This is a total clickbait title of a blog post because it was more like 54 hours in Vienna (or just under 3 days). I wanted to write a wistful post about the city and the memories and how such a spontaneous decision to go created some of my favourite summer memories but I also wanted to share what we did, because I spent the night before we left scrolling endlessly through blogs to find the best places in Vienna to visit and so I compiled our itinerary together in order to give you some inspiration if you’re visiting.
Vienna is by no means the cheapest city and my best friend and I took full advantage of the fact that if you’re under 19 you get in free to most museums and galleries. It meant we could go pretty much anywhere in the city we wanted to without having to factor it into our budget. Students under 26 get discounted tickets but it was a blessing to get in without paying.
The 7am flight from Gatwick didn’t seem too horrific, and the first day was spent in glorious amazement at the fact we were in England in the early hours of the morning and then wandering around an art gallery and stumbling upon works of Gustav Klimt and German expressionism. There’s this beauty of just walking around a city for the first time, a freedom that transcended the days we were there.
- After getting to the hotel, checking in and then taking the metro to the Belvedere Palace, we grabbed lunch before an afternoon of sightseeing. The palace, which is actually a museum complex is comprised of three museums/galleries. Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere and Belvedere 21. Belvedere 21, a museum of contemporary art, was closed the day we went, but I have a feeling that both the upper and lower parts of the museum were more potent. In Upper Belvedere was The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, so highly worth the visit. Lower Belvedere was also worth visiting, purely for the temporary exhibitions and medieval art on display.
- Karlskirche was incredible. Like wow. The entry for students was €4 and it was one of the most incredible churches I’ve visited. The baroque architecture spanned the whole of the cathedral and you can get a lift up to the top. The proximity to the ceiling and the art was so incredible, despite the feeling that digging a purpose built lift was somewhat commercialising religion in order to fit the tourist population visiting the church. If there is one thing you do in Vienna, this would probably be my biggest recommendation.
- St Stephen’s Cathedral was more in the centre of Vienna and the contrast between the both Karlskirche and the Cathedral was quite great, both very different in their architectural design. You can climb up the South Tower to get a greater view of the tiled roof and the city (for an adult it would have been €5) – the rooftop bars we ended up visiting provided an equally profitable viewing platform.
- The evening was spent in the centre of Vienna, around the area of St Stephen’s Cathedral and we ended up going to a rooftop bar on top of the 25 Hours Hotel, which was one of the coolest hotels I think I’ve been to. It was made better for the fact that there was a photo booth.
- Spending a few days in Austria was of course complimented by the Austrian food, so apple strudel for breakfast was somewhat the predictable choice. We had it at a Viennese chain called Aida, near to the Stephenplatz station.
- Hofsburg Palace and Volksgarten – the area with the palace and the museumsquartier are pretty close together, so it made sense to walk through the centre, to the palace and take a detour to the Volksgarten. It wasn’t overly busy, perhaps because our trip was out of peak season and not on a weekend, but it was one of the prettiest gardens.
- Walking through Vienna itself is almost enough of a tourist attraction but one museum that was a must see is the Albertina Museum. From Picasso to Monet, the art that adorned the floor was just so stunning. The feature photo for this post is actually a painting I have a print of at home, so I was kind of stunned to see it in person.
- Right by the Albertina Museum, was the Butterfly House or Schmetterlinghaus, which was a considerably traumatic experience for my best friend, so we did not stay there for very long. If you like butterflies then this is certainly one place to visit. If you don’t then I would not recommend. The Palmenhaus was next door which is this pretty cool coffee house in a glass house.
- Along the whole baroque theme that in part guided what we wanted to see in Vienna, the State Hall and Nationabibliothek was pretty impressive. Home to over 200,000 tomes, the Hall has to be one of the prettiest libraries I’ll ever visit. And of course, despite finishing A Levels, I had to go visit a library.
- After spending a few hours at the hotel and having dinner at a little Italian restaurant, we yet again decided to visit another rooftop bar. The sun was setting so we wanted to make the most of being able to see Vienna at its most glorious state so I quickly googled the best rooftop bars and alas, we somehow made it to the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar on top of the Ritz-Cartlon Vienna. Despite feeling a little out of place, it was a pretty cool experience. We then hopped on the metro to Hotel Lamée, that yielded yet another rooftop bar. The views were a little superior to the Ritz, as it was right by the splendour of St Stephen’s Cathedral.
- Given that our flight was at 9 in the evening we had most of the day to continue exploring Vienna. After having breakfast again at Aida, we took the metro and then a tram 30 minutes outside the centre to the Schönbrunn Palace. Labelled as the No. 1 tourist attraction in Vienna, it was a must visit and we ended up spending the majority of the day there because our entry to the palace was over 2 hours after we bought our tickets. There was a train that went around the palace grounds that took a good hour so we hopped on that, then had lunch by the gardens. The palace itself was gorgeous and of course – the baroque style architecture made an appearance. It was the perfect way to spend the last few hours in Vienna and a nice excursion from the city. I honestly think a whole day could easily be spent here, and given that it was the most expensive attraction that we paid for (€16,50 for a student) we definitely made the most of it. I loved the palace but I think that if you’re short for time, I would recommend the other places more.
In terms of transport etc., we got the 72 hour transport pass with return airport transfer. It was so easy and with the help of Google maps, I was able to navigate the both of us with ease; a shocking fact if you know me and are aware of my lack of direction.
A few days in Vienna were spent in the best way possible and I hope this itinerary may guide you if you’re planning on visiting. It’s a little different from my usual travel posts that are usual comprised of a series of ramblings about where I’ve visited but I kind of fancied doing a more informative one. Let me know which you prefer and have you ever been to Vienna before or are you planning on visiting?
Lots of love, eleanor xx