24 Hours in Vienna (and Salzburg)
My weekend in Austria included four of my favorite things: coffee, chocolate, Mozart and a palace.
The next day I took an early stroll and, down the street, noticed an older couple was just sitting down for some dessert in a decadent-looking coffee shop, so I decided to take a seat next to them. There’s something about seeing a sweet old couple that’s still in love that gives me renewed hope for the world (and for my love life!)
In my research, I learned that Vienna boasts the “coffee house capital of the world” title. Opened in 1876, Café Central was a key meeting place for intellectuals including Leo Trotsky, Adolf Loos, Vladimir Lenin and Sigmund Freud. After our breakfast, we crossed the street to watch a group of musicians who had started an impromptu concert.
In the early afternoon, I took an app-guided walking tour of the city – yes, it’s small enough to walk in three hours! My guided tour (your hotel can recommend one of many throughout the city) began at the popular local market, the Naschmarkt, located in the heart of the city. Originating in the 16th century, it’s a delicious mix of cultures and local Viennese treats. The market is a great place for a coffee break while taking in the sights. Being a Saturday, there was an adjacent flea market with handicrafts, jewelry, art, and homemade goods. I picked up a few handmade gifts for friends back in NYC.
Only a few blocks from the market, I visited the Wien Museum. I’m not normally a museum-goer, but this modern museum piqued my interest because it houses everything from 14th century art to modern day photography. The Gustav Klimt pieces were impressive, as was the 19th century furniture display – there is definitely something for everyone. Mozart’s apartment is also part of the Wien Museum, and is worth seeing if you’re a hardcore Mozart fan.
If monarchy sparks your interest then Schonbrunn Palace is a must. Just a short subway ride from the city centre, the 17th century grand palace is everything you’d expect from a royal estate with its beautifully landscaped gardens, large outdoor entry staircase and striking yellow columns. Inside, there are opulent chandeliers and carefully crafted furniture, all perfectly preserved and on display for visitors to admire. But unlike other majestic estates, Schonbrunn has some unique features that make it a one-of-a-kind destination. There’s an all-day breakfast café, the Schönbrunner Schloßcafé, where you can sit outside and enjoy a Viennese breakfast in the early evening.
The palace also houses a children’s museum that has fun artifacts, costumes and items from everyday Austrian imperial life, which is fascinating enough for everyone to visit. There are various events and concerts ongoing throughout the year, like an annual Easter Market. I was lucky enough to attend a Mozart concert inside the palace, where the music and surroundings gave a glimpse into 18th century royal life.
I followed my enriching afternoon with an equally enriching vegan meal at the uber-hip Yamm. This lively restaurant is a must-visit while in Vienna.
I think Vienna is still one of my favorite places to visit; this just keeps it near the top of my list. 10/10 would go again.
Vienna is one of my favorite cities in the world, but I should probably visit the other tourist spots there sometime! I’ve been stuck in Cafe Central which has become my favorite. Hahaha
Receive an email from my Mom that says she’ll sponsor for my vacation in Vienna if I could find at least one friend to go with me since it’s gonna be my birthday. Lucky me!
Oh wow – that IS lucky!!
I wish we could visit, but don’t think so because of work. enjoy Vienna. It’s beautiful!
thank you! I’ve been to Vienna once & this time planned to visit some offbeat places (like museum of art forgeries & National library)…
Everyone my age wants to go on a vacation on a beach or whatever but there’s me who wants to go to Vienna so I can visit the beautiful coffee shops
Haha, you should try travelling alone, that’s something very interesting also! I usually travel alone because I know most of the time, the things I want to do and discover are different from my friend’s expectations!
I had no particular ambition to visit Vienna. It was just a convenient stopover. Now I don’t want to leave.
Vienna is such a majestic city. It should be on everyone’s list of must visit cities.
On my way to Vienna! Can’t wait to visit the city 🙂 This post made me even more excited about my trip there!
Awesome!! You’ll love it, I’m sure. Have a great time, Kathy!
Been to Austria, in Slazburg and Innsbruck but I still have to visit Vienna…my parents said it’s beautiful!!!