Vienna is a wondrous city that attracts millions of visitors each year. Melk Abbey is a highlight not to be missed, where you can walk through true Baroque splendour. Originally built as a palace in the early 1700s, the Abbey lies on the picturesque banks of the Danube River, and has been a sacred home to Benedictine monks for over 900 years.
Also found in Vienna is the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace - a colossal 17th century masterpiece that has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Here you can admire lavish frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers and gilded Rococo frames, inside the very same building where Mozart performed as a six-year-old prodigy. Not only is the opulent interior and exterior of the palace truly impressive, the surrounding gardens are fittingly majestic too. Hitting the shops in Kärntnerstrasse Strasse fuses 21st century shopping heaven with all the charm of a centuries-old street that has existed since Roman times. Something particularly special about Vienna is that it is the only major city in the world to be partially located in a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve: The Vienna Woods. These Woods provide a stable habitat for numerous endangered species and offer exceptional hiking trails. Beyond Vienna, Mayerling is a small village shrouded in the mystery of Crown Prince Rudolph’s tragic death and that of Baroness Vetsera in 1889. Nearby, you can visit the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz. Founded in 1133, this occupied monastery has stunning architecture, including beautiful stained glass windows to admire.
Also close to Vienna is the imperial spa-town of Baden, where the health benefits of its sulphuric hot springs have been celebrated as far back as the 1st century.