Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Vienna, the land of coffeehouses, sweet cakes, imperial palaces, and famous composers.
The capital city of Austria, once the seat of the massive Austro-Hungarian empire, is now a bustling city of 1.8 million. Vienna brings up dizzying bewilderment of awe and power as its first impression. The artistic, dazzling streetscapes and baroque buildings make for sensational backdrop, making this city a favorite setting for films of varying genre—from film noir ‘The Third Man’ to romantic drama ‘Before Sunrise’.
And like its neighbours, Vienna has much more to offer beyond its famed sites and monuments, for every corner presents a hidden layer underneath all the well-known spots and must-visits.
Best time to visit: Spring (April-May) or Autumn (September-October) for mild, pleasant weather and lower prices. Avoid August as it is the most crowded and the most expensive. December for Christmas Markets.
Currency: Euro (€)
Language: German and English
Vienna International Airport (VIE) is the main hub of the city. S7 connects the airport to Wien-Mitte in 25min, where you can transfer to U3 which will take you to the city centre. Fare: One way €4.20
Tip: Always stamp your tickets before boarding.
ICE, InterCity and EuroCity trains are also top choices for getting in the city, especially when part of a bigger trip.
Tip: Interrail and Eurail (for non-EU residents) are great options when planning to visit a number of European cities by rail.
Visit their website for more info https://www.interrail.eu/
Getting around: Vienna is an expansive city with an extensive, yet efficient, public transport system. The U-Bahn can take you within walking distance anywhere you’d like to see.
Fare: Buy the VIENNA TRAVELCARD 48 hours for €25 (72 hours for €29). BUY here
Unlimited use of buses (incl. Nightline buses), trams, trains within the inner zone (Zone 100)
Tip: Activate your card via the small blue ticket machines found in the train stations or inside the trams and buses.
How’s it going? : Wie geht’s? (vii-gets)
Thank you : Danke
Excuse me : Entschuldigung (ent-shul-di-goong)
Please : Bitte (b-te)
One beer please : Ein bier bitte
Where is …? : Wo finde ich ...
Do: Proost before you drink and don’t forget to look into the eyes of the other person; Eat the Käsekrainer sausage (MUST); Close your Menu to show you’re ready to order; Walk.
Don’t: Forget to tip; Mention Arnold Schwarzenegger nor The Sound of Music.
Here you go, 2 days of meandering, sausage-stuffing fun in Vienna.
A Fusion of Different Styles
Begin your 2-day trip with a baroque church found outside the former city walls on Karlsplatz. Karlskirche was built as the result of Emperor Charles VI’s vow after a plague epidemic hit Vienna.
Completed in 1737, the church’s style and architecture is not uncommon throughout Europe, it is wondrous and definitely resplendent. What makes Karlskirche stand out is the unity of the distinct elements—Greek and Roman—used in its construction, and the 2 columns of bas-reliefs depicting bible scenes.
Karlskirche also regularly hosts Vivaldi concerts for he was buried in the complex when he died in 1741.
Alight at KARLSPLATZ station,
Walk through the park.
Entrance Fee: €8
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm.
10.30AM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
For Meteorites and Skeletons
This spectacular building with an impressive entrance and a stairway reminiscent of Cinderella's midnight departure, is home to famed archeological finds and special objects, one of which is the Venus of Willendorf, you may not know its name but we're pretty sure you've seen an image of this stubby, over endowed female figure somewhere on the net or tv.
Wander around the museum and don't forget to glance up, down, and sideways as it is brimming with treasures—from meteorites to detailed murals, from dinosaurs to sea cows.
Take U2 KARLSPLATZ ,
alight at MUSEUMSQUARTIER station.
Entrance Fee: €12 for adults
Free Admission: 19y/o and below
Opening hours: Thurs-Mon 9am-6:30pm.
12PM HOFBURG IMPERIAL PALACE
For a Taste of Nobility
We know, we know, palaces are overrated, but really, are they? Some might have qualms about visiting another European palace, however, one can't deny that Austria's major cultural and political symbol is the expansive palatial complex in the heart of its capital, the Hofburg.
Apart from the obvious—the sheer scale of 240,000m² and the irrefutable grandeur—its courtyards, interiors, and history make this palace unlike any other palace elsewhere.
So step back in time, and wish that the illustriousness of the complex's previous residents will rub off on you, at least for the duration of your visit.
By Foot via Heldenplatz from the Natural History Museum
Entrance Fee: €15 for adults
Opening hours: 9am-6pm. OPEN DAILY.
