Vienna (Wien), the capital and largest city of Austria, a lovely city filled with rich history, impeccable architecture, and art. The people I have met are nothing short of friendly, the guy that sat next to me on my flight even recommended areas to visit if I were to stay longer since he lived an hour outside the city!
I went in late September of 2016 to visit a friend. The weather was a tad chilly for me (I am from Singapore) so alter my suggestion based on how susceptible to cold you are.
For the most of my trip, I was in smart casual outfits. A shirt, jeans, paired with either a long knitted cardigan or long vest or blazer to keep warm and finished off with black oxford shoes. If you wish, you can bring a scarf along too. Backpacks and handbags are safe to carry around but do observe the general rule of traveling and safeguarding your belongings.
With all that said, here are my takes on a short trip in Vienna and how to stretch your time and money:
Must do – 2 to 4 hours
Visit the Schönbrunn Palace (Schloß Schönbrunn). Although photography is not allowed within the palace is it still magnificent to view. (You will not regret it!) I suggest paying a little more for the Grand Tour (€16.40) with 18 additional rooms to see than the Imperial Tour (€13.30). At the back of the palace, there are public gardens too.
Tip: Wear shoes you do not mind getting a little dusty! The gravel left a layer of dust on my black oxford shoes; I learned that the hard way!
Visit the St Stephan’s Cathedral. Go up the North Tower (€5.50) for a stunning architectural detail of the roof!
Must see – 1 to 5 hours
If you only have a short day, I highly recommend the State Hall (Prunksaal) of the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek). It is considered one of the world’s most beautiful libraries in the world (You can thank me later). It houses the biggest Baroque library in Europe, complete with beautiful paintings and statues. So, you will have plenty to discover in one room alone!
Tip: I suggest paying for a small fee (€3) for the audio guide! You can get them while purchasing the entry ticket (€7). Let your eyes wander while it explains its beginnings and follow along each description of the paintings without craning your neck in odd angles. The best part? You do not have to stand around reading an information board with others crowding around!
Extra Tip: Avoid tour hours! I was lucky enough to be there when there was only a handful of us, but it did get crowded as I was leaving.
If you have more hours to spare, visit the MuseumsQuartier. With many cultural institutions, museums, and shops clustered together in one area, you will be spoilt for choice! There you can also view some of the most iconic works of all time such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele and more.
Must eat – 1 to 2 hours
This may come as a no surprise, but the famous Viennese Schnitzel (Wiener Schnitzel) at Figlmüller is one you should not miss.
Tip: Make a reservation! Even during lunch time, it fills up quickly with a long line waiting!