Live 3 days to the full
Vienna is an absolutely magical destination any time of the year. It’s a city overflowing with art, culture and history. Full of legends and true tales of princesses and emperors, you will feel like a prince/princess walking around in Vienna on a trip back in time.
Put it on your bucket list asap and come with me on a 3-day itinerary where you will get to dive deep into Vienna’s history and daily life.
Travel Period: 17/9 – 20/9/2021 (3 full days)
Travelers: Me and a friend
Plan of Trip
- Vienna International Airport
- Belvedere Palace
- Café Central
- Free Walking Tour
- Figlmuller Restaurant
- Wiener Staatsoper
- Loos American Bar
- Karlskirche & Café Wunderladen e.U
- Hundertwasserhaus & Kunst Haus Wien Museum Hundertwasser
- Wien Mitte & Stadtpark
- Saint Stephen’s Cathedral & South Tower
- Ilona Stuberl Restaurant
- Kurkoditorei OBERLAAA
- Concert at St Stephen’s Cathedral
- Der Dachboden Bar
- Palmenhaus Brasserie
- Schonbrunn Palace
- Mariahilfer Straβe & Glacis Beisl Restaurant
- Gerstner K.u.K Hofzuckerbacker
- Needle Vinyl Bar
Vienna International Airport
Vienna’s Airport is conveniently situated just 20km outside of the city. In general there are 3 modes of transportation to the city center: taxi, train, and bus. However in September 2021, due to the Covid-19 situation, only Railjets to Vienna Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) and Wien Meidling Station and Express train S7 to Wien Mitte were serving the tourists. For a taxi expect to pay approximately 30-36euros.
The train tickets are easy to get outside the arrival hall and following the signs for the train (S sign). We took the Railjet train in the direction to Innsbruck and paid 4,3euros to get to Wien Hauptbahnhof.
The tickets can be bought at the automated ticket machines (Press English at the start), where you get to pay either cash or credit card.
Make sure you validate your ticket before embarkation or pick a specific time and route at the machine and your ticket is automatically validated.
Fun fact: We aimed for the S7 train to Wien Mitte but the first choice given was a Railjet train, so we ended at Hauptbahnhof. Nevertheless, we were flexible and started our itinerary in Vienna from Belvedere Palace, which is within walking distance from the train station.
Regarding Covid-19: On September 2021, entry was permitted for all passengers coming from EU countries with a certificate of vaccination of negative PCR test within 48hours or certificate of illness from Covid-19. The same was asked at all interiors (restaurants, café) and in museums, shops, supermarkets one was expected to wear a high protective mask (FFP2).
A first glimpse to a prince’s life
Prince Eugene’s Palace certainly won’t disappoint you. It lives up to its name offering a beautiful view of the city from the Upper Belvedere and its gardens are an oasis to the city’s busy life.
The palace houses the most famous works of Austrian artists and a large selection of medieval religious works. Better book your ticket in advance online at www.belvedere.at/en/tickets for 15,90 euros the regular tickets. We preferred strolling around the gardens and admiring the palace from the outside.
Another famous and must try place in Vienna, where you also better reserve your table through their website www.cafecentral.wien/en/reservation and skip the long line waiting.
Café Central has been many times voted as one of the best cafes in the world and once you step inside, you will understand why. It’s the long history of this place that stands out. It was once a popular meeting point for Vienna’s writers, artists, politicians and scientists, such as Arthur Schnitzler, Sigmund Freud and Peter Altenburg.
Indulge in Vienna’s coffee culture and enjoy a cup of hot cappuccino or Wiener mélange with a piece or two of torte. What we absolutely loved was Kaiserschmarrn, a traditional Viennese dessert. Basically a torn warm thick pancake with jam and the portion is really big. Paid 25euros for a piece of Sachertorte, a portion of Kaiserschmarrn, a cappuccino and a lemonade.
Free Walking Tour
Time to burn those extra calories.
As a tourist, I find really helpful on my first day to a new city to join one of the free walking tours. It’s an easy and amusing way to be introduced to the city’s geography, history, day-and nightlife.
Although my friend as an accountant disagreed with the way these companies earn their money. Since in the end everyone gives the money cash to the guide without a receipt, these earnings are not correctly declared to the tax authorities. Yeah I agree that there I this part of the story, too.
