40 pictures to make you fall in love with Vienna

Vienna, Austria’s capital, is a beautiful city. Whether you are looking to enjoy the architecture, the food, the concerts or the people, Vienna has something for everyone. We fell in love and these pictures will show you why.

Vienna, a city where, over 100 years ago, a revolution took place.  Philosophy, physics, music and a culture of art were born here.  It was done with the help of notables such as Schlick, Einstein, Mozart and Egon Schiele.   This UNESCO world-heritage city centre was also the home to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.

The famous St-Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria
The famous St-Stephen’s Cathedral

Dubbed the city of music, it is here that we kicked off our epic European train trip.  It set the bar very high for what was to come on our journey through the beautiful old continent that is Europe.  Strolling down the historic streets of Austria’s capital, how could we not fall in love with Vienna?

The National library in Vienna, Austria
The National library

Home to almost 2 million people, Vienna has been voted as one of the top cities to live in year after year.  It boasts some of the most epic castles, museums galore, historic sites, concerts, churches, and the famous Viennese dessert, sachertorte!  Whatever you’re into, you will find it here.

The State Opera House in Vienna, Austria
The State Opera House

The best way to take in this European gem, is by taking a leisurely stroll through the city.  You will be drawn in by the wonderful sights scattered throughout.  Make sure that your camera is handy, as it’s one of the most photogenic cities we’ve been to.

See the fountains in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
See the fountains in the Schönbrunn Palace

Getting lost in the maze of streets is a pleasure, to say the least.  Around every corner, there is architectural beauty ready to greet you.  The State Opera House will fill your ears with enchanting music.  Monet’s French impressionist paintings and Picasso’s surrealism will take you back a century at the Albertina museum.  The Riesenrad, a 200-foot plus ferris wheel, will give you a view of the city like no other.

The Karlskirche in Vienna, Austria
The Karlskirche

Then, treat yourself to the opulent beauty of the many Viennese churches.  You will be excused while you pick your jaw up off the floor, as the sheer beauty and design will leave you awe-struck.  Being no strangers to churches, temples and mosques, we were still taken by the sheer beauty we witnessed.  St Stephan’s, St Charles, St Peter’s, the Votive church, the list goes on and on!  These imposing structures are designed with such an overwhelming sense of luxuriousness, that you would think yourself at the Vatican itself.  They are scattered all over the city, making it easy to turn a street corner and come upon one ready to be discovered.

The opulent Dominikaner Kirche in Vienna, Austria
The opulent Dominikaner Kirche

If grand palaces are more your thing, head to the outskirts of the city, where you will discover the sweet serenity that comes from walking the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace. In yesteryears, it was the summer residence of the Habsburg house (who’s family sigil may remind you of a certain golden-haired ruling family in one of our favourite HBO shows, Game of Thrones).  Today, it can serve as a portal to another time, where you can almost imagine the elite of the past vying for control of the Austrian empire.

Setting up the Christmas tree in front of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
The Schönbrunn Palace

As you walk the peaceful grounds you can daydream of the long history of royalty who called this their home.  The fall colours come to life in the rows of trees that lined the grounds.  You can catch perfect reflections on the many fountains, making the setting even more magical.  The crowning piece of the gardens is the Gloriette, where you will gaze out at the view of the city and the castle.

The spectacular Gloriette in Vienna, Austria
The spectacular Gloriette

The few days that we spent in the capital of Austria were grey and gloomy, but this wouldn’t stop us from marvelling in its beauty and its history.  Visiting this gem, it’s easy to imagine how all of these historical figures made names for themselves, given the inspiring nature that Vienna offers.

The winding Danube river in Vienna, Austria
The winding Danube river

Have you ever been to Vienna?  Did you also fall under its charm?


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Things to do in Salzburg: Your ultimate city guide

If you are looking to explore Salzburg, the gem of Austria, here are our recommendations. Discover what to see, where to go, how to get around, and where to stay.

