To come to Vienna and not visit a museum would, in my eyes, be a pity. There are so many to choose from and definitely something to suit every taste. For the big museums allow for a couple of hours - particularly the main art galleries - for the royal palaces roughly an hour per visit.
Vienna's rich cultural history cannot be covered by 20 sites so here are a few more of the lesser well known:
Anyone who likes a cemetery or a touch of the morbid will love the Kaiser Gruft (Imperial Vault) under the Kapuziner Kirche on Neuer Markt (www.kaisergruft.at). The pewter caskets, in which the rulers were interred since the 17th century, are incredible works of art. Over 140 family members were laid to rest here, of which 12 were emperors and 19 were empresses and queens. Don't expect much information downstairs, this is first and foremost still a functioning burial ground and the Capuchin monks are still here as guardians. The Central Cemetery – not in the geographical sense – is a destination I recommend also as a personal favourite, particularly as you'll find many great musician's memorials here, and there's a new English audio-guide to help you find your way round. The easiest way from the centre out here is on tram 71, entering through the main gate which is Tor 2.
Younger visitors will find the Technisches Museum (Vienna's technical museum) an exciting, very much “hands on” museum, and it's free for kids under 19 (proof of age needed - www.tmw.at), it's close to Schönbrunn Palace, too. The MuseumQuartier has a whole section dedicated to the younger visitor, for more information see Zoom at http://www.mqw.at. A top site for me is the House of Music, a great place to learn more about the famous composers that resided in Vienna and you can make music too, see more on my insider tip page and under www.hdm.at.
In general museums are open Tuesday – Sunday and from 10am to 6pm. There are exceptions, like the Schatzkammer, Leopold Museum (open Mondays) and some like the Belvedere and House of Music that open daily, the latter till 10pm.
Entrance fees can be expensive. If you plan on visiting more than just a couple of museums it is best to check whether “Combi-Tickets”, family tickets or senior citizen discounts apply. There are no set rules here. Please see my insider tips for more information on museums.
How I’ve picked my things to do:
Vienna has a 110 museums to choose from, selecting only 20 to include on my list wasn't easy. However, a couple of my favourites that aren't on the list but may be of interest to some of you, especially those interested in the Hapsburg family history, also a few more for families travelling with children I have added in the 'my advice on things to do' section (on this page). Of course, I have included classics for first-timers as well as some of the lesser known ones for returning visitors. Most visitors to Vienna will find something that suits them on my list and I will be adding to my list as soon as I get more space!