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5 awesome things to know about Eurovision host city Vienna

Published May 22nd, 2015

Every year for 60 years, the Eurovision Song Contest makes for must-see TV. Held in the home country of the 2014 winner - the fabulously hirsute Conchita Wurst, for the first time ever, and perhaps rather confusingly, Australia will feature as a guest entrant in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Owing to the strong cultural ties we have with Europe we’ve slipped in there, represented by the soulful Guy Sebastian. To celebrate this historic event, we’ve got the lowdown on the place where the flamboyant grand showdown will occur, Austria’s beautiful capital Vienna.

 

Is this the worst Conchita Wurst impersonator?

It's musical...

It’s fitting that the Eurovision finals are being held in what is considered to be one of the most musical cities in the world. Vienna’s lineage in the musical world is dotted with famous composers and musicians who were born and or worked here, including Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and more. If you dig classical, there’s no end of superb concerts to watch, and even an Exhibition of Ancient Musical Instruments and the Museum of the Vienna Philharmonic at the city’s Haus de Musik. If jazz or contemporary is more up your street, Vienna won’t disappoint with its live music venues churning out sultry jazz tunes and rocking the streets of Vienna night after night.

 

There's a blend of old and new architecture...

Vienna is a city of opulent palaces and historic decorative buildings. You can feel the grandeur flowing around the streets of this beautiful city. The fusion of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed and fairytale-pretty city centre alongside the chic contemporary soul of the city is what makes it sparkle. The imposing and beautiful Gothic St Stephen's Cathedral on Stephansplatz faces the equally impressive modern steel and glass Haas Haus building in a manner that is reflected throughout the city. An architectural journey through Vienna will constantly surprise and delight.

 

It has an imperial side too...

As the stomping ground for the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for many centuries, Vienna has its own distinct imperial legacy. Hop on Streetcar 1 or 2 and ride the historic Ringstrasse around the city to admire the historic grand buildings from that time in Vienna’s history. For a true glimpse into the grandeur of Imperial Vienna, spend a day soaking up the Baroque beauty of Schönbrunn Palace, summer home of the ruling Habsburg elite. With over 1,400 rooms, the gigantic palace is one of Vienna’s top tourist attractions, and its gorgeous historic gardens are equally as impressive.

 

Coffee and cake in a Viennese coffee house - tick!

There's a serious coffee scene...

The Viennese really know how to do coffee and cake. So much so, that their ritual 3pm kaffeejause (coffee and cake) is a UNESCO-recognised cultural institution. So when in Vienna, do as the Viennese do and get stuck in to some delicious Vienna coffee with some apple strudel, while catching up on the news and discussing politics and ideas with friends. Vienna’s famous coffee houses are credited with shaping the creative culture of the capital. Café Landtmann on the Ringstrasse offers an opulent and historical taste of kaffeejause, or for the smoky arthouse scene, make a beeline for Café Leopold Hawelka on Dorotheergasse.

 

Get your dose of culture in the one spot - Museumsquartier!

And Vienna has its own museum hub...

The lively MuseumsQuartier is an enormous courtyard of dazzling Baroque and contemporary buildings. If you’re up for a serious dose of culture, this is the place to go. MuseumsQuartier is one of the largest cultural centres in the world, with a host of famous art museums like the Leopold Museum, along with exhibition spaces, and there’s even an annual festival here each summer.

 

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.