Vienna City Library in City Hall with spiral staircase on the foreground
© PID Presseinformationsdienst der Stadt Wien

Mythical, magical, musical: Vienna's most beautiful libraries

The city guarantees the right place for every bookworm. Behind the doors of these libraries, you'll discover Vienna as a city with a rich cultural heritage and find oases of peace amid the fast pace of the city. Above all, the spines of books can also charm the eye.

Baroque splendor: National Library

With seven reading rooms and around 3.9 million books, the Austrian National Library in the Imperial Palace makes it into first place on the list of Vienna's most beautiful libraries, mainly because of the impressive ceremonial room. The room built in the 18th century in the Baroque style is adorned with a lavishly decorated dome, Venetian grand globes and more than 200,000 historic volumes. It's a sight that overpowers.

National Library ceremonial room with statue in the middle

Flourishes and high gloss: the ceremonial room of the National Library

© Paul Bauer / WienTourismus
Reading room of the library in the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art

Clear lines: the reading room in the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art

© Gerald Zugmann / MAK

A hint of Hogwards: Main library of the University of Vienna

Inside the main library of the University of Vienna, you'll soon feel like Harry Potter or Hermione Granger in the fictitious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. No wonder: the almost sombre yet inviting reading room of the main library at the University of Vienna radiates its very own charm, thanks to the characteristic interior. But be careful: the magnificent reading room also quickly seduces you to drift off into lengthy daydreams.

Viennese knowledge: Vienna City Library in City Hall

With a focus on the research and preservation of Vienna's history and culture and the archiving of important documents, the library on the first floor of Vienna City Hall has a very special significance. The historic rooms also captivate with noble furnishings that develop special atmospheric qualities. By the way: the Vienna City Library has one of the last remaining paternoster lifts in Austria in its original condition – accessible via the entrance on Felderstrasse.

Artistic and cool: reading room in the MAK

In a good library, everything is arranged in rank and file. That also seems to be the credo in the reading room of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art. The multifaceted collection of books, art prints and periodicals is almost symmetrically arranged here, as are the desks, bookshelves and lamps. This place thus attracts above all design lovers, as well as being very popular with art students.

Pages on strings: University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

How does the vibration of strings actually produce sound on double basses? And what are the differences between the opera forms pasticcio and opera buffa? Questions such as these are answered in the library of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna – in a spectacular library room between modern glass façades and historic columns.

Beautiful browsing: German studies, Dutch studies and Scandinavian studies

The last item on our list of the most beautiful libraries in Vienna takes us back to the halls of the University of Vienna. More precisely to the faculty library of German studies, Dutch studies and Scandinavian studies. With numerous volumes of German, Austrian and Scandinavian literature, it provides many hours of lyrical and prosaic entertainment. The tall shelves in mahogany wood and the dim light emanating from green desk lamps create an atmosphere that invites you to indulge and browse.

Austrian National Library - Main Reading Room

Heldenplatz, Neue Burg, Mitteltor, 1010 Wien
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
    • Elevator available
      • 122 cm wide and 130 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Guided tours for visitors with disabilities and special needs on prior arrangement.

    • Comments

      Main entrance on first floor and access to Grand Hall on second floor: entrance Josefsplatz.

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Main library of the University of Vienna

Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Mo, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Tu, 09:00 - 19:00
    • We, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Th, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Fr, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Sa, 09:00 - 18:00
    • Different opening hours during the holidays.
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Vienna City Library at City Hall

Felderstraße, Stiege 6, 1. Stock, 1010 Wien
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MAK reading room MAK library and works on paper collection

Stubenring 5, 1010 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Tu, 10:00 - 18:00
    • We, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Th, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Fr, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Sa, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Su, 10:00 - 18:00
    • The reading room is closed in August
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Library of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Anton von Webern Platz 1, 1030 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Mo, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Tu, 09:00 - 19:00
    • We, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Th, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Fr, 09:00 - 16:00
    • Different opening hours during the holidays. The library is closed in August.
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Faculty library from German studies, Dutch studies and Scandinavian studies

Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Mo, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Tu, 09:00 - 19:00
    • We, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Th, 09:00 - 20:00
    • Fr, 09:00 - 18:00
    • Different opening hours during the holidays.
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