Long, long before there was a Starbucks in Vienna there was a thriving coffee-house culture, where musicians (such as Beethoven and Mozart) would play, and writers and poets - and ordinary Viennese folk - would meet to drink coffee, eat Gebaeck (pastry), read newspapers and debate the issues of the day.
If some of these coffee houses with red plush and glittering chandeliers resemble palaces, they are nothing compared to the real palaces in Vienna. Austria's stately capital city was centre of the Habsburg Empire for more than 600 years and boasts the Hofburg (winter palace), Schönbrunn (summer palace) and the Spanish Riding School where the Lipizzaner horses live.
The top museums to visit are the Kunsthistorisches Museum (has the world's fourth-largest art collection); the Belvedere (once a palace, boasts collections by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele); and the Sigmund Freud Museum on Berggasse 19. The Naturhistorische Museum is said to be the finest natural history museum in the world.
Cheap flights to Vienna land at Vienna International. Book early and book often; between food and drink and music and culture and history, one visit to Vienna will not be enough.
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