Vienna is a classical city of grandeur, traditions and art and is divided into 23 districts (couldn’t help thinking of the Hunger Games). The city is clean and safe, was named the world’s most lively city by Mercer and has cozy christmas markets in winter. Frankly, I was afraid a Vienna city trip would be a bit boring for three girls in their late twenties. I mean, isn’t Vienna an ‘old people city’?
Vienna however, positively surprised me and we wished we could have stayed longer. Not only Vienna’s classical side charmed me, but we also discovered her young and hip side. In Vienna we stumbled upon many a vintage shop, colorful street art and funky cafe’s. These were the highlights of my Vienna city trip with friends!
Things to do on your Vienna city trip!
This was the absolute, unexpected highlight of my Vienna city trip! We managed to get standing tickets for 3 euro in the right upper wing for La Traviata by Verdi. No words can describe the beauty of this performance. It was dramatic and powerful, but also delicate and pure.
Tips for your Vienna city trip: You can get standing tickets for 3-4 euro at the entrance 80 minutes before curtain time (there will be a line, so be on time), bring a scarf to secure your standing place, eat beforehand (food there is good, but expensive) try to stand in the front row and lastly dress nicely.
Apfelstrudel, Sachertorte, Wienerschnitzel and Gluhwein
We ticked all four boxes. We ate apfelstrudel at the Schonbrünn palace, enjoyed an original Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher, tried to eat a complete Wienerschnitzel at Gasthaus Zu Oper (but failed) and drank glühwein and apfel punsch.
Tips for your Vienna city trip: You can get the original Sachertorte at both Hotel Sacher and Cafe Sacher. Just check which line is shorter. They are just around the corner from each other.
Vienna’s old city centre
District 1! The district closes to the Capitol with the best trained tributes. Let the games begin and may the odds….
I’m sorry, got confused with the Hunger Games again. District 1 is Vienna’s old city centre with many historical sights. Of course we visited the impressive Stephansdom Cathedral, the Hofburg, the fancy shopping district and the Monument against War and Fascism.
Gustav Klimt. The Kiss. Epic! And it housed many more pieces of beautiful 19th and 20th century art by prominent (mostly) European painters. It was originally built as the summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy.
The christmas markets were not at all what I expected them to be. I thought the markets would be mainly for tourists, trying to sell kitsch christmas souvenirs. However, they turned out to be social, full of locals and incredibly cosy! All Wien people seemed to gather there and drink gluhwein with each other. We visited five christmas markets, but our favorite was the urban, alternative Spittelberg market in the 7th district.
Austrian sauna culture
This was actually quite fun! We decided to try out Austrian sauna culture (which, to be honest, was not very different from the Dutch sauna’s) and spent an afternoon at Therme Wien, Europe’s biggest city spa. There are many different sauna’s, swimming pools, relaxation area’s and medicinal springs. You can get there quite easily by public transportation or taxi. We spent about 40 euro’s per person there. Highly recommended for your Vienna city trip with friends!
Kunsthaus Wien and Hundertwasserhaus
Kunsthaus Wien and nearby Hundertwasserhaus are both designed by the eccentric artist Friedensreicher Hundertwasser (who died in 2000). In Kunsthaus Wien many bright art works by Hundertwasser are exhibited.
I loved the colorful, lively open-air Nash market, and especially the flea market. We saw an old woman fanatically rummage around in a big pile of secondhand woolen scarfs, a large guy studying a tiny porcelain tea cup and another couple discussing the price of a box of christmas adornments.
Tips for your Vienna city trip: The flea market is only on saturdays and bring cash money.
I’m a terrible and difficult shopper and do not really enjoy it. Even though I like pretty things (as all girls) I only go shopping when I really must. However, in Vienna I succeeded quite easily and bought a t-shirt at fancy shop NFive, a vintage Alice in Wonderland sweater at a secondhand shop, a wallet at Cos and a vest at Kauf Dich Glucklich. We didn’t really like the main shopping street.
What we missed / reasons to go back to Vienna
Obviously, there are many more places to see in Vienna. We missed the Pratersauna club, which was recommended to me by three different persons. It’s suppose to be pretty cool, so hopefully I can visit the club next time. Although, we ate and drank a lot, we didn’t visit a real Viennese coffeehouse. Cafe Trzesniewski (famous for its sandwiches) was unfortunately closed when we were there. Also, we didn’t visit the Prater area or any of the museums in the Museum Quartier. Finally, we had no time to visit the beautiful surroundings of Vienna.
- A Vienna Card gives you three days of free public transportation and also considerable discount to attractions such as the Kunsthaus and the Belvedere!
- We borrowed the ‘Rick Stevens Vienna’ guidebook in the hostel and this guidebook turned out to be pretty great!
- Keep in mind many restaurants and cafe’s are closed on sunday.
- Lunch at Figar.
- Stay in the amazing Ruthensteiner Hostel!
Vienna.info was so kind to offer us complimentary 3-day Vienna Cards and a wienerschnitzel dinner. Views and opinions are as always my own.