One of our shortest EuroTour stops was in Vienna. We arrived from Venice late in the evening after a long train ride. The long travel day left us just one full day to explore the quaint Austrian city. Short on time, we decided to sightsee within the Ringstraße, the main transportation loop around the city, which made everything we planned to see and do within walking distance of our hotel. We started our day with a typical Austrian breakfast at our hotel, the K+K Palais. (If you can find them, included breakfasts are an awesome deal on these long trips, especially when you’re at a smaller or boutique-style hotel serving up typical fare for the region.)
Vienna was calm and quiet, but incredibly vibrant. We visited St. Stephen’s cathedral early in the day and toured the Vienna State Opera in the afternoon. (If only it had been opera season!) And between, we shopped, and walked the gardens, museums, and palace grounds. It was so easy to feel like we were at home, especially since I was finally able to practice my German skills.
We just happened to be there while two major festivals were being hosted. Is there any better way to experience the culture of a city than at a festival?! At Heldenplatz, outside of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, we picked up mid-day grub and a beer from the Waldviertelpur regional festival. The festival celebrates the Waldviertel region of Austria and was home to open-air booths serving wursts, dumplings, potatoes, beer, and strudels. That same night, we explored the Music Film Festival at Rathausplatz, or City Hall Square. Vendors were selling “world fare” but we opted for a local Viennese meal (I can’t resist sauerkraut and potatoes!). We topped off the meal with several Ottakringer and for dessert, Kaiserschmarrn, a shredded pancake-type dessert with fruit. I blew bubbles they were handing out, and at dark, we watched a film projected on the front of City Hall. We went to bed with full bellies and happy hearts.
And that was it—the shortest little tour of cozy Vienna. The next day, we left from the brand new Wien Hauptbahnhof, Vienna Central Station. The beautifully-designed, comfy train station was a nice treat to end our visit.
Our recommendations for hotel, food, and sightseeing are after the photos. And if you have more time than we did, go to Belvedere Palace! We didn’t get a chance to go, so it’s on our list for next time.