I always thought Vienna was a city for old people in which nothing much really happens. I never really understood why John Irving was obsessed with this city. However, Hannah and I decided to give it a shot and see why this city was named world’s top city for quality of life, eight times in a row.
Hannah and I visited Vienna as part of our interrailing trip. We only had one night and two days to see Vienna’s main attractions. Arriving at 6:30am by train on Thursday 18th June 2015, we found our way to Hostel Huttledorf, freshened up and went back out. At this point of our trip, we were soon realising that we didn’t budget as well as we should – so we had to visit Vienna on a (very limited) budget.
- Schonbrunn Palace
It seems like the more I travel, the more I love history and architecture. Schonbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Austria’s most visited tourist attraction. In German, the name actually means Beautiful Spring – and after visiting the Palace and Gardens an see that I lived up to its name.
For centuries, the palace served as the summer home of the Habsburgs and to this day reflects the interests and tastes of the Halsburg monarchs. More specifically, emperor Charles VI acquired Schonbrunn in 1728 and then gifted the palace to his daughter Maria Theresa. Her daughter, Marie Antoinette (French queen who was executed in the French Revolution) grew up in the beautiful palace. Therefore it’s been in the possession of the Halsburgs since 1569 and is enormous, with a total of 1,441 rooms! Since then, the palace hosts many leading statemen.
I didn’t actually tour the palace due to time (+ budget) constraints but I did go to Schonbrunn Gardens which are beautiful! It’s a large area (1.2km east to west and 1km north to south) with many different features. We went to the hedge maze and walked all the way down to the Gloriette. With (many) breaks in-between, we got to the top and was rewarded with a great view of the palace and city!
Hannah was also very keen to go to the Zoo. After a lot of persuasion and bribing, I gave in and surprisingly had such a good time. Now as you all know, im not a fan of animals – but there was something special about the variety of animals found in this zoo. Its known for being the oldest zoo in the world.
- General Info:
- It’s only a few stops away from the city centre, but definitely worth going if you’re in Vienna – even if you don’t plan to go inside the palace.
- The palace is open from 8:30am to 5pm (daily, including public holidays)
- The gardens and Gloriette are FREE to visit
- Entry to the Palace costs 11.50 euros for adults and 8.50 euros for children.
- Zoo Vienna, also known as a Tiergarten Schonbrunn is located right next door. One of the fews zoos I wouldn’t mind going to again.
- State Opera House
One of the things on my bucket-list was to watch an opera in Vienna State Opera House. I wrote a blog on this experience here.
- Free Walking Tour
I am a huge fan of free walking tours but by the point of our InterRailing trip – we were getting really tired of doing walking tours and so in Vienna, we decided to do a self-guided walking tour. We printed off and follow the tour prvided by Big Boy Travel: http://www.bigboytravel.com/europe/austria/vienna/freewalkingtour/ – we really enjoyed doing this in our own pace (and miss out the borings bits!)
- Went to the ORIGINAL Sacher Torte coffeehouse
If you want to experience true Viennese café culture, then miss the big chains (however tempting they may be) and head to one of the city’s historic coffeehouses. I went to Café Sacher which is a perfect example of a Viennese coffee house and is of course, famous for Sacher Torte, the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tried. I definitely recommend you order a slice of Original Sacher-Torte mit schlagg (with a generous dollop of whipped cream) and a cup of the finest coffee Vienna has to offer. This 19th-centruy café is located opposite the Opera House and Hofburg Palace so we used this as a place to stop for some refreshments during sightseeing. Inside the café is very grand and plush with marble-topped tables and red upholstery on the chairs. The waiting staff are attired in black with white aprons – all contributed to the 19th century feel.
Hannah and I stayed a night in a 6 bed female dorm at Hostel Hutterdoff. Apart from the fact that we had to track to the top of the hill to reach the hostel, it was great. The rooms are clean and a huge breakfast is provided free of charge. We only wanted to stay here because we were excited by the fact that it was the first youth hostel in Austria.
- Classical CD
- Chocolate Brand = Zotter