Oh how I wish I could go back two weeks in time. Then I was packing my bags and making some last minute arrangements for our upcoming citytrip to Vienna. Those few days right before a trip are almost as exciting to me as the trip itself. Almost.
For such a long time, Vienna had been on my travel bucket list, but I’d always postponed it and went somewhere else instead. But 2020 was finally the year in which I made it to Austria’s capital. I couldn’t have been more excited. After all those years, I’d build up quite some expectations for what this city had to offer, but it definitely didn’t disappoint. I’m still in awe of all the amazing things I got to see. But before I dive into my favorite sights of that trip, I’ll give you a bit of an overview of some practical things to consider when planning a visit to Vienna.
Even though Austria is not that extremely far, we took to flight to go from Brussels to Vienna. Since about a year ago, Ryanair has a direct flight from Brussels Charleroi Airport to Vienna International Airport. That of course makes the flights a lot cheaper. Without extras our flight was only 20 euros return. Ridiculously cheap. Before the direct Ryanair flights, to get to Vienna it was often more interesting to fly to Bratislava and then take a bus to Vienna, which only takes about one hour and a half. But we were lucky. We got to go very cheap and without an extra stop. But know that if you can’t find cheap prices from your home airport, there is still the option of Bratislava to consider.
In October, in the exact same week that we were looking to book our flight, they also announced a new night train that would go from Brussels to Vienna. The first departure would also be in the week that we were planning to go. I would have loved to try that option as I loved the night trains we took in Vietnam, but there wasn’t all that much information available yet so I didn’t dare to take the risk. However, if I ever go back, I’m definitely going to look into the train option more extensively.
When you go on a citytrip, it’s no secret that you have to have a bit of a budget available. Not only are you overwhelmed by the choice of amazing restaurants en tea-rooms, you will probably also want to visit some of the highlights in that city. Vienna has many gorgeous palaces and interesting museums, but all of those are quite costly. It’s an exception to find an entrance fee below 10 euros. But there is the option to buy the Vienna Pass. This pass costs 129 euros for three days and almost all the highlights in the city are included in this card. You can also use all kinds of public transport and the Hop On/ Hop Off Bus.
To determine whether this pass was a good choice for us, we started by making a list of all the sights we definitely wanted to see and added up the entrance prices of those. We quickly noticed that all those prices would be more than the three day Vienna Pass. So we got ourselves the three day pass, of course. This way we were not only able to see the things we wanted to see cheaper, but we also got to visit a couple of extra museums that we wouldn’t have if we would have had to pay the entrance fee. Double win! Especially in the winter, it was nice to have the option to go inside a museum to warm up for a bit and then at the same time see what it had to offer. This way we discovered the House of Music which wasn’t ranked as a Top Activity in the city, but was such an interesting and entertaining museum.
You can order the Vienna Pass online here and then pick it up in the Airport on arrival in the city (free) or have it sent to you at home (extra fee). Be careful not to confuse the Vienna Pass with the Vienna Card. The Vienna Card is a lot cheaper, but doesn’t give you free entrance to the sights, only a discount.
As I mentioned before we could use all public transport without limits with our Vienna Pass. While I’m a honor member of team ‘We can walk there’ it’s always nice to have the option to take the tram or metro for longer distances or when you’re getting a bit tired towards the end of the day. The public transportation system in Vienna is also very efficient. We never had to wait for more than five minutes for our ride to arrive, even late at night.
However we only activated our Vienna Pass on our first full day in the city. We wanted to be able to use our card mostly for the entrances and we were in the city three full days the day after our arrival. So it seemed like a better option to pay for the ride from the airport to the city center on our first evening considering we wouldn’t have much time to visit anything else that evening anyway. The ride from the airport to the center, with the S7 express train, also only costs us 2,5 euros so we didn’t even think twice about going about it that way. There is also the City Airport train, but that one costs 12 euros and only takes ten minutes less to get to the city center. Not really worth it in my opinion.
When it comes to accommodation in Vienna, I sadly can’t offer you much information. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my boyfriend’s cousin who lives in the city. I did check some options before and found there are plenty of hostels and Airbnbs that looked nice. And with the public transportation that runs that well, you can even consider a place a bit out of the center.
Food and drinks
Every country has a few dishes or drinks that are typical of that place and of course Vienna is no different. For a first, you simply cannot go to Wien without having a Wiener Schnitzel. This thin, breaded and pan-fried veal cutlet is even one of Austria’s national dishes. Served with a side of cold potato salad with a mustard vinegar dressing, you can’t go wrong with ordering one of these. Many restaurants in Vienna serve this dish, so you won’t have trouble finding it on a menu. We enjoyed our schnitzel in 7Stern Brau, a restaurant close to the city center. As an entree we chose a beef broth with sliced pancakes. Another thing that we found quite often on the menu. It may look like a weird combination, but it definitely worked.
And then there are also many desserts that you cannot miss; the Sachertorte, a chocolate sponge cake with jam, and the Apfelstrudel, a thin pastry with apples. Both perfect options for an afternoon treat. If you plan to stick to a diet while in Vienna, you better think again. I definitely threw that idea out of the window pretty quickly.
Other than those things, there isn’t much else to take into account. If you’re traveling from Europe, you won’t need an international passport, an extra visa or another currency, so that’s a whole lot less to worry about.
As for the things to see and do in Vienna, stay tuned as information on that is coming up soon. But if you’re already ready for a trip to the city of Sisi, Mozart, Beethoven and Klimt and you still have some questions that I haven’t answered here? Hit me up! I’m happy to help!