Vienna has its imperial family history, its legendary coffeehouses, and its opulent palaces, none of which one should miss. For first-time visitors, it’s easy to get lost in the grandeur of places like the State Opera and Hofburg Palace, and overlook the more obscure attractions and activities. To help you mix it up a bit, I’ve chosen five options for discovering lesser-known Vienna as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.
Globenmuseum / Globe Museum
Located in the Palais Mollard and part of the Austrian National Library, this is the only globe museum in the world. The public exhibit consists of 240 different spherical representations, not only of Earth, but also of the sky, the moon, and Mars. The three-dimensional displays will captivate anyone interested in cartography, astronomy, geography, or travel. The globes range in size from miniature to mammoth.
Minoritenkirche / Minorities Church
Named for the “Minoriten”, or Franciscan monks assigned to Vienna from Italy in 1224, the church is formally known as Italienische Nationalkirche Maria Schnee (Italian National Church of Mary of the Snows). It is an unpretentious church, tucked away on the quiet Minoritenplatz in Vienna’s First District. What makes Minoritenkirche worth visiting is the life-sized copy of da Vinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper”. The mosaic, made by Giacomo Raffaelli, weighs approximately 20 tons, and hangs on the north wall of the church.
For those who need to offset Vienna’s art and culture with something a bit more unrefined, the Vienna Capitals hockey team has you covered. The Capitals are part of the Erste Bank Hockey League, and play against teams from Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Italy, and other parts of Austria. Their home ice is at Albert Schultz Eishalle in Donaustadt, the 22nd District of Vienna.
ROMERMUSEUM / Roman Museum
In the year 97 A.D., a Roman military camp was founded to protect the Empire’s northern border at a town known as Vindobona. Today, modern-day, 3D recreations at the Roman Museum at Hoher Markt supplement more than 300 artifacts on display. The Roman presence lasted approximately 350 years, long enough for Vindobona’s population to exceed 30,000. If visitors would like to experience more ancient Roman history, consider a visit to Carnuntum Archaeological Park, 40 minutes outside Vienna.
Also in Hoher Markt is the art nouveau Anker Clock, which forms a bridge between the two parts of the Anker Insurance Company‘s building. What makes this clock even more unusual is that once an hour for twelve hours, one of twelve historical figures (or pairs of figures) crosses the bridge to musical accompaniment. Each day at noon, all twelve figures march across the bridge together. The parade symbolizes moving from the old to the new, and demonstrates how quickly time can pass by.
It is possible to find affordable hotels in Vienna, even in the city center, where most of these lesser-known attractions are located. Boutique Hotel Alma is one such option, located less than a half-mile from Hoher Markt and many of Vienna’s better-known sites. Stay in the city center, save a few bucks, and mix it up a bit.