The hills are alive, with the sound of music!  How can you not walk around the beautiful streets of Salzburg and not think about the iconic movie from our childhood?!  The  old cobblestone streets, the beautiful architecture, the hills surrounding the city, the fortress sitting atop the hill – everything about Salzburg is just magical.  With so much to do and see, you need a good three days in the city to take in all the sights.

Salzburg may not be as large as the capital of Austria, Vienna, but to us, it’s like its charming younger sister.  Cute little streets that create a maze in the Old Town.  Friendly people smiling at you for no good reason, but their natural joie-de-vivre.  The Fortress that dominates the cityscape and makes the city look regal.  The mountains that surround the city, and make you want to break out in song, as if the Sound of Music soundtrack is on a loop in your head.  The fog and clouds that roll in and out and add a little je-ne-sais-quoi, making the whole city feel like a fairytale.  How can you not fall under the charm of this beautiful city!?

When to go

Although it gets quite chilly in the winter and really hot in the summer, the weather in Salzburg is usually quite mild.  The crowds come in with the heat, around July and August, just in time for the Salzburg Festival.  Then, you have the cutest Christmas markets that are set up in December.  Expect to see more tourists at these times of year.

 

If you are looking for peace and quiet, and more affordable pricing, the spring, early summer and autumn (September/October) are awesome!  Just be warned that you will have to deal with some rain… or a lot of it, like we did!

What to do

There is a lot to do and see in and around Salzburg.  It all depends on what you enjoy doing and where you want to spend the most time.  Walking around from one site to the next is easy, though some may need a bit more stamina to get to.  If you’re a fan of the Sound of Music, make sure you take it all in as this was one of the main shooting locations of the iconic movie.  You can even sign up for a tour that will take you to all the famous spots!

Looking at the Hohensalzburg Fortress from across the river in Salzburg, Austria
Looking at the Hohensalzburg Fortress from across the river

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Sitting atop the Festungsberg Hill, the Hohensalzburg Castle is impossible to miss from any vantage point in the city!  Its construction began in 1077, and it continued to expand for centuries after that.  It served as a fortress, military base, home to the archbishop, and to royalty.  It has quite a rich history, and the beauty of it is that you can visit it all today.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress seen through the early morning fog in Salzburg, Austria
The Hohensalzburg Fortress seen through the early morning fog

To reach the top, you can either use the pathway, or the funicular cable car.  You can guess what we took!  The funicular gets you up from the bottom to the top of the hill in about a minute.  How can our legs compete with that?!  The price of your entry ticket will include the lift.  Make sure you get them online, to skip the line and save some money as well!

 

Once you are up there, you can walk around the grounds, go through the museums (getting the all-inclusive pass will allow you to visit them all), walk up to the top of the tower with an audioguide, take in the amazing views and pretend that you are royalty!

St Peter’s Abbey

Situated near the entrance for the Fortress funicular, the Abbey is dedicated to St. Peter.  It was originally built over old Christian remains in 696 by Saint Rupert and has stood there ever since.

The cemetery of St Peter's Abbey in Salzburg, Austria
The cemetery of St Peter’s Abbey

You can peacefully walk around the cemetery grounds, admiring the beautiful tombstones.  You can also visit Austria’s oldest library with thousands of books (only accessible by guided tour) or the Long Gallery with its many paintings.  You can also go down into the catacombs.

The crucifix outside St Peter's Abbey in Salzburg, Austria
The crucifix outside St Peter’s Abbey

For fans of the Sound of Music, you may recognize this cemetery and the catacombs as the place the Trapp family used as a hiding place before escaping to Switzerland.

Mirabell Palace & Gardens

There is something so regal about Salzburg.  Home to countless historic sights, it’s no surprise it’s still considered it one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.  Listed as a cultural heritage monument, and built in 1606, the Palace was mainly used as a pleasure palace for royalty.

The Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, Austria
The Mirabell Palace

Although we didn’t have a chance to go inside, we loved walking inside the gardens, where you have amazing views of the Fortress and the Cathedral.  There are tons of fountains and statues around making the Palace look even more majestic.

