This post is intended for student travelers or young backpackers that will be taking a route through Vienna, Austria. I traveled to Vienna for a couple days after leaving Cesky Krumlov during my Central/Eastern Europe tour. I would recommend about 2-3 days for Vienna because it can get a little boring after awhile. I felt like the day and a half I was there was plenty enough time for me to enjoy it and move on. Here’s my story.
I arrived in Vienna on a Sunday afternoon, and at first it was like a ghost-town. Granted, the majority of the population here is devoutly catholic, so most businesses were closed, and residents were at home for their day of rest. Nonetheless, I felt like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone, just walking around this big, old city with no people…OooOooo…
The great thing about being there on a Sunday though is the opportunity to take photographs with less people in the way! The sightseeing that Vienna offers is spectacular! You are surrounded by huge baroque style buildings and big emerald green statues on every corner.
The only statue representations I was familiar with was Mozart and Franz Joseph. In order to appear a little more cultivated to my peers I took a few photos in front of statues I had no clue who the heck they were. I know, I know, very uncool of me and pretty embarrassing.
The two most important spots to visit in Vienna is the Schönbrunn Palace and the Belvedere Palace. Both of these main attractions have an interesting historical background, so I highly recommend participating in a tour group. The Belvedere Palace is home to many famous paintings for all the artsy travelers reading.
After doing some sightseeing I decided to explore and see what I discover. As I was walking around the downtown area I came across the opera house. I noticed a crowd of people sitting outside on the sidewalk. They were watching the opera on a huge screen, so I sat down to watch it too. As I was watching the different people pass by I noticed that Austrians are very stylish. So gentlemen, wear something other than your Lions T-shirt and cargo shorts when you come here; ladies, pull yourself together, throw on a wrap dress and look HOT. Kidding, but not kidding.
I started getting really hungry and I wanted something good, but affordable. Austria uses the Euro, so it is a bit pricey. I checked out the restaurant Bierheuriger Zum Gangl, it is right next to the University of Vienna. Restaurants near universities in Europe usually mark down their prices because they understand that students are poor. Right on!
Later that evening, I took a long walk along the Danube River, passing by the small beer gardens playing the “football” games (I mean soccer, my bad fellow ‘Mericans). The lifestyle seemed much cooler and relaxed at night with all the young people hanging out and having a good time.
My overall experience was great and I am sure there are so many other places I did not have the time to discover, so I encourage you to just walk around and enjoy the scenery. It is inevitable you will stumble across something entertaining.
Stay tuned for next week, I will be posting about Budapest, Hungary and it’s going to be GOOD!
Some links for Vienna:
I was looking through all the hostels at Hostelworld and none of them looked sketchy to me. Sketchiness does not even really exist here, so wherever you decide to stay you will be good. I stayed at A & T Holiday Hostel Wein for $16 a night. Some sheets on the upper bunk bed were not the cleanest, but hey I survived. Maybe the maid just missed a spot. Wombats City Hostel looks a bit nicer for a couple dollars more.
Before I go to a new city I like to check out some walking tour videos on YouTube or read about it from my favorite travel bloggers.
My all time favorite traveler is Anthony Bourdain. I will go where he goes and eat where he eats. He’s my guy. Here’s a short clip of him in Vienna. If you want to buy the whole episode it is 1.99
Dennis Callen is another one of my favorite travel guides on YouTube. He points out good restaurants and explains everything really well.