- Travel tips
- 11 November 2020
Weekend in Vienna: your essential guide to Europe’s most elegant capital
Vienna is one of the most fascinating European capitals, rich in history and in things to do. In 2019 Vienna was voted the best city in the world for its quality of life and you can understand why as soon as you walk its streets. Vienna is definitely an interesting choice for a lovely weekend in Europe.
The top tourist spots of the imperial Vienna
Vienna is a very well serviced city and with a very efficient public transportation system; it is therefore very simple to get from one place to another. Here are below the principal touristic spots in imperial Vienna that one must definitely not miss:
- Stephansplatz It is the heart of the city. Here you can find the famous Stephansdom cathedral, one of the highest churches worldwide. From this point on, many pedestrian streets begin full of restaurants and stores. They are worth a walk or as many choose, take a horse carriage just for the fun of experiencing an imperial Austrian-Hungarian means of transportation.
- Hofburg Palace Hofburg Palace is a short walk from Stephansplatz. It is a complex built by the Habsburg dynasty. Here you will find a series of palaces, museums and the famous Spanish Riding School. Adjacent to Hofburg Palace, one can find some parks and gardens where you can enjoy the nature.
- Schönbrunn Palace It was the imperial setting of the summer residence of the Habsburgs. The palace and its garden have been recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Even though it is situated outside of the historic center, it deserves half a day of your visit to Vienna.t for the fun of experiencing an imperial austrian-hungarian means of transportation.
Vienna doesn’t end with these three historic points of interest: I could propose the Albertina Museum or the Belvedere Castle that both deserve a visit; but you have to select before you embark on a trip to Vienna which you want to see, especially if you are keen on visiting their museums, since those will take up too much time of your short weekend.
Vienna for kids: many things to do and see
The city is family friendly : you can not expect anything less since we are talking about a city with high quality of life. The activities can vary depending on the age, I would recommend these three:
- Schönbrunn Zoo. It is the oldest one in the world. For some years it was voted as the best zoo in Europe. It quite impressive and it houses many animal species. Besides the obvious remorse one may have for animals under captivity, you cannot claim that it is not a very well kept zoo; that condition makes it stand out in comparison to others.
- Prater Park The Prater Park is an institution of Vienna. It is a public park and within you can find an amusement park. The entry is free, being a public park, and you only pay if you use the attractions. It deserves a visit, at least for a round on the historic wheel that offers panoramic views.
- Children’s Museum Schönbrunn Palace. For the younger ones, I recommend this museum inside the Schönbrunn Palace. Throughout a series of activities and games, the kids can feel as part of the Habsburg family. They can learn a great deal about the imperial family throughout trying things, playing with exact copies of their toys and even dressing up like them.
The best schnitzel and the traditional viennese coffee
When you think of Vienna, many culinary treats come in mind, such as a whipped cream coffee ”Viennese Coffee”, a piece of the famous sacher cake. All of them inside an Austrian style cafè. Vienna is just like that. Besides the most famous coffee houses, like the Cafè Central or the Cafè Mozart where finding a table means that you must wait in line outside, every corner in the city can offer a good excuse to sit down. Don’t limit your search to those two famous ones (both of which do deserve a visit) , but try to find the same good quality of service and coffee first and before all.
After a few hours going around the city, you can see that Schnitzel is almost on every menu in every restaurant, that is the typical dish of the viennese cuisine; a thin slice of meet breaded before frying. You can find it with veal, beef, pork, chicken and prices vary. My suggestion would be to try it at MEISSL & SCHADN.
Not one of the cheapest choices, but the quality of the Schnitzel I have had there, was the best I tried while in Vienna. Make sure you book a table in advance.
If you are in the mood for a pizza, I recommend the Eno-pizzeria VIA TOLEDO, where I really enjoyed an authentic and non touristy meal in an upscale environment.
Vienna the capital of classical music
Surely you have heard of the famous New Year’s concert of Vienna. If you want to visit the concert hall where it takes place, all you have to do is book a guided tour at the Wiener Musikverein. Even though I am not a fan of classical music, I enjoyed touring the “Goldener Saal” (the Golden Hall, the building’s most prestigious music hall where the annual broadcast takes place) that really impressed me with its acoustics and architecture.
If on the other hand you are passionate about classical music or concerts, the city offers many chances to catch one throughout the whole year. I strongly suggest that you consult the program of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Vienna before you book your travel dates, since it could be a lifetime experience.
If after all the above you still have some time left and you are lucky to enjoy a sunny day in Vienna, you can take a stroll along the Danube river. After all, it is the river that inspired Johann Strauss to create the Blue Danube waltz.
To conclude, Vienna is the ideal alternative for an elegant city break weekend and it does offer a little bit of everything: history, parks, class, amusement but most of all quality of life, even for a weekend.
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