 

For fans of the Sound of Music, it was also here that Maria and the children dance around the Pegasus Fountain, while they’re singing “Do Re Mi”.  At the end of the scene, the Trapp family stand on the steps in front of the Rose Hill to sing the song’s final bars.  Derek didn’t know the lyrics to the song, so we couldn’t recreate the scene ourselves!

Salzburg Cathedral

This beautiful baroque Cathedral is situated in an enclosed square next to the Salzburg Residenz.  It’s a beautiful place to visit, with a rich historical past.

The Salzburg Cathedral in Salzburg, Austria
The Salzburg Cathedral

Since being built in 774, the Cathedral has been demolished and rebuilt several times.  Today, it stands as a striking piece of architecture, only making the cityscape more beautiful!  It may look quite simple from the outside, but it’s actually quite beautiful and striking inside, where it counts.

The square outside the Salzburg Cathedral in Salzburg, Austria
That is not a real person on the giant gold ball… we totally thought it was at first!

We were lucky enough to go for Sunday Mass, and the sound of the choir, along with the beauty of our surroundings made it even more impressive.  If you choose to go at this time, please be respectful as it’s a place of worship.

Mozart’s birthplace

This is one of the world’s most visited museums.  Any classical music fan will not only love this city, because of all the museums, monuments and places dedicated to Mozart, but his birthplace is one of the most special.

Mozart's birthplace and museum in Salzburg, Austria
Mozart’s birthplace and museum

You can find it right in the Old Town.  There is a plaque on the front, as well as signage to tell you exactly where it is… you’ll also see a crowd there, so it’s hard to miss!  You’ll need a good hour to visit the museum where you will learn details of his childhood life, the musical instruments he owned and composed his famous symphonies with.

Nonnberg Convent

Another famous Sound of Music spot, the Benedictine Nonnberg Convent sits above the city, at the foot of the Festungsberg.  In the movie, this was Maria’s convent, when she was a nun.  In fact, every morning at 6:45am, you can hear the actual nuns of the convent sing Gregorian Chorals.  If you’re not a morning person, you can also hear the choir during special holidays!

The Nonnberg Convent in Salzburg Austria
The Nonnberg Convent

You can visit the frescoes in the so-called “Paradise” which is located below the Nuns’ Gallery.  You can also see the altar in St. John’s Chapel, but you need to ask for the key at the convent entrance.  Walking around the grounds, you will get a beautiful view of the city, and of the Hohensalzburg Castle.

Old Town

Walking around the Old Town was one of our favourite things to do in Salzburg.  But can you really blame us?  It’s one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage sights by area.  It’s lined with beautiful boutiques and restaurants.  The architecture of each building is stunning and the cobblestones only add to its charm.  If you want to spend an afternoon getting lost, this is the place to do it!

The cityscape of Salzburg, Austria
The cityscape of Salzburg

Kapuzinerg

If you want to get a little active during your time in Salzburg, and get an insane view of the city, head to Kapuzinerg.  We hiked to the top of this hill in the hopes we’d find another schlössl, which in our limited knowledge of German, was supposed to mean Castle, right?!  Like the Schönbrunn Schloss in Vienna, right?!  WRONG!  Turns out the ‘Franziskischlössl’ at the top of the hill is actually just a restaurant!

The Franziskischlössl restaurant on top of the Kapuzinerg in Salzburg, Austria
The Franziskischlössl restaurant on top of the Kapuzinerg

But that’s ok, because the hike itself was quite beautiful.  There are many trails to choose from.  The leaves were a bright red, the views we got of all corners of the city were stunning, and especially the view we had of the Fortress!  Just wow!

The view of Kapuzinerg hill from the Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria
The view of Kapuzinerg hill from the Hohensalzburg Fortress

Kollegienkirche

Whenever we see a church, we love to walk in and explore it, and this even more true in Austria.  They are always stunning and so different from one to the next.  Kollegienkirche was actually more of a surprise than any other church we’ve seen.

