Photo Essay: Impressions from Vienna

Somehow, I’m having a hard time finding words to describe my time in Vienna. Yes, it was pretty. Yes, the architecture was amazing. Yes, the Stephansdom cathedral and the Kunsthistorisches Museum brought me to tears. But other than that — Vienna and I didn’t really click.

Landing in Vienna, Austria
First glimpse of Vienna

There are cities you love at first sight: Lisbon was such a city for me. And Hamburg. And Dublin, Berlin, London, Prague and Budapest are cities that I’d travel or even move to in a heartbeat.

It took me a while to understand what makes me love a city: A mixture of old and new, ugly and beautiful. A city I fall for needs water close by, hills for spectacular views, and gritty neighborhoods with funky independent shops and graffiti. I like a city that is a bit rough around the edges and I like falling in love at second (or even third) sight sometimes.

Karlskirche, Vienna, Austria
One of Vienna’s most famous churches – the Karlskirche 

Vienna however is flat — and not only literally. For me, Vienna felt like it lacked a little spice. Yes, it was super pretty. But I longed for the city to have a little more street art and a few more buskers.

Maybe I wasn’t in the right neighborhoods, maybe not every city has to become my favorite place in the world — and that’s okay.

Because one thing I can say about Vienna that it is extremely photogenic. Late August light and impressive imperial architecture are certainly an easy motif.

Vienna, Austria

Schloß Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria
Schönbrunn Palace — the home of my childhood princess dreams

Schloß Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

Schloß Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

Park Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

Schloß Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

Schloß Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

Park Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria
The imperial Schönbrunn Gardens 

Park Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

Park Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria
Vienna from (slightly) above at the Gloriette

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria Town hall towers

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Stephansdom, Vienna, Austria
I
nside St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

KHM, Vienna, Austria
Inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum — the reason I came to Vienna in the first place

Karlskirche, Vienna, Austria
Golden Hour at the Karlsplatz

Vienna, Austria

Karlskirche, Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Rathaus, Vienna, Austria
The arches of Vienna town hall 

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria
#fromwhereIstand fancy-town-hall-lamp shadow edition

Vienna, Austria

Belvedere, Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Belvedere, Vienna, Austria
Belvedere Palace

Belvedere, Vienna, Austria
Belvedere mirror selfie 

Have you been to Vienna?
How did you feel about the Austrian capital?

  • Laurence Haskins

    Hi,
    What a beautiful set of pictures from Vienna.Thank you for sharing.
    I enjoy following your blog.

    Laurence Christel

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks! So glad you like them!

  • Corinne Vail

    Julika, It certainly is photogenic. Love your shots, especially the reflections of the Karlsplatz!

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks Corinne! Karlsplatz might just have been my favorite spot in the city! 🙂

  • I visited Vienna three years ago and felt the same way! It’s an absolutely lovely city, but I kept waiting for one of those magic moments where you’re like, “Yeah! I love this place!” and it never came. I definitely would like to go back some day and give it another chance, but for now, I agree with you – I was a bit underwhelmed.

    • JulikaSarah

      So glad you can relate, Laura! I felt a little bad for not falling head over heels for Vienna, but you can’t force it, right?

  • Ashley of Ashley Abroad

    Girl you are such a good photographer. I’ve never been to Vienna though I dream of visiting in winter to see the Christmas markets and go skiing in Tyrol. Love the shot of The imperial Schönbrunn Gardens!

    • JulikaSarah

      Thank you, Ashley! Oh yes, Vienna must be so insanely beautiful during Christmas season!

  • Bill Cokas, Writer

    Julika, I’m sure you’ve addressed this elsewhere, but what kind of camera/lenses do you use? The photos literally jump off the screen!

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks so much, Bill! Actually, I haven’t really mentioned my camera equipment on the blog thus far, because it’s nothing spectacular: I shoot with a Nikon D3100 and took a 18-105mm and a 50mm 1.8 lens with me to Vienna 🙂

  • Heather

    I visited Vienna as a teenager as part of a multi-city tour, and I don’t remember loving it either. It just didn’t have the same energy as London or Paris. But you’re right in that it sure is photogenic!

    • JulikaSarah

      Yes, exactly, Heather! London and Paris are cities I fell in love with right away, but in Vienna it sadly never happened, because I missed this certain energy!

  • Shing

    Kunsthistorisches Museum is the reason why I want to go to Vienna too! Although you found the rest of the city lacking in spice, did the museum at least meet your every desire?! I love klimt,Schiele, and others from the turn of the century and would love to see more of their work. Your photos are beautiful, as always.

    • JulikaSarah

      Thank you Shing! The KHM was definitely worth the trip and the 14 Euros admission fee! They have a lot of good stuff there, but it wasn’t the art that I loved most (I wish they had more medieval pieces!), but the atmosphere — the museum felt more like one giant cozy living room full of art rather than several sterile exhibition rooms!

  • Vienna was my first encounter with Europe ever, so it has a special place in my heart! There definitely are grittier parts of Vienna, but not in the main districts or where most tourists go… and in general, Austrian/Viennese culture is very buttoned-up, proper, clean, classic… and not spontaneous, flexible, free-flowing, colorful the way other city cultures (like the ones you listed) are. I used to want to live there forever, but I am content to have it be a place I return… but I think yeah, sometimes for living a place that it is a little more colorful and surprising may be more satisfying. ANYWAY! Love your photos! 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      I totally understand what Vienna must mean to you then, Erika! I might have to go back and find those grittier parts of Vienna you’re speaking about! 🙂

  • I miss this city even by looking at your photos! Should revisit soon 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      Vienna is so pretty, isn’t it Anna?