“BEEEEEEEP”. I woke in a startle as my alarm screamed at me. 0300. I rubbed my eyes and fought the urge to go back to sleep. After all, I was awake for a reason. As I hopped in the cab, my driver filled the silence with idle chat about the history of Macedonia. And while I was appreciative, my head was filled with thoughts of Vienna. After all, that is where I was headed to.
I find a hard time putting into words how beautiful Vienna is. It’s one of those cities that I don’t think I can do proper justice to. The adjectives I would use to describe Vienna include, “glitzy”, “glamorous”, “beautiful”, but even those words don’t describe Austria’s capital. Walking through Vienna was such a pleasant surprise. This ornate city is decked to the nine’s, whether you’re here in summer or winter. Spending two-days in Austria’s capital will give you the feeling of being transported back in time to the height of its rule in the 19th century.
Upon arrival to Vienna start out your day in a “Kaffeehaus”. Coffee culture in Vienna is a true UNESCO heritage tradition. It is the idea of spending as much time as you please in a certain place, even if the only thing on the bill is coffee. Pick one, or coffee hop your way through Vienna. My favorite cafes include Demel, Café Central, Café Diglas, and Gerstner K. U. K. Hofzuckerbäcker. Bonus points for ordering a cappuccino, which originated in Vienna – not Italy.
Upon coffee hopping through Vienna, make sure to make time to stop at Naschmarkt, which originated back in the 16th century. Naschmarkt is a local market made up of over 100 produce stalls, souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants. You could spend minutes or hours, depending on what you’re looking for.
Continue exploring Vienna by wandering aimlessly. One of my favorite things about this city is being able to walk around with no real plans, but still experiencing the beauty of the city. There’s so much to see, pick an area and wander the streets. You can wind your way through Museumsquartier, Karlsplatz, Stephansplatz, or Marktplatz. For sunset make sure to head to Stephansplatz, where St. Stephen’s Cathedral is located. Walk (south tower), or take the elevator up (north tower), to watch the sun set over the city.
Note: Entrance into the church is free, however the rooftop is not. Views from the south will set you back five Euros; and from the north, six Euros.
For day two in Vienna, make sure to start out your day early by heading to the infamous apartment complex, Hundertwasserhaus. A unique structure, known for its bright colors and “movement” of the architecture. The artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, truly believed that art should be felt, so he designed the floors and walls to be uneven so you can always feel the art around you. Unlivable, but to this day a famous attraction in Vienna.
Upon leaving Hundertwasserhaus, head to the Danube River. Here you’ll find bars and restaurants lining the river. There is even areas with sand, aiming to give the river a beach-y feel! I started off at Badeschiff Wien and headed all the way down to Tel Aviv beach.
Note: This is only a summer activity
After spending your day along the Danube, head to the Sofitel Hotel, which is close by. The top floor will take you to Das Loft, a bar/restaurant that offers panoramic views of Vienna. Pricey, but worth it if even for one drink.
While there is so much more to do than what is mentioned above, the above activities give you a good feel of what Vienna is truly like. If you’re able to stay longer than two-days, or visit more than once, make sure to check out my complete guide to Vienna for more in depth information about Austria’s capital. Until then, auf wiedersehen!