In the beginning of March, I had some time off for Semana Blanca, so I headed to Austria with my friend Abby. This trip was the result of a sky scanner search for cheap flights back in January. You bet I listened to Billy Joel’s Vienna on repeat during the trip. For four days, Abby and I discovered Vienna nonstop. We came to the city with very little planning, but with some luck along the way, we managed to make every minute count. Below are my recommendations for how to spend 4 days in Vienna (exactly how we did). Get your walking shoes ready!
*Note: Due to COVID restrictions everything was closed by 10pm, so night life is not included in this post.
Check-in at hostel
If you’re balling on a budget, you most likely want to stay at a hostel. Vienna’s Hostel Ruthensteiner was an awesome choice. It is about a 15 minute walk to the city center, 5 minute walk to the train station, and 5 minute walk to the airport bus. This place was clean, had a fun young environment, friendly staff, and warm apple cider! Definitely recommend. I paid around 25 euros/night for a shared female dorm.
Try the Weiner Schnitzel
Our first stop after checking in was to get some food. I HAD to order the Weiner schnitzel as part of my quest to try all the local food. Weiner Schnitzel is a very large thin piece of breaded and fried veal. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite. I thought it was a bit bland, but maybe other restaurants serve it better. Regardless, I’m glad I tried probably the most popular local food.
See an Opera or Ballet at the Vienna State Opera House
Abby and I reserved tickets at the ballet for 12.50 euros. We had a box seat on the upper level, and with luck playing to our favor, we were able to move up to the front of the box, as those seats were empty. The ballet was impressive, but the State Opera House was even more enchanting. I suggest arriving early so you have the chance to wander around the ornate building.
Breakfast at a trendy cafe
*Note: Most places open at 10 am.
Zina’s Eatery was an awesome find! It is super cute and health focused. I was surprised to find that Vienna is very vegan/gluten free conscious. This was just one of the many restaurants with a variety of options for those with dietary restrictions.
We shared the corn fritters (chef’s kiss) and strawberry peanut butter French toast. My latte was the size of my face.
Vienna House of Music
Abby and I stumbled upon this museum, and it was a pleasant surprise. This museum is great for music and history lovers, and it’s a fun interactive place to spend a few hours. Create your own waltz, conduct an orchestra, learn about the science behind sound and music and the history of famous musicians. We paid 12 euros for a student (under 27) ticket.
Free Walking Tour
Walking tours are a fantastic way to learn about the city from a local and get some insider recommendations. We used Good Vienna Tours and were thoroughly impressed. While these tours are “free”, it is standard to tip at least 10 euros if you had a good experience.
Lunch at Figlmüller
Upon our tour guide’s request, we went to Figlmüller at Wollzeile for lunch. We didn’t have reservations, so we were sent to Figlmüller Bäckerstrasse, their offshoot restaurant, and it was 10/10 delish! I didn’t order the Weiner Schnitzel here, but I think this would be one of the best spots to try it.
I don’t know a lot about art, so I was happy to have Abby along with me on this trip. The Albertina is huge, so I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to explore this gem. My favorite part was the Edvard Munch exhibit which compared Munch’s work to artists who were inspired by him. We payed 14 euros ( for under 26)
Apple Strudel at Residenz Cafe
This is a MUST. Get the vanilla sauce. Trust me.
This was my favorite part of the trip! I learned about the Habsburg regime in AP Euro back in high school, but it was fascinating to revisit the history of a more than 600 year old empire. In the palace, you are given an audio guide to use as you explore 40 of the 1,441 ornately decorated rooms. As our tour guide told us, the Schönbrunn Palace is the most visited site in all of Austria, wonderful for history lovers or those who prefer the finer things in life.
On the grounds of the palace, resides Europe’s oldest zoo. Purchase the winter pass, and you can explore the Palace and Zoo for 44 euros.
Can you believe there are more palaces?! The Belvedere Palace doubles as a museum, and is most notably known for the Klimt exhibit, including the famous painting, “The Kiss”. Also on display, was a ……. Even if you don’t enter the palace, the grounds are worth walking around.
Enjoy a Cozy Café
Our final stop of the trip was a happy mistake. We stumbled upon Naschmarkt and could not resist the colorful rows of fruit stands and traditional goods. Aside from vendors, this market houses an array of restaurants and bars.
Well, that’s a wrap on Vienna. Thanks for coming along on the journey. Although we saw so much, I would love to go back one day, as the city has so much to offer! I hope you find these suggestions helpful if you find yourself in this whimsical city of music.
Un abrazo fuerte,