I was incredibly excited for our 72 hours in Vienna for one main reason, I wouldn’t have to do any planning, navigating or decision making. In fact, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do much thinking at all. And after 2 weeks of travelling my brain was definitely ready for a break.
I should probably explain that one. No, I wasn’t passing all responsibility onto Mark for a change, although that might be an interesting experiment…
Instead, we were lucky enough to have our own personal tour guide in the form of a close friend who’s spent most of his life in Vienna. There is absolutely no better way to see a city than with someone who calls it home.
Which means you guys are also very lucky because I’m about to tell you exactly what we got up to. So you’ll be able to get all the inside local knowledge of the must see places too!
While most of my city guides are done on a budget, we ended up spending quite a bit more in Vienna. Vienna itself can be quite expensive, so this coupled with spending time with a friend we haven’t seen in years meant our time in the city was more flashpacker than backpacker!
But now it’s time to get down to business. Here’s how we spent 72 hours in Vienna with a local…
We arrived early afternoon, but since our ‘guide’ was at work we decided to spend a couple of hours relaxing at our hostel. Mark had a nap, I caught with some blogging and gave my dad a ring since it was his birthday the day before!
It’s always nice to build some chill time into your plans when you’re travelling for a long time. I was definitely thankful for a few hours of doing nothing.
After a bit of miscommunication and at least 40 minutes wandering up and down the same street we finally managed to meet up with our friend and headed off for some food.
Top tip: If you’re picking a friend to be your tour guide make sure they at least have some sense of direction. Ours apparently didn’t…
We were given several options for tea but, of course, decided to go with the most Viennese option.
Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper is home to the original Schnitzel and well worth a visit for that alone. We sat outside and I honestly felt a little underdressed in the grand surroundings of Vienna!
The food itself, although not cheap, was very very good. Mark, of course, had Schnitzel, while I opted for the fried chicken, both served with a classic potato salad. The Schnitzel was around €20 and the chicken €16. Both portions, however, were pretty big and could fill you up for most of the day!
Afterwards, we wandered to a little bar, treated ourselves to cocktails, and then headed back to the hostel to get ready for a jam packed day exploring Vienna.
We started with hostel breakfast to prepare us for the day ahead. And then took a short metro ride to Stephensplatz ready for our first full day in the city.
Since some of Vienna’s best attractions are a little way out of the centre I would recommend buying a metro pass for the duration of your visit. We got a 48 hour pass that costs us €14.10 each.
First up was a visit inside St Stephens Cathedral. The impressive building is free to enter but you will have to pay if you want to visit certain areas of the cathedral, like the catacombs or the towers. However, I think most people will agree that one of the best parts of the cathedral is the stunning tiled roof you can see from the outside.
From the cathedral, we wandered along the main pedestrian streets towards the Hofburg. I don’t think anything prepares for how clean and pristine the buildings in Vienna are. It really does make you feel like you’re in a land of the wealthy. And the gold covered plague memorial statue we walked past certainly added to that feeling.
The Hofburg is the former imperial palace of the Habsburgs and much like the rest of Vienna is an incredibly impressive and stunning piece of architecture. You can pay to go inside and see the apartments as well as the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Silver Collection.
Housed within the Hofburg is the world famous Spanish Riding School but I’ll tell you more about that later.
Once we reached the palace, we walked through to the other side of the Hofburg. Going past the statue of Kaiser Franz I, the Austrian national library and into Heldenplatz square.
From Heldenplatz if you walk towards the statue of Maria-Therisian you’ll reach the museum quarter of Vienna. Although not something we were interested in I know the city is home to some incredible museums.
Instead of heading to museums, we took a stroll through Volksgarten park and gardens. I absolutely loved the gardens, it was one of my favourite spots in the city. There were benches everywhere you looked making it the perfect place for relaxing, people watching or just resting your feet for a little bit.
The garden itself is completely covered in roses for the most wonderful reason. You can buy a rose bush and leave a message on it. I mean how cute is that! There were messages of love and remembrance but my personal favourite was one with the simple message ‘BE HAPPY!’
We continued through volksgarten past the Parliment Building, which was unfortunately being refurbished while we there, past the Burgtheater, ending up at the Town Hall.
One of the absolute best things to do in Vienna is to just wander around taking in all the incredible architecture and buildings that the city has to offer.
Once we reached the town hall, we found there was some kind of fair/event going on so we took the opportunity to sit outside with a drink.
From there food was very much on the agenda. And since we had our own personal tour guide we headed to one of the local hotspots.
