13 Things You Must Do When Visiting Vienna
Featured Image: @storyofzhu
I went to Vienna last May, and I can’t exaggerate enough how much I loved it!
Vienna has easily become one of my favorite cities in the world and originally, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I just added it to the itinerary because the flight was cheap.
And now I’m obsessed and can’t wait to go back!
Download the Skyscanner app and set up alerts to any city in the world. I have about 30 different alerts set up at a time and whenever a price drops I get notified. Thanks to Skyscanner I booked a roundtrip ticket from Miami to London (no layovers) for less than $350, when the regular price was over $600!!
Fun Facts About Vienna
Often called the City of Music, Vienna is the favorite home of composers. More composers have lived in the city than in any other city in the world.
Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig Van Beethoven are just some of the most renowned composers who have called Vienna their home.
The capital of Austria, Vienna is located on the East Danube River. It is home to around 1.757 million people, making it the largest city in Austria and the 7th largest city in the EU.
Popular for its gorgeous imperial palaces, as well as historic and contemporary buildings, the city offers a lot for travelers of all ages.
What to Eat While in Vienna
Food has to be one of the highlights of travel!
What’s better than meeting interesting locals and exploring amazing destinations? Filling your tummy with delectable and, might I say, magical dishes!
When traveling, it is a crime (I know I’m dramatic) to not try the local cuisine and pastries! Here are a couple of absolute must-trys:
The perfect start to your day! Grab a Viennese Striezel and a cup of coffee at a local pastry shop and thank me later.
A striezel is a sweet braided yeast bread that comes in a varierty of types and sizes. I like to think of it as Austria’s version of the croissant (although they are very, very different)
The Wiener schnitzel happens to be on top of most traveler’s foodie bucket list. This thin veal breaded and pan-fried cutlet varies in size but is often large enough to be shared by two people.
It is usually served with a slice of lemon and potatoes. Although most restaurants in Vienna serves Wiener schnitzel, locals agree that Figlmüller serves the best.
The restaurant is often packed with tourists and there is often a long line but is worth the wait.
Vegans and vegetarians will be happy to know that they can go to Das Agustin or Landia if they want meat-free Wiener schnitzel!
Who goes to Vienna without eating sachertorte?!
This classic chocolate cake is topped with a thin layer of apricot jam and a smooth chocolate topping.
The cake was actually created by Frank Sacher for Prince von Metternich in 1832. It is said that a cake war was waged between Café Sacher and Café Demel over whose right it was to own the label of ‘the original Sachertorte’.
You can’t go wrong with either location though, or perhaps both and decide for yourself who did it better.
A dish of boiled beef that is served with horseradish and/or applesauce, as well as potatoes, the Tafelspitz is another Viennese staple.
Figlmüller also happens to serve one of the best Tafelspitz in the city, aside from their winning Wiener schnitzel!
Austrians are known to have a sweet tooth and the apple strudel is one of the most popular desserts to ever come from Austria.
A pastry stuffed with apples, raisins and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar for flavor, the apfelstrudel, as it is called locally, is best when paired with coffee.
If you would like to know how to make the dessert, the Schonbrunn Palace has 20-minute ‘strudel shows’ which is an excellent demonstration of the art of strudel-making!
Viennese goulash is similar to the goulash in the Czech Republic and Hungary.
This thick meat stew is usually made with beef and flavored with tomato, paprika, and other spices.
The only difference is that in Vienna, goulash is commonly served with potatoes, bread rolls or the Semmelknödel, Austrian dumplings.
Starting Your Day In Vienna
When exploring, it is important to start your day right with excellent breakfast, so your spirit, mind, and body are all ready to take on the scenery, culture, and all the good things that the wonderful city has to offer.
If you want to find the best food, you should ask the locals where they go. They can point you in the right direction.
We asked the Viennese what their favorite breakfast spot is and they didn’t fail us:
Ulrich (above) makes one of the best coffees and also boasts of a cozy atmosphere. It is a favorite spot for well-traveled hipsters. They serve hearty pans of bacon, fluffy pancakes, and eggs with fruits, The Full Monty is a dish which should not be missed!
Café Ansari serves breakfast from 8 am to noon and they offer guests a modern take on traditional Viennese coffeehouses.
