Vienna!! the imperial city, the capital of music, a city where “… the streets are paved with culture” (Karl Krauss). We made a stop of 3 days in Vienna on our way to the Balkans. We thought it might be worthy to visit such a beautiful and popular capital.
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The bad news is that Vienna is expensive, I dare say even more than Paris, although some people say it is not that much. The good news is that to take photos is free (or almost), and the architecture in Vienna is amazing. It is worthy enough to visit without spending much money on other attractions.
3 days in Vienna
First day in Vienna:
We arrived early, about 8 a.m., our apartment was not ready, the check in was about 2 p.m. so we had plenty of time to kill. We arrived by bus at the Vienna international bus terminal (VIB), so we left the luggage in their lockers and walked around the area (our apartment was near the station). we bought a coffee and a cream pastry and then sat down by one of the arms of the Danube (the Donaukanal) to wait.
When we finally could use the apartment, we went to buy something to have for breakfast (or lunch), in the nearest supermarket called Billa. Although usually to buy groceries is cheaper than to eat in a restaurant, we spent about €22,00 euros on our first groceries. Anyway, it was cheaper because we bought oil, eggs, cheese, and other stuff.
We rented an apartment, or rather a studio which was very near the bus station VIB, that’s why we chose it. There’s a metro station nearby so it’s well connected to the center. It looks very modern and it had everything we could possibly need as free wifi and washing machine. It also had an oven and an espresso machine. It was ideal for our stay of 3 days in Vienna.
Although it’s a studio it was very comfortable and enough for a couple or even a couple with a child. The bed was big and comfortable. We liked it that it was clean and the price was the best we could find for Vienna. We paid €175 for 3 nights which was good for the quality of the apartment (and for the prices of Vienna).
Taking the U-Bahn
The U-Bahn is the Viennese subway. One single metro ticket is €2,20. There are passes for days, but I wasn’t expecting to use it much because we would stay only 3 days in Vienna, so we bought just single tickets. You can also buy the Vienna Card, which prices are of €13,90 for 24 hours, €21,90 for 48 hours and €24,90 for 72 hours, it includes unlimited public transportation, besides of discounts in some museums and attractions.
More information about the Vienna Card here.
The host appointed Stephanplatz as the heart of the center, so that was our next stop. The first thing I saw coming out of the metro, was a man dressed as Mozart, trying to sell us tickets for a concert, and although the offer was tempting we had to decline, I’ve heard those concerts are not of good quality.
So, we did what is free: to walk around, to seek some famous buildings, and to take a lot of photos: St Stephan cathedral, the Wiener Staatsoper, Hofburg Imperial Palace, Albertina, etc.
Opera and classical music concerts
By the way, if you want to go to the opera on a budget, 80 minutes before the play you can purchase tickets for the standing room (yes, standing, sorry) for as little as €4,00 euros in the special box office for these tickets. Arrive early because the queue gets long.
More information about Opera tickets here
There are many options for concerts in Vienna. They are offered in different venues and in churches. Some include Mozart or other composers, symphonies, opera arias or waltz with or without dinner. Find out about the offers available for the dates you’ll be there in the tourism office.
Walking the Kärntner Straße:
The Kärntner Straße is a famous street that begins in Stephanplatz and ends in the Karlsplatz, where the Vienna State Opera is located, it is full of shops like Zara, H&M, MAC, Swarovski, etc, and some cafeterias like the famous Café Sacher Wien, where you can eat the chocolate cake called Sacher torte ( I didn’t try it yet, I will let that for the next time)
What I did try was another famous sweet of Vienna, which are the Mozartkugeln, or Mozart balls, chocolates filled with pistachio marzipan. They are expensive, like everything else in Vienna. I think I decided to buy a violin-shaped box in the gift’s shop in Schönbrunn for about €8,00.
What to buy as a souvenir?
Well, this is really complicated or it was for me, as I only stayed 3 days in Vienna. There are many shops called Mozart souvenirs, they sell Mozart products ( probably made in China). If you are a fan of Mozart ( I confess I am) then buy anything that makes you happy.
They have also many products with the image of Empress Sissy on them, as she is much loved by the Austrians. Also, they sell products decorated with Gustav Klimt paintings (as they have a collection in the Belvedere Museum).
They have the usual stuff, music boxes, scarves (I like to buy scarves anywhere I go, they are usually cheap), key chains, fridge magnets, snow globes (they say the snow globes, Schneekugel in German, were invented in Austria so it wouldn’t be a bad souvenir after all) and chocolates as I bought. You can also check in Supermarkets, as you might find local products and for cheaper prices.
Second day: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
There are many interesting places to visit staying 3 days in Vienna. Some of the most important are the Belvedere, Hofburg Palace, Museumsquartier, the Schönbrunn Palace, Albertina, Mozarthaus… too many places! As I like fine arts (and due to our lack of time) I chose the Museum of Art History or the Kunsthistoriches Museum.
The day was windy and cold, so it was good to find a roof to hide. We paid €15,00 for each ticket. The building where the museum is located is amazing enough to pay the price.
Inaugurated in 1891, this museum has a large collection of Egyptian archeological objects, like some sarcophagus, pillars, and statues. And also paintings of masters like Rubens, Velazquez, Raphael, Durer, Tintoretto, and Caravaggio. If you enjoy art, this is a must-see.
Also, check out this list with the Top 10 art museums in Europe you must visit.
3rd day: Rainy day in Schönbrunn
The last of our 3 days in Vienna inevitably arrived. We still had some hours before our bus leaves. It was raining, but still, with the best attitude, we decided to go to the Schönbrunn Palace so we grabbed our map and took the metro.
Despite the rain, there were many visitors, we entered first to check out the gift shop and also to cover ourselves from rain, unfortunately, we didn’t have an umbrella and we were not willing to pay €10,00 for one in the souvenirs shop.
The fact that it was not allowed to take photos inside the palace and that we didn’t have much time for the visit, discouraged us a little to enter, so at the end, we decided to visit the gardens instead. By the way, the admission to the gardens is free.
From the garden is possible to access the Imperial Zoo, which I have read it’s worthy to visit. We walked up until a building called the Gloriette, where there is a restaurant where you can have a snack, and from here you can also climb to the top for a better view if you purchased a ticket.
I can imagine that at other times this garden would be splendorous, but at the end of winter, the flowers were still being planted and the rain didn’t give a nice view. Although even with the rain we enjoyed the walking and the landscape.
Daytrips from Vienna.
If you have more than 3 days in Vienna or maybe it’s the second time you come, you can also do some day trips.
For example, Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital, is just 80 km away from Vienna. You can get there in little more than an hour by bus or train.
Budapest is a ride of 3 hours away, as well as Salzburg, Mozart’s hometown.
Even you can visit some castles around like the Kreuzenstein Castle or the
Laxenburg Castle. Find out about the options most appealing to you to enjoy Austria fullest.
Auf Wiedersehen Vienna
We made a last stop in the center to have a coffee in the McDonald’s (yes, I know, McDonald’s??! in a city famous for its coffee culture?!, but we still had many days in Europe, and Vienna is not precisely budget friendly) as the temperature outside was really cold (at least for me). Then we took our last walk around the center and finally said Auf wiedersehen Wien!
That’s how it finishes my experience of 3 days in Vienna. What about you? have you been to Vienna? What would you recommend to visit or to do in such a short time? Leave your comments below!
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