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Ringstrasse Palaces History Tour

Experience the stunning architecture of the Ringstrasse's palaces up close.
From US$480 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
2.5 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Ringstrasse
  • Parliament exterior
  • Palais Coburg (exterior)
  • Palais Königswarter (exterior)
Photos & Highlights
  • Walk in the footsteps of Vienna's wealthy families and learn about their lives during the mid-19th century
  • Hosted by local cultural historian or scholar, you'll experience the stunning architecture of the city's palaces
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Tour Description
Few other streets in the world display such a range of styles and personalities as Vienna’s famous Ringstrasse, which was created in 1865 to replace the old city walls. On this Ringstrasse tour with a local historian, we’ll look at this hallmark of Vienna’s urban landscape through the eyes of the prominent, wealthy families who once lived here. As we wind along the street, stopping at striking venues and cafés along the way, we’ll gaze up at the Ringstrasse's palaces and paint a picture of life in Vienna as its society accelerated towards the 20th century.

Ringstrasse Walking Tour

Look closer at the Ringstrasse—beyond the genteel boulevards and sweeping buildings that line its walkways—and this roadway gives away hints about the breakdown of social boundaries across Europe during a key historical moment in the mid-19th century. On this walk, we'll dive into that moment in Vienna’s history—which, in turn, helps to contextualize so much about the next century and its wars.

Looking for a more look at Vienna's history? Try our Introduction to Vienna Walking Tour.

Opulence and Elegance of Vienna's Gilded Age

Our journey starts at the magnificent Palais Coburg, which retains parts of the old city wall. The removal of the former city defenses paved the way for the palaces and promenades we see today, including this one, with its stunning façade of gleaming white columns.

We’ll then take a look at notable buildings such as Palais Erzherzog Wilhelm, named for the eponymous archduke of the Habsburg dynasty; Palais Königswarter, the address of Emperor Franz Joseph's lover, Katharina Schratt; and Palais Todesco, where we’ll discuss the importance of Jewish families in Vienna—an important theme throughout the walk. There may also be an opportunity to jump on one of Vienna’s iconic trams to ride the entire length of the historical thoroughfare and watch the seemingly endless rows of grand buildings stream by.

Looking for more Habsburg decadence? Try our Schönbrunn Palace Tour.

An Era of Prosperity and Social Change

At the end of our time together, we’ll not only have a deeper appreciation of the singular structure and architecture of the Ringstrasse, but also the fascinating stories of the people who have inhabited it for the last century and a half. From society scandals to the development of the cityscape, this street gives us a snapshot of Vienna at one of its greatest peaks.

FAQ

What is a private tour?
Our private tours are limited exclusively to travelers in your party. They are designed to provide a learning experience that is completely tailored to you and your traveling companions. Private tours give you more flexibility with scheduling (you decide when the walk best fits in your trip), the ability to tailor your itinerary (we'll work to match the itinerary to the interests and dynamics of your group), and more personalized time with your guide.

Does this tour go inside any sites?
Our Ringstrasse tour is an entirely outdoors walking tour, so we will only look at the exteriors of the venues mentioned. If you would like to go inside one of Vienna's beautiful palaces, we recommend our tour of Schönbrunn Palace.

What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine. The majority of this walk is outside, so please be prepared with either an umbrella or a hat/sunscreen.
Where You'll Start
20 Reviews (4.56)

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We had such a special time with Piroska. From the outset, we had a two-way conversation that made us feel very welcomed, and which allowed us to probe deeply into the subject matter. We laughed a lot, and had so much fun. Cannot say enough about Piroska.
Reinhard is a PhD and should really be a tenured professor, and he made this tour a pleasure. He took me to a number of historic sites in a fairly short time and actually guided me inside some of them, past the throngs of tourists lined up outside. While very much the academic, he didn't speak "down" to me, and the conversation was 2-way and fun for both of us.
Reinhard gave us a very good overview of the complicated politics religion and history of Vienna.