Trzesniewski, which has been in the city for over a hundred years, is the perfect place for a spot of light lunch or a snack. The traditional fast food shop offers small pieces of rye bread top with different spreads for you to choose from. They have everything from vegetarian offerings like egg, tomato, and pepper, to fish like tuna and salmon and meat like bacon, salami, and pepperoni. Plus lots of combinations of the different spreads. Each piece costs €1.30 I would recommend around 4 for lunch. And of course no lunch at Trzesniewski would be complete with a small pfiff of beer.
It was that good I actually forgot to take a picture of it…
And if that wasn’t enough food, up next was Sacher Cafe for a slice of possibly one of the most famous cakes in the world.
Since it was about 30º in Vienna, and you generally have to queue to get inside, we decided to sit outside the cafe. A piece of the famous cake costs €7.10 and it was enough for me and Mark to share. I also opted for an ‘iced’ coffee which was coffee, ice-cream, and cream and to die for, especially in the heat!
And if that wasn’t enough food for one day, next on our city tour was Naschmarkt. Naschmarkt has food and produce to buy from all over the world, including places to sit for a drink or snack. Still popular with the locals it’s a must visit for anyone coming to the city.
From the market, we then headed to what our guide claimed was the prettiest church in the city and as much as I loved the cathedral I do have to agree. The Karlskirche is a stunning white complete with dome and two incredible columns that depict the life of St Charles. Coupled with the pond in front, that is positioned so the church is reflected in the water, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream.
After an absolutely jam-packed morning, our afternoon was a little more relaxing. We spent some time catching up with our friend at his flat before heading back to the hostel for a little power nap.
That evening we headed to one of the must see places in Vienna, Prater amusement park. The first stop once we reached the park was Schweizerhaus biergarten for food.
We were taken there so that the boys could eat their body weight in pork knuckle. And seriously I’m not joking about the size, IT WAS MASSIVE. But I’m told it also tasted very good which I guess is kinda important too. It costs €18.90 per kg, which is more than enough between two!
After a couple more beers to let all the pork digest when headed for the amusement park and some rides. Originally my plan was to head for the Giant Ferris Wheel as it’s such an icon of Vienna but our friend suggested something better. My biggest tip if you’re heading to Prater is to skip the wheel and head for Prater Tower.
Despite a pretty big fear of heights I did not want to come down! At 117m tall, you get to most amazing views over the whole of Vienna. It even spins slow enough for you to have to stop some of the cities landmarks but unfortunately not enough for a picture!
Prater amusement park is free to enter, you simply pay for each ride you want to go on. The Prater Tower costs €5 per person.
After, what I think was our busiest day during our entire trip I was well and truly ready for my bed that night.
Once again we kicked off the day with breakfast in the hostel before heading off to meet our friend ready for our last day in Vienna.
Earlier I mentioned the Spanish Riding School and that I’d say more about it later, well that is because it was our first stop on day 3.
The school is famous for their Lipizzans Stallions, which they train for spectacular performances in their winter riding school in Hofburg Palace. They also open their morning training exercise to the public.
It was the morning exercise we went to see. It’s perfect for those on a budget who also want to be able to experience the school and its horses. The tickets cost us €10.50 each (with student discount) for two hours which is less than half the price of a performance ticket! Sadly the training doesn’t involve some of the more impressive jumps and tricks but you do however get to see some of the younger stallions. The cuteness definitely makes up for missing out on the tricks!
After a quick coffee stop, we then caught the metro to perhaps Vienna’s most well known attraction. Schonbrunn Palace.
We started by wandering around the gardens and then heading up the hill to the Gloriette. Luckily we had really good weather and the views from the top were incredible. Definitely worth the uphill trek. I also really enjoyed the rose tunnel in the gardens. Perfect for that insta photo!
We then headed inside to explore the Palace itself. Our tickets cost €14.20 and that gave us access to 22 rooms. You also get an audio guide which gives you information about everything you’re seeing.
Schonbrunn Palace is one of the must sees during any visit to Vienna. One of the most impressive buildings and gardens I’ve ever seen or been to.
After that, we treated ourselves to a good old takeaway pizza before heading back to the hostel to get ready for our final night.
The evening was spent going from bar to bar, catching up, having a laugh and generally putting the world to rights. It was the best way to end our time in the city.
I loved Vienna, but I also loved being able to spend time with a good friend and see their home through their eyes. I think sometimes when we visit places we forget that what we see is apart of someone else’s every day.
After Vienna, we headed to the only city on our trip that I’d visited before. And I was so excited to be going somewhere that felt familiar and show Mark what I loved about the city…
Make sure you subscribe to find out where we next and what we got up to.
All my love,