The Kollegienkirche in Salzburg, Austria
The Kollegienkirche

From the outside, it looked like any other church we’ve seen.  But when we walked in, we discovered this very simple and beautiful church.  On top of it, there was an art exposition going on, with this impressive and imposing piece rolled on the ground with broken glass, as well as stunning portraits.  We would love to tell you more about the piece, but everything was in German.  Regardless, this piece was really moving.

 

Christmas markets

Pretty much the best thing about Europe at the end of November and most of December is the amount of Christmas markets that pop up!  And Salzburg is no exception with its Christkindlmarkt.  In fact, almost every square in town was taken over by a Christmas market.  Talk about merry!

 

If you know us, you know we’re not big on shopping for things.  This is not why we love the Christmas markets.  Instead, we love them because of all the food and drink we can get there.  Stalls and stalls selling local and traditional fare.  The souvenir mugs that you can fill and refill with mulled wine and apfelpunsch, a boozy apple drink.  Seriously, could life get any more perfect?!

Other sights we’ll need to come back for

Obviously, the two days we had were not enough to visit everything in Salzburg, which is why we recommend spending three.  We also hope you get better weather than we did (hello rain and clouds).  There were a few things we will need to come back for.  If you have more time, we highly suggest you check them out!

Hangar-7:  Created by the Red Bull gang, Hangar-7 looks like the coolest place.  Located at the Salzburg Airport, it not only houses the Flying Bulls aircraft fleet and a collection of Formula 1 race cars, but it also hosts art exhibitions, has a restaurant, two bars, a lounge, and a café.  A must see next time we’re there!

Hellbrunn Palace:  Built between 1612 and 1615, and located 15 minutes from the center of Salzburg, Hellbrunn Palace is not only a beautiful place to visit.  Make sure you check out its trick fountains as well.  And for you Sound of Music fans, you may just recognize a special gazebo there!

Leopoldskron Palace:  If the weather had cooperated, we would have never missed this iconic palace!  Built in 1736, this palace used to be home to archbishops and royalty.  It was also the main shooting location for the Sound of Music.  Today, it’s mainly a hotel.  Although certain places are closed to the public, there is a day in November that they allow non-hotel guests to visit the grounds.

Where to stay

If there is one place we recommend staying in Salzburg, it’s at Townhouse Tessa.  But don’t get us started as to why!  Actually, we’re going to tell you anyway!

Chilling in our room at Townhouse Tessa in Salzburg, Austria
Chilling in our room at Townhouse Tessa

First off, even before we got there, we were given access to Heym Collections website, where we could learn more about the city of Salzburg, and an overview of all the sights.  We were also sent our ‘key’ electronically, so we can get into our amazing apartment, quick and easy.  The key was sent on an app, and all we had to do was tap our phone on their door, and Open Sesame!  It was so easy and convenient.  We loved it!

Then, Townhouse Tessa was in the most perfect location.  We walked to every single spot we mentioned here.  It was so close and convenient.  You can even see the Fortress from the balcony.  We were steps away from all of the Christmas markets, which was great for discovering all the local foods and drinks.

 

Finally, the apartment itself was stunning.  Decorated in such a modern yet timeless manner, you could see that there was such attention that was paid to every little detail in the room.  As if the bed wasn’t comfortable enough, we loved hanging around in the living room, reading a book on the extra large couch.

At Townhouse Tessa, we really felt like we were at home, in the middle of this beautiful city.  We could not recommend it highly enough!

Salzburg Card

As always, depending on what you plan on doing while you are in Salzburg, you may want to get yourself the Salzburg Card.  It will give you access to the city’s museums and attractions for free or at a discounted rate.  You’ll get to use public transportation for free as well.

Take a look at the perks you get, and if it sounds good to you, you can get yours online.

