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Nestled in the western part of Vienna, Hietzing holds a royal charm, unlike any other district. The area, known for its lush green spaces, offers a refreshing contrast to the bustling city center. The former summer residence of the Habsburgs, Hietzing is now a year-round destination that blends aristocratic grandeur with serene residential life.
Hietzing serves as a haven for nature lovers visiting Vienna. The district is home to the renowned Schönbrunn Palace and its exquisite gardens, the Lainzer Tiergarten – a vast wildlife preserve, and the oldest zoo in the world, Tiergarten Schönbrunn. Each of these attractions offers a unique outdoor experience in the heart of a capital city. Distinct from Vienna’s more urban districts, Hietzing maintains an almost rural ambiance with its elegant villas, leafy streets, and abundance of parks. Yet, the district offers all the conveniences of city life, with charming cafes, stylish boutiques, and a wealth of cultural attractions.
“Hietzing” Name Origins
The district’s name, Hietzing, is believed to stem from the Old High German word “Hezzingen,” which was first documented in 1130. This term is thought to have referred to a settlement of people belonging to a person named “Hezzo” or “Hiezo.”
Local people cherish Hietzing for its relaxed pace and picturesque setting. Undoubtedly, Hietzing is one of Vienna’s most loved districts, thanks to its rich history, excellent quality of life, and the blend of city and nature it offers. it is certainly, one of my favourite districts in the city.
Hietzing is surrounded by Penzing (14th) to the north, Meidling (12th) to the east, Liesing (23th) to the south, and Vienna Woods to the west.
Hietzing’s history is one of transformation from rural landscape to imperial summer residence and, finally, to a charming residential district. In the dawn of its existence, Hietzing nurtured as a wine-making village until the first Turkish siege in 1529, when the area experienced major destruction. Nevertheless, Hietzing proved to be resilient and was quick to recover, just instead of vineyards, farmlands became a more common sight. The Ottomans proved to be a bane to the future 13th district of Vienna; During the second Turkish siege in 1683 the area have faced a much bigger devastation and was almost depopulated.
The district experienced significant development and revitalization in the 18th century when the Habsburgs chose Schönbrunn royal hunting grounds for their summer residence. There always stood a palace but the construction of the current state of Schönbrunn Palace in 1743 and 1744, under Empress Maria Theresa, marked a turning point in Hietzing’s history, placing the district at the heart of Austria’s imperial life. If you want more about it, I have a separate article focusing on the history of development of Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens.
Hietzing officially became part of Vienna in 1892. Back then it contained Penzing but Lainzer Tiergarten wasn’t included into the district. Over time, the area evolved and became known for its beautiful villas and lush gardens, attracting the Viennese aristocracy and notable residents, including artists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Otto Wagner in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The city was restructured during World War II, resulting in separation of Penzing and depopulation of Hietzing. In 1956, what was lost in people was compensated in land – Lainzer Tiergarten was incorporated into Hietzing, making it the greenest district in Vienna by a huge margin. Despite all the shuffling done to the 13th district of Vienna throughout the history, Hietzing retained its historical charm and remains a favorite residential area for those seeking a tranquil lifestyle close to the city center.
Timeline of Hietzing’s History
- 1130: First mention of Hietzing.
- 1253: Hietzing belongs to Klosterneuburg Abbey
- 1529: The first Turkish siege
- 1599: The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II buys the current Schönbrunn area.
- 1683: The second Turkish siege and the Battle of Vienna causes significant damage to the region.
- 1743/1744: Construction of the Schönbrunn Palace under Empress Maria Theresa.
- 1892: Hietzing becomes part of Vienna.
- 1938: Territorial reform “Greater-Vienna”.
- 1956: Lainzer Tiergarten added to Hietzing.
Hietzing hosts a number of striking landmarks and historical sites that speak volumes about its rich past and cultural significance. Here are five not-to-be-missed tourist attractions:
Step into the opulent world of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna’s most visited cultural treasure, where history unfolds amidst its Baroque architecture and sprawling gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage site, once the summer residence of the Habsburgs, invites you to wander through its magnificent rooms, each telling a story of European aristocracy and artistic elegance.
