Home to innumerable museums, palaces, churches, art galleries, coffee houses, opera houses, orchestras, wine taverns and parks than you could possibly hope to count, Vienna may seem like European culture manifest. But, for every quintessential spot of luxe culture and tasteful history, there’s a place of unexpected playfulness, whimsical curiosity and obscure delight.
While visits to the Belvedere Palace and The Hofburg are absolute musts for any visit to the city, try sprinkling some of these more outside-the-ordinary museums in Vienna into your sightseeing.
While there aren’t too many cities in the world that can rival the selection of priceless art housed in all of Vienna’s art museums, one of the more memorable museums doesn’t have a single original piece of art in any of its halls—the Fälschermuseum, or Museum of Art Fakes. Adorning these halls are some of the most famous fakes in the world, verifiable works of art in the world of forgery. Whether it’s the most famous painting Vermeer never actually painted or the certifiable diaries of Hitler not actually written by Hitler, the only thing more interesting than the pieces are the “artists’” storied careers.
While it may not make top billing of Vienna’s historic offerings thanks to storied palaces and revolutionary art, the selection of Vienna’s Natural History Museum is historic in itself—it feels like the life’s work of an 18th-century globe-trotting naturalist. With each room more beautiful than the last, the ornately carved ceilings and warm wooden floors sandwich between them endless rows of glass cases containing taxidermized specimens. The initial sense of macabre gives way to raw curiosity quite quickly: where else can you gawk close up at tigers, polar bears, elephants, walruses, the world’s largest meteorite exhibit and a life-size animatronic model of a young Allosaurus from the Jurassic period? Nowhere else in Vienna anyway.
The former home and office of the late, great Dr. Sigmund Freud houses an impressive array of his legacy: papers, antique collection, personal items and more all tie together to reconstruct what his impact was on modern society. While the psychological community currently considers his theories to be mostly inaccurate, it’s interesting to see the 35,000 volumes of psychoanalytic research in the accompanying library of this obscure museum in Vienna.
Wishing you could see for yourself some of the city’s hubs of culture, both the mainstream ones and the unusual museums of Vienna? Talk with one of our travel agents. Their expertise, knowledge and professional relationships with industry-leading cruise lines like Viking Cruises help you to make the most of a European vacation, both on and off the beaten path.