A view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress from the Kapuzinerg hill in Salzburg, Austria
A view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress from the Kapuzinerg hill

We loved discovering Salzburg.  From the exploring the fortress and Old Town, to hiking Kapuzinerg, catching views of the city from every possible angle, we had a great time here.  It helped that one of us was a Sound of Music fan, but even if the movie is not your thing, you will surely find something that will make you fall under its charm.  Although it’s not as large as Vienna, the quaint and enchanting mountainous setting got us.  We’ll see you soon Salzburg!


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There are a ton of amazing things to do and see in Salzburg, Austria. Here are our recommendations of what to do, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around. Tips, tricks and more to have the best time in Salzburg #Salzburg #travel #Austria #traveltips #cityguide #thingstodo

Things to do in Vienna: Your ultimate city guide

If you are looking to expolre Vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria, here are our recommendations. Discover what to see, where to go, how to get around, and where to stay.

Vienna.  The beautiful capital of Austria is said to be the “city of dreams”, for being the birthplace of Sigmund Freud.  To us, Vienna was the start of our epic train trip through Europe, and it couldn’t have been a better place to kick things off.

Without surprise, Vienna has often been voted the most livable city in the world, due to its high quality of life ratings, as well as culture, infrastructure, and many markets.  The city is often cited as a leading example of urban planning and we can totally see why.  It was such a lovely city to walk around!

Wediditourway St Stephen's Cathedral Vienna Asutria
We are in awe of the St Stephen’s Cathedral

Although we managed to see everything in 2 days, we would suggest a full 4-day trip to Vienna.  Here are our recommendations for what to see, where to go, how to get around, and where to stay.

When to go

Well, anytime is a great time to visit the city, but it really depends on what you’re looking for.  The summer is probably the nicest weather, and it’s when the locals leave, but the tourists come in.

Wediditourway Schonbrunn Palace garden Vienna Austria
Strolling through the Gardens at the Schönbrunn Palace was one of our favourite things to do in Vienna

During the winter, you are in a Christmas fairytale, with all the markets, lights and snow that make the city look dreamy.  Just make sure you’re there starting in mid-November, if not they’ll be setting everything up and you won’t see a thing.  This is exactly what happened to us!

The fall and spring are fine, there won’t be much going on, and the weather is a little-hit-or-miss.  The main advantage is that there are far fewer tourists.

What to do

There are a 1,000 things to do in Vienna, from the very chic to options for budget travelers, from museums to parks,  palaces and so much more.  Don’t be shy to explore all your options.

Visit the Schönbrunn Palace

This was probably our favourite site in Vienna.  If you like walking through nature and gardens, viewing spectacular statues and monuments, you will love the Schönbrunn Palace.  The Palace started as a mansion for the Roman Emperor Maximilian II, who used the grounds to hunt, back in the 17th century.  Today, it’s our dream home and garden!

Schonbrunn Palace front Vienna Austria
The view from the front entrance of the Schönbrunn Palace

Although you need to pay to enter the summer palace, walking the grounds is free, and they are immense.  We would suggest taking a good hour and a half here to really enjoy nature.  If you want to go in the palace, you will need more time.  It’s a good idea to bring a snack and some water, if you plan on staying as long.

Schonbrunn Palace from the garden Vienna Austria
The view of the Schönbrunn Palace from the Gloriette grounds

This is one of Vienna’s most popular tourist destinations, so be prepared to see large crowds, depending on when you go.  It isn’t so bad in the gardens though, as they are huge.

Gloriette

The Gloriette is a structure located on a 60-metre hill overlooking the Schönbrunn Palace.  It offers the best view of the palace, and of the entire city of Vienna.

Gloriette Vienna Austria
The beautiful Gloriette in Vienna

Not to many people head up this way, so you’ll have tons of photo opportunities here.  It’s also a great place to lie back on the grass, and maybe have a picnic on a nice day.

Hofburg Palace

Welcome to the home of Austrian president, Alexander Van der Bellen.  This palace was built in the 13th century, and has been expanded many times since.  Today, you can walk the grounds freely and visit one of the many expositions at its museums.