Discover the enchanting world of Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the oldest zoo in the world and a pioneering conservation haven, nestled within the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace. Marvel at the exotic animals housed in beautifully preserved Baroque pavilions, offering a unique blend of historical charm and a commitment to preserving biodiversity. Be sure to do some research before visiting the zoo, knowing the animals and feeding schedule in Schönbrunn Tiergarten might produce many more unforgettable moments during your visit.
Hermesvilla, hidden within the lush Lainzer Tiergarten, stands as a monument to love, commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph for Empress Elisabeth. This “Palace of Dreams” enchants visitors with its romantic architecture and the storied artworks adorning its walls, offering a glimpse into the imperial couple’s secluded retreat.
Step into the historical Klimt Villa, the last studio of Gustav Klimt, active here from 1911 until his death in 1918, during the zenith of his career. This pivotal sanctuary in Hietzing is where Klimt painted several of his late masterpieces, including the unfinished, yet iconic “The Bride.” Immerse yourself in the ambiance of Vienna’s Art Nouveau movement within the walls where Klimt’s groundbreaking creativity flourished. Explore the legacy of a visionary artist at the Klimt Villa, a testament to the enduring influence of his work in the heart of Vienna’s cultural heritage.
Experience the architectural brilliance of Otto Wagner at the Wien Museum Otto Wagner Hofpavillion Hietzing, a jewel of Art Nouveau design. This exclusive imperial pavilion, originally designed for the royal family’s use, now serves as a testament to Wagner’s visionary approach, blending functionality with extraordinary elegance.
From walks in verdant parks to exploring imperial history, Hietzing offers plenty of activities for its visitors. Here are the most popular and obvious things to do in the district for tourists and even locals:
Step into the grandeur of the Habsburg dynasty at Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the lavish interiors and exquisite furnishings unveil the splendor of imperial Austria.
Discover the secrets of royal life at Schönbrunn Palace, where each room tells a story of opulence and artistry, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and culture vultures alike. It is even possible to have a Mozart and Strauss concert in Schönbrunn, or even a dinner!
Pro tip: It is the most visited tourist attraction in Austria, I recommend to book a skip-the-line ticket to Schönbrunn Palace in advance online, to save some of your precious time in Vienna.
Wander through the breathtaking Schönbrunn Gardens, a testament to baroque landscape architecture, where every path leads to stunning fountains, sculptures, and the iconic Gloriette with panoramic views of Vienna.
The Schönbrunn Gardens invite you to explore an outdoor paradise, where meticulously crafted lawns and floral displays create a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Pro tip: If you have time, I recommend taking the skip-the-line Schönbrunn Palace tour combined with its gardens to get the most out of this magnificent place.
Experience the thrill of wildlife at Schönbrunn Zoo, the world’s oldest zoo, where endangered species thrive and educational programs bring nature closer to visitors of all ages. Delight in the diverse habitats at the zoo, offering a family-friendly journey through the animal kingdom, from the African savannah to the Arctic tundra.
Pro tip: You might waste a lot of time in really long queues on weekends or during high-seasons. Schönbrunn Zoo Skip-the-line ticket will save you tons of time, which could be spent within the zoo and not outside in a queue.
Step into the arid beauty of the Desert Experience House at Schönbrunn, where a unique collection of desert flora and fauna offers a fascinating glimpse into life in the world’s driest regions.
Discover how life flourishes under the sun at the Desert Experience House, showcasing adaptations of plants and animals in a captivating desert ecosystem simulation.
Immerse yourself in the lush, tropical ambiance of the Palm House, an architectural marvel filled with rare plants and vibrant blooms, offering a tranquil retreat in the heart of Vienna.
The Palm House stands as a green sanctuary, where the diversity of the tropics unfolds in a stunning glasshouse setting, perfect for botany enthusiasts and peace seekers.
Explore the natural wonders of Lainzer Tiergarten, where forested paths lead to wildlife encounters and the historic Hermesvilla, offering a glimpse into Empress Sisi’s secluded life.
Embrace the great outdoors at Lainzer Tiergarten, a conservation area brimming with hiking trails, majestic views, and the serene beauty of Vienna’s woodlands.
Experience the charm of local shopping at Hietzinger Hauptstraße, where quaint boutiques, cozy cafes, and unique shops offer a relaxed alternative to Vienna’s bustling shopping districts.
