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Nestled by the heart of Vienna, Landstraße, or city’s third municipal district, might be the second most attractive district for tourists and visitors alike. It is a symphony of contrasts, where the charm of the old meets the glamour of the new. Its streets whisper tales of history while echoing the rhythm of modern life, making it an incredibly diverse and exciting district for everyone.
Tourists visiting Vienna will find that Landstraße offers an abundance of attractions, ranging from historical landmarks and museums to trendy boutiques and delicious culinary spots. A district that genuinely lives and breathes art, Landstraße is home to the KunstHausWien Museum, a place where the eccentric art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser comes alive, and the iconic Belvedere Palace, a baroque masterpiece that houses the best of Austrian art.
What sets Landstraße apart from other districts (except for Alsergrund(9)) is its impressive array of architectural styles, including Biedermeier, Art Nouveau, and postmodernism. The district also boasts Vienna’s famous “golden mile” shopping street, Landstraßer Hauptstraße, offering a unique shopping experience amidst historical charm. The culinary landscape here is equally diverse, offering an exciting mix of traditional Viennese cafes and modern restaurants, catering to every palate.
Landstraße is not just visually appealing; it’s a district that captures the essence of Viennese life, making it a favorite among both locals and tourists.
Landstraße is surrounded by the Inner Stadt (The Old Town) and Wieden (4th) to the west, Prater Park (Leopoldstadt (2nd)) to the north, Simmering (13th) to the east, and Favoriten (10th) to the South.
Landstraße’s rich history, dating back to the Roman era, adds a historical depth to Vienna’s landscape. The district was officially established in 1850 but its roots go far deeper. Numerous archaeological finds suggest that the area has been inhabited since the time of the Romans. Their military camp called “Vindobona”, expanded as far as Rochusmarkt and Petrusgasse in Landstraße. The artifacts suggest that this area was likely a suburban district of the Roman settlement, where people lived and worked.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Landstraße began to gain prominence as an aristocratic residential area. Numerous palaces and grand buildings sprung up, adding an aura of elegance to the district. Notably, the construction of the Belvedere Palace in the early 18th century for a genius field marshal, Prince Eugene of Savoy, marked a significant milestone in the district’s development. It is undoubtedly not only the symbol of the district but one of the main attractions in the whole of Vienna, Austria, and even Central Europe.
The next leap was brought by the industrial revolution in the 19th century, Landstraße saw a surge of urban growth with the expansion of the railway system. The iconic Wien Mitte station was established during this time, transforming the district into a crucial transportation hub.
Over the years, Landstraße has witnessed considerable changes and development, evolving into the vibrant district it is today. Its history is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the district, adding to its charm and allure.
“Landstraße” Name Origins
The name “Landstraße” itself is believed to have originated from the old “Landstraße” which was an important medieval trade route, extending from the city center towards the east. This road, vital for trade and travel, played a significant role in shaping the district.
Landstraße is adorned with a wealth of landmarks and historical sites that reflect its vibrant history and cultural richness. Here are a few that should not be missed:
As mentioned earlier, this stunning baroque palace is home to an impressive collection of Austrian art, including works by Gustav Klimt. Its beautiful gardens offer a tranquil retreat within the city limits, often used by the Viennese as a regular park.
Designed by the eccentric artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, this museum is a tribute to his unique style, characterized by undulating floors, forested rooftops, and colorful mosaics. It’s also home to a permanent Hundertwasser exhibition.
This is another fantastic manifestation of Hundertwasser’s distinctive style. It’s a residential building where people actually live, making it a real-life example of the artist’s architectural philosophy.
One of Vienna’s oldest markets, Rochusmarkt offers a variety of fresh produce, local delicacies, and unique souvenirs. The surrounding neighborhood is a delight to explore, with its mix of classic Viennese architecture and trendy shops.
The Red Army built plenty of monuments for themselves in the Second World after World War II. Unlike most of them, the Monument in honor of the soldiers of the Soviet Army in Vienna is still standing shamefully as an extreme reminder of a very unpleasant past thanks to the Austrian guilt of their actions against Jews and strong Russian lobbying.