Hofburg palace Vienna Austria
Welcome to the stunning Hofburg Palace, home to the President and many museums

You can also walk the gardens, known as the Volksgarten, or the Heldenplatz, another beautiful public space in front of the Hofburg Palace.

Belvedere palace

Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit this 17th century palace.  Did we mention that you need 4 days to take in all the sites in Vienna!  But if you have the time, it is a must.  It resembles the Schönbrunn Palace in the sense that it is set on vast lands with huge gardens and fountains.

Hundertwasser house

This architectural gem is located in the Landstraße district of Vienna.  Unlike any other house in Vienna, it is a colourful masterpiece brought to life by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and architect Joseph Krawina.

Hundertwasser house Vienna Austria
Breaking through the monotony of grey houses, this is the colourful Hundertwasser house

There is also the museum called the KunstHausWien which is the only permanent exhibition of Hundertwasser’s works.  It’s a few steps away from the apartment complex, but boasts an equally cool design.

Prater

Located in Vienna’s 2nd district, the Prater is a officially known as the Wurstelprater amusement park but is best known as being home to the world’s oldest ferris wheel, that was built in 1897.

Prater ferris wheel Vienna Austria
The world’s oldest (and probably scariest) ferris wheel

We didn’t go on the ferris wheel, because to be honest, it looks old as hell!  Anthony Bourdain went on it when he visited Vienna for his “No Reservations” show, and he was slightly freaked out… and nothing freaks Anthony out, so that was a good warning for us!

Wurstelprater amusement park Vienna Austria
The entrance to the famous Prater in Vienna. Christmas markets are getting set up

The park was closed when we got there as it usually takes a break during winter months, so if the plan is to ride the coasters here, make sure it’s open.  However, as you can see, they do set up Christmas markets there in the winter, so try and catch them when they’re open.

Check out a museum or two

We rarely visit museums, especially on this trip considering how little time we had in each city.  But if you have the time and like museums, these are the places to go.

MuseumsQuartier

This whole area is home to Vienna’s most prominent museums showcasing everything from modern and contemporary art and architecture, to hosted events in technology and fashion.

Museum quarter Vienna Austria
The entrance to Vienna’s famous MuseumsQuartier

Albertina

The Albertina is one of the biggest exhibitions showcasing drawings and old master prints, with permanent and temporary exhibits.  From Monet, to Picasso and Warhol, you will get your fix of the fine arts here.

Albertina Vienna Austria
The Albertina Museum, the place to take in the fine arts, ,and get a gorgeous view of the State Opera from the balcony

Visit some of the fabulous churches

There are a ton of churches in Vienna.  Seriously, there’s probably one on every city block!  These are the ones that stood out to us

St Stephen’s Cathedral

This Roman Catholic cathedral, also known by its German name Stephansdom, is home to the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn.  Located in the Stephansplatz, or the central plaza, it is the most important religious building in Vienna and one of its most recognizable sites in town.

St Stephen's Cathedral Vienna Asutria
No tour of Vienna is complete without stopping at St Stephen’s cathedral

Construction of this church was completed in 1160, but it was reconstructed and expanded until 1511.  Today, it is getting a slight facelift, but you can still get a great view of it, and visit inside as well.  If you want an amazing view of the city, and of the church’s intricate roof, you can climb up the stairs on the South tower or take the lift up to the North Tower, for 8 euros.

St Stephen's Cathedral rooftop view Vienna Austria
The view of St Stephan’s roof and the city of Vienna from the North Tower

St Peter’s Church

Also know as Peterskirche, this is a baroque styled Roman Catholic church.  Dating back to the year 1733, it boasts one of the most spectacular turreted dome ceilings we have ever seen.

Not only is it gorgeous to look at from outside, it’s also quite beautiful inside as well.  Make sure you take a moment to go in and check it out for yourself, everything from the ornate details to the beautiful architecture.