Famous and good-reviewed free walking tours are offered by Goodviennatours and Primetours. W echoes the first because the tour starts at 2 pm and it was more convenient for us. Apparently, there are really popular among tourists and ended up with at least 50people for this tour, divided into a group of English and a group of German.
It was hard sometimes to follow what the guide was saying with so many people but we had a full2 hour tour passing by the most famous monuments and familiarize ourselves with Vienna.
The first thing that comes in mind when you think of Austrian food is schnitzel and here is the place to have it.
Yet again, I advise you to reserve your table online through their website and well in advance. https://figlmueller.at/en/reservation/
At Figlmuller Wiener we had the Wiener schnitzel with potato salad and lamb’s lettuce on the side. We also had another classic dish, called Tafelspitz which is boiled beef in the pot.
Truth is I am not quite sure what is the correct way to eat this dish as it was served into many different pots. I had my dinner plate in front of me and to the side a big pot of soup and chunks of beef, carrots and leek. Another small pot had roasted potatoes mash and to the side egg chive sauce and apple horseradish sauce. There was an extra bowl with what seemed like diced vegetables. So too many plates and bowls with no idea how to mix them. Nonetheless, both dishes were delicious and paid for these and two glasses of Riesling white wine 54euros.
Vienna is an easy-to-walk town, especially if the weather is good or if you are prepared with warm clothes (we weren’t), you will enjoy walking around. The major tourist attractions are mostly in Innere Stadt (District 1), which is the area surrounded by Burgring (Ring Street). So finding a place to stay there would be ideal.
Another great area is near Naschmarkt, where we stayed. We opted for Wombats City Hostel https://www.wombats-hostels.com/vienna which proved an excellent choice. Our double ensuite room had a lovely view of Naschmarkt and was really affordable (200euros for 3 nights). The staff was super helpful and if you wish you can socialize a lot at this hostel.
Ballet Night at Wiener Staatsoper
A city passionate about music and arts could not have anything less than an impressive Neo-renaissance Opera House. One of the world’s greatest houses for opera and ballet performances which dates back to 1869.
You can visit the Staatsoper without seeing a performance by taking a guided tour but trust me the experience of watching opera or ballet is one you will never forget. You can check the performance schedule and buy tickets online at https://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/en/season-tickets/events/ . We bought tickets for 12 euros for the ballet and it was truly magnificent. Well worth it!
Loos American Bar
Wrap up your very busy first day with a drink at one’s of the city’s bars.
Or maybe before that grab a wurst (sausage) at one of the numerous Wurstelstands throughout Vienna, the typical street food and one you can’t’ miss when the smell of the grilled sausage hits you.
For the first night we headed to Loos American Bar for a glass of beer and wine.
Truth is that especially on busy Friday and Saturday nights, we found it really difficult to obtain a spare table at the city’s bars. Not sure if you could reserve your seat at Vienna’s bars but keep that in mind and prepare yourself.
Breakfast at Naschmarkt
You can’t skip Vienna’s biggest and most popular open market. This was one of my favorite places during the trip. I always visit the open markets when abroad because I find in them the most authentic expression of daily life. You get to see first-hand what locals buy, what they eat, how they communicate. Such a mirror of the city’s life.
Luckily for us Naschmarkt was at the doorstep of Wombats Hostel where we stayed. So first thing in the morning and before it got too crowded, we explored this big market.
Naschmarkt is open year-round from Monday- Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. Best visit it on Saturday morning when the weekly flea market is in full swing. Regarding food, there are several sit-down restaurants but you can always wander between the stalls and try the delicious market delicacies, particularly Middle Eastern deli goods.
We found a stall with Austrian pastries, like Apfelstrudel, strudel with cherries and strudel with cream cheese and apricot and for 2,8 euros each. So we had an excellent and delicious start to the day.
Wunderladen e.U Café
Having full bellies, you will probably be in search of a good coffee. Well, you are in Vienna, something like Europe’s coffee paradise.
Even I who I don’t like coffee, I was tempted here to try with all the aromas.
A very good choice for coffee just meters from Karlskirch is Wunderladen e.U. This little cozy coffee house has impeccable coffee and delicious homemade cupcakes. It’s highly recommended. Just check the opening hours.
