I loved visiting Vienna and thought it was a really fun and accessible city. From the few days I spent there, I got the feeling that it had enough going on that you could visit time and time again, without ever feeling stressed out like other capital cities can make you feel.
What’s more, Vienna is the setting of one my favourite films of all time, Before Sunrise, the threequel to which I review here. That Vienna is so central to a film that means a lot to me, has given the city even more meaning for me. I would definitely love to visit Vienna again and be fangirly by visiting key movie locations!
Unfortunately, Vienna also has somewhat stressful memories for me as we had a big disaster trying to leave it and travel onto Paris, which I will talk about more further down. Because of that, I didn’t get the chance to buy a postcard in Vienna, as I do everywhere I go, so I ended up having to order the postcard above online many months later for far too much money. So if anyone has an authentic Viennese postcard they could send me… 😉 😉
Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens
The Schönbrunn Palace is probably one of my very favourite places that I have ever visited!
From the grand baroque Palace to the various immaculate gardens, the maze, the zoo (yep, there’s even a zoo and it claims to be the oldest one in the world!) to the centrepiece, unforgettable fountain, Schönbrunn Palace is full of surprises!
Set aside a long sunny day, take a picnic, charge up your camera and enjoy a long time chilling here.
An interesting fact, Schönbrunn translates directly to beautiful fountain (German speakers, if I am wrong, don’t shout) and you can totally see why from these pictures!
On our last day in Vienna, with not much planned, we randomly decided to go on a tour of the Opera theatre, not knowing what to expect.
The tour actually turned out to be really fascinating, packed with facts about the history of the opera, technical information about the staging of the shows and lots of backstage info. The tour even took us under the stage to see the mechanisms that make it move etc. and we got to look around the dressing rooms. Whilst this may not be for everyone, I personally thought it was a brilliant and unusual thing to do whilst in Vienna.
I would also recommend checking out some of the market stalls and shops around the Opera as we ended up passing a good amount of time exploring these and searching for books in English.
Don’t trust everything in Vienna!
Now, for something a little different to my normal recommendations, here are three warnings for things to avoid in Vienna!
1. Do not try Weisswurst.
Now I know this is not a traditional Viennese food, but I experienced it in Vienna so I will mention it here. I am very adventurous eater and it is rare that I don’t like things, but at a restaurant in Vienna I distractedly chose the first thing I saw on the menu, which happened to be weisswurst or white sausage. This particular restaurant served it in a bowl of shallow tepid water with a chunk of bread and some sweet mustard which tasted about as good as it sounds…
2. Don’t visit the Sigmund Freud museum.
I thought this would be a really interesting museum about Freud’s work and his influence, but unfortunately it turned out to be mainly about his family and their house and almost nothing to do with his work. I very nearly fell asleep in the museum as it was dull, I found a seat and there was no air conditioning.
3. Don’t go to the wrong train station.
Instead of going to the central Vienna station to catch the first of three trains which would eventually take us to Paris, we instead went to Vienna Mitte railway station as we thought they were the same station. It’s a long story but it basically ended in us having to do over a day of travelling on various modes of transport to try and get to Paris, costing a lot of money and a LOT of stress. So make sure you know which station you need!
Open Air Cinema
When we were in Vienna, we were lucky to stumble upon an open air cinema showing at the City Hall Square. The showings were part of a Music Film Festival and luckily the film that was showing that night was not only in English with German subtitles, but had an interesting topic – The Rolling Stones.
This was a fun and relaxing, never mind money saving, way of spending an evening in Vienna. Also, watching this film inspired a obsession with Jack White which I had for many years!
The final thing I will mention is already known as one of the must do things in Vienna – the Prater. This is a large amusement with various things to do and see.
One tip I have for visiting the Prater is not to bother going on the giant Ferris wheel that it is known for. Yes, it’s very pretty but there is a smaller and less pretty Ferris wheel also in the park which is MUCH cheaper and from which you can take lots of pictures of the attractive old Ferris wheel. Plus, you don’t have to tell your friends which of the wheels you actually went on!
I would recommend a fun night at the Prater as a brilliant way to finish of a relaxing day spent at Schönbrunn , whilst avoiding Weiswurst!!
So yeah, Vienna is awesome, go experience it.
Next up will be Paris.