48 hours in Vienna – Weekend Edition
Vienna In Less than 48 Words
Vienna is the capital of Austria, and is a city of classical architectural beauty and of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. It has been a destination of choice for thousands of visitors for years, drawn by the splendor of its cultural heritage, unique attractions, classical music, and opera.
Schönbrunn Palace (Photo by Jordi Cucurull)
First 24 Hours
You can reach the colorful city of Vienna via the Vienna International Airport, which is located 18 kilometers southeast of the city center. From there, you can take the City Airport Train (CAT), which will take you to the Wien Mitte/Landstrasse Station near the city center. The journey takes around 16 minutes, and will cost about €15. You can also try a 90-minute bus ride from the terminal, which will take you directly to central Vienna for €5.50. Alternatively, you can go for a taxi, although this will cost you upwards of €45.
Vienna is a surprisingly easy city to navigate, and tourists usually spend most of their time in the Innere Stadt (Inner City) district. You may first pay a visit to its main tourist office (corner of Maysedergasse and Tegetthofstrasse, 00 43 1 24 555; website), where you can learn more about the city and its transportation as well as get a street map. It is also a place to avail of a Vienna Card which saves you from having to buy tickets at the city’s buses and trams, and it ensures admission at museums at reduced rates. The card will only cost €16.90.
CHECK IN: Get your bearings back at Vienna’s hotels
Your first relaxation in Vienna could be at any one of its excellent hotels. One of the best in the city is The Ring Hotel (Karntnerring 8, Vienna A-1010, 01 221220, website). It offers a chic design and atmosphere, with excellent views and an attentive staff. Another is the Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof Wien (Herrengasse 10, 1010 Wien, 01 53404868, website), which has a nice location near major attractions, plus helpful staff and nice rooms. You can also try out the Grand Hotel Wien (Kärntner Ring 9, 1010 Vienna, 01 515800, website), with its ideal location in the city center and helpful staff.
Ring Hotel’s suite room (Photo by The Ring Hotel Travel)
SCHONBRUNN PALACE: Have a UNESCO World Heritage Site experience
One of the most important tourist attractions in Vienna is the Schönbrunn Palace (Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse 47|1130 Wien, +43 1 811 13-0, website). It was the imperial summer residence for the Habsburg monarchs, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. One of the highlights of a it is the sculpted garden space called the French Garden, which is known for its maze. The palace grounds also contain the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, which is recognized as the oldest zoo in the world. In operation since 1752, it is home to giant pandas, elephants, and other rare wildlife.
Gloriette (Photo by Ausfriestria)
The palace has other attractions as well, such as the Gloriette, an impressive structure perched atop a 60-meter high hill. The hill offers great views of the palace and the garden, and today houses a café where you can go for a quick snack. Near it is the so-called Roman Ruin, a unique structure designed by architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg. Its appearance gives one the impression of an ancient Roman edifice crumbling to the ground. Be sure to book tickets online before visiting the palace.
MUSEUMSQUARTIER: Go for a cultural hike
Another popular attraction in Vienna is the Museumsquartier, one of the largest cultural areas in the world. It covers an area of around 60,000 square meters, and is filled with Baroque-style buildings and Modern architecture. You can see there the MUMOK (Museumsplatz 1, A-1070 Wien, +43-1-525 00, website), which means “MUseum MOderner Kunst”, a museum where you can find an impressive collection of over 7,000 contemporary art works. Some notable works are those of Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. It is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm (10 am to 9 pm on Thursdays).
Museumsquartier (Photo by Stipo Team)
You’ll also see in the area the Leopold Museum (Museumsplatz 1,A-1070 Wien, +43 1 525 70 – 0, website). It is noted for having one of the largest collections of Austrian art, with over 5,000 exhibits. Notable works there are of Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm (10 am to 9 pm on Thursdays; closed on Tuesdays). Admission will cost €9.
Other sights to be found in the Museumsquartier are the Tanzquartier (Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, 01 5813591, website) and the Architektur Zentrum (Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, 01 5223115, website). The former is an international dance center, and the latter is a center for information, research, and collections about architecture.
DINNER TIME: Discover Vienna’s restaurants
Dinner after a tiring day could be at the superb restaurants found all over the city. One of the best dining experiences is available at Immervoll (Weihburggasse 17, Vienna 1010, +43 1 513 52 88). It serves an excellent Austrian cuisine and employs an attentive staff. Its name literally means “It’s Always Full”, so you might want to get a reservation if you plan to eat there.
Indulge on Austrian cuisine at Immervoll (Photo by jwalthew)
A nice alternative is Steirereck (Am Heumarkt 2A, Vienna 103, 01-713-3168, website). It offers impeccable service and great food served in a graceful manner. A unique experience is available at Kim Kocht (Lustkandlgasse 6, 00 43 1 319 0242, website). Located right in the heart of Vienna’s nightlife district, it serves a cuisine fusing elements from the East and the West. The seafood there is particularly recommended.
Next 24 Hours
Your next 24 hours in Vienna can be used to discover the city’s other tourist attractions. One of the must-sees in the city is the Marionettentheater Schloss Schönbrunn (Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, 01 8173247, website). It is a popular theater for marionette performances. Every month, there is a different play shown at the site. Tickets and reservation are available online or directly from the theater.
ST. STEPHEN’S CATHEDRAL: Let’s go to church
Another great attraction in Vienna is the St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansplatz, A-1010 Vienna, 513 76 48, website). It is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. Admire its impressive Gothic architecture built out of dark stone, especially its colorful tiled roof. Inside, you will see its stone pulpit and the 17th-century tomb of Emperor Frederick III. One of its best treasures is the Wiener Neustadt altarpiece, which portrays the Virgin Mary between St. Barbara and St. Catherine. You can also climb up the 343 spiral steps to its 450-foot north tower, where you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the cityscape.
PRATER: A walk in the park
Relax at the Wiener Prater (Prater 123, 1020 Vienna, +43/1/729 20 00, website), a popular public park in Vienna. Often called simply as Praten, it is filled with large walking areas and a number of recreational attractions. Take a leisurely stroll down its main avenue, Hauptallee, which is lined with horse chestnut trees. Near it is a planetarium, the Prater Museum, and a micronation called “Republik Kugelmugel.“ You can also find in the park the Wurstelprater, an amusement park featuring bumper cars, rollercoasters, carousels, and other exciting rides. However, it is best known for the Wiener Riesenrad, which is the largest Ferris wheel in the country. Wurstelprater is only open between March 15 and October 31, that too from 10 am to 1 am daily.
NASCHMARKT: Shop till you drop
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the most popular market in Vienna, Naschmarkt. It is located at the Wienzeile just over the Wien River. It stretches over 1.5 kilometers, and has existed since the 16th century. It is a favorite among tourists, and is lined with shops and stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, baked goods, cheese, and exotic herbs. A flea market can also be found there, where you can buy unique finds and souvenirs.
Naschmarkt has a long stretch of fruit stalls (Photo by Claus Rebler)
NIGHTLIFE: Indulge in Vienna’s vibrant nightlife scene
The second night can be spent in the superb bars and clubs of Vienna. One of the most popular is the Chill-Out Lounge (Salvatorg 6, Vienna, +43-(0)1-535-12-13, website). It has a good location, plays chill-out music, and is open until 2 am. A nice alternative is the Roo Bar (Hegelghasse 8, 0650 570 3107, website), an Australian pub offering quality Australian beer, and it has live music and sports events. You can also try out Flex (Augartenbrücke 1, 1010 Wien, 01 5337525). It is a favorite hangout of the under-25 people, and is known for its dance music played by some of the best DJs in the city.
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