7 of the best photo and video spots in Vienna

Capturing the best of Vienna through a lens requires perspective rather than tough search. After all, Wien is one of Europe’s most elegant cities, boasting a historic center that is a UNESCO World Heritage. Here are seven spots at both well known attractions and insider places that will add a unique angle to a Vienna photo and video story.

Justizcafé

Thanks to a liberal policy, officials at Austria’s Ministry of Justice share their canteen and mind blowing roof terrace with the general public. Housed just off Ringstrasse boulevard, Justizcafé offers an eye level view of the most ornate domes, towers and rooftops: from St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Hofburg, to the Church of St. Peter, the Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna’s City Hall and Votiv Church to the adjacent Austrian Parliament’s spectacular rooftop decorations. By the way, the canteen’s food is absolutely acceptable.

Franziskanerplatz

While there is no shortage of inspiring little squares in Wien, Franziskanerplatz is probably the most photogenic. The historic fountain builds itself up against the backdrop of a Franciscan monastery, two restaurants, and a vintage signboard shop. However, the real star of the scene is Kleines Café, the tiny cafe that has been magnetising locals and tourists for decades.

Zum Schwarzen Kameel

Which experiential travel enthusiast doesn’t dream of capturing a quirky local in his or her ‘natural habitat’? Clearly, most residents will act embarrassed when asked to pose because of their characterful looks. And quite a few shop ladies would miraculously disappear in a mouse hole at the sight of a camera lens pointing at them. Not so at bar, deli and restaurant Zum Schwarzen Kameel. At this renowned Art Nouveau eatery close to Meinl am Graben, some of Vienna’s most delicious open sandwiches are handed over by a particularly welcoming, naturally self confident and quirky member of staff. Besides, the sandwiches add a real splash of colour and texture.

Schonbrunn Palace through Neptune Fountain

Endless numbers of visitors have photographed Vienna’s number one tourist attraction. While inside photography is not allowed finding the most intriguing outside perspective gets paramount for the visually minded. Adding some dynamics to enliven the palace’s serene architecture can help. Head for the sumptuous Neptune fountain in the palace gardens at the foot of the Gloriette hill. Getting just behind the baroque masterpiece’s waterfall allows to not only capture Schonbrunn’s wonderful rear facade through dancing splashes of water but sometimes to incorporate delicately sculpted animals.

Danube Tower

Which spot offers the best views of the Danube in Vienna? Most insiders will say the Danube Tower (Donauturm). Indeed, at 150 metres the viewing platform gives way to an unparalleled 360 degree view of the main Danube, the New Danube, Danube Island and the tranquil arm of the Old Danube. Even though Donauturm is located in the outskirts of Vienna it is easily reachable by metro and local bus, or by hop on hop off bus.

Michaeler Fountains

Art and architecture photography derives much of its magic through bringing dead things to life. In that sense, Vienna’s dozens of ornate baroque fountains make that task fairly easy. Most of them offer a playground to a rich diversity of gods and heroes, nymphs and angels, mythical animals and lush plants. The two Michaeler fountains framing the Imperial Palace’s entrance at Michaeler square are top examples. To add drama and mystery take photographs at night, when the monuments’ lighting casts sharp shadows.

Meinl am Graben deli

Getting an undisturbed view of bustling Graben boulevard in its entirety isn’t easy, as much as you stand on your toes. Instead, head for local gourmet deli and restaurant Meinl am Graben. The multi storey building is actually located at perpendicular Kohlmarkt. From the deli and restaurant on the first floor a camera lens will capture the elegant facades and shops on both sides while focusing on the pedestrian bustle and huge baroque pestilence column in the back. The annual Christmas lightings at Graben and Kohlmarkt add extra magic at night.

Barbara Grll-Cao is the Founder of Vienna Unwrapped.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Jack says:

    Vienna is an AMAZING city. I have been looking forward to going there. For the beautiful scenery, music… so many things. Thanks for the article.

  2. Tina says:

    I should be there within a few short weeks – can’t wait to see all the sights mentioned in this article.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Tina and Jack, am glad you find the article useful – it was a tough selection.

  4. Izy Berry says:

    Beautiful Graben street! Such a smart idea to take it from above! I wish I had known about Meinl am Graben before acting like one of the noobs with my shot taken from the street.

  5. Christy says:

    I visited Vienna briefly in 2010 but I would love to go back. At the time I didn’t really do any research and I feel like I missed out on a lot of things. It’s definitely worth maximising your time in the city by planning things like this out in advance, not just where you want to visit, but where you can take great photos. I love the idea of a smaller place like Zum Schwarzen Kameel – something local that not everyone will be taking photographs of (plus getting to eat some delicious food as well.. can’t go wrong there!)

  6. Christy, thanks for sharing your thoughts, totally agree. If you get just 3 days in Vienna and plan them out well you’ll not only see the key classics but also some quirky insider places – and that can make all the difference to your travel experience!

  7. Kelly Jones says:

    Taking photos of travel adventures is so important! These are some great tips and you have really captured some beautiful spots along the way. I love the picture from Zum Schwarzen Kameel the lady looks so welcoming and her glasses are fantastic. I have never been to Vienna before but after reading this I may have to add it to my list!

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