I hope you enjoyed Budapest. The next stop on our tour is Vienna. I really enjoyed Vienna. It’s a beautiful city that has a sense of music in the air. Maybe it’s because Vienna is the city of classical music. Of course I couldn’t do everything in a couple of days. Here are all of the stops we made and my experiences.
Hofburg Palace is located right in the center of Vienna. It was the former imperial residence of the famous Hapsburg family and is now the residence and workplace of the current Austrian president. It also includes such sites as, museum, like the imperial apartments, a look at the silver collection, and the Sisi museum (famed Hapsburg Queen.) You can also visit the Spanish Riding school. This school, famed for its Lipizzaners horses, teaches classic riding styles. You can view the practice or show of some REALLY elaborate and fancy horse riding. Right next to the palace is the Bur Garten with a Mozart statue!
Schonbrunn Palace was the summer residence of the Hapsburgs and known as a mini Versailles. It has beautiful architecture and an exquisite interior. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take pictures inside so I only have photos of the outside but I will link the website so you can see for yourself and maybe get inspired to visit. This palace also has a cafe with amazing pastries and coffee drinks named after famous royal family members with a little something special in them (alcohol). The palace is a museum but also serves as a hotel where you can rent rooms and host parties. Future wedding in Vienna! My tour guide said she was planning to have her 60th birthday there. I mean birthday at a palace? Yes, please! I also asked how much it would be to stay in one of the rooms and she said the men in that group should be asking that question so they could pay for the ladies. I said excuse me but this queen can pay for her own palace thank you.
Vienna was home to famous composers and classical music, Mozart, Strauss (basically created waltz music), The Sound of Music (oh wait wrong city.) If you are in Vienna seeing a classical concert is a must. Even if classical music isn’t your thing you can also find concerts accompanied with singing and dancers. A few members in my group were skeptical about going, but really enjoyed it. If that doesn’t persuade you, find one that includes wine. The concert I went to at Sounds of Vienna included all of that and was worth it.
Naschmarkt is an outdoor market that is open all seasons. At Christmastime, it’s a holiday market. Throughout the year it’s an open air market with food stalls where locals shop, restaurants with authentic Austrian cuisine, and souvenir shops. I found a great tea stand with local teas ( I love my tea!) I also did get cat-called by some jerks who were trying to get me to buy something from them (No I don’t want a boyfriend from some random stall in an Austrian market). So ladies, be careful. But otherwise it’s a great market.
Kunst Haus and Hundertwasser Museum
Remember my post from Spain about the famous architect Gaudi? The Kunst house was designed by a similarly famed Austrian, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The house is an apartment complex with a unique architectural style, where each apartment is a different color on the outside(see pic). There is also a museum dedicated to the architect’s life and a really cute shopping center across the street with a bar and lots of nice stores to buy souvenirs.
St. Stephan’s Cathedral
St. Stephan’s Cathedral is a beautiful gothic style church in the city center of Vienna. I know, another European church right. This cathedral is unique in its colorful roof tiles and has a beautiful interior as well. There is also a two story souvenir shop across the street that has a great view of the church and is the best place to take a photo of the catedral.
You know I love to shop especially in a new city. I love seeing new trends and styles so I asked my tour guide to recommend good shopping areas. My tour guide recommended Mariahilfer Straße. It’s about a 10 minute walk from Hofburg Palace in the city center. This is where you can find less souvenir shops and more authentic Austrian brands and stores. I ventured onto some of the side streets and found passages with some really cute local shops and cafes. This is also where I found my dirndl (traditional austrian woman’s dress). There is also the Goldness Quarter. This is in the city center a walk from Hofburg Palace. This is where you can find more souvenir shops. A tip for a traditional Austrian souvenir is a snow globe since they were invented in Austria. To make sure it’s made in Austria, make sure the globe has a black bottom. You can also find authentic globes at the Snowglobe factory just a short car ride outside of Vienna. This street is also where you can find global brands that are more mainstream including the original Swarovski flagship store.
Food to Try
Austria’s food is similar to Germany’s in that it includes meat, potatoes, carbs, and more meat, and more carbs. Coming from a person who is very particular about food, I have found some food you definitely have to try should you find yourself in Vienna. Wiener Schnitzel is a breaded veal cutlet usually with a side of potatoes or french fries. Just try it, it’s amazing. I dragged some of my friends in my group to a restaurant to try some and they were so glad that I did! Something else you have to try is Bratwurst. Bratwurst is a german sausage that is really good only if you get it from a stand off the street, which are considered institutions by the locals. My tour guide recommended one to us called Leo’s that was really good and is one of the oldest in Vienna. Apple Strudel is one of my absolute favorite desserts in Austria. I think I had it almost every day and it is a staple. A great place to try some is at the Hotel Sacher. The Hotel Sacher is a hotel that still has its Edwardian decorations and a cafe that also serves it’s famous Sacher Tortes (really chocolatey cake.) If you want to find chocolate, this is the place to get it.
Before we head to our next stop I have to tell you about this town we stopped in on the way to Prague from Vienna. Krems is about an hour outside of Vienna. It’s a super cute town full of history and culture and has its own farmer’s market. We visited a quaint church (I know another church), the church of Saint Vitus. There are also very nice pastry shops and local coffee places to check out. We also visited a small winery called Weinhimmel that had great tasting wine and the nicest owner. I even bought some white wine to bring back home. If you need a place to get day drunk, this is it. Again not that I would know.
I have to say Vienna is now one of my favorite cities to visit. I loved this city and I will definitely go back one day. I hope you enjoyed this little tour as much as I did. Next stop Prague!
“When will you realize. Vienna waits for you…”
Tschau (ciao in German)