A detailed guide how the get the most out of your one-week stay in Vienna
Jan 11, 2018 | Travel guide
Vienna is dense with history and culture, making it impossible for travelers to see everything within a short trip. Many of its sights, museums and galleries appeal to specific interests, hence everyone becomes a bit of a ‘culture buff’ when in Vienna. In the effort to save you the trouble, we have compiled a 7-day itinerary, to help you make the most of your time. So make a wise decision on the top areas to stay in Vienna and catch that airport bus on time.
Your first day in Vienna should consist of exploring of the Altstadt (Old city) region. A good starting point is the symbol of Vienna, the massive St. Stephen's Cathedral. When you’re done with its interior and catacombs, take the elevator to the top and get a closer look at the colorful roof tiled patterns, along with the great view of the center of the city.
Once done, take Graben, one of the main pedestrian streets leading to the Hofburg Palace complex. This palace was the winter palace of the Habsburgs dynasty, built in the 13th century and expanded over the centuries. Today, it is a collection of multiple museums, galleries, courtyards, the National Library, and the residence of the President of Austria. You can’t see all of the palace’s sights in one day, and not all may be of interest to you and your budget. Some of the popular attractions here are: Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury) showcasing the Habsburgs collection of jewels, the Kunsthistorisches museum, the Naturhistorisches Museum, the Albertina Museum, the Imperial Silver Collection, the Sisi Museum, the National Library and the Kaiserappartments (Imperial Apartments).
During the afternoon, you can walk across the Volksgarten to the Austrian Parliament, next to which is the Town Hall (Rathaus). From there, you can take a tram ride around the Ringstrasse, circling around the Altstadt. In the meantime, you can stop by at one of the many coffee houses for a drink and some Sacher Torte.
Catch the U-Bahn out to the Schönbrunn Palace, the Habsburgs’ summer palace. It has 1,441 rooms and you can get a glimpse of it on a tour through the State Apartments. You can also wander around the beautiful Imperial Gardens and walk up to the Gloriette pavilion, where you can snap a great panoramic photo of Vienna. Next to the gardens is the world’s oldest ZOO, founded by the Habsburg’s in 1752.
Hop back on the U-Bahn and head to the Prater area for Wurstelprater, the world’s oldest amusement park with free entry. Here you can see the popular giant Riesenrad Ferris wheel and take a ride. There ae many other rides here as well, such as a rollercoaster, a Madame Tussauds and a cinema to keep all visitors entertained.
Some of the most intriguing sights in Vienna are the architectural works of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Three of his spectacular, fantasy-like creations are all close to one another: the Hundertwasserhaus apartments, opposite are the shops at Kalke Village, and a short walk away is the KunstHausWien museum.
When you’re done, have lunch at the Naschmarkt. This is Vienna’s largest food market, with many sit-down restaurants as well. Every Saturday there’s an additional flea market. After absorbing the colors and spices, in a short walk you’ll reach the baroque Karlskirche church.
To get an even stronger understanding of the Viennese grandeur, head out to the Belvedere complex, the former summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. It consists of the Oberes (Upper) palace, where Gustav Klimt’s classic painting ‘The Kiss’ can be admired, and the Unteres (Lower) palace, together with a huge garden separating them.
To close the day and enjoy the evening, opt for some classical music. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra often performs at Musikverein, so try your luck at getting some last-minute standing tickets. The same goes for seeing an opera at the Vienna State Opera House.
You can start your fourth day in the city at the MuseumsQuartier, one of the largest art and culture complexes in the world. Described by many as an “urban living room”, the place consists of many buildings, museums, shops, cafes and courtyards, so you could spend a whole afternoon here. Numerous different styles and sights please the different tastes, so choose from these popular museums: the Kunsthalle Wien – classic and modern art, MUMOK – modern art and the Leopold Museum.
If your feet hurt already, hit the Stadtpark for a break and relax before heading back along Kärntnerstrasse, one of the city’s main shopping streets. In the evening, you can come back in the Altstadt or head out to the Grinzing district, where you can dine at some of the traditional heurigen wine taverns.
If you are spending over five days in Vienna, it is highly possible that you are a culture buff. Hence, a good idea is to get back to the Hofburg complex, and enter in all of the museums to absorb the full history and art. Since you are already here, take your time to see everything and later treat yourself with a traditional dish of Wiener Schnitzel, paired with a cold glass of beer.
In the same manner, you can closely examine the MuseumsQuartier Complex and enter the museums you left behind. If culture interests you, you can also see the Liechtenstein Palace, or take a trip to the Jewish Museum. And if music fascinates you, go ahead and visit Beethoven’s Grave or head to Mozarthaus. In the evening, get a cruise down the Danube River and enjoy the sights of the buildings under the night lights and reflect on your experiences.
It is day number seven and your flight is waiting. Most probably, you’ll have little time, so a good idea is to get some souvenirs for your friends and family, enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the best coffeehouses in Vienna, and end the journey by treating yourself with a traditional Viennese meal. And finally, the time had come to catch your airport transfers and say goodbye to Vienna, until you meet again.
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