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Not many cities have the high density of spectacular museums quite like Vienna has. Whatever you are interested in, you will probably find a museum dedicated to that subject in Austria’s capital.
Evil tongues claim that Vienna itself is nothing more than a big old museum where time stands still. While we know that is not true, we also know that for museum, history and art geeks, this city is a dream come true. While many of those houses are dedicated to art, music and literature, there are also less famous ones, which deal with Vienna’s public transport system or other geeky stuff. You could spend weeks hopping from one museum to the other (or just one long night, if you are lucky enough to be in town for the “Long night of the Museums”) but we will give you a good selection to start your tour de art with.
Unless you took an oath to never set foot inside a museum, no visit to Vienna is complete without checking out the Albertina. It not only contains one of the largest and most valuable fine art collections on the planet but also world famous paintings like Monet’s “Water Lily Pond”, Degas’ “Dancers” and Renoir’s “Girl.” Do yourself a favour and get dinner afterwards at the Do+Co Albertina which is one of the best restaurants in town and considering the setting and the quality of the food is surprisingly affordable.
This institution is considered to be among the world’s most prestigious museums. Some of the highlights of the collection include major examples of European art history such as masterworks by Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael’s “Madonna in the Meadow” and Vermeer’s “The Allegory of Painting”. Don’t confuse the museum with its seemingly identical brother right across the square, the Natural History Museum (even though that one is also highly recommended).
There is a lot of art to look at in Vienna’s Museumsquartier, but the Leopold Museum, opened in 2001 is the most famous. This is mostly due to the extensive Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt collection, but also to the other mostly modernist Austrian artwork that makes up this remarkable selection of Austrian art history. Great thing about the location of this museum is that you can jump right into the next one afterwards.
The Third Man is one of the most famous Austrian films in history and a big part of that comes from the spectacular images of post war Vienna that are used in the movie. You don’t need to be a fan of the film or of movies in general to enjoy this museum and the tour through a city that has been beaten down and destroyed by war. Another aspect of the film that became famous is its soundtrack and as a tribute to it there are regular zither concerts being held at the museum.
This is more of an insider tip and not among the world-famous museums but for anyone who was lucky enough to ride one of the old trams that are still being used for public transport these days, you might want to take a deeper glimpse into their history. The museum displays trams and buses that have been used throughout history and is actually the biggest tram museum in the world. Vienna’s public transport system is probably unmatched in its efficiency, affordability and reliability and it is interesting to see where it all came from.