They have three breakfasts which are the highlights of their menu. The Variation von Blinis is served with butter, caviar, cream, salmon and a variety of other garnishes. The Georgian breakfast boasts of the Khachapuri, a tasty and cheesy Georgian-dish of cheese-filled bread with a crowning of egg in the middle. Lastly, there’s the Oriental breakfast that has plenty of great-tasting hummus.
After getting your tummy filled with all the delectable food that Vienna has to offer, it is time to start exploring the city….
The most popular tourist spot in Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace happens to also be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a great introduction to the rich cultural history of the city.
Built in the early 18th century, this palace is recognizable because of its yellow exteriors which reflected the style and interests of the Hapsburg Dynasty.
Plan to spend at least half a day in the palace as it is very easy to get lost in its splendor.
There is a guided tour for guests to explore the palace exteriors. Make sure that you have a full tummy before you start exploring as the palace has 1,441 rooms!
The palace’ sculpted gardens are adorned with 32 sculptures of deities and there are also Roman ruins within the palace complex.
Schonbrunn is open daily, even on public holidays. If you ever find yourself hungry, you will be happy to know that there are restaurants and cafes within the palace complex.
A part of the palace that is worthy of a separate visit on its own are the palace gardens. You could spend countless hours walking through the garden’s many sections and displays.
The Parterre is where you will find gorgeous flower beds or get lost in its spectacular hedge maze and labyrinths. Another astounding piece of work is Neptune’s fountain.
However, the crowning glory is the Gloriette which is located opposite the palace.
A trip to Vienna is incomplete without setting foot in the Hofburg Palace!
The Hofburg Empire was one of the most powerful and influential empires in history and it was centered right in the picturesque city of Vienna.
The palace is an Instagram-worthy spot so don’t forget to take a picture of yourself outside.
Being in the palace feels like being transported back in time when people donned exquisite gowns and attended grand balls. Imagine yourself stepping out of the carriage and stepping into the palace, where you will find your prince charming perhaps.
It is easy to get lost in the palace with its 2,600 rooms, although not all of them are accessible to visitors nowadays. Some of the rooms which must not be missed are the Hofburg Treasury, Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Apartments.
The Sisi Museum gives guests a very good insight into the life of the queen. Somewhat similar to France’s famous queen Marie Antoinette, Sisi disliked her life as a royal and rebelled at the whole nation.
The public space located in the Hofburg Palace, Heidenplatz was set up as a Heroes Square.
There you will see the statue of the Archduke Charles of Austria, as well as that of Prince Eugene of Savoy.
The square has been a witness to some of history’s most significant moments, including Adolf Hitler’s ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The most important church in Vienna and the country, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a huge tower that dominates the city’s skyline and is the tallest church tower in the country.
The church’s exterior has a Gothic and Romanesque design, from the dominating pointed tower to the intricately decorated main roof which is decorated with hundreds of colored tiles which form an intricate pattern.
The church has a total of 18 altars, plenty of smaller chapels, and a few catacombs and tombs. Will definitely leave you speechless!
Vienna State Opera
The city’s state opera is a fine example of architecture and opera.
Located in the Innere Stadt district, it is often considered as one of the most stunning opera houses in the world, the exterior is decorated in Neo-Renaissance style as exemplified by its arched windows and arches.
The extremely decadent interiors make one feel as if they were inside a palace and not an opera house. There are daily guided tours lasting 40 minutes which give guests a good introduction to the building.
Vienna Natural History Museum
For travelers who love museums, Vienna Natural History Museum is a must-visit.
It boasts of a huge collection of fossils, minerals, precious stones, meteorites, and skeletons of animals.
With more than 30 million objects, the museum easily has one of the most important collections in Europe, with new additions coming all the time.
It is easy to see children and adults loving the sheer amount of mind-boggling displays.
Vienna is a city that is full of significant and historical architecture and the Rathausplatz is another fine addition.
Built-in the 1800s in a Neo-Gothic style, it accommodates the offices of the city mayor. It has a style that is similar to the town hall of Brussels.
The Rathaus boasts of five towers, the one in the middle being the largest, topped by the Rathausman statue.
There are guided tours on specific days that showcase the building’s extravagant style.
Is Vienna on your bucket list? What will you be doing while traveling to Vienna?
Let us know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to pin, like, and share!