So you’re coming to Vienna…

It’s snowing outside. It’s cold. Very cold if you ask my kids who still refuse to have anything to do with snow and I still need to twist their arms so they will finally get on a sled…. but nonetheless spring is (hopefully) right around the corner which also means that our guest bedroom is starting to get booked (last time I checked we were fully booked from March through May).

So, rather than write the same email over and over to prepare our visitors, I thought I would share all the information I have here… If I am missing something, please feel leave a “comment”!

Travel logistics:
– local language here is German (with a funny little dialect) but everyone, trust me, everyone speaks English (although people tend to be much friendlier when you try to speak a little German)

– public transportation here is awesome – you can very easily get around the city on the many buses, trams, and subway lines – The Wiener Linien Website has all the information you need (yes, in English since everyone here speaks it) and the site even tells you how to get from point A to point B using public transport. If you’re here for 3 days, get a Vienna Card for 20 Euros that entitles you to free travel on public transport and tons of discounts to tourist destinations. The City Airport Train transports visitors from the airport to downtown in 16 minutes.

Things to See and Do:

This is a biggie and one that I cannot do justice here (after all, that’s why there are travel guides, right?). This city has so much to offer like hundreds of museums (I am not exaggerating; the link just lists the popular ones; this link has far more … see!?) and countless venues for various musical and performance arts (check Vienna Tickets and Oetickets to get a taste).

Some of our favorite places and things to do -so far – have been (in no particular order):

– Take a stroll around downtown and stop at a cafe (like Cafe Central) for a bite to eat and warm up. If you are tired of walking, hop on tram line D (towards the Suedbahnhof) and drive by some of the major sights like City Hall, Burgtheater, Imperial Palace, Opera, Museums Quartier, Belvedere Palace). Generally, anywhere you go you will be admiring beautiful architecture and churches…

– Spend a day at Schloss Schoenbrunn and explore the gardens, inside of the palace, or any of the museums there

– Hang out at the Zoo that is just a nice stroll away from the Schoenbrunn Palace (aside from animals and beautiful habitats, scenery, and buildings, there’s a beer garden open during the warmer months right next to the lions…yes, there is beer next to the lions, you read that correctly)

– Watch the beautiful Lippizaner horses “dance” and perform in the Spanish Riding School in the Imperial Palace

– Take in nature at the many green spaces and parks like Tuerkenschanzpark,  Liechtenstein park, Hugo Wolf park, and Poetzleinsdorf park (there are many others)

– Take the kids to the Technical Museum and brush up on your knowledge of locomotive trains, old planes, and everything related to power – plus there’s a fun playroom for the kids (there is also a fun kids museum that we haven’t been to yet)

– Brush up on your art knowledge and enjoy a day or more…at the Art History Museum, Leopold, Albertina, and Belvedere museums (yes, this is a “short” list of our favorite art museums here)

– Head to the Prater amusement park to ride one of the oldest ferris wheels and enjoy other fun rides

– Enjoy ethnic treats and delicacies at the Naschmarket (note, it’s closed on Sundays….as is mostly everything here)

– Take in a classical concert at Annakirche and Schloss Schoenbrunn (the latter has a fun dinner & concert option) – of course, there’s always the beautiful opera if you have a few hours to spare…

– In the spring, summer, and fall get out of downtown and enjoy the local wine and food at Viennese wineries (called Heuriger) just on the outskirt of town (area: Grinzing, Nussdorf, Kahlenberg) – if you want to make it more entertaining, take the Vienna Heuriger Express train for a scenic drive

And these are just our highlights so far. If you’re visiting Vienna for a while, you might also want to take the 1-hour train or boat ride to Bratislava for a change of scenery and country!

So, this should get you started on your trip to Vienna….and yes, there is still lots more to do and see once you have done everything listed here! Come and find out for yourself what you think of the city that has been voted the best city of the world for the fourth time in a row!


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