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Top sights in Vienna
One of Austria's most famous sights, Vienna's magnificent St. Stephen's Cathedral attracts more than 1 million yearly visitors. Over 800 years old, St. Stephen's is a majestic ensemble of architectural styles – here are 5 of the treasures that await you there.
The ornate entrance got its name from a mastodon thighbone that hung above the door in the 15th century. Giant's Door and the flanking towers are the oldest parts of the cathedral.
St. Stephen's main part has 18 gorgeous altars. Amongst them, the 17th century High Altar is the most spectacular. Built over 7 years, it represents the stoning of St. Stephen.
This impressive raised sarcophagus carved out of thick red marble took 45 years to build. Decorated with more than 240 statues, it's a sublime specimen of medieval art.
Affectionately nicknamed "Steffl," St. Stephen's gigantic south tower is 136 meters tall. A dominant feature of Vienna's skyline, Steffl is one of the city's most iconic landmarks.
Due to the bubonic plague of 1735, the bones from cemeteries near St. Stephen's were moved to the catacombs below the cathedral, which now house the remains of over 11,000 people.
Throughout history, St. Stephen's south tower, "Steffl," served as a watch post to guard the city. Though unused since 1955, the watch room still exists and is open to visitors. It's a steep climb up 343 steps, but those up to the challenge are rewarded with the most spectacular views of the entire city.
St. Stephen's fascinating catacombs should not be missed. However, note that it's necessary to book a guided tour in order to visit the catacombs.
St. Stephen's regularly hosts mass, open to the public. The schedule of mass times is listed on their website.
- When should I visit?
- Monday to Saturday, 6:00AM to 10:00PM, Sunday 7:00AM to 10:00PM. Tour hours are Monday to Saturday 9:00AM to 11:30AM, 1:00PM to 4:30PM and Sunday 1:00PM to 4:30PM.
- Is it expensive?
- While it's free to enter, general and catacomb tours, as well as transportation options and packages will cost extra.
- Will I need a guide?
- With over 800 years of history to cover, a guide is a great idea!
- How to get there
- Take the U1 or U3 train to Stephansplatz and it's a short walk to the Cathedral.
- Additional information
- You may bring your own guide, but please make sure it's during tour hours so as not to disrupt those worshipping.
What people are saying about St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
Enjoyed our time with this tour. Getting around with a guide to fill in the history made a difference. We enjoyed being active instead of sitting on a bus. This tour is an easy ride for all fitness levels. We had a senior on the tour and there was no problem for them to ride with the pack. There were enough appropriate stops to take photos and hear about the history of important landmarks. Please if you enjoyed your tour, tip the guide. We were the only ones to tip on this tour. This may be due to cultural tipping habits of local countries.
Albert, our tour guide is fun and knowledgeable with history. He will tell you about all the restaurants and good place to go in Vienna, he can give you tips with which museum u should be worth of going for as well. We had a great 2hrs tour with learning history of Austria apart weather is too cold so make sure u wear warm clothes than normal to resist cold on the street when he is explaining history.
Elisabeth was outstanding! Her vast knowledge and enthusiasm for Vienna made me want to have more time to get to know the city better. She was also very willing to answer questions and go into detail. This is a great way to get a good overview and flavor for a city in a short period of time. Highly recommended!
Herbert was an excellent guide, he was very informative, engaging and provided really good advice on museums and local attractions which we really appreciated. The images he showed us on his ipad provided additional historical information and it was a good number of people within the group
This is an excellent tour for those who wish an overview of the history and the significant sites of Vienna. Our guide was genial and knowledgeable and provided insight and suggestions for those seeking to explore in greater depth.