Discover Hietzinger Hauptstraße’s hidden gems, from artisanal crafts to fashionable finds, making it the perfect spot for those looking to shop like a local in Vienna.
Hietzing’s food and drink scene mirrors the district’s charm with a mix of traditional Austrian eateries, international restaurants, and cozy cafes. Here’s an overview of where to eat and drink when you’re in the area:
Hietzing, a serene and picturesque district, is celebrated for its lush landscapes and historical significance, offering a diverse array of accommodations. From the luxurious allure of historic hotels to the cozy charm of bed and breakfasts, and the practicality of vacation rentals, Hietzing caters to every preference and budget.
Despite its tranquil residential nature, Hietzing surprises visitors with its accommodation choices. Select from elegant boutique hotels, inviting bed and breakfasts, spacious vacation rentals, or the unique experience of a hostel located in a historical hunting lodge.
Indulge in the luxury of Parkhotel Schönbrunn for an experience steeped in history and elegance. For a blend of comfort and location, Hotel Ekazent Schönbrunn is a fantastic mid-range option. Budget-conscious travelers will find Hostel Hütteldorf an affordable and memorable choice. Each option places you in the heart of Hietzing, close to its historical marvels, verdant parks, and exquisite dining venues.
Hietzing, Vienna’s 13th district, is known for its green spaces, historic sites, and elegant residential areas. It offers various transportation options that ensure convenient access to and from the district as well as easy navigation within it:
Tram lines 10, 58, and 60 serve Hietzing, connecting it to other parts of Vienna. These trams offer a scenic route through the district, making stops at key attractions and providing a smooth link to the city center.
The U4 subway line runs through Hietzing, with stations such as Hietzing and Schönbrunn offering direct access to the district’s main attractions, including the Schönbrunn Palace and its beautiful gardens. The U-Bahn system facilitates quick and efficient travel across Vienna.
Hietzing is well-covered by bus routes, including the 54A, 55A, and 56A, which link the district to surrounding areas and provide connections to the metro and tram lines. These buses are essential for accessing more secluded parts of Hietzing and for convenient city-wide travel.
Cycling is a delightful way to explore Hietzing, with its numerous bike paths and lanes. The city’s bike-sharing program, Citybike Wien, is available here as well, offering a leisurely and eco-friendly mode of transportation to discover the district’s charms at your own pace.
Driving in Hietzing is an option with car rental services available for those who prefer the flexibility of a private vehicle. However, parking is regulated by short-term parking zones across Vienna, effective from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., so be mindful of parking regulations.
Together with Döbling (19th), Hietzing is the place to go for a relaxing stroll in nature within the city limits. Certainly, the 13th district is my favourite place to go to catch some fresh air after working hours but before everything shuts down depending on the season and the length of the day. While I found Lainzer Tiergarten and the area around Hermesvilla amazing, the downside is that it is located on the edge of Vienna, and sometimes, it is much easier to just go out to Vienna Woods beyond the city. On the other hand, Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens could be easily accessed with U4. Together with my wife, I love to make a visit to Schönbrunn Zoo for an hour or two before its closure and then either take a walk through the gardens to Schönbrunn U-Bahn station, or visit one of the cafes in Hietzing, situated not too far for Hietzing U-Bahn station, for a quick snack, and most importantly, a couple of glasses of fine Austrian wine.
While I love visiting the area on working days, getting here on weekends might be a challenge. Without even mentioning crowds of tourists, Schönbrunn Palace Gardens and Zoo are one of the most favourite places to go for the Viennese as well. Especially, on Sunday, when shopping is impossible, many locals take their kids and go to the Zoo. Despite that, unless you are on vacation, Saturdays and Sundays are the only days when it is possible to visit Schönbrunn thoroughly. The whole area is vast, and Zoo alone might take the whole day if you want to visit all of it inhabitants.
To sum it up, one of Hietzing’s most captivating aspects is the blend of historical charm and nature. The stunning Schönbrunn Palace, with its sprawling gardens and zoo, makes for an unforgettable visit. Hietzing’s calm, residential vibe also provides a lovely contrast to the bustling city center. Finally, the district’s restaurant and café scene offers a delightful mix of traditional Austrian and international cuisine that shouldn’t be missed.