The Vienna Ring Road (or Ringstrasse in German) is a 5 km long grand circular boulevard. It surrounds the “Innere Stadt”, the oldest part and historical centre of Vienna, and it is one of Vienna’s main sights. The building of the Ring Boulevard was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1857 after the dismantling of the city walls. Today it is known for its unique architectural beauty and historical significance.
Some of the most important sights in Vienna can be found on the Ring Road. Buildings like the royal Hofburg Palace, the Austrian Parliament, the State Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts, Urania, the first public observatory and the Vienna university among others. Most buildings were planned and built at pretty much the same time, but their styles vary strongly. Numerous styles were copied to underline the function of the buildings: the Museum of Fine Arts and its counterpart the Museum of Natural History were built to resemble the style of the Italian Renaissance, just like the Vienna Opera House. The Parliament echoes Greek classicism as this was the epoch of the birth of democracy.
The Vienna Ring Road was also planned with green spaces and parks in mind. The most notable parks being the Stadtpark (City Park) with the Kursalon music hall, the Burggarten (Castle Garden), the Volksgarten (People’s Garden) with its roses and fountains, and the Rathauspark. There are various monuments and statues along the Ring Road.
The Ring Road has several sections. It surrounds the central area of Vienna on all sides, except for the northeast, where its place is taken by the Franz-Josephs-Kai, the street going along the Donaukanal (a branch of the Danube).
This grand boulevard is also called the “King of ring boulevards” and is listed by UNESCO as a part of Vienna’s World Heritage Site.
If you choose to visit Vienna and book your accommodation close to the major sights, it is a good idea to look for accommodation near the Ringstrasse area.