An Austrian Adventure Awaits.
Spend your next holiday exploring the endless charm of Vienna. Austria’s capital and largest city, Vienna has a storied history rich with the tapestry of culture, art, music and architecture. Austria has a little something for everyone.
Easily accessible from Rome, Vienna is a short flight away and for those travelers with a little more time to explore, consider the overnight train as an affordable alternative.
Start the day off with the traditional and very popular Viennese apple streusel (Apfelstrudel) and a mélange, this tasty cup is quite similar to a cappuccino. This breakfast combination will provide travelers with just the right amount of energy to navigate and explore this very walkable city.
Head towards the center of Vienna to Stephansplatz Square. This lively square has plenty of cafés and shops, but the main attraction here is St. Stephen’s Cathedral referred to by the locals as Stephansdom. Completed in 1160, it stands as one of the tallest churches in the world. The church is open to the public and conducts eight daily masses. There are guided tours for the cathedral, catacombs, Pummerin bell and south towers daily. Travelers that appreciate less structure during their tour can enjoy taking in the phenomenal architecture and shear mass of the structure, the religious artwork and the rich historical significance of Stephasndom.
Next, head over to the U-Bahn, Vienna’s metro or subway station. The U-Bahn is fairly simple to navigate and ride, affordable, and clean. Take a short walk to the Stephansplatz station to purchase a ticket for the Strassenbahn, locally known as the Bim or Tramway. Purchasing tickets at the Fahrkaten (red ticket machine) allows travelers to have a ticket for both the Bim and the metro. As long as the tickets are validated at the blue machines located at station entrances with the current date, travelers are free to move about the system without having to pass through any gates. Public transportation in Vienna is based on the honor system, but beware, travelers are checked frequently for their tickets. Those travelers found without tickets will have a healthy fine to pay.
The historic Bim has been in operation since 1865. Travelers are able to purchase tickets directly on the Bim and the buses that run through Vienna. The cost is significantly higher, however, than when purchasing at the U-Bahn stations. The Bim offers sightseeing at a comfortable pace with LCD screens displaying highlights along the route in several languages. There is also a special program available for children. The Bim loops the center of the city making stops at the Vienna State Opera, Imperial Place, Parliament, City Hall and with 40 lines, a host of other destination are waiting to be found. Travelers can catch the Bim every 30 minutes departing from Schwednplatz, its starting point of the loop.
Whether by Bim or U-Bahn, Schönbrunn Palace is worthy of a day trip. There is much to see and do at this site so it requires a little time and planning to fully appreciate. The vast history of the palace spans over 300 years. It was once the summer home of the imperial family, the Habsburg monarchs. The massive size and numerous changes throughout the palace and grounds are reflective of the interest and one-upmanship of the successive monarchs. Schönbrunn Palace is ideal for an active traveler, especially runners, joggers, and hikers. The Glorietta or observation deck promises a rewarding view for those that make the trek. The grounds also have a maze and zoo to explore. Alternatively, visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through open air markets selling art and other goods or sample one of nine restaurants/cafes. At Café Restaurant Residenz & Court Bakery watch the Apple Strudel Show and learn to make that iconic breakfast pastry. Shows begin at every hour.
Travelers will have a hard time finding a place in Vienna that isn’t picturesque and post-card ready. Whether an amateur or photography buff there is plenty to capture. Travelers may want avoid Vienna between June and August. As the temperatures rise so do tourism lines and hotel rates. The most ideal times to visit Vienna are Spring and Fall when the gardens are in bloom, the days are warm and the nights are just cool enough to enjoy a lovely cup of tea mit rum (tea with rum) or a glass of glühwein. This mulled red wine filled with spices, citrus and brandy will cut the chill of any long day.
Until next time… auf Wiedersehen!
***If you've made it this far, this was a writing sample for a job interview***
Know Before You Go:
Public transport lines which take you directly to the palace
- Underground: U4, Schönbrunn station
- Trams: 10 and 58, Schönbrunn station
- Bus: 10A, Schönbrunn station
- Single ride: € 2,20
- 1-week-ticket: € 16,20 (Please note that the week ticket is always valid from Monday through Sunday, even if you buy it on a Wednesday)
- 1-month-ticket: € 48,20 (It is always valid from the first of the month until the last.)
Quick Snack - Local Favorite Sausage Stands:
- Bitzinger’s Würstelstand -The most famous sausage stand in Vienna is between the Vienna State Opera and the Albertina
- The Würstelstand at Hoher Markt
- The Würstelstand am Stadtpark
- Must try the Wiener Schnitzel Figlmüller Wollzeile (less formal and great for a relaxing dinner.)
- Figlmüller Bäckerstraße (Formal – make reservations ahead of time.)
- Café Sacher Original Sacher-Torte