Karlskirche (St. Charles Church)
You definitely can’t miss this huge baroque church of Karlkirche. Constructed as a mixture of Greek and Roman style with 2 big columns on the façade, which remind you of Trajan’s column in Rome.
Lately Karlskirche has become one of the most outstanding concert venues in Vienna. Check on the website for Friday’s concert Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Saturday’s concert Mozart’s Requiem. Tickets can be a little overpriced, ranging from 32euros to 48euros.
Kunst Haus Wien Museum Hundertwasser
Hundertwasser was an Austrian artist and architect. His designs are considered radical, as he used irregular forms and incorporated natural features. If you are like me and adore colors, you will be excited to visit these multi-color structures with shiny mosaics and no geometric straight line. These may be hard on the eyes for the obsessive ones.
Hundertwasserhaus can be admired only from the outside as people actually live there. It contains 53 apartments, 4 offices, 16 private terraces and 3 communal terraces.
Museum Hundertwasser is another work from this unique artist. The exterior is very attention-grabbing too. Here you can also visit an exhibition of his drawings and paintings for 11 euros. For me, in the end, it wasn’t really worth it, because I admire him more for his architecture than his painting but you can decide on your own.
At Hundertwasser Museum there is also a lovely café where you can sit and admire the exterior.
Tip: Hundertwasserhaus and Hundertwasser Museum are just minutes away from each other. My advice is to choose the path between them that stays near Donaukanal. You get to walk near the river and relax a little bit at the park.
Wien Mitte & Stadtpark
On our way to Innere Stadt, we did a quick stop at the shopping mall of Wien Mitte. Firstly because it was pouring and secondly because I always enjoy visiting supermarkets when abroad.
This is the largest shopping center in downtown Vienna and also hosts the main subway station of Wien Mitte.
Stadtpark as its name implies is the city’s park, accessible around the clock. The fall had transformed the park in bright yellows and vibrant red colors, a true oasis.
Saint Stephen’s Cathedral
We headed straight to the south tower as we had planned on visiting the Cathedral the same night for a concert.
The South Tower of St Stephen’s Cathedral will give you one of the best views of the town, provided you get to climb the 343 steps. The ticket costs 5,5euro/person and it’s open from 9 am to 5.30 pm.
It’s a 67m climb through a dusky, narrow staircase, so prepare yourself.
Ilona Stuberl Restaurant
This little Hungarian bistro in Vienna tagged near St Stephen’s Cathedral is well known for the goulash. The interior is simple and cozy with dark wooden walls. It only has maybe 10 tables so reserving is probably a good idea. We had goulash soup and a white bean soup with sausage and for the main course we had cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat, which we shared. For these dishes we paid 28,5euro, not bad at all.
In search of a dessert we stumbled across this fancy patisserie. There are several locations of this brand throughout Vienna and we sat at the one in Innere Stadt. You will definitely get confused with all the cakes and tortes. Just choose what looks better to you or what name you remember easier to order it.
For 10euros we had a piece of mango-chocolate torte and a piece of strawberry torte.
Concert at St Stephen’s Cathedral
We had booked a special night out at the Cathedral enjoying Vivaldi’s popular “Four Seasons”. The outstanding acoustics of the historical cathedral, the soloists of the Chamber Orchestra Vienna and the feeling that you are in a freaking Cathedral listening to classic music make this one of the best experiences.
We booked the cheapest tickets for 19euros, the ones mentioned at the site https://concert-vienna.com as category 3 without a view, although we had a great view and didn’t feel like it was worth it the 20euros extra for a front-row seat.
In search of a bar
That was a tough night. Saturday late night and everyone, local and tourist, had already taken their spot at one of Vienna’s bars. We tried Krypt Bar after walking for half an hour from the Cathedral but was fully reserved. Nevertheless I do recommend it and make a reservation beforehand. It is supposed to be like a hidden underground bar with super cocktails.
The next stop after 30 minutes of walking was Der Dachboden. This rooftop bar has a beautiful view of Vienna. The drinks were nothing sort of special but the music and the atmosphere were great. There is also a photo booth which was the highlight of our night. Still we had to wait here 20 minutes in the queue to be let inside.
Breakfast at Palmenhaus
Time for a fancy breakfast. This place next to Hofburg Palace resembles a lot to a greenhouse. It’s actually a former Emperor’s glasshouse, where now you can enjoy your coffee, drink, breakfast or lunch amidst a rainforest.
