Vienna has not always been considered such a romantic
destination. The city found itself just a few miles from the Iron Curtain during
the Cold War. Hence, trade ceased with the East, and foreigners found little reason
to visit a war-torn city. However, with the sudden popularity and growth of the
Eastern Jewels (Budapest, Prague, and Kraków), Vienna rediscovered its role as a
gateway. In-transit tourists, as well, have rediscovered Vienna's old-world charm,
often making an unexpected extended stay. There is no better time than now to visit
this magnificent city.
People traveling to Vienna looking for fin-de-siècle architecture and a relaxed
atmosphere will not be disappointed. Imagine a city shaped by artists and composers
150 years ago. Huge palaces seem to appear on every major street corner, and the sky
is pierced with towering church steeples. The buildings along the Ringstrasse seem to
offer a bit of every European building style, from the Medieval Rathaus,
Gothic Stephensdom, to the Greco-Roman parliament building.
Visitors quickly embrace the old-world style of Vienna. The streets are lined with
quaint shops, cafés, and bakeries. Men are still gentlemen, while women still dress
themselves up before strolling around town. The locals are generally conservative,
well educated, and well mannered. They will notice you looking at a map or deciphering
a sign, but are too polite to bother you. However, if you ask them, then you will find
that most Viennese speak a bit of English and are happy to help a traveller.