by Ellen Curham
If you consider yourself a bit of a culture vulture or history buff, then Vienna is the perfect city for you. The classy Austrian capital boasts tons of museums that will occupy your interests for hours on end. You could spend your entire trip in Vienna’s impressive museums and not regret a thing.
The Albertina is an absolute must as it houses one of the world’s best art collections with thousands of drawings and around one million master prints. Found in the Innere Stadt, this centrally-located palace cannot be missed due to the large statue of the Archduke Albert on horseback near the front entrance.
Here you will find Dürer’s ‘Hare’ and other pieces by da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Klimt and Picasso. History nerds will appreciate the elegant Habsburg Staterooms which have been completely restored with their original furniture, giving you a real feel for royal life in 18th-century Austria. The Albertina is open every day, with extended hours on Wednesdays. Adult prices are currently set at €12.90 and entry is free for those under 19.
Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts)
Many of Austria’s finest pieces of art are housed in this incredible museum having been handed down from royals, aristocrats and artists for centuries. Located in the MuseumsQuartier, make sure you don’t confuse it with the Naturhistorisches Museum, which we’ll get to later, as they both have the same grand exterior featuring a large central dome. Noted works in this museum include pieces by Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Dürer and Caravaggio.
During the summer months, the KHM is open every day, and closed on Mondays the rest of the year. Under-19s go for free while a full-price adult ticket is €15. It’s also free if it’s your birthday so check it out on the day if you’re heading to Vienna to celebrate.
This museum has the world’s largest collection of Klimt pieces including his masterpiece ‘The Kiss’ which thousands of tourists flock to see every year. There are two baroque palaces, Upper and Lower, that make up the Belvedere. Not only can you take in the works of one of Austria’s most famous artists here, but you can also enjoy the fabulous gardens—making it a perfect spot if not everybody in your group is into museums. It is this baroque splendour that makes the Belvedere a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the number-one tourist destination in Vienna. General entrance for an adult here is €20, under-18s go free and it’s open every day.
mumok (Museum of Modern Art)
This extensive collection of contemporary art makes a nice change from the classic collections at many of the other art museums in Vienna. Also based in the MuseumsQuartier, this striking glass building has thousands of paintings, photos, sculptures and multimedia works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Yoko Ono and Günter Brus. As well as this, you’ll find temporary exhibitions from some internationally-renowned artists along with up-and-coming names. It is open daily, albeit with a later opening time on Monday. Adult entry is €11 and under-19s are free.
This is the place to go to learn all about the city and its rich history. As well as artworks, you’ll find all sorts of objects and artifacts from Roman times to present day. Here you can get to know the city’s most famous inhabitants and understand the architectural styles of the region. Fans of classical music will love the Musician’s Apartments which are run by the museum and dotted around the city. You can see where Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss and other greats lived at certain points in their lives! The main Karlsplatz location is open every day except Mondays and general entry is €10 and free for under-19s.
Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History)
Located opposite the Art History Museum in the MuseumsQuartier, this fascinating place will allow you to mix up your museum tour with its incredible natural history collection. You’ll find dinosaur skeletons and the world’s largest selection of meteorites as well as a digital planetarium. Although educational, this isn’t just for kids—and it’s consistently one of the best-rated museums in Vienna. This is closed on Tuesdays; it costs €10 for adults and is free for under-19s.
Sigmund Freud Museum
For something a bit different, check out the Sigmund Freud Museum, dedicated to one of Austria’s most famous sons. Learn all about the neurologist’s life from his childhood to how he became the father of psychoanalysis. You’ll find photos of Freud as well as drawings and notes in this museum which previously served as Freud’s living quarters and office. It is open every day and admission starts at €10 for adults.
The Third Man Museum
This quirky little museum always gets rave reviews from tourists. Dedicated to the film The Third Man which is set in Vienna, it features posters and memorabilia from the movie but also offers an insight into post-war life in the city. Film geeks will love this niche museum and if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching the movie before your trip to get an interesting perspective on Vienna. The Third Man Museum is only open on Saturday afternoons and admission is €8.90 for adults.
There are a number of great hostels in Vienna offering private rooms and dorms in a lovely, modern setting, such as MEININGER Vienna Downtown Sissi, Hostel Ruthensteiner Vienna and myMOJOvie. The museums mentioned here are all within a 40-minute walk of each other (and most within five minutes’ walk!), making Wombats City Hostel Vienna – at the Naschmarkt the most ideally located for museum-hopping. It’s set next to Vienna’s Art Nouveau farmer’s market and offers bicycle hire, a bar, free Wi-Fi and tons more.