I've noted in previous posts that I do think this is true: among Europe's many wonderful big cities, Vienna is the best. Out of all of them, if I could visit only one, it would be Vienna. And maybe, if I had to live in one, it would be Vienna (although Vienna's location away from big mountains and/or the ocean would likely send me elsewhere).
We all have our opinions, and this is just my opinion. I've travelled to Europe 13 times for leisure touring, approaching two years of time spent, have been to most major cities more than once. I suppose maybe I ought to define big city or major city, but won't. There are cities with large populations that are dispersed, and smaller populations that are dense. Where a "city" draws its boundary is somewhat arbitrary too.
Reasons why I think Vienna is the best big city for tourists visits in Europe:
1) It was the seat of a massive empire and has cultural sites and contemporary high culture that are not exceeded. Maybe Paris. Maybe. But I don't think so, at least not from the user/tourist experience.
2) Given the above, it has plenty of accessible folk culture and tradition in the city as well. There are aspects of Vienna that feel more "village" than exist in most other large European cities.
3) One of the most walkable city cores with extensive pedestrianization and friendly distances between sites.
4) Excellent food at all levels, from street to Michelin star, from highly local/traditional to fully international cuisine - it is a foodie city and culture.
5) Historically a cultural crossroads, not a monoculture, which always makes a city more interesting
4) It has what to me seems the best large public transit system in Europe. One simply thinks about being somewhere in its comprehensive range and seemingly you magically appear there in 10-15 minutes.
5) It is situated so as to have an enormous amount of outdoor activity accessible from right in the city. You can hike in the wood and vineyards for days, mountain bike, jog, ride for hours on scenic protected cycle paths right along the river, extensive municipal recreation facilities. All of this a short tram ride or even walk away. And in the city core many big parks.
6) Low crime, very clean for a big city, and well-educated population
7) Remarkably affordable - cost of living is low compared to Northern European cities, and not far off some cheaper areas in Southern Europe.
8) Relatively sunny weather, especially compared to Western and Northern Europe.
8) (and this of course is totally subjective and probably doesn't necessarily recommend a place) many very good looking people, men and women, many of whom display a blend of attractive features of both Teutonic and Eastern European heritage. Vienna is an under the radar city for attractive locals if you are single.
9) Vienna is easy as a tourist. You can bring white-belt novice travel skills to Vienna and have a great time - easy, comfortable and hassle free. Vienna is also deep - if you are an advanced explorer you aren't going to bottom Vienna out and get bored.
Many Viennese can be crabby on spec. They don't mean much by it, but if you get down when your smile and outward niceness meets what can feel like contempt you need to let it go. And, to be fair, most people are generally pleasant.
A bit harder to get to maybe? It's deeper in Europe coming from the USA, and not so much an international airline hub.
And remote from big mountains and/or striking seascapes and/or lovely bucolic countryside.
Given the above, it's always interesting to me that when friends and acquaintances with little or no Europe touring experience ask me which cities not to miss, they almost always try to hustle past my immediate suggestion of don't miss Vienna. I suppose if you don't know, then you don't go ....
Agree? Disagree? Thought and insights? :)