See Roman ruins, visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace and spot Renaissance frescoes at an ancient church at this beautiful Old Town square.
Michaelerplatz (St. Michael’s Square) is a grandiose public square in the heart of Vienna’s Innere Stadt (Old Town). Its magnificent buildings showcase a mix of architectural styles and the lavish sovereignty of the Habsburg Dynasty. Come to Michaelerplatz to visit a royal palace, a 13th-century church and the excavations of a Roman-era dwelling.
Looming over the square’s south side is Michaelertrakt, a magnificent wing of the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Its Baroque exterior features artistic fountains, huge columns and the House of Habsburg coat of arms. Look for the four huge statues of the Greek god Hercules that guard the Michaelertor gateway. Step through the portal and explore some of the palace’s 2,000 opulent rooms, its museums and treasury.
Marvel at the Romanesque, Gothic and neoclassical aspects of the façade of St. Michael’s Church. It is largely unaltered since 1792, although some parts date as far back as the 1200s. Spot well-preserved frescoes, intricate stained-glass windows, sculptures and stucco reliefs. Tour the crypt to see the mummified bodies and tombs of people buried between the 1500s and 1700s.
Adjacent to the church is the Looshaus building with a modern design that stands in stark contrast to the traditional Baroque landscape of Vienna’s Old Town. Opposite here is Palais Herberstein. Its lower floor houses the reconstruction of the historic Café Griensteidl, where the poets and writers of the Jung-Wien (Young Vienna) group once met.
Go to the center of the square to look down on the vestiges of a Roman settlement and the remains of the old Burgtheater. Watch as tourists travel to and from the palace gateway via horse-drawn carriage.
Getting to Michaelerplatz is quick and easy on foot from most areas of the Old Town. Walk through Heldenplatz to Maria Theresa Square, home to the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art History. The nearest metro stations, Herrengasse and Stephansgasse, are both about a 5-minute walk away.
St. Michael Church is open daily and charges a fee for the crypt tour. Check the official website of the Hofburg Imperial Palace for the opening hours and fees for its attractions.