The monument is still often perceived as if it was an achievement of the Russian State. Many of those soldiers were, actually, Ukrainian, who fought back against the aggressor. Today, the large Ukrainian flag behind the monument sheds a totally different light on this monument. If this shadow of the past to remain here, I hope the Ukrainian flag stays as well, otherwise, there is not much to see here other than Austrian ignorance of half of World War II history.
In Landstraße, activities for visitors are as diverse as the district itself. Here are a few recommended things to do:
The Belvedere Gardens, connecting the Upper and Lower Palaces, are a masterpiece of landscape architecture. These Baroque gardens feature symmetrical patterns, sculptures, fountains, and cascades, offering a serene and picturesque environment for a relaxing stroll. Its magnificence is only matched by the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace. The best part of it – you can enjoy the gardens of Belvedere Palace for free.
Start your journey at the Lower Belvedere. Originally serving as Prince Eugene’s living quarters, it now hosts an array of art exhibitions. Its opulent rooms, including the Marble Gallery and the Golden Room, are architectural masterpieces in themselves, reflecting the splendor of the Baroque era.
Pro tip: While it might be not as popular as the Upper Belvedere, getting a skip-the-line ticker to the Lower Belvedere might save you a lot of time.
The Upper Belvedere, not only an architectural marvel but also a cultural treasure trove, houses an impressive collection of Austrian art on its permanent exhibition. Its highlights include Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”, probably, the most known and visited masterpiece of the most famous Austrian artist. Though, not the most expensive, and, definitely, not my favorite. Nevertheless, the Upper Belvedere has more of Gustav Klimt’s works, such as ‘Judith I’, which offers much more than big glitters. As a bonus, the palace also offers panoramic views of Vienna, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.
Pro tip: Unless you want to spend a good deal of time waiting in a queue, I would recommend getting skip-the-line tickets to the Upper Belvedere in advance online. On working days there shouldn’t be any long queues.
For contemporary art lovers, Belvedere 21 is a must-visit, especially, if you want to see more of the local scene. Located in the 20th-century pavilion, it showcases modern and contemporary art, offering a contrast to the historical collections in the Upper and Lower Belvederes. The museum also hosts various temporary exhibitions, talks, and workshops. While, generally, there are no queues to this museum, you can always book a ticket in advance for peace of mind.
Adjacent to the Belvedere Gardens, the University of Vienna Botanical Garden is a green oasis in the city. It houses more than 11,500 species of plants and is an ideal spot for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat from bustling city life.
This museum offers a deep dive into the artistic world of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Don’t miss the temporary exhibitions showcasing other avant-garde artists.
Known as the “golden mile,” this shopping street boasts a variety of boutiques, offering everything from high fashion to charming local crafts.
Enjoy a peaceful escape in Stadtpark, one of Vienna’s most beautiful parks. Find the golden statue of Johann Strauss and enjoy the lush greenery, ponds, and walking paths.
For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Museum of Military History in Landstraße is a must. This museum, housed in an impressive neo-gothic building, offers an extensive look into Austria’s military past. It features a vast collection of weapons, uniforms, and artifacts spanning from the Thirty Years War to the modern era. A highlight of the museum is the exhibit on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an event that precipitated World War I, including the car in which he was shot and his blood-stained uniform. The museum’s detailed exhibitions provide a deep understanding of European military history and its impacts.
Finally, take a leisurely stroll along the Donaukanal (Danube Canal), a vibrant part of Landstraße. This area is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, known for its graffiti art, waterfront bars, and cafes. It’s a great place to experience the lively urban culture of Vienna, offering picturesque views and a chance to relax by the water.
Situated in the first district on the border with Landstrasse, the Museum of Applied Arts offers a unique blend of historical and contemporary design exhibitions. For me, as a professional graphic designer, MAK is one of the most interesting and inspiring museums in Vienna. The Museum of Applied Arts is also a great place to learn more about the Viennese Secession movement at the beginning of the 20th century. Plan your trip with peace, tickets to MAK can be bought online in advance.
A poignant and historical site in Landstraße is the St. Marx Cemetery, where you can visit the final resting place of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This cemetery, a tranquil and somewhat hidden gem, offers a unique glimpse into Vienna’s past. Mozart’s grave, marked by a simple memorial, is a must-visit for music lovers and those interested in the city’s rich cultural history. The serene atmosphere of the cemetery makes it not just a place of rest but also a spot for quiet reflection on the legacy of one of history’s greatest composers.
