Eleven must-do activities in Vienna

A waltz at a ball at the Vienna Opera House. Photo by Reuter Raymond / Sygma via Getty Images.

The Austrian city is the only capital in the world that has vineyards, and wines known the world over. It is the only capital city with two districts, Grinzig and Heiligenstadt, that are known primarily for their wineries. It's worth exploring these areas famous for Bacchus’s nectar, where the wine is free-flowing and music escapes every evening from more than a hundred bars. And that's just one reason to visit the Austrian capital in the autumn...

Unfortunately, many Poles circumvent Vienna, hurtling along the ring road to find themselves as quickly as possible at their destinations to the south, in Croatia or Italy. And that's a pity. A trip to Vienna might not be an obvious one – but if you spend a couple of days or even a few weeks there, you are bound to miss a couple of places. In this article, I would like to point out and handful of these gems, which you will certainly enjoy!

1. Glimpse into the beautiful, Blue Danube...

Despite all the best intentions, this is impossible. Anyone who knows the city or has been to Vienna at least once knows that the Danube is never blue. It is quite easy to explain this twisted puzzle. Johann Strauss II was fascinated by a poem by the now somewhat forgotten poet and would-be physician Karl Isidor Beck "On the Danube" and gave this title to his waltz – the most famous in the world. The first performances of Strauss’s waltz were played on the basis of this poem. The more inquisitive among you could claim that the poet, who hailed from Baja in Hungary, described the color of the same river, but upstream in his hometown. However, we would have to go there ourselves to make sure... 2. Stand in front of the Karlskirche

Not even the city’s iconic St. Stephen's Cathedral makes as much of an impression as this magnificent 18th-century Baroque temple. When I'm in town, I never forbid myself this pleasure. But beware! If you don't attend Mass, you'll have to pay an entrance fee. The church, which stands on Karsplatz, has such a magical charm that I would even forgo Rome’s St. Peter's Basilica to visit it (except for the Sistine Chapel, of course!). It was constructed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and completed by his son, Emmanuel. With a beautiful dome, a classical portico, flanked by two squat and slightly warped bell towers, as well as two columns decorated with an unusual frieze with scenes from the life of St. Charles Borromeo, it makes a powerful impression even when viewing it from the street. It is certainly one of the most magnificent Baroque monuments in the world Inside, there are so many decorations that you will undoubtedly want to stay here a little longer. I'm not an art historian, so I can confidently say that Art Nouveau is directly derived from Baroque, and if you have any doubts about the relationship between the two styles, all you need to change your mind is to walk a few blocks from Karsplatz and see the Secession Building, topped with a golden orb and fronted by a gate carved by Gustav Klimt's brother.

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– Wojciech Gogoliński
– Translated by Roberto Galea