History seeps into almost every nook and cranny in Vienna. Austria’s capital was home to venerable composers Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. It’s the birthplace of Freud and other intellectuals. The city’s elegant coffeehouse culture, a cherished tradition, landed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Schonbrunn Palace served as the residence of the Habsburg emperors in the 18th century, and the world’s first zoo opened on its grounds in 1752.
Much of the city’s historic beauty remains intact. To get an up-close look, we turned to London-based photographer Mike Clegg for our Vienna Instagram guide.
“Vienna is possibly one of the most beautiful and photogenic cities in the world and, when visiting, you’ll be surrounded by grand and impressive architecture,” said Clegg, who used to live in the city. “What makes Vienna such a great destination is the variety of things to see and do when you are there. From historical palaces, beautiful gardens to vineyards on the outskirts. I fondly remember the city and always get excited about visiting.”
After getting serious about photography five years ago, Clegg now traverses the globe, snapping photos and documenting his trips on his blog Travel and Destinations and Instagram account. In Vienna, he says that his secret spots to shoot are the Palace of Justice and the tree tunnels at the Schonbrunn (coordinates here).
Scroll below to see photos from those waiting-to-be-discovered places and the rest of our Instagram guide.
“The Belvedere is one of Vienna’s most beautiful baroque palaces. It’s a perfect Instagram spot, and when taking pictures, try to use the water feature to capture reflections of the palace.”
“A hidden gem in the city is this tunnel that you’ll find in Schonbrunn Park. This particular shot does particularly well on Instagram. When taking pictures, try to add a human element to make it a little more interesting.”
“All throughout Vienna at Christmas are wonderful festive markets with atmosphere and gluhwein. And they are great spots for photography. I would recommend taking pictures at night using a tripod, although always ensure you are in a safe spot and won’t trip anyone.”
“Kahlenberg is the perfect place to hike in the city and you’ll find it north of the city on the outskirts. As well as being a great place to hike, it’s a wonderful place to take photographs and to capture a different side of Vienna.”
“Karlskirche is potentially one of the most stunning baroque churches in the world. This extremely photogenic church is a must-visit for Instagram and photography. During the warmer months, you’ll find a water feature in front where you can often capture mirror-like reflections.”
“The Schonbrunn Park is free to visit and, from around May to September, it has incredible flower arrangements. The entire Schonbrunn complex makes for a perfect day out, where you could enjoy the gardens, visit the palace or even head to the swimming pool that’s onsite. “
“The Vienna State Opera, or Wiener Staatsoper, is extremely grand and exceptional to see at night. For the most interesting shot, set up your tripod and capture light trails from cars or trams going past.”
“Beautiful white architecture and bright red trams provide the perfect contrast for street photos in Vienna. Whilst visiting, just allow yourself to get lost within the streets, especially in the Innere Stadt (district one). You’ll find countless photo opportunities or facades to just admire.”
“Stephansdom is Vienna’s most famous church and an icon of the city. Head up the North Tower (which has an elevator) or the South Tower (which has lots of steps), and you’ll be rewarded with the most spectacular views over the city. Top tip: If you visit when the sun sets early (i.e., around 5 p.m.), it’s one of the best spots for sunset photos.”
“An absolute must-visit Instagram spot in Vienna is the colorful Hundertwasserhaus. When taking pictures, head here during the day, and when editing, add a little vibrancy to make the colors pop.”
“Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Hotel Sacher Wien is one of the city’s most luxurious hotels and is located in a fantastic spot opposite the incredible Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera).”
“The Palace of Justice is a hidden treasure. It is free to visit—but only open weekdays—and has one of the most impressive interiors I’ve ever seen. You can also visit the rooftop cafe for skyline views over the city.”