "Swiss garden", which surrounds the Belvedere 21 museum of modern art, or the botanical garden of the University of Vienna, which is adjacent to it.
Schönbrunn or Donauturm ?
From one end of the Vienna metropolitan area to the other, the walk is over 10 km as the crow flies. So you may not want to go round all the attractions the city has to offer!
However, outside the city centre, there are a number of major sights to see. Among them, of course, is Schönbrunn Palace. A must-see in Austrian culture, it is one of Vienna's most visited tourist sites and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It stands in Hietzing, west of the Innere Stadt, and was the site of several major buildings before the present castle was built at the turn of the 18th century, and subsequently underwent numerous modifications. Napoleon II, Bonaparte's son, called "King of Rome", lived and died here after the fall of his father.
Around Schönbrunn there are huge French gardens with a magnificent gazebo and fake Roman ruins, as well as an orangery.
Diametrically opposite the castle from the city centre, the Danube with its unspoilt banks also beckons. One of the highlights is the Danube Tower, which stands near the Donaupark on an island nestled in the river. At a height of 150 metres, its platform allows you to admire the view of the city, while enjoying a coffee or even a meal! You can even go bungee jumping here... or take part in a sporting event called the Donauturm-Lauf, which is held every year in November. It consists of running up the 775 steps of the tower's stairs. The current record is 3 minutes and 23.58 seconds!
On the long Donauinsel, the artificial island that stretches for more than 21 kilometres between the Danube and the Neue Donau canal, you can also take a stroll and enjoy the immense leisure space it offers its visitors. From "Copa Cagrana", named after the neighbouring district of Kagran, to the south of the island where there are numerous nudist beaches, the Donauinsel is mainly a place of relaxation. In June, the Donauinselfest, a major music festival, is held here, attracting several million visitors each year!
Run with Runnin'City from the Innere Stadt to the Donauinsel!