We had made a reservation but honestly even though it was Sunday morning, we could have gone without it. There were some spare spots beside us. The breakfast is classic, nothing to be overexcited about. It’s a selection of rolls, cold cuts, marmalade and eggs.
It’s the atmosphere that’s worth your time and money. You can gaze at the garden when the weather is warm or at the huge exotic plants inside the glasshouse. The breakfast for 2 cost around 30euros.
If you have only one thing to do in Vienna, this is your visit to Schonbrunn Palace.
For me Schonbrunn is my all-time favorite palace. This was my second visit and yet again I was mesmerized by its interior beauty. You can feel as if Princess Sisi herself will welcome and guide you in her palace.
Schonbrunn Palace is considered one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque palace complexes and Austria’s most significant cultural monument.
The tickets can be bought online and they are booked for a specific time slot. There is the Imperial Tour (which includes 22 rooms) for 18euros and the Grand Tour, where you get to visit 40 rooms for 22euros. Opt for the second one. There are also some combo tickets, which include the Privy Garden, the Maze, the Gloriette and Schonbrunn Zoo but at 30euros and 49euros, I consider them too pricey and not worth it. Visit www.schoenbrunn.at/en/tickets-and-prices/all-ticekts-tours for more.
Mariahilfer Straβe & Glacis Beisl Restaurant
Take the train or walk back to the city, if you dare (1-hour walking).
Visit now LaimGrube neighborhood and start your walk at Mariahilfer Straβe. This pedestrian paradise with a total length of 1,6km was actually a busy boulevard until 2017, when it was transformed. Today you can enjoy the largest shopping street in Vienna without the noise and the pollution.
Near Museumsquartier at the end of Mariahilfer Street you will find your lunch stop, Glacis Beisl Restaurant.
On the menu here you get classics of Viennese cuisine. From goulash to Tafelspitz, from dumplings with greaves to blood sausages. The menu is not extensive but the quality is there. We had a creamy pumpkin soup and a classic potato soup and then pasta with sour cabbage and goulash with a glass of wine for 33euros. If you visit Glasis Bistro in the summer you will get to enjoy the beautiful garden with the old walnut trees.
Yet another try to sit down at this famous café and indulge its tortes. Unfortunately every time we passed by there was a long line waiting to be sited. It is not possible to make a reservation online and the opening hours are limited to 7 pm. So good luck with that!
Gerstner K.u.K Hofzuckerbacker
In desperate need of dessert we sat down at Gerstner pastry shop just opposite the Opera House. This historic pastry shop dating back in 1847 proudly claims to serve first-rate tea or coffee accompanied with freshly made top-quality delights.
The price may be on the salty side (5,3euros for a piece of cake) but if you take into account all the history behind its menu I think it’s worth a shot.
Needle Vinyl Bar
Your last night in Vienna won’t find you tucked under the blankets in the hotel room. Go out, feel the city’s vibes, mingle around. One of the best bars to do so is Needle Vinyl Bar. Famous among locals and tourists. Here the music is classic rock, actually played from vinyl disc and the drinks are meticulously prepared. There is a wide variety of cocktails and the prices are reasonable.
Tips for Vienna Airport
We were flying on Monday really early in the morning (6.30 am). At that time of the day and due to Covid-19 there were only two options for the airport. Either take S7 from Wien Mitte, catching the first train of the day which departs at 4.19 am and arrives at the airport at 4.45am or take a taxi.
From Wombats Hostel near Naschmarkt we had to walk 30minutes to Wien Mitte, because at the night the public means of transportation are scarce in Vienna.
Usually the cheapest flights are the very first of the last of the day. It’s best to always check before booking a flight if there is a convenient way to reach your hotel or arrive at the airport at that time of the day.
Is Vienna worth visiting?
Definitely yes and I hope I have persuaded you. The city’s imperial architecture leaves visitors in awe. From Art Nouveau, to Gothic and Baroque. Vienna serves it all. Also as the world capital of music, here classical music is in the spotlight. Vienna is the home to many famous composers and the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven or Franz Schubert is still show showcased on many stages today.
Every year from 2009 to 2019, Mercer’s Quality of Living survey has named Vienna the best place to live in the entire world. For me this is a great boost to go explore this city, isn’t it for you?