Austria: An Impromptu 48-hours In Vienna

Mozart, Beethoven, Klimt, or Porsche are just few of the many prominent names that have written pages of history in the City of Dreams, Vienna.

Having offered the best quality of life in the world, Vienna is definitely not a budget-friendly city to explore. Luckily for me, I managed to find a pair of awesome Wienerin to host me for 3-nights. In a short span of time, I learnt about parts and parcels of life in Vienna from my wonderful hosts. I also had a marvelous time catching up with other travellers from Madagascar and Ukraine.

Getting in/out of Vienna

Flixbus is always my first choice when it comes to crossing borders in Europe. I took a noon bus from Budapest and arrived in Vienna Central Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof) by evening. Few days later, I board a plane from Vienna to Sofia just to get a stamp out of Schengen Region.

There are several trains to get from Vienna Airport to the city center. The fastest option is by CAT (City Airport Train), with a 16-minute journey to Wien Mitte for €12 one-way. The cheaper options are via S7 or ÖBB trains, with both cost less than €5 and run every 30 minutes.

Of course, you could always take a taxi from the airport, though you’ll pay close to €30-€50 for the 30-minute journey.

Getting around

The public transportation network (Wiener Linien) includes trams, buses, and the underground subway system known as the U-Bahn. You can purchase tickets from ticket machines at stations or using the Wiener Linien app. If you plan to enter some attractions during your stay in Vienna, you may opt to purchase city pass with transportation.

Vienna is a pedestrian-friendly city, and many of its attractions are within walking distance of each other. Exploring on foot is a great way to soak up the city’s ambiance and discover hidden gems. There is actually one major route around the city center that makes it impossible to get lost!

For a more unique experience, why not try riding Viennese fiakers, a type of horse-drawn carriages, to explore the charming city like a royal. You may head here for more information.

Ranks as one of the top 10 priciest cities on the continent, most attractions in Vienna are still free to visit from outside. Let’s find out what I’ve done in 48-hours on a budget!

Start your day with Viennese coffee

Coffeehouses in Vienna are not just about the coffee; they are also social spaces where people meet, read newspapers, or simply enjoy pastries. One of my hosts is a barista so I got delicious coffee the moment I woke up. Apart from some famous Viennese coffeehouses like Café Central, try Aida – a humble coffee and bakery chain in Vienna.

Stroll the garden of Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is the most popular tourist spot in Vienna, showcasing stunning baroque architecture and beautifully landscaped gardens. The palace features over 1,400 rooms, including the grand state rooms, private apartments, and the famous Hall of Mirrors. Open to the public, the palace is surrounded by extensive gardens adorned with elaborate facades, sculptures, and impressive fountains. Start early with a visit to Schönbrunn Palace, so you get to explore the magnificent palace grounds without much crowds.

Join a free walking tour

One of the best ways to experience Vienna for free is to discover the city by foot. These walks are offered in English, German and Spanish on multiple times a day throughout the year. Most free walking tours are introduction to the city, which is a great idea if you’ve never been to Vienna before.

Shop like a royal at Graben Vienna

The Graben Vienna is an upscale and trendy shopping street in the heart of first district. Due to its close proximity to St  Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Palace, this street has served as a shopping district since ancient times. Instead of busy swiping your credit card, take some time to admire the exaggerated decorated buildings.

Marvel at the Gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral

Another Vienna’s most iconic landmarks is the 137-metres high St Stephen’s Cathedral located at Stephenplatz. The cathedral has a rich history dating back to the 12th century and has watched over the city for more than 300-years. Beneath the cathedral, there is underground burial place that holds the remains of prominent Viennese citizens. Entry to the cathedral is generally free, but there is small fees for accessing specific areas, such as the observation tower and catacombs.

Enjoy the elegant atmosphere at Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg Palace is located in the old town of Vienna, just a short walking distance from Graben. This is where you will spend the majority of your day if you’re into the history of Austrian Royals. The entire complex is spread over 59-acres, showcasing the legacy of rich and different architectural history. There are three main sites to choose from – the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and Silver Collection – each of which can be toured individually or as part of an extended visit. There are other attractions included as well along with the Hofburg, which included the Imperial Chapel (Burgkapelle), the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum), the Austrian National Library, and the Spanish Riding School.

Get cheap tickets to Wiener Staatsoper

Also known as the Vienna Opera house, it was opened for the first time in 1869 with a performance of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”. If getting a full priced ticket is way out of your budget, you can try your luck waiting outside the Opera House about an hour before a show is due to start, and possibly get a standing ticket for as low as €10! I didn’t get to experience this but it is said in summer, the opera house project opera and ballet live on a video screen outside for anyone to watch for free.

Check out Vienna’s free museums.

The museums in Vienna are stunning and well worth a visit, but can unnecessarily eat up your budget unless you’re below 19. Geldmuseum, Bezirksmuseen and MUSA are always free, and Kunsthalle Museumsquartier is ‘pay as you wish’ on Sundays. If you happen to be in Vienna on the first Sunday of the month, all city museums are free.

Busk in the sun at Belvedere Palace

The Belvedere Palace served as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who was an accomplished general and art collector. The complex grounds comprised of two Baroque palaces – the Upper Belvedere with the stunning interiors and museum and the Lower Belvedere consisting of the Orangery and the Palace Stables. Apart from the famous paintings collection, the formal French-styled gardens feature meticulously manicured flowerbeds, sculptures, fountains, offering panoramic views of Vienna.

Admire the artwork of Hundertwasserhaus

Undulating floors, irregularly shaped windows, and the abundant use of bright colors instantly made me thought of Crazy House in Vietnam I had visited some years ago. A distinctive unique elements and architecture, the Hundertwasserhaus is an apartment building designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Though you can’t go inside this quirky apartment, the building can be appreciated from the outside without any cost.

Escape to nature at Wienerberg

If you ever want to be in nature without leaving the city, then Wienerberg is a great option. Over 100-hectares of green space with a peaceful lake in the middle make up this incredibly wild nature park in the 10th district of Vienna. It provides a nice contrast to the historic city center of Vienna and can be a pleasant destination for both locals and visitors seeking recreational opportunities and modern urban living.

Eat to your fullest at Naschmarkt

The Naschmarkt is Vienna’s largest and most popular open-air market. This market has existed since the 16th century and is about a mile long. Filled with vintage food stalls and restaurants, you can wander through the market, pick up a snack, or plan to have a meal here.

Is 2-days in Vienna enough? 

Two days in Vienna can be enough time to touch and go some of the city’s famous sights. Depending on what is your main purpose of visiting and budget, the number of days vary with different people. If you’re interested in things like art or history, two days might not be enough time to fully enjoy Vienna’s museums.

Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!

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Aloha! I'm Bunzy, a curious dreamer who is passionate about roaming around the world getting lost, experiencing new cultures and meeting the locals. My superpower is to be able to sleep anywhere, anyhow!

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