Vienna, Austria

Three Days in Vienna!  Part of my Two Months in Europe backpacking series. 

We arrived at Vienna quite late at night ( around 11:30pm) and proceeded to run around the train station trying to understand the local trains. Apparently no one else thought it was confusing that there was the 1,2,3 trains and also platforms 1,2,3 and they didn’t correspond. After finally figuring this out we made back to our Airbnb, only to find it was on the top floor and the elevator was broken. BUT once we arrived the Airbnb was beyond beautiful so no complaints. We had a room in an apartment but the apartment was two floors with a two level terrace. All the windows and shutters were remote controlled, the AC worked and they had laundry so we were pretty much in heaven. 

Day One
 
After a good night’s sleep we met up with our fourth friend who just joined the trip and walked into region one, or the Ringtrasse area, of Vienna. We decided to start our trip off with a leisurely morning at a coffeehouse. We knew they were nice but we didn’t realize how nice! After stopping at a couple we settled on Cafe Centrale, which is apparently quite a famous one as it was where the literati of Vienna met. The inside was beautiful!! Vaulted painted ceilings, waiters in tuxes and glass boxes full of cake. We settled on the standard breakfast for our slightly splurgy brunch. The coffeehouses are open around 20-22hours a day and do everything from breakfast to cakes to just coffee to full meals. You get a glass of water with your coffee ( free water is a rarity in Austria we discovered) and they will keep bringing you water the longer you sit. The waiters also do not bug you ever, you could literally sit here all day and they would only stop by to give you more water. It was such a great experience and amazing food/coffee! If you want to go to one of the old coffee houses I would really recommend Cafe Central for breakfast as it cheaper and less busy than the others so you don’t ever feel rushed. 
 
After a very long breakfast we set off to explore the Ringtrasse. We had a walking tour planned at 2:30 but we wanted to see more before. We ended up walking half the walking tour route but we also saw the Parliament building, city hall, walked through the Park Burggarten and Volksgarten.
 
 
By city hall we discovered that there was a summer film festival in Vienna where they played recordings of classical concerts and famous plays for free on a huge screen. Since the opera and Philharmonic orchestra was out in Salzburg for the summer this was an perfect alternative for us. 
 
After we did our little mini tour ( using the Rick Steeve’s Podcast again!) we headed to the Albertina to meet our group. Our walking tour went through Vienna’s historic buildings starting at the Albertina and the opera house going through the Hapsburg Palace to St. Stephens and Mozart’s house. It was good but not as good as some of the others we have done but still a great way to learn some history.
 
 
 
After our walking tour we stopped by a sausage stand outside the Albertina ( the one with the large rabbit on it) that came highly recommended. We all grabbed Bratwurst and the best mustard ever!! One fun thing we learnt on a tour is that the hot dog bun is very much a North American invention. In Europe you get a sausage and a piece of bread and just alternate taking bits of it instead of eating both together.
 
After resting a little bit we headed out to find schnitzel at a place really close to our Airbnb and close to Prater, the amusement park style park. This place had great reviews so we were excited. However as good as the food was it took over an hour and a half to get it so we were pretty a) starving and b) frustrated by the time we ate so the experience was kinda soured. Not sure if it would better coming earlier, they said it was really busy but the restaurant didn’t feel that busy. However the schnitzel was really really good so at least there was that. 
 
 
 
Step Count: 24,627
 
Day Two
 
So one fun fact we learnt today was that the transit information on Google Maps is really really outdated. Very little of the transit information for Vienna actually makes any sense. Our plan today was to visit Schonbrunn Palace, go to the Belvedere and then film festival tonight.
 
We started by taking the train to Schonbrunn, it took about an hour using google’s directions but now that I know those aren’t good I feel you could definitely do it in way less time.
 
The palace is beautiful!! It is huge and the gardens go on forever! We didn’t go inside because it is quite pricey but we really wanted to see it for ourselves and walk around the grounds. We co-opted the front steps for photos and then proceeded to explore the gardens which are free! Even if you aren’t going inside this is definitely worth it as it is so much more impressive in person and the gardens are a ton of fun to wander around.
 
