When Eurail and STA Travel reached out to us, asking if we were to head back to Europe where would we want to visit, the first country that came to mind was Austria. Austria has been on our bucket list for the longest time, with two places in particular – Vienna and Salzburg.
Check out our two vlogs below to see what we got up to during our 48 hours in Vienna, and keep scrolling if you would like to read more on what to do during a visit to Vienna!
Early Morning: Coffee!
You are about to try and see one of Europe’s most stunning cities in 48 hours – a feat that can not be accomplished without caffeine running through your veins. If you are starting your day off at a cafe, why not choose one that not only serves delicious viennese coffee and foods, but is also an instagrammers dream.
We headed to Cafe Diglas as we love its romantic, girly flair combined with a classy Viennese atmosphere. Chandeliers hang over your table with pink frilly skirts, and the entire facade is pink!
This spot was actually our second choice, we really wanted to check out Palmenhaus, in the Imperial Garden but it was unfortunately closed on Mondays during the winter months. This restaurant was a former tropical house with high ceilings and incredible sunlight coming through the walls and ceiling. If you are in Vienna and it is open this is the breakfast spot to hit up!
Mid-morning/afternoon: Self-made walking tour
Vienna is a very walkable city. We wanted to spend our first morning marvelling at the architecture and simply made a list and walked from spot to spot, taking it all in and snapping way too many photos.
Our favourite area to walk through was Ringstrasse, the ring road that runs around the centre of Vienna, past some of the city’s most famous buildings. Along this route you can see the Vienna State Opera, Imperial Palace, Parliament and City Hall.
Buildings we recommend checking out:Belvedere, Vienna State Opera, Vienna City Hall, Karlskirche, Natural History Museum
Naschmarkt is Vienna’s biggest food market, and one of the best markets we have visited! Built over the River Wien, the market has two main alleyways: one dominated by restaurants, the other by food stores and stalls.
You will find food stalls filled with delicious cheeses, olives, meats and pastries. So if you are visiting in the summer we recommend grabbing some supplies to have the perfect picnic. We were visiting in the winter and decided to walk along the restaurant alley and found a delicious (and warm) spot called Tewa’s serving healthy, fresh meals.
Late afternoon/evening: Ice Skate in front of Vienna City Hall
In the winter there is a Christmas market and skating rink in front of the Rathaus (Vienna City Hall), it is such a fun way to end your first day in Vienna! There are stalls with all sorts of delicious foods, from gingerbread, to warm apple strudel and hot chocolates.
The ice skating is massive. With a large rink right out the front of the City Hall, with pathways made of ice leading away from the rink taking you into a ice skating maze!
If you are visiting during July and August there won’t be an ice rink, but there is a free open-air cinema here, with a big screen showing operas and concerts each night after sunset, as well as food and drink stalls. No matter what season we highly recommend checking this area out for sunset!
Morning: Schonbrunn Palace
This beautiful UNESCO-listed palace, complete with huge gardens, ornate fountains, wide green lawns and walking paths, is the perfect destination for both nature lovers and history buffs. During Maria Theresa’s reign, the Schönbrunn Palace became the imperial summer residence, having over 1,440 rooms! It is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in Austria.
As we were visiting in winter we only spent a short stroll around the grounds, as we think this place really shines in the warmer months and we are hoping to return to experience it at its best.
While at the palace you can get tickets that will allow you access to tour the Imperial Apartments, Schonbrunn Park and Gardens and the Schonbrunn Zoo.
Lunch: Wiener Schnitzel Time!
You can not come to Austria without trying a Wiener Schnitzel, and if you dine at Figlmüller vegetarians won’t have to miss out! Founded over 110 years ago, this restaurant serves some of the most authentic schnitzel in Vienna – and they are the size of a dinner plate!
As we don’t eat pork, we were happy to see they had a vegetarian version on the menu which basically consisted of crumbed cheese… not the healthiest of lunches, but one you have to try atleast once!
Afternoon: Libraries & Museums
Vienna has a huge collection of incredible museums to visit. Here are just a few that are definitely worth a visit…
Belvedere: The Belvedere is not only a magnificent Baroque palace but also houses one of Austria’s most valuable art collections – with key works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.
Kunsthistorisches Museum: The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum) was built in 1891 near the Imperial Palace to house the extensive collections of the imperial family. Housing one the largest Bruegel collections, it is considered one of the most eminent museums in the world.
Leopold Museum: Hundreds of masterworks of Austrian modern art collected by the passionate art lover Dr. Rudolf Leopold are showcased in the Leopold Museum at the MuseumsQuartier.
Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna: Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna (Natural History Museum) holds over 20 million objects -from insects to gemstones and minerals and pterodactyls! What makes the museum unique is the numerous taxidermy specimens of animals that are either extinct or threatened with extinction making the collection all the more valuable.
Helpful tip: If you’re planning to visit a lot of the city’s attractions, it is worth investing in a Vienna Card. They cost €13.90 for 24 hours, €21.90 for 48 hours or €24.90 for 72 hours and give you free unlimited travel by public transport as well as discounts on 210 museums, sights, shops and restaurants! You can buy the cards at the Tourist Information Centre in Albertinaplatz, at the airport or online.
We also highly recommend visiting the State Hall National Library, known as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world! When you enter the library hall it feels like you have just walked into a Beauty and the Beast fairytale.
More than 200,000 volumes are exhibited here, among them the comprehensive library of Prince Eugene of Savoy as well as one of the largest collections of Martin Luther’s writings from the Reformation Era.
Afternoon tea: Sacher Torte
Possibly the most famous culinary delight of Vienna, Sacher Torte is a rich, dark chocolate cake filled with orange marmalade and is something that must be tried when visiting the city. Although you’ll find it in cafes all over the city, Hotel Sacher claims to be the original birthplace of the dessert. Of course, we had to try and tick this off our bucket list!
Where to Stay
Knowing that we only have 2 days to see as much of Vienna as we could we wanted to make sure we stayed at a hotel that had a central location and easy access to public transportation. We decided to stay at The Ring Hotel and it far exceeded our expectations. Our room was massive, bed was comfortable and location was excellent.
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