First Stephansdom, then head to the Imperial Palace, take in the Albertina before checking out the Parliament...any time in Vienna is not enough time, and drawing up a sightseeing tour can leave even the keenest visitor exhausted. Best to start, then, with the mother lode of coffee kicks. Settle into one of the city’s inimitable coffee houses – think a quiet, contented hum amidst chandeliers, marble pillars, wood panelling and classical music – and choose your coffee: the Maria Theresa (served with orange liqueur and cream), the Brauner (a dash of milk), the Pharisaer (whipped cream, rum on the side) or countless other varieties. Then have another, possibly this time with a slice of sacher torte, and happily have your carefully planned itinerary disrupted in the tastiest possible way.
Final resting place of princes and emperors, site of Mozart’s wedding and funeral, and an island of High Gothic amid Vienna’s barrage of baroque, St Stephen’s Cathedral is a building to be treasured, easily one of Europe’s finest buildings, and deserves to be on the first line of any visitor’s itinerary to the city. Its defining feature is perhaps its glorious roof, unusual and arresting with its chevrons of brightly coloured, ornate tiles. The view of the roof, and over the city, from the top of the south tower, after 343 breathless steps, is predictably memorable, but don’t be in a rush past the cathedral’s remarkable interior. From oddities such as the tomb of Emperor Frederick III – upon which hideous creatures are depicted as attempting to wake the emperor – to genuine masterpieces like the 16th century carved stone pulpit and the extraordinary Wiener Neustadt altarpiece, Stephansdom flaunts enough richestosteal an entire day away from entranced holidaymakers.