Although Vienna now rules over a country only slightly larger than South Carolina, it still feels like the center of an empire. The city offers an inexhaustible wealth of architectural grandeur, a rich artistic legacy and some of the finest museums in the world. Today, it has just 1.9 million inhabitants, but the immense Hofburg palace, seat of the Habsburg imperial dynasty, recalls Vienna’s past as a capital of Austria-Hungary. Vienna divides visitors among numerous blockbuster attractions, helping it absorb crowds. Most places are within easy reach, and if your legs become weary, there are always the spotless red-and-white trams that constantly trundle around the Ringstrasse, the great circular boulevard that defines the Innere Stadt, or old city. And perhaps only Paris can boast as many delightful cafés.

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