Vienna, Austria, is a gorgeous, high-class city on the Danube River known for it's Baroque architecture and cultural events. Vienna was the capital of the Hasburg Empire for almost their entire 650 year reign. The Hasburg's influence is on display throughout the City, including the Hasburg's grandiose palace, Schönbrunn Palace. Vienna is also known as the Capital of Classic Music. In addition to the famous Vienna Opera House, the City has dozens of music halls, one of which we enjoyed an intimate classical concert. Vienna is also filled with coffee shops with amazing coffee and pastries. Vienna's public transportation is easy to navigate with a metro line just outside our Air BnB.
Schönbrunn Palace: The primary summer residence of the Hasburg's, Schönbrunn Palace is roughly a 15 minute ride on Vienna's subway from the central station. The grounds are expansive, perfectly manicured, and filled with photo ops at every turn. Be prepared to spent several hours here making your way through the museums, grounds, and hedge maze. This is a "must see" when in Vienna. Ticket prices vary depending on your package. We chose the "classic" package which includes tour of the palace plus the four garden sections: Privy Garden, Orangery Garden, Maze and Gloriette. 28.5 Euros per adult for this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
St. Stephen's Cathedral: This is the main Roman Catholic Church in Vienna. Construction began on this architectural wonder in 1137. Built in the gothic style of this medieval era, the Church's famous tower spire were not completed until 1433. A visit to the Church includes a tour of the main cathedral, catacombs, and south and north towers.
Stroll Historic Central Vienna. This former capital of Austro-Hungarian Empire is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has preserved its beautiful baroque architecture through the years. Manicured City parks make for a perfect picnic spot for lunch and cafes serving Viennese coffee are a perfect afternoon treat.
Hofburg Palace & Hofburg Treasury: Hofburg Palace, much like the Hofburg Empire, is large and seemingly goes on forever. There are three main areas to visit, Sisi Museum, Imperial Apartments, and the Silver Collection. We did the self-guided audio tour for 15 Euros per adult, 9 Euros per child. Next door is the Hofsburg Treasury, where you will view crown jewels and other treasures. Adults are 12 Euros but children are free.
United Nations, Vienna: Take this interesting guided tour of one of the four major offices of the United Nations. Important offices such as the UN's Atomic Energy Agency, Money Laundering Information Network, and Office of Outer Space Affairs are located on these grounds.
Classical Concert: There are many options to choose from when selecting a concert to attend in Vienna. From what we understand though, it is hard to go wrong. We ended up buying same-day tickets to the Vienna Hofsburg Orchestra and had an absolutely enchanting experience. Arriving early, we secured seats up front and the players seemed to love playing for the boys, then pre-teens. Ticket prices appear to vary as we paid less in person than what is displayed on the website. Either way, it will be worth the ticket price as it was an unforgettable evening.
Where We Stayed
Air BnB: At less than $100/night, our comfortable top-floor apartment was perfect for our needs. Public transportation was just down the street, along with grocery and restaurants in the neighborhood. The neighborhood was nice and felt safe.
Where We Ate
Demel: Est. in 1786, this Viennese bakery is exquisite. We have a bit of a sweet tooth so after seeing this bakery featured on a travel show, we made sure to make time to stop here. Demel is especially known for its apple strudel, which did not disappoint.
Eatalico: Austrian food can be quite heavy so when we made it back to our Air BnB too late to venture far for dinner, this neighborhood Italian influenced restaurant ended up being perfect (pizza/pasta/salads). Reasonably priced with a good beer menu. Yes, we like to try local, authentic food, but we also don't feel bad about taking a break from it either.