Vortishkirche

The Vortishkirche is a Neo-Gothic church that was built in 1879.  It was built to thank God for saving the Emperor, Franz Joseph, after an assassination attempt on his life in 1853.

Vortishkirche outside Vienna Austria
Vortishkirche is another one of Vienna’s beautiful churches

Like the St Stephen’s Cathedral, it is also undergoing restoration but you can still go inside, as you should.  What caught our eye about this church was its guided altar, which was constructed with inspiration from Italian gothic churches.

Karlskirche

Built in 1737, it was constructed after the great plague and dedicated by the Roman Emperor Charles IV to Saint Charles Borromeo, known as a healer for plague sufferers.

Karlskirche outside Vienna Austria
Make sure you take a look inside Karlskirche, it’s beautiful

Unlike the 3 previous churches, you must pay to enter the Karlskirche, which we decided not to do.  We are kind of kicking ourselves about it though, because we were able to get a glimpse inside, and it did look quite spectacular!

Parliament building

The Austrian Parliament Building has been the seat of the Austrian government since 1883, and underwent a massive reconstruction after World War II after being heavily damaged.  The building’s architectural design is clearly Greek, with white marble columns adorning the front of the entrance.

Parlament building Vienna Austria
The beautiful Austrian Parliament building (photographed while under construction)

Tours inside the parliament are possible, you can even sit in on a National Council sitting.

Rathaus

Vienna’s City Hall, the home of the Viennese local government, was also constructed in 1883.  The mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, lives in this Neo-gothic building.  We would have loved to join him for some coffee and cake, but he was slightly busy.

Rathaus Vienna City Hall Austria
The beautiful Rathaus in Vienna

Like the Parliament building, you can get a guided tour of the City Hall on most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at 1pm.  While we were there, they were setting up the Christmas markets, so we did not have a chance to see it in all its glory.

The Wiener Staatsoper

The State Opera House, or Wiener Staatsoper, has shows almost every day of the year.  You can see anything from classical music, to the Opera or a ballet.  When in Vienna, seeing a show here is a must!

State Opera House Wiener Staatsoper Vienna Austria
The beautiful State Opera in Vienna

Apart from that, the building itself is just stunning, from the inside and out.  It really looks like a place that only the aristocracy used to grace, but now-a-days, we can all visit!

Schmetterling Haus

Inside this tropical oasis, you will find over 400 butterflies floating through the exotic setting, full of plants and waterfalls.  It was created to be as close to their natural environment as possible.  Constructed in the beginning of the 20th century, it was a recluse for Emperor Franz Josef and his wife, the Empress Sisi.

Schmetterling Haus butterfly house Vienna Austria
The mesmerizing Schmetterling Haus

But now-a-days we can all wander through this encapsulated wonder and watch the loveliest of insects.  We would have gone in, but one of us is scared of anything that flies… can you guess who?!

Austrian national library

The largest library in Austria, boasting over 12 million items, the Austrian national library is a beautiful site to see.  You can visit it and check out its various museums.  Just make sure you get your tickets online so you skip the line and jump into exploring right away!

National library in Vienna Austria.jpg
The entrance to the Austrian national library

Favourite Vienna Eats

Schachtelwirt

Derek’s top pick was a dish of roasted pork with sauerkraut at Schachtelwirt.  This little hole in the wall restaurant has a limited menu of freshly made delicious meals.  Make sure you get there early enough, because when they’re out of something, they’re out!  Also good to know is that they have one vegetarian meal available, which was also delicious.

Hemmers

This restaurant was recommended by our hotel, and they were right.  If you want typical Austrian meals prepared right, this is the place.  Carine’s favourite meal here was the dumpling trio (beet, spinach and mushrooms). Each one was delicious in its own way.  Derek also loved the schnitzel here, served with a sweet jam. His new favourite combo!

Hemmers vegetarian dumpling trio
Dumplings at Hemmers

Café Sacher

You just cannot come to Vienna and not try some of the local pastries.  When it comes to the best of the best, you must try the the famous sachertorte at Café Sacher.  As the name indicates it, this is the home to the original sachertorte.  We had it and it was just so rich and chocolaty.  We also tried the apple strudel and it may have been even more delicious than the torte, but it depends who you ask!

