Saturday 20 October 2018

There are a number of cities I've been to in Europe that I could say you could see everything you wanted to see in 2 days, Bratislava being one of them. Since we had booked 3 days in total we decided to take a day trip to Vienna, as you can get there for 5 euros on a 1 hour coach ride. Vienna on the contrary, is not a place you can see in 24 hours - it's definitely somewhere I will go back and visit with my future beau. If like us, you're short on time and want to try and make the most on a one day trip to Vienna, here are my recommendations! 

tea with gi vienna guide

We used a company called FlixBus that operate around Europe (and in the US too?) and bought our tickets in advance just for peace of mind. We cut it a bit fine on the way back because we spent too much time taking selfies at Schönbrunn Palace and then had to James Bond sprint from the metro to the bus station (and made it with 3 minutes to spare). 

In terms of getting around Vienna, it's definitely not a city where you can get everywhere by foot. Instead the best option is to get a daily metro ticket which costs you 8 euros. I think there's around 4 lines and it's definitely a lot simpler that the London Tube. 

Breakfast | Cafe Central / Cafe Mozart 

If you want to start your day by having a coffee where many famous poets, writers, artists and one psychoanalyst met for a coffee and cigar then Cafe Central is the place to go. The interior design of the cafe is spectacular and the place has been around since 1876. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (and have free Wi-Fi) but if you're planning on dining here be prepared to pay double for Viennese staples like schnitzel and tafelspitz. 

Another classic coffeehouse is that of Cafe Mozart, located right next to the Opera Theatre. It opened its doors in 1840 and was the meeting hub for many of the performers, journalists and guests. This may be one of the original places to have a Sachertorte and coffee, but keep reading for recommendations on where you can get the same quality cake for half the price. 

AM | Museums 

If your perfect day involves wandering around museums, then you might want to put aside a whole weekend for this in Vienna because there is no shortage of them. It turned out that on the first Sunday of every month, over a dozen of museums have free admission (so you can also imagine the queues for the popular ones). I'd recommend the Wien Museum and checking out Beethoven's crib.

Two of the museums that were the most interest to me were the Albertina (14 euros) and the Sigmund Freud Museum (12 euros). One thing that came in handy was the Vienna Pass* I was kindly gifted for my trip as this included free and discounted entry to lots of museums and attractions in the city (and queue jump for a number of them) including the Imperial Palace, Schönbrunn Zoo and the Natural History Museum. The pass also gives you access to the hop-on hop-off buses around the area and a river cruise on the river Danube. A 3 day pass will cost you 119 euros. Considering everything you get included, if you're planning on visiting a lot of attractions you might want to work out if you'll be saving money purchasing one of these! 

museumquartier vienna

Lunch | Bier & Bierli

If you want to have a big schnitzel and pay less than 20 euros for it - then head to Bier & Bierli. It's located a 10 minute walk from Museumsquartier and we all left pretty satisfied. I think I was the only person at the table who managed to eat the whole plate (and the potatoes and cranberry sauce) #macros. 

bier and bierli

PM | Take a walking tour

We went with FreeTour for our walking tour of Vienna and with all free tours, they're based on a tips. I think we drew the short straw with our tour guide as she didn't quite have the personality/charisma of making the tour interesting/funny like most other guides I've had have been. Nevertheless she gave some interesting insight to the life of Mozart, Hitler's time in Vienna and I did learn a fair bit about Joseph II and how he worked to make the city a better place for everyone. A quick search of 'free walking tours Vienna' will lead you to a range of options, I shall let you decide! 

vienna austria

Coffee and Cake | Cafe Aida

A little birdie told us that you can buy an authentic slice of sachertorte (Austrian chocolate cake) for half the price in comparison to some of the cafes in the main squares - and the decor is pink. A local recommended we have a Aida merlange coffee to go with it. Being the pigs that we are, my friend Gabby asked if she could have ice-cream instead of cream with her cake, and of course I followed. If you're not a fan of chocolate cake then don't worry, there's plenty of other sweet treats to choose from.

cafe aida

sachertorte aida

Later PM | Schönbrunn Palace

From Karlsplatz we took the metro to Schonbrunn (U4) and we got there in around 15 minutes followed by a 5 minute walk. Sadly admission to the palace, rooms, zoo etc. had finished (your Vienna Pass also gets you free entry to these) but we could still wander around the gardens and take in the view from the outside. It was actually quite beautiful to see the palace lit up in the evening. 


Dinner | Donauturm

If you fancy ending your day on a fancy, romantic note then there's a spinning restaurant on the Danube Tower that gives you some great, 360 views of the city. As you can imagine this is a popular place with locals and tourists, so you should book a table in advance if you don't want to arrive there and be disappointed that you have to wait an hour to be seated. Considering the 'fanciness' of the place, prices aren't that bad - a plate of spinach and cheese ravioli will cost you 13 euros, whereas if you want to splurge a bit more for an anniversary or something special, you can a set 3 course menu (with wine) for 40 euros.


LUXURY | Hotel Wandl

stephenplatz vienna

Have you ever been to Vienna or Austria yourself? What were your highlights? 


vienna travel guide

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