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Vienna: the Past Pointing Toward the Future

Why Vienna is an Ideal Host City for INSPIRE 2016

The capital city of Austria, Vienna retains a 19th century elegance, with a skyscraper-free city center. If you have an interest in the arts, beautiful objects, or delicious pastries, you will feel at home in Vienna. It is one of Europe's grandest cities of the past, and has a charming, vibrant city scene today, with much more to offer than just the past. No matter how many times you may have visited Vienna, with a little planning, you can discover something new. 

Vienna was founded in AD 50 as a Roman military encampment, and remained that for about 300 years. Vienna's heyday as a European capital began in 1683 with the ousting of invading Turks, who left sacks of coffee beans behind, as legend has it, and gave birth to the kaffeehaus culture.

Today's Vienna has a multicultural population of 1.7 million people, with churches and halls and a nightlife and music scene that is one of Europe's best-kept secrets. Fast Company calls Vienna the "World's Smartest City" for its innovation and sustainability, and Vienna has been named the "World's most livable city" for five years in a row.

Getting to Vienna

By Plane: Vienna International Airport at Schwechat is 12 miles/19 km southeast of the city. The fastest way into Vienna is the City Airport Train, a 16-minute journey operating every 30 minutes from 6 am to 1 am for €12 one way, €19 round-trip. Visit: www.cityairporttrain.com for reduced prices. Or use the S7 train, the Schnellbahn, departing twice an hour, a 20-minute journey for €4.4. Airport Driver has private cars from the airport for €35, and taxis charge around €40 to the city center.

By Train: The city's main train station is the Hauptbahnhof Wien for national and international travel.

Transportation in Vienna

Vienna's public transportation system is fast, clean, safe, and easy to use. 

Subway: The U-Bahn services the core of the inner city. www.wieninfo.at The subway is expansive, and a subway station is near the Messe Wien Congress Center. 

Streetcars: Strassenbahnen are great for sightseeing, and run from 5:15 am to midnight. Buy single tickets on the streetcar dispenser for €2.20 or a 24-hour ticket for €7.60, three-day ticket for €16.50, or an eight-day ticket for €38.40. The weekly card Wochenkarte is an inexpensive option at €16.20.

The Vienna Card, at €19.90, is valid for 72 hours, and provides deep discounts to sites and public transportation.

Taxis: relatively reasonable in price, taxis in Vienna are also easy to hail.

Vienna City Layout

First District: this is at the heart of the Innere Stadt (Inner City) and holds the vast majority of sightseeing attractions of the city, including St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Hofburg complex, the Opera house, and many great shops and restaurants. 

Second District: Leopoldstadt is home to the amusement park and is used for horseback riding and jogging. It is the location of the INSPIRE 2016 ISST Vienna Conference site, the Reed Messe Wien Congress Center. Shops and restaurants abound in this former immigrant enclave.

Third District: Landstrasse has the Belvedere palace and the Hundertwasser Museum (Kundsthauswien). It is known as one of the city's most charming areas, and with its grand avenues and Belvedere Palace, crowds are the norm.

The Fourth & Fifth Districts: Wieden, the Fourth District, is one of Vienna's hip areas with trendy shops, art galleries, restaurants, and the outdoor market, Naschmarkt

The Sixth District: Mariahilf includes the largest shopping street and is a pedestrian-friendly zone. 

The Seventh District: Neubau houses the Spittelberg quarter with cobblestone streets and 18th century houses. 

The Eighth District:  Josefstadt is known for its theaters, restaurants, and antiques shops. 

The Ninth District: Alsergrund is Sigmund Freud's neighborhood and a nice residential area with lots of restaurants, shops, and apartment buildings. 

Top Sights in Vienna

Opera House: see a performance at one of the world's great venues for opera, and take a tour to learn about the history of the building and opera company.

Stephansdom: Vienna's most beloved landmark and Austria's finest Gothic edifice.

Hofburg Imperial Palace: a lavish complex of buildings that was once home to emperors, including a medieval castle and the Neue Burg (new palace).

