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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
My entire family loved Marieta and her walking tour of the city. Vienna is a beautiful city, and her insight was a five star performance. Every building she provided an excellent description of it’s history. Both my wife and mother in law love roses, and when she took through the park, the roses left them both speechless. She could not have planned a better tour. Marieta is gracious, professional and every family that tours Vienna should request her. We thank her one last time for the tour of a lifetime.
Wolfgang was a fabulous guide. He has a vast amount of fascinating stories, a sense of humor and led our group skillfully and safely through the streets of Vienna. I give him more than five stars and recommend him to anyone who is looking for an exceptional and seasoned guide. I lead walking tours in San Francisco for San Francisco City Guides and it was a pleasure to be with a real professional like Wolfgang.
This was a ton of fun and the guide, Max was so knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions. Scooter riding experience is probably a good idea as you are riding on some busy and fast moving streets, but it is such a wonderful way to see so many amazing sights! Tons of thanks to Max and Adriana for an amazing and personal experience we will never forget!
We booked this tour on line, very easy process. We were shown around main and not so main areas which made our time spent on the tour worthwhile. Thanks to Clara's knowledge and obvious passion for her city our enjoyment of the tour increased and we learnt a lot about Vienna.
Katarina spent three hours walking and talking with us. She gave us a great introduction to Vienna, it’s history and culture. She answered our questions and gave us opportunities to rest.