Vienna’s geographic heart buzzes with street performers, horse-drawn carriages and a procession of shoppers, sightseers and seekers of perfect coffee.
Visit Stephansplatz in the center of Vienna and enjoy a square that buzzes with activity day and night. Choose a café and spend an hour or so watching the world go by or visit two of the city’s most prominent buildings; St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Haas-Haus.
Head to the side of Stephansplatz to admire St. Stephens, the building which gives the square its name. This is one of the tallest cathedrals in the world. Notice the roof, which is patterned with 230,000 glazed tiles forming a mosaic of a double-headed eagle. This was the symbol of the formerly ruling Habsburg family. Step inside to escape the bustle of the square and to explore the cathedrals religious and artistic treasures.
Once you've finished exploring St. Stephens, wander over to the opposite side of the square to see the postmodern Haas-Haus. This building stands in total contrast to St. Stephens with its postmodern design and shining glass front.
Be sure you take the time to stop in a café and enjoy some people-watching. In the summer months, Vienna’s best street performers vie for your attention. Make your way down the nearby Kärntner Street and Graben and indulge in a few hours of boutique shopping.
On the corner of these two streets you’ll find a fascinating relic from Medieval times. Protected behind a glass cover is the Stock-im-Eisen (Staff in Iron), a section of tree into which hundreds of nails have been hammered since the 15th-century by passing blacksmiths and locksmiths.
Being located in the center of the city, Stephansplatz is easy walking distance from many other major attractions. If your legs are tired or you’re feeling romantic, take a tour of the area in a horse-drawn carriage. The underground station at Stephansplatz is one of the largest in the city.