Hofburg Treasury: this palace contains some of the best jewels in Europe, including scepters, swords, crowns, orbs, robes, gowns, bangles, and a unicorn horn.

Kunsthistorishes Museum: most of the imperial art collection was housed in one place after the completion of this Italian Renaissance Museum of Fine Arts. A highlight is the Old Masters collections, and are among the most spectacular in the world.

Schönbrunn Palace: the former summer residence of the Habsburgs, a spectacular palace, redesigned in Rococo style under order from Empress Maria Theresa in 1817-1819.

Top Activities in Vienna

Ride the Ringstrasse: the No. 1 or No. 2 streetcar travels a full circle along Vienna's best-known avenue. The No. 1 goes from Staatsoper to Schwedenplatz, and the No. 2 goes from Schwedenplatz to Staatsoper

World of Music: go for a night out at the Staet Opera or Musiverein to experience the "heart of the music world"

Kunsthistorisches Museum: the best of Breughel, Titian, Rembrandt, and Rubens at Austria's leading museum

Schönbrunn Palace: step back in time and spend a half day experiencing the Habsburg's former summer home

Extended Coffee Breaks: savor the flavor of Vienna at a cafe landmark with the ritual of Kaffeehause, where coffee is served from one end of the city to the other

Where to Stay in Vienna

Generally, outside of District 2, Leopoldstadt, you may want to stay in District 1, Innere Stadt, or District 7, in the Bieermeier quarter, or in the 8th District of Josefstadt. Accommodations in Vienna are generally a good value, and are plentiful. See our hotel suggestions to stay with other conference attendees.

Vienna Hotel Suggestions

We have suggested hotels for conference attendees available through our conference organizer's no-fee, best available rates reservation service. You can visit it to review a wide-range of options, starting at €69 euros: INSPIRE 2016 HOTELS

You may also make your reservation after you register for the preconference, conference, and banquet. Registration is now open, so check out the details! Visit: REGISTER NOW

For more information, consult one of the sources from this summary: Fodor's Vienna & the Best of Austria, 2015;Rick Steves Pocket Vienna, 2015;Top 10 Guide to Vienna, 2015. Prices and details are noted at time resources were published and may have changed, so check for any updates.


Getting to Vienna

Transportation in Vienna

Vienna City Layout

Top Sights in Vienna

Top Activities in Vienna

Where to Stay in Vienna: HOTELS

Visit Additional Pages on Our Website

Eat in Vienna: CUISINE

About the Venue: Messe Wien

Chat with other attendees on the Members Only Forum: INSPIRE 2016 Forum

Vienna's cityscape includes the beautiful Stephansdom, the city's most beloved landmark and Austria's finest Gothic edifice

Vienna International Airport is an easily accessible hub for European and International Destinations

Hauptbahnhof Wien is the new central train station serving Vienna, a bridge from train routes throughout Western and Eastern Europe

The Strassenbahnen and U-Bahn are parts of Vienna's easy-to-use transportation network. You will be able to tour the city using your favorite mode, including city bike rentals. The Ringstrasse No. 1 and No. 2 circle the Innere Stadt, and are a favorite tourist activity

The Opera House is the throne of Vienna's classical music scene. Built for royalty in 1869, it is a symbol of generations that flocked to Vienna for its music, including Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and Johann Strauss (Sr. & Jr.)

Schönbrunn Palace combines the beauty of art with the beauty of nature. Rivaling the grandeur of Versailles, it was the summer residence of the Habsburgs

Legend has it that an Austrian spy infiltrated the invading Ottoman armies laying siege to Vienna in 1683, who learned about the Turk's "drug" called coffee. Once the Ottoman armies retreated, the ecstatic Habsburg emperor in Vienna granted this spy his wish: to retain the bags of coffee beans the retreating armies left behind. He took the beans, and opened the first coffee shop in Vienna, giving birth to Kaffeehause, where Vienna's passion for coffee is savored

INSPIRE 2016 ISST Vienna Conference Venue is the Reed Messe Wien Congress Center, located in District 2, Leopoldstadt. The address of Messe Wien is Messeplatz 1 in Vienna. Visit our venue page for more information: MESSE WIEN

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