2PM DOMKIRCHE ST. STEPHAN
For a Stunning Gothic Masterpiece
Another one of Vienna's most recognizable symbols is the Gothic-Romanesque masterpiece, Domkirche St. Stephan. You can admire and gawk at its colourful tiled roof, stone pulpit, and many altars, but we recommend heading straight to the catacombs and crypts for an exciting tour and close up view of royal sarcophagi.
Entrance Fee: Free Admission.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 6am-10pm.
Tour of the Catacombs: €6
Mon-Sat 10am-11:30am and 1:30pm-4:30pm. Sun 1:30pm-4:30pm.
For a Splash of Colours
Built after the concept of Viennese artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, this apartment was created to show a close-to-nature design devoid of straight lines.
Hundertwasserhaus is a compelling piece of architecture showcasing an absurd, yet attractive collage of flats. As it is a residential complex, tourists aren't allowed inside unless invited by a homeowner. Though you could visit the museum and cafés in the premises.
Take U3 STEPHANSPLATZ ,
alight at ROCHUSGASSE station,
walk northwards to Hundertwasserhaus.
5.30PM WIENER REISENRAD
For Cinematic Feels
Cap off your first day on Vienna’s 122y/o Giant Ferris Wheel. Located inside an old-fashioned fairground which is a bit off the center and close to the Danube, Weiner Reisenrad offers an atmospheric, unmatched panoramic view of Austria’s capital.
Whether you choose to be in a romantic mood a la Jesse eyeing Celine or dark and broody a la Lime threatening Martins, it’s up to you. Just remember, riding the oldest Ferris Wheel in the world is already a cause for amusement.
8.30AM SCHLOSS SCHÖNBRUNN and GROUNDS
To Go Loco in this Rococo Palace
Summer is the season to be out and about enjoying nature’s best, frolicking under the sun, and adoring gardens. So today, you’ll start early as you have half a day to venture forth to the finest Rococo summer palace ever built, Schloß Schönbrunn.
Nothing says pomposity and opulence with such air as this egg yolk-colored place. Schönbrunn will show you firsthand how the Habsburgs lived as you amble through the manicured grounds and as you saunter in and out the 40 plush rooms (open to the public).
Remember all those movies with gardens blooming with roses, well here’s one. Feast your eyes on diverse colors and varieties, and we hope that’s enough roses for you.
Another familiar building which you see a lot in animations can also be found in the palace grounds. Palmenhaus opened in 1882 and houses exotic plants, as well as pavilions that contain different climatic zones.
Walk up to the formidable arch of Gloriette to have a different vantage point of the palace and the city.
alight at SCHÖNBRUNN station,
walk westwards until you reach the gates.
Entrance Fee: Check here for prices. https://www.schoenbrunn.at/en/our-tickets-and-prices/all-tickets-prices/
Opening hours: 8am-6:30pm. Jul-Aug. OPEN DAILY.
8am-5:30pm. Sept-Oct and Apr-Jun. OPEN DAILY.
8am-5pm. Nov-Mar. OPEN DAILY.
Tip: Buy your tickets online to avoid long queues at the gates.
2PM BELVEDERE MUSEUM
For the Golden Kiss
We know it’s madness to continue on to another Baroque palace, only you can’t be in Vienna without seeing this famous painting.
View some of the greatest collection of Austrian art in Belvedere. Inside, you’ll not only see wonderful artworks but you’ll also experience the stately rooms where they hang. And at the heart of all these collections lies Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss.
Why not try the same pose as you get ready for your snapshot?
By U-Bahn and Tram
Take U4 SCHÖNBRUNN station,
alight at KARLSPLATZ station,
walk northwest to take TRAM D from Kärntner Ring. Oper station,
alight at SCHLOSS BELVEDERE station.
Entrance Fee: €8
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 11am-6pm.
A Meaty, Cheesy, Boozy Wonderland
Your appetite for art has been surely appeased for the past 2 days, and now your tummy will be thanking you for all the delicious grubs you’ll be stuffing it with.
Naschmarkt is a utopia of little eateries, cheese, meat, and fresh produce. Jump from one stall to the next trying everything your mouth desires, dead sure you want to eat all!
MUST EAT: Cordon Bleu (Herta Gruber), Cheese, Ham, Wine (Urbanek), Potato Salad, Local Beer
For Your Sweet Tooth
The locals will flog you if you visit their city without even trying this cake. Sacher tort is the most famous pastry in the whole of Vienna and a staple of their coffeehouses, so go ahead and gorb a piece of this chocolatey treat while sipping your Viennese coffee while pretending to be snobby.
WHERE TO EAT:
Das war’s! 2 DAYS in dramatic, sensational VIENNA!