Vienna is a global culture capital with first-class museums that thrill and intrigue. Read on for top tips on visiting the must-see museums.
Vienna has a huge number of museums devoted to many subjects, from architecture and folklore, Mozart, military history, photography and even the 1948 film noir thriller The Third Man.
You can get discounted entry to over 200 museums and galleries in Vienna using a ‘Vienna Card’, valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours – also giving you free travel on trams, buses and the underground.
Sigmund Freud Museum
Sigmund Freud invented psychoanalysis in the Austrian capital. He moved to the building now housing the Sigmund Freud Museum with his family in 1891 and lived and worked there until the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938, when he and his family, members of the Jewish community, fled to London.
The museum retains much of Freud’s office exactly as it was more than half a century ago: an enthralling time capsule in the history of psychology. In the waiting room you can imagine yourself nervously counting down the minutes before an encounter with the psychological pioneer. Among the artefacts on show, a mirror given to Sigmund Freud by his psychoanalyst daughter, Anna, is a poignant gift for this great student of the self. This museum in Vienna also hosts temporary art exhibits and talks. Sigmund Freud Museum Entry Fee: Adults €12, Concessions €4-11, with free audio tour; and it’s open 10am-6pm. Note: it’s closed Saturdays.
Sigmund Freud was just one member of a vibrant Jewish community, and there are few cities so central to Jewish history in Europe as Vienna. The Jewish Museum tells the story, with its most recent permanent collection – ‘Our City!’ – focused on the Jewish presence in Vienna from 1945 until today, alongside other collections of artworks, photography and artefacts.
A permanent exhibit at a second branch of the Jewish Museum at Judenplatz, a 10-minute walk away, reveals the remains of a synagogue from medieval times, when Vienna had one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe, that was destroyed in 1421. A virtual animated tour plunges you into the crowds of that colourful and chaotic time.
The Jewish Museum Entry fee is: Adults €12, Concessions €8-10, under-18s free; and it’s open 10am-6pm. Note: it’s closed on Saturdays. The Jewish Museum, Judenplatz is open 10am-6pm Sunday-Thursday, 10am-2pm Fridays and closed Saturdays.
Make time for this engrossing horological collection. With 700 timepieces on display over the three floors of a fine old Viennese building, Vienna’s Clock Museum is not only one of the most comprehensive collections of clocks on the planet – but also provides powerful insights into wider technical, artistic and social developments over the centuries.
Throughout, the Clock Museum is a testament to human ingenuity. One fascinating highlight is the 18th century Cajetano Clock. Invented by a monk, its 150 wheels and gears show solar eclipses as well as the time in various places. There are also beautiful Belle Epoque clocks and luxurious early watches. There’s even a clock small enough to fit under a thimble beside a giant, weighing just under a tonne from the city’s St Stephen’s Cathedral – as well as a Black Forest cuckoo clock or two. The Clock Museum costs adults €7 and concessions €5; and is open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm.
Natural History Museum Vienna
One of the stars of the vast collection at Vienna’s beautiful Natural History Museum would barely peek above a teacup. Around 25,000 years old, the so-called ‘Venus of Willendorf’ is a four-inch limestone statuette whose lush form suggests it may have represented a fertility goddess.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the museum’s dinosaur hall includes an animatronic model of a young – but six metres long and highly carnivorous – allosaurus, based on a 150-million-year old skeleton. The Natural History History museum is a must for families visiting Vienna , which includes a journey through Saturn’s rings via its digital planetarium, and the world’s largest and oldest public collection of meteorites. The Natural History Museum in Vienna costs adults €10 and concessions are €8. It’s open 9am-6.30pm Thursday-Monday, until 9pm Wednesdays and closed Tuesdays.
Feeling inspired? Start planning your trip to visit Vienna today.