Gay Country Rank: 15/193
Metropolis of the vast Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian empires, center of imperial society, home to kings and nobles, arbitrator of arts and music, a culinary capital, AND the home of The Sound of Music? You might as well stop right there and hand Vienna all of the awards. At the crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe, Vienna has an authentic atmosphere that’s impossible to disregard. In addition to the beauty of Vienna’s architecture, art, music and setting, there is a rich gay history here, along with a sizeable gay scene that will delight even the most jaded gay or lesbian traveler.
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Vienna is one of those great gay capitals of Europe that you can can travel to frequently and never get enough. Of Viennas 1.7 million inhabitants, an estimated 170,000 of them are gay or lesbian.
Vienna is a city with a world-class musical and cultural heritage, liberal attitudes and diverse gay scene.
The great thing about Vienna is that it has all the architectural magnificence of a former imperial capital with the friendly, manageable feel of the capital of a small central-European country. Thanks to the gorgeous architecture, musical and cultural attractions, mouth-watering cuisine and abundance of parks, Viennese gay life has never been more enticing. There are plenty of cocktail bars, cafe hotspots, hangouts, meet-ups, fetish parties, saunas, clubs and discos all over town, more than enough to keep even the most energetic boy or girl happy for a lifetime of culture and nightlife.
Popular gay restaurants include Cafe Berg, Bar Restaurant Cafe Willendorf, Motto and Cafe Savoy. In the evening the party moves to Felixx, Why Not, the Vienna Eagle, and Heaven. Walk in openly gay Prince Eugene of Savoy's footsteps at the Belvedere Palace, shop till you drop (and snack away!) at the Naschmarkt before heading to see the Beethoven Frize by Gustav Klimt in the Secession.
Once the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it contains magnificent palaces, cathedrals, parks and public buildings, many built in splendid baroque style and on a huge scale. The fall of the empire after the First World War left Vienna as the capital of a much smaller Austria and the city now is home to just 1.7 million people.
Vienna is full of history and elegance. Mozart wrote and performed here. Freud learned how to look in to people’s minds. The Ringstrasse, the Ring Boulevard that encircles the historic heart of the city, contains jaw-dropingly beautiful, grand buildings including museums, the State Opera Houses, art galleries and government offices.
The historic Hofburg Imperial Palace is a Vienna must, where you can learn about "Luziwuzi," the controversial Emperor Ludwig Viktor who frequented the Kaiserbrundl bathhouse in his day and was exiled to a remote castle for an infamous incident that took place at the baths involving an Austrian army officer.
Plan your visit around one of the many large-scale events like the popular Life Ball, Rainbow Parade, Rainbow Ball, Rosenball and Wien in Schwarz.
In order to appreciate Viennese culture, it might be worth starting off by visiting some of the numerous museums and famous buildings which feature so prominently in the city, such as the Museum of Fine Arts; the Imperial Treasury, which contains the Habsburgs' collection of jewels, crowns, and other items; the New Palace; Albertina, a popular exhibition space for modern art; the Natural History Museum; the Music House, which offers visitors an interactive learning experience; the Otto Wagner Museum; the Jewish Museum; the Opera House; Parliament; Vienna Museum; the Museum of Military History; Mozart House; the Freud Museum; and Hofburg Palace.
There is a significant gay presence in Vienna, and thus there are plenty of gay bars, clubs and other gay-friendly establishments located in the city. The city also plays host to a number of gay-oriented events throughout the year, such as the Life Ball, which is the biggest charity event in Europe that is held in support of people with HIV and AIDS. The Vienna Rainbow Parade and the Rainbow Ball also attract substantial numbers, as members of the LGBT community come together to celebrate gay pride. Thus, with so many sights to see and events to enjoy, Vienna is an excellent city to visit.