Cafe Sachel Original Torte Vienna Austria
No trip to Vienna is complete without the world famous sachertorte

Side note, apparently having gelato in Vienna is a must as well.  We didn’t try any, because it was cold, but we believe the hype!  So if the weather permits, and the mood is right, treat yo’self to some yummy gelato.

Where to stay

Our favourite place to stay in Vienna is the Ruby Sofie Hotel Vienna.  Conveniently located near the Landstraße subway, right as you get off the CAT, it’s so close to everything you want to visit, whether its Vienna’s famous landmarks or the business district, if you’re here for work.

 

We throughly enjoyed their brand of lean luxury.  They focus on making the important things count, while doing away with anything superficial.  The rooms are the perfect size, and have the coolest shower we have ever seen.  They also come with a complimentary smartphone, with data, so you can roam the city freely, without worrying about getting lost.  The best feature is the super comfy and big bed (which is a must when you travel with a gentle giant like Derek).  It was so comfy that we barely wanted to get up in the morning.

Ruby Sophie Hotel lobby Vienna Austria
Great place to chill out

Luckily, they serve a delicious breakfast in the main lounge.  With locally sourced and organic ingredients, this amazing buffet was the perfect way to start our days of exploration.  The main lounge is also where you can grab a drink for happy hour (hosted daily) and catch some live music on certain dates.

Ruby Sophie Hotel bar Vienna Austria
Also a great place to grab a drink!

All in all, we loved our stay at Ruby Sofie Hotel Vienna.  This design hotel has everything you need to have an amazing time in Vienna.  And if this guide wasn’t helpful enough, just ask the staff there to help you.  They are super friendly and awesome with local tips and recommendations!

How to get there

From the airport to the city

When you land at the Vienna International Airport (VIE), the fastest way into the city centre is to take the city airport train, or CAT.  It takes 15 minutes to get you there, and will cost you 12€ (which is a little pricey, but can be convenient).  It will take you straight to Wien Mitte where you can grab another subway connection.  The tickets for the CAT are sold at ticket machine by the luggage claim, or at the entrance of the CAT platform.  Make sure you get yours because they do check them on board.

CAT airport train Vienna Austria
Want to get to the Vienna city centre quickly from the airport? Jump on the CAT

Train

Alternatively, you can get to the Vienna city centre by taking a local OBB train.  This option is still convenient, and is less expensive than the CAT.

There are a few train stations in Vienna, such as Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof and Wien Meidling.  If you are headed anywhere else in Europe after your stay in Vienna, we highly suggest taking the train.  There are plenty of routes, and your choice of destinations are limitless.

Not only is it convenient, and cheaper than flying, the environmental impact is much lower too.

Extra travel tips

Depending on what you are looking to do, you may want to get the Vienna City Card.  If you want to go to museums, take the Hop On/Hop off bus, or check out some of the city’s paying attractions, this is the card for you.  It will offer you discounts or free entry to what you want to do.  It also includes free use of the public transportation system.

If you plan on moving around a lot, but without visiting the many sights in the city, you can opt for a 24, 48 or 72-hour pass for the public transport.  You can either buy your tickets at a stand (make sure you validate them before you take the subway, or directly on buses and trams.  You can also buy your passes online.

Wediditourway Gloriette Vienna Austria
The gloriette near the Schönbrunn Palace is an awesome place to relax and have a picnic

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Vienna for the 2 days we had.  With such a rich history, and beautiful areas to visit in and around town, we must have walked 10 miles a day.  Like we mentioned, if you have the time, take at least 4 or 5 days here.  It will give you enough time to visit museums, take in some shows and explore the city at a leisurely pace.


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Vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria has tons to offer visitors. here are our top recommendations of what to do, where to stay, what to eat and where to go to have the best time in Vienna.