Gay Travel Vienna
Metropolis of the vast Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian empires, center of imperial society, home to kings and nobles, arbitrator of arts and music, and a culinary capital. This city at the crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe has 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. For centuries, prominent nobles, generals, artists and professionals have left a distinctly queer mark on Vienna. The buildings and narrow cobblestone streets may look old-fashioned, but Vienna’s clubs, bars, restaurants, festivals, organizations, shops, parades and museums testify to a far more open and tolerant attitude about the gay couples strolling, holding hands and kissing in the street. This modern perspective has been in development for centuries.
Perhaps it all began with Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), who is something of an Alexander The Great figure to the Viennese. One of the greatest and most celebrated generals in imperial military history, he was also a lover of art, women’s clothes and the company of men. Today, his over-the-top palace, Belvedere, is home to the Austrian National Gallery, which presents a spectacular array of Biedermaier and modern art such as Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka. Naturally, the rich musical history of Vienna honors many gay stars and visionaries. Doubtless, the greatest of these is the composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828). “Franzl,” as he was known among intimates, was married but concentrated his desires on male companions. A torrid affair with his librettist Johann Baptist Mayerhofer led the two men to literally make beautiful music together – including numerous songs and a significant but unfinished opera, “Adrast.” The glorious Austrian National Opera on the spectacular Ringstrasse was designed and built by the gay architectural duo Eduard van der Null and August Sicard von Sicardsburg in the mid-1800’s.
Vienna’s gay visitors find a dizzying array of events, places and experiences tailor-made for their interests. Theaters, museums, music festivals, operas, symphonies, film festivals, dance companies, performance halls, galleries, exhibitions, shops, markets, bookstores, coffee shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs, parties, sport clubs, tournaments, celebrations and, of course, even the city’s beloved balls, all cater to and welcome gay citizens and guests.
Vienna, like any modern city, offers its fair share of accommodations, a number of them gay or gay-friendly. Make sure to check out our Vienna Lodging List.