After touring Budapest the time zone change and jet lag was still affecting me but I had time to relax on the train ride to Vienna and city’s beauty revived my excitement. Home to sprawling palaces, intricate Baroque architecture and rich musical history, Vienna’s cultural pleasures are endless and it is not unusual to come across an afternoon beer festival in the middle of a work day.
I stayed at the Austria Trend Hotel Park Royal Palace which is a couple blocks from the majestic Schonbrunn Palace - a popular tourist attraction. The area is shrouded with billowing trees and lush parks but there aren’t many restaurants nearby and the 20 min walk to and from the metro station (especially at night after a long day of touring) was exhausting.
The hotel decor is modern with a high-end feel, featuring comfortable rooms (large for European standards) all the basic amenities and a nice restaurant. My only issues were the poorly designed shower, non-functioning air conditioner and the inconvenient location - it isn’t near the city center. Overall the hotel was clean and very trendy.
*Note: If you book the Vienna Pass, the bus to the city center stops outside of Schonbrunn Palace (walking distance from this hotel).
*Travelers Tip: If you find yourself in or around this area, there is a decent Indian restaurant near the hotel called Daily Imbis (try the samosa).
The Vienna Pass
The Vienna Pass is probably the most popular sightseeing tour in the city because it grants you access to more than 60 top attractions and unlimited use of the hop-on, hop-off buses for the days you book. The pass is well worth the money if you plan to visit the various palaces, museums, art galleries and cathedrals as you won't have to pay separate fees. It does not include entrance to the Opera House but it does come with other perks like skipping lines, train ride around the palace grounds, free museum audio guides, a ride on the Ferris wheel, entry to the zoo, a river cruise and more! For more information visit the website by clicking HERE.
*Travelers Tip: Use the pass to visit the 5D Time Travel Adventure. The experience is fun and educational.
Attractions & Sightseeing
You can spend weeks in Vienna without running out of things to do so I made the most of my time by using the pass to visit some breathtaking sights.
The Albertina Art Museum
(Houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world)
Naturhistorisches Museium Wien - Natural History Museum
Vienna Opera House
St. Stephan’s Basilica
(One of the most famous pedestrian shopping streets in Vienna)
(One of the most important German language theaters in the world)
*Travelers Tip: Rent the audio guide for Belvedere Palace, it is well worth the €4.00
Column of Pest (Holy Trinity Column)
If you enjoy a pint of beer and sausage on a bun then you’ll do just fine with the German food in Vienna. I’m quite picky when it comes to meat and although I like trying local foods (especially sweets) I usually stick to the familiar.
Cafe Sacher is a posh eatery known for their delectable array of coffee and desserts. The Sachertorte is a specific type of chocolate cake invented in Vienna by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich. Although it is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties, the chocolate flavor is mild and the texture isn’t very rich. I also found the filling a little tart and my cappuccino was cold but the cafe's ambiance is beautiful. As I sipped my drink, melodious notes from the Opera House wafted in through the patio and the elegant decor with sparkling chandeliers resembled a royal tea room.
If you like pizza (as I obviously do), then head over to L’Osteria after a little shopping on Graben Street. The pizzas are huge and the panzerotti spinache (creamy pasta) is seriously delicious!