 
After we left the gardens this is where google maps really failed us. As it looked like it could rain any moment we power walked to the closet metro to head to the Belevedere. However once we arrived at the metro it was very much an abandoned station and very much closed, even though google had told us to take this station to the museum. We walked around in circles trying to see if there was another newer station but just ended up walking to another, open station which went directly to the Belvedere ( whereas Google said we had to switch).
 
Thankfully we got in before the rain and learnt very quickly just to use the subways maps and not any online directions ( even the Vienna transit’s system online journey planner doesn’t make sense). 
 
By the time we got to the Belvedere we were starving so we caved and ate at the museum cafe. We grabbed some Sachertortes and applestreudels to split, deciding that the sachertore here was definitely better than the streusel. One really annoying thing is that they charge for tap water seemingly everywhere. It was 30 cents per glass for tap water…which is crazy! Also the bathroom is only inside the museum so you can’t use the bathroom while at the cafe and the waiter wouldn’t give us a knife to cut our cakes in half ( still so confused by this). After this very bizarre eating experience we headed inside to see the museum. 
 
 
 
 
For the Belvedere there are many different types of tickets but we settled on just buying tickets for the upper level as that is the permanent collections and the Klimt, which is really what we wanted to see. Museums are super expensive in Vienna so it is nice that you can tailor your visit to save some money. 
 
This museum was barely busy ( only in the Klimt room) and was an amazing surprise! Beside’s the famous Klimt’s Kiss they had quite a good collection of European art in general, including some Davids, Monets and Van Gogh. Also the building itself is stunning and a great place to wander around. Definitely an underrated museum! 
 
After the museum we realized the cake’s were not cutting it and headed off to find more food. If you wander up from the Belvedere to the train station there is street that is filled with restaurants and cafes. We ended up settling in for Japanese as there was crazy cheap sushi and noodle place that was packed with locals. While a random decision probably best decision we made as the food was great, super filling and beyond cheap. It was called Lucky Noodles and after we searched it up we realized it has 4.8 stars on Yelp so its really not just us that think its good. This area in general looks like a good cheap place to eat as its by the train station and most people on the street appeared to be locals. 
 
After resting at home for a bit we headed back to city hall for the film festival. We wanted to go early to get good seats and all around the area there are food trucks and drink carts so we wanted to sample some of those. We got there at 8:30pm, grabbed a drink and wandered around the area. Tonight there were playing a short violin and cello video bBartolomeyBittmann  and then a full Grandphilharmonic Orchestra concert. The festival ended up being crazy busy. It was a super cool experience as there was quite the range of people int he audience from tourists to young families to the after work crowd. The concert was amazing!! The Viennese Orchestra is amazing and had it been in season we would have gotten standing tickets but obviously in the summer that wasn’t in the cards so it was nice to see them anyways. The video is also cool because some songs have ballerinas dancing to them so you get both music and dance. We stayed at the concert until we got tired and then grabbed a quick snack from the food trucks and headed home.
 
Step Count: 20,343
 
Day Three
 
For our last day in Vienna we really wanted to explore the market so we headed to Nascharket to wander around. On Saturday’s the market has like three layers: the first is the permanent stands and restaurants, the second is temporary more local booths and then the third is the flea market. The market is surprisingly huge and it took us a while to walk through all this and of course stopping for snacks and such. It does start to get really busy so if you hate crowds definitely get here earlier in the morning. 
After we wandered for a while we headed back to Ringtrasse/Albertina area to exchange some Euros for our new stops in Prague and Budapest! 
 
So after wandering home and grabbing snacks for the train we headed out! I definitely want to come back to Vienna later with more time to explore more of the insides of the palaces and museums and when the opera is in session. It is an absolutely beautiful city with such an interesting history so three days was definitely not enough to fully appreciate it. 
 
Step Count: 16, 053


Favourite Thing

Belvedere Art Museum!

Favourite Food

Sausages from the cart with the rabbit on it outside the Albertina. 

Tips

Coffee houses are expensive, make them count and spend a long time there. Aida is apparently a great cheap chain to try Austrian food at.

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