5 Awesome Things To Do in Vienna, Austria

It’s funny how your perspective changes as you get older. For example, I first came to Vienna in 2000 just after graduation from college. I had left my buddies who I was backpacking with as I wanted to go to Bratislava and Vienna and they wanted to go down to Milan from Salzburg where I had already been. On the train to Vienna I met 2 girls who let me stay on their cement floor and I thought it was the best thing ever! 16 years later I just returned and had an amazing time in the vastly underrated city of Wien. Here are 5 awesome things to do in Vienna, Austria.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, building
1. Walk Around
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien
I know this may sound trite and generic but walking around Vienna is such a pleasure. You can walk for hours and look at immaculately kept buildings with historical significance going back centuries. There are museums that rival anything at the Smithsonian and the gorgeous boulevards are reminiscent of Paris and other great European cities. Basically, just by walking around you’ll come across many things to do in Vienna.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien
I won’t go into excessive detail on the museums or the parliamentary buildings but they are worth checking out. However, when I say walk around I really mean just take a series of strolls around Vienna. Get lost in the city center and around every corner is an unexpected surprise.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, building
If shopping is your thing, you’ll love walking around Vienna, especially if watches are your thing. If sightseeing is your speed, you’re golden. If cafes and restaurants are your jam, Vienna will be your favorite city. However, mix them all together with amazing architecture, lively streets and historical beauty and you’ve got Vienna.
watch, 5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien
2. Eat…A Lot

If you have followed me for a while then you know I love food and I love restaurants. I always try to sample the best in restaurants, bars and street food wherever I go. Vienna is a culinary haven. It has similar but different food from commonly thought of as German food. Viennese food is awesome and here are a few places you should check out in Vienna.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, beer
First and foremost, the best wienerschnitzel I have ever tasted is from StadtGasthaus just off the main square. The veal schnitzel is divine and add some lemon juice for a perfect schnitzel and of course offset it with a local Viennese lager or pilsner.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, schnitzel
Another excellent place for schnitzel is Figlmuller. This is a very popular place for tourists and locals alike and the pork schnitzel is outstanding. It’s a little complicated to find so use your maps app but in a little shopping arcade just off the main square is where you’ll find this gem.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, beef tartar
Tafelspitz or boiled meat is a popular local food in Vienna and there are numerous places you can get it. The most famous is Plachutta across from the opera house. It is a different kind of taste served in a pot with boiling soup. It also comes with bone marrow and bread that the Viennese love. I must say I am not a marrow guy but the Tafelspitz was pretty darn good and is certainly amongst the top things to do in Vienna.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien
In terms of sausage, the top place I went to and I visited a few in my 3 days in Vienna was Bitzinger Wurstlestand. It is literally a little stand across the street from the opera house. It is awesome and they also sell excellent pretzels too. There may be a line but it’s well worth the wait.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, sausage, pretzel
Finally, if you’re looking for some ethnic, meaning non-Austrian food head over to Naschmarkt. It’s a very local place with many outdoor cafes where locals can get pretty much any type of food imaginable. On a short visit, unless you’re really jonesing for Thai food, I wouldn’t recommend it but if you’re in Vienna for a while then definitely check it out!

3. Schoenbrunn Palace

Schoenbrunn or Schönbrunn Palace is a formal summer imperial residence and it is the single most impressive thing to see in Vienna. It has a lot of historical significance. Most notably in modern times, it was the venue for the historic summit between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev back in 1961. Nowadays it is mostly used for tourism but it is impeccably kept and well worth the price of admission.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Schoenbrunn Palace
For 18 euros I suggest getting the grand tour pass, which grants you access to basically all the interior of the palace. It’s all quite impressive and reminded me of Versailles in France or even the Vanderbilt estate in the States. The main reason being the incredibly inside mixed with a surreal outside of gardens and statues.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Schoenbrunn Palace, statues
Make sure to head outside to the gardens and get a real feel for how massive Schönbrunn really is. The photos are great but the sheer size of the place in a modern city is quite a site to behold. You can also walk up to the fountains or even up the hill to the gate where you even more sweeping views of the palace.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Schoenbrunn Palace, inside
4. Go to an Opera

I’m the first to admit that I hate opera. I shouldn’t say I hate it because I know nothing about it. I have been inside a few opera houses on my travels including the Sydney Opera House and even saw a classical music performance in the Livorno opera house during a sailing on the Azamara Journey; which I really liked. However, opera itself is not for me.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Opera House
That said, I made it a point to get tickets for the opera while I was in Vienna because that’s one of the main things to do in Vienna! So I went to see Don Pasquale. I admit, I had never heard of it but the place was sold out and people were really into it. Me…I lasted about 30 minutes before I dipped out.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Opera House
Be that as it may, I am still glad I went. First, the opera house itself is stunning and the pageantry around the opera is fascinating. Plus, I love watching the maestro do his thing with the orchestra. Second, I can now say I tried and I did go to an opera in Vienna. But yes, sports and rock and roll is more my thing!
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Opera House, ceiling
One last note on the opera. Try to get your tickets ahead of time because they usually sell out. If so you’ll have to go through a broker via your hotel concierge and then you’ll be in limbo not knowing if you’ll get tickets or not. So a little planning ahead is key for opera tickets. But if you do get shut out they show every performance live outside the opera house on a massive TV if you really want to see it! Tickets range from 15 euros up to 250+.

5. Stay

I stayed at the Bristol Hotel right next to the opera house. I was very pleased with the Luxury Collection hotel and I would 100% recommend staying in Vienna-you can find rooms for as low as 195 euros! It has amazing beds, intricately detailed rooms that are bright and modern but maintain the old world luxury you want in a hotel like the Bristol.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Hotel Bristol, bed, suite
Plus, it’s the perfect location where you can pretty much walk anywhere and it’s next to the metro to get you out to Schönbrunn Palace. The only mediocre thing I’d say about it is the breakfast buffet needs some improvement.
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Hotel Bristol
I have to say the concierge at the Bristol was fantastic and was helpful on numerous occasions with restaurant reservations, opera tickets and directions. There are a million good hotels in Vienna but I really liked the Bristol Hotel and if you ask nicely they’ll give you a room with a balcony view of Vienna!
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, Hotel Bristol, view
So those are my 5 awesome things to do in Vienna, Austria and if you have 2-3 days then you’re golden. Just be ready to eat, drink and walk a lot because that’s pretty much the very definition of what Vienna is to me! Enjoy the schnitzel!
5 Awesome Things to do in Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Wien, flowers, park

Comments

  1. Sorry about the lost comments on this post. My site went down the day I posted this and I was unable to recover the pending comments that weren’t approved thru the spam filter on this and any other posts that were pending. My apologies to those who took the time to comment and we’ve taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Sometimes technology is a pain!

    Lee

  2. Great Article! Austria is a great place and the destinations are awesome and beautiful.

  3. NIce article about Vienna.
    Yes it is a great city and yes I am Austrian so I guess I have to say that, but to be honest – Vienna is amazing.
    If you like good food, architecture. culture and history it is one of the best places to be.
    You missed out the HEURIGEN and you have to eat the Wiener Schnitzel together with some salat and cranberry jam…that’s the right way and you have to go to the Sacher Hotel to taste the famous Sacher Cake with some wipped cream…;-) otherways you have not been in Vienna 😉 –
    All the best from Austria
    Eva-Maria

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