The 5 most beautiful opera houses in Central Europe

Opera houses can be as grand as the operas themselves

The opera as an art form is not necessarily the most accessible, affordable, or accommodating. Despite being beautiful and culturally significant, these performances have for the most part remained out of arm's reach for the common consumer. The architectural wonders that house these performances are usually as far as most people get to seeing an opera and, as much as avid opera-goers would find this shameful, who can blame them? Operas are grand, lavish, ostentatious; it's only natural the theaters that house them follow suit.

Central Europe in particular has a rich operatic history, from Mozart's roots in Vienna and Prague to the Primate's Palace in Bratislava's being converted into a prominent performance space. We've compiled a list of the must-see opera houses in Central Europe so you don't have to. Next time you're meandering about the region, whether or not you're packing opera glasses in your travel bag, make sure to stop by any of these wonders of architecture, culture, and Central Europe's legacy of operatic excellence.

Hungarian State Opera House (Budapest, Hungary)

Bachtrack

David Ball / Getty Images

This gorgeous neo-Renaissance opera house opened in 1884. Designed by important 19th century Hungarain architect Miklós Ybl, the opera house boasts decadent marble columns in its interior. Besides being a major hot-spot for opera in the city, the venue also houses the Hungarian National Ballet. Despite only being the second-biggest opera house in Budapest, the regal beauty of this temple of the arts, and the excellence of the performances therein, has made its name known throughout the nation and the world as the best of the best.

Prague National Theatre

Peter Pesta / Getty Images

@al_around_ / Instagram

The first thing you'll notice when you step foot inside the Prague National Theatre (Národní divadlo, in Czech) is its ceiling. "Beautiful" is an understatement, and after three different bouts of reconstruction in its long history, the opera house is at its glittering, architectural pinnacle. The roof displays Baroque artwork that follows classic mythological tropes lined with gold finishes, framing the opera house's enormous chandelier. The outer part of the opera house, right on the bank of the river Vltava that cuts through Prague, only further adds to the mystique of the institution. The acoustics of the house are also unreal, and have hosted dramas, ballets, and operas alike.

Vienna State Opera

Luis Davila / Getty Images

Neil Farrin / Getty Images

The Vienna State Opera was once the Vienna Court Opera, opening to the public upon the dissolution of the Hapsburg monarchy. This was most definitely for the best; the sprawling monster of a venue has achieved worldwide renown for having the largest repertoire of any opera house. Come and watch a show where the most glittering echelons of European royalty once came to the theatre, and relish in the fact that something so beautiful is now available to people from all walks of life.

Slovak National Opera House

HDRShooter

Bratislava Travel

Perhaps the newest building on our list, the Slovak State Opera was inaugurated in 1920. However, the operatic history of Slovakia stretches for centuries, with operas being performed for hundreds of years before the establishment of a proper venue in 1886. This opera house, another neo-Renaissance gem, is in the heart of Bratislava's Old Town, and director Juraj Hrubant has kept the venue's reputation salient over the years by reinforcing the performance of tried true classics like "Don Quixote." It doesn't compare to the size and stature of the famous Primate's Palace nearby, but should be a must-see for anyone serious about Central European operatic tradition at its purest.

Estates Theatre

Opera Lively

Schmopera

One of the biggest draws of the Estates Theatre is the fact that Mozart's "Don Giovanni" was premiered here in 1787, commemorated by a statue of the imposing Commendatore placed near the entrance. The relatively compact theatre features a massive chandelier and is a part of the Národní divadlo complex, alternating its shows between the Prague National Theater and the Kolowrat Theatre. The more simplified, small-scale design of the theater does not diminish the power of its performances, allowing for a more intimate opera experience than one might usually get at a larger venue. The fact that it has so much history and is steps away from Prague's glistening Old Town Square only further adds to its charm.

Read More from Journiest

Subscribe now

Related Posts

Finally, we are done with 2020! Between all the highs and lows, it felt like 5 years packed into one, so I'm excited to start fresh in 2021. I'm taking my New Year's resolutions to the next level: cook more, read more, and get back to things I truly love like arts & crafts and morning runs (okay, most likely walks).

Honestly, I could go on forever about the new year, new me thing but actually getting started is my biggest hurdle. I realized that my motivation comes from my mood which directly relates to my environment … and for the past year, my house has been my habitat. So, it's not looking too great after all the wear and tear. The dirt and the mess have accumulated right under my nose.

It's not that I'm bad at it, I just feel so overwhelmed. When my house is clean, I feel much more in control and motivated, and right now it's far from it. When I was venting about my cleaning woes the other day, my friend recommended Handy.

Handy allows you to book local professional cleaners and sign up for monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly plans. Plus, you can schedule appointments at a time that works for you with availability 7 days a week from 7am-11pm. So to get me in the right headspace to tackle my goals, I'm going to be signing up for Handy. I'm looking forward to letting the experts take over.

Although having people in your home may sound a bit strange right now, Handy has rolled out the Handy Safety Standard to help promote the health and safety of the customers and professionals who use their platform. Some of these measures include requiring Pros to wear face coverings during bookings and mandatory daily in-app check-ups to verify they are in good health before claiming a booking. They even have a section on their site dedicated to keeping customers and professionals updated on the latest CDC health and safety guidance.

