BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE AND FANCY RESTAURANTS: 2 days in Vienna

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This was my second time in Vienna and the city was just as impressive as I remembered.

We arrived early afternoon, so we dropped our bags at our flat and headed to the centre for lunch. We ate at Wrenkh, a restaurant serving delicious food with lots of veggie options hidden away just behind Stephansplatz (lunch for three including drinks and tip for 50€).

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Despite the rain, we set off exploring the city centre, stopping at St Stephan’s Cathedral, Hofburg Palace, the Spanish Riding School and the Manner shop to stock up on loads on chocolate. Then we headed back to the flat for an early night in.

It was sunny when we woke up so we took the metro to Schonbrunn Palace, the famous residence of Empress Sissi. We walked the gardens for a bit then had coffee in their cafe (coffee and croissant for about 8€).

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Next we went back to the city centre to visit the Albertina Museum (tickets for 13€). This is a great museum for seeing Austrian and European art. When we visited they had an impressive Brueghel retrospective on.

We had a late lunch at Cafe Hawelka, a popular place in the centre which still captures the post-war atmosphere (lunch for three including drinks and tip for 45€). This is a great place to escape the frilly splendour of most Viennese cafes.

After exploring a bit more of the centre we headed back to pack for the next leg of our trip.

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: Vienna can be easily reached by train (we came from Brno) and flying, and it’s a good destination for a short break.
  • Stay: Accommodation isn’t particularly cheap, but there are lots of options. We stayed at this Airbnb which was a great choice and about 20min from all the main sights.
  • Transportation: It’s easy to get around by train and U-bahn. We bought a 48h ticket for 13.30€ and those were a great option as they cover all transportation. In the city centre everything is within walking distance.

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RELAXING IN VIENNA: Pretty cakes and baroque architecture

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I was looking forward to this trip. For Easter in 2014 we went to Prague and had the best time, and I thought Vienna would be a nice follow up.

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I wasn’t really sure what to see, so I decided to do a free self-guided walking tour, which was great. Instead of doing it all in one go, we did it over two days, leaving lots of time for each place we visited.

DAY 1: City Centre

The tour starts at the Opera House, a great place to grasp the grandiose architecture which is so characteristic of Vienna. We didn’t do this, but there are lots of performances available there.

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Nearby is the lovely Burggarten (or Castle Park), great for a visit on a sunny day. We then reached the Albertina Museum, which seems to have a great collection (we ended up not going in).

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It was the perfect time for a little break, so we had the famous chocolate cake at Sacher Hotel. Yum!

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We then reached the Capuchin Imperial Crypt, where many members of the Hapsburg family are buried. It was a very interesting display.

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Walking around Karntner Strasse (the main pedestrian thoroughfare) we finally stopped at St Stephen’s Church, a very impressive gothic cathedral right in the centre of Vienna.

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Our final stop of the day was at Mozart’s Apartment which unfortunately was pretty boring!

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DAY 2: Around the Imperial Palace

Another great area to visit starts at Michaelerplatz, an impressive square which has preserved Roman ruins at its centre. This is where the famous Spanish Winter Riding School is located (I’m not massively into horses so I don’t really get the appeal, but it’s a nice building).

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Right behind it is the National Library, the Hofburg Imperial Palace and Hero’s Square. All this area is incredibly impressive, full of beautiful buildings and gardens. Everything is quite grandiose, so you can spend a lot of time contemplating and taking photos.

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SCHONBRUNN PALACE

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Another iconic Viennese highlight is Schonbrunn Palace, which is a Unesco Heritage site. This is an impressive baroque building, and the gardens outside are also very nice. The queues were incredibly long, so we decided to walk around the park and enjoy the sunshine instead!

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HOW TO DO IT:

Stay: We got this amazing flat though AirBnb which was just perfect. The place was very nice and ideally located right at the city centre.

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Eat: Food wasn’t particularly veggie-friendly, so it was a good idea to stay in a flat where we could cook. We found a couple of nice places through Happy Cow. Landia was good to taste local dishes, and Xu’s Cooking might not have been particularly local, but it had amazing veggie Chinese food and the service was perfect! There are also lots of cafes around, all with amazing cakes. We didn’t get in, but Demel had the prettiest selection of treats!

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Drink: Local beers are great and there are lots of nice bars around. It being spring, spritzers seemed to be the drink of choice in many places – perfect!

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Transportation: In the city centre, most things are within walking distance. There’s also a good metro network, and it’s often cheaper getting a day ticket instead of singles.

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A perfect break for early spring!