Landstraße’s culinary scene offers a variety of delightful dining experiences:
Traditional Viennese Cafes: For a classic Viennese coffee experience, Café Benedikt stands out with its charming ambiance and delightful breakfast offerings, including omelettes and flavored butter. Its old-world charm makes it a perfect spot for a leisurely morning.
Salm Bräu: This brewery and restaurant remains a local favorite, known for its handcrafted Austrian beers and traditional cuisine. Situated in a heritage building, Salm Bräu provides a cozy and authentic dining experience, ideal for savoring hearty Austrian meals.
Contemporary Eateries: Chilai Landstraße offers a modern twist on the dining experience, blending cafe culture with an international menu. Its classy ambiance and proximity to Vienna’s historical center make it a great choice for a sophisticated meal.
Diverse International Cuisine: Kunst-Cafe im Hundertwasserhaus combines art and dining, offering coffee, tea, and Austrian fare in a setting inspired by Hundertwasser’s artistic vision. It’s a quirky and friendly spot for those looking to immerse themselves in Vienna’s artistic heritage.
For a touch of luxury, the Lindner Hotel Am Belvedere is an excellent choice. This upscale hotel boasts elegantly designed rooms, top-notch amenities, and stunning views of the Belvedere Palace and its gardens. It’s perfect for travelers seeking comfort and luxury in a central location.
Budget travelers can find great value at Nice Rooftop Hostel. These well-maintained and comfortable apartments offer a more affordable option without sacrificing convenience or amenities. Located in the heart of the district, these apartments provide easy access to Landstraße’s attractions.
For those looking for a home-away-from-home experience, the Beautiful Viennese Flat In The City Centre is an ideal option. These fully equipped apartments offer modern comforts, ample space, and a prime location, making them perfect for longer stays or for those who prefer the independence of self-catering accommodations.
Landstrasse, the third district of Vienna, offers excellent transport links, ensuring seamless access to both the district’s attractions and the wider city:
Tram lines 0, 4, and 71 serve Landstrasse, providing convenient access to various parts of the district and easy connections to Vienna’s city center.
The U3 and U4 subway lines have several stations in Landstrasse, including Rochusgasse and Wien Mitte. These lines offer a fast and efficient means of traveling across Vienna.
Landstrasse is well-serviced by numerous bus routes, including key lines like the 4A and 74A, which offer direct connections to the Innere Stadt, Vienna’s historic inner city. This network of buses not only links Landstrasse with other districts but also ensures seamless access to central landmarks and cultural hotspots in Vienna.
Visitors and locals alike can utilize Citybike Wien, the city’s bike-sharing service, in Landstrasse. The district features well-maintained bike paths, making it enjoyable to explore on a bike.
For those preferring to drive, car rental options are available in Landstrasse. Remember that Vienna enforces short-term parking rules from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Landstraße, a district rich in contrasts and culture, stands as a testament to Vienna’s multifaceted charm. The architectural diversity here is unparalleled, with historic gems like the Belvedere Palace coexisting alongside modern marvels such as the Hundertwasserhaus. This district is not just a visual feast; its lush green spaces like the Stadtpark offer serene escapes amidst the urban bustle. Furthermore, Landstraße’s culinary landscape is a paradise for food lovers, boasting an array of traditional Viennese cafes and contemporary restaurants.
However, Landstraße isn’t without its drawbacks. The district’s popularity can lead to crowded spots, especially near major attractions like the Belvedere and Hundertwasserhaus during peak tourist seasons. This can sometimes overshadow the district’s otherwise tranquil charm, particularly for those seeking a more relaxed experience.
Despite these occasional crowds, Landstraße remains a must-visit district in Vienna, embodying the city’s historical elegance and contemporary dynamism. Whether you’re delving into its rich history, soaking up the vibrant art scene, or savoring its diverse culinary offerings, Landstraße offers a unique slice of Viennese life. Its blend of experiences ensures that visitors leave with a deeper appreciation of Vienna’s diverse character and an eagerness to return.