To top everything off, all of the Cleaning Pros booked through Handy are vetted and background checked. And you can even check out each Pro's ratings and reviews before you book.

Once my house is in order, the fresh feeling will have a domino effect on so many other areas of my life:

✔ Read More

Lying on my cozy couch without inhaling all the dust I'd chosen to ignore, despite my clear uptick in sneezing the last few months. My reading list is chock-full of thrillers and fantasy. And with my new clean slate, I've even added some books about organization.

✔ Get Cooking

Nothing makes cooking more enjoyable than a sparkling kitchen. I'm inspired by a clean space and all the new recipes I'll be whipping up in 2021 already have me drooling.

✔ More Exercise (aka walking!)

I won't feel guilty getting out for a walk on-the-daily when I know I'm not neglecting any household chores thanks to Handy. And when I come home I'm not greeted by any reminders to clean.

You can specify exactly what you want to be cleaned before your Pro arrives and if you like them, you can request to have the same Pro come every time. I can already imagine how exciting it will be to walk into my spotless space.

I cannot wait to book my cleaning through Handy so I can get my 2021 resolutions rolling. My New Year is all about my wellness and my environment plays such a big part in it. I'm signing up for bi-weekly appointments. But their plans are super flexible and if I need, I can always change to a weekly or monthly cleaning plan — sometimes they even have bookings available as soon as the next day!

With Handy, I'm leaving that rough 2020 in the dust and jumping into 2021 feeling fresh and ready-to-go.

Update: Handy is offering a limited time discount for our readers! Follow this link today to get a special offer on your first time cleaning plan.

This perfect low-key vacation is not your average camping experience.

Locations

Atlanta, Austin & San Antonio, Boston, Charlotte & Raleigh, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh & Cleveland, Portland, and Washington, DC.

Getaway's outposts are a maximum 2-hour drive from these major cities.

getaway cabin all seasons

Why Getaway?

It's an escape for the always on. Leave your work, technology and worries at home, and lean into an experience that allows you to reconnect and center yourself in nature.

Each cabin features 1 (or 2) queen-sized bed as well as a full indoor bathroom, both heat and a/c, and reliable electricity. The kitchen is stocked with food staples and cookware and there is a fire pit and outdoor seating. All cabins are family-friendly and dogs are permitted.

getaway essentials

Booking & Price

Book through the Getaway site. Cabins fit 1 - 4 guests and cost as low as $129 a night.

Safety

Cabins are already distanced (50-150' feet apart) from one another and go through a deep disinfection process between guest stays. Check-in is contactless, and each guest accesses their cabins through a personalized key code.

getaway activities

UPDATE: Plan Your Winter Escape Today With Getaway! Take $20 Off Your Stay With Code Winter20!

Given the nature of the pandemic, it can be tough to find the best ways to spend the usual festivities that New Year's Eve brings.

Luckily, if you're comfortable enough to step outside for the occasion, there are great places still open and worth visiting. Although you should always keep COVID-19 safety precautions in mind, here are three of the most stunning places to spend Near Year's Eve in the U.S.

New York City (New York)

No guide to stunning places to spend New Year's Eve in the U.S. would be complete without the presence of New York City, New York. The Times Square ball drop is a must-see annual event, though this year it will be a bit different due to the pandemic. Thankfully, the city will still be throwing an event for all to enjoy that will keep social distancing in mind and focus on bringing people together virtually.

While there might be live events for some to enjoy, none have been officially announced just yet. Even if you're enjoying the festivities virtually, there are few better places to spend this special occasion than at the tip of the NYC skyline.

New York City New Years Eve New York City New Years EveForbes

Lake Travis (Texas)

Lake Travis is a brilliant body of water in Texas that provides a versatile collection of ways to enjoy its beauty. If you'd prefer to keep your party secluded due to the pandemic, you can enjoy the evening on a boat in the waters of this lake, which is home to the famous "Devil's Cove" party destination.

If you're comfortable spending the evening in a venue that practices COVID-19 safety precautions, consider relaxing on one of the three decks on display at The Oasis. Even if you don't stick around to ring in the New Year, viewing the sunset from The Oasis is an incredible experience in itself.

Lake Travs Lake Travislaketravis.com

Cape Cod (Massachusetts)

If you're looking for a quainter way to ring in the new year, consider visiting Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Aside from the cool weather and stunning scenery, when spending New Year's Eve in Cape Cod you can visit places such as the Belfry Inn & Bistro. This lovely location has a focus on good dining, stylish and comfortable living, and COVID-19 safety, all of which they put on display via their website.

If you'd prefer not to spend too much time in a restaurant or bar, you can indulge in the incredible appearance of areas like Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. Simply wandering around the area and taking in the scenery before enjoying an intimate evening inside makes for an unforgettable adventure.

Cape Cod New Years Eve Cape Cod New Years Evebluegreenvacations.com

Due to the ever-changing nature of certain venues during the pandemic, be sure to regularly check-up on any venues you wish to visit. That way, you can remain in the loop on their availability, activities, and safety precautions upon arrival.