Vienna is a wonderful city, it’s just too bad that the locals are so cranky. But don’t let that detail deter you, Vienna was just once again voted (for the eighth year running) as the most liveable city in the world, and the reasons are endless. Before you book a weekend away in the city of strudel, snobbery and the stunning Schönbrunn Palace, be sure to check out our complete list of the Do’s & Don’ts, and plan accordingly…
- Fly To Bratislava
This is a thrifty hack for anyone looking to see Vienna on a budget. From here it’s an hour’s bus ride ito Vienna, and whilst the scenery along the way isn’t anything to write home about, taking this not-so-scenic route will cut your travel expenses in half.
The Guesthouse Vienna is located in the city’s elegant and central First District. Once a 1950s student hostel, it is now a stylish 39-room home-away-from-home with a teeny lobby area, flawless bathrooms and to-die-for pillows. With a buzzy, contemporary sanctuary in the heart of the city with quality at its core, this one was a complete find. If you’re looking for something a bit more, regal, I suggest you splash out on a room in Hotel Imperial. It is absolutely DIVINE.
The famous Spanish Horses (photo cred: nationalholidays.com)
- Embrace the public transport
Vienna’s tram and underground system is punctual, frequent, and safe. Whilst the horse-drawn carriages might be a temptation, unless a lifelong dream of yours has been to channel your inner 19th-century nobleman/woman, we suggest that you save your shekels for something that doesn’t have such a whiff of tourist-trap off of it.
- Cafe Central
Like the Bewleys of Vienna, but on steroids. Think high-arched stonework ceilings, a selection of the most incredible cakes you’ll ever taste, and waiters that perfect that infamous Viennese air of superiority (somehow managing to make rudeness seem charming!).
- The Albertina
Vienna has an absolute abundance of museums and galleries to visit. From Klimt at the Belvedere to Schiele at The Leopold, it’s certainly hard to fit it all in. Don’t leave without visiting The Albertina: housing one of the most impressive private collections of modern art, it boasts stunning work by Monet, Picasso, Miro, Matisse and more.
Cafe Central (photo cred: @geraldine_carton)
- The Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule)
For €10 you can see the dancing stallions doing their daily training session in an incredible hall that combines chandeliers and stunning plasterwork ceilings above, with a dirt-filled arena below. The training lasts one hour in total, but half an hour is all you need.
- Walk Around
Vienna truly is as dazzling as they say. With this in mind, it’s not a bad idea to take a break from the galleries, the goulash, and the Google maps prompts, and just take an aimless stroll around the city. Doing so will allow you to soak up the full beauty of this often quiet, sometimes creepy, eternally sumptuous city.
- Go Vintage
As well as galleries and palaces, what you might not realise is that Vienna has an abundance of fantastic Vintage shops. My favourites are Bootik 54 and Burggasse 24.
Horse-drawn carriage in Vienna (photo credit: street-foodavenue.com)
- Underestimate the weather
Winter in Vienna is magical. It’s truly something special, but with the magic comes the cold, and boy, does it get cold. If you plan to head over in the winter months then just remember to bring lots of layers, and wear them.
- Give sass to the waiters
Serving in the cafes and restaurants of Vienna is viewed as a lifelong profession that warrants respect and reverence, as opposed to a casual in-between job. What’s more, the phrase “the customer is always right” does not fly here. Instead, think more along the lines of “the waiter is always rude”, and at least this way you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you experience something different!
Ankeruhr clock (photo cred: wien.info)
- Assume that Vienna is a No-Go for Vegetarians
Just because the signature dish of Vienna is the wiener schnitzel (a pork loin deep fried in breadcrumbs), and just because Austrians are known for their love of sausages and beef broth, doesn’t mean that vegetarians should be put off. There’s a heap of gorgeous veggie dishes on offer in almost every restaurant – I promise you won’t be eating spuds and strudel for the weekend!
- Ankeruhr clock
The Ankeruhr Clock attracts tourists because of the way it pays tribute to famous personalities from history. As the clock strikes the hour you can see another personality appear, and every day at noon a parade of the famous figurines takes place. Whilst charming, the “clock parade’” takes about 8mins (which was 7mins too long for my liking).
- The Crime Museum
Don’t ask how or why I ended up here. Filled with details of every criminal atrocity that took place from the 1600s to today, the whole thing lacks a certain “Woo I’m on holidays!” feel to it. What’s more, the majority of information is in German, meaning non-German speakers are left to interpret what they can from the many, many horrifying images that cover the walls.
Veggie-friendly Viennese brunch (photo cred: viennainanutshell.com)
// 24hrs of Eating & Drinking in Vienna //
Café Bräunerhof (authentic cafe frequented mostly by locals)
Das Augustin (great for vegetarians and vegans, too)
Burggasse 24 (very cool surroundings, and even cooler crowd)
A Quiet Drink:
Pickwick’s (beers, bookshelves and soft lighting)
Dinner & Dancing With Locals:
Ungar Grill (one word: eclectic)
Rupps (owned by an Irish expat, 1000 different types of whiskey)
Main photo cred: promocroisiere.com