After two nights in Budapest my sister and I hopped on a train and travelled to Vienna for a further three nights. As much as I was excited for this holiday I didn’t have any expectations for Vienna; Budapest was the city I had always wanted to go to, the city I was the most looking forwards to exploring, Vienna was just another holiday destination but it turns out I actually ended up preferring Vienna to Budapest. Of the two cities I will more likely be going back to Vienna than Budapest.
Maybe holidays work better for me when I have no hopes pinned on them. Vienna joins cities like Krakow and Amsterdam, cities I had no expectations of before going but cities that are favourites of the ones I’ve travelled to so far.
If Budapest was full of history then Vienna was full of culture; art and music. There are plenty of incredible museums you can visit if that’s something you enjoy doing on holiday; the Sisi Museum inside of Hofburg Palace or the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which is as impressive outside as it is inside, are only two of many. There’s even the Vienna Opera House for the music lovers.
Even if museums aren’t really your thing the one I would highly recommend visiting is Kunst Haus Wien. It more of an art installation than a traditional museum, focusing on the works of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. I don’t really have the words to describe Kunst Haus Wien, but it was incredible, unforgettable, and well worth a visit.
One of the first things my sister and I did in Vienna was travel to Schönbrunn Palace which, even knowing very little about Vienna before travelling there, was a place I was aware of in the back of my mind. While the palace itself was impressive the main attraction were the gardens. I was lucky in that we had incredible weather while we were in Vienna, which just made the gardens all the more beautiful. We spent probably an hour walking through the gardens, and I know we didn’t discover everything they had to offer.
Another attraction heavily associated with Vienna is the Wiener Riesenrad, the giant Ferris wheel, so that’s something my sister and I did our second and final full day in Vienna. We made it there just as the park was opening so there was very little queuing time, and the views we saw when we reached the top were not to be missed.
Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)
- Take a horse and carriage ride through the city…You’ll see them everywhere, and the drivers give you an unofficial tour of the city as you travel around a small part of it. There were plenty of things me and my sister learnt we wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.
- You don’t have to pay to enter the Schönbrunn Palace gardens…There are two entrances to the gardens around either side of the Palace. If you go left you reach the Priory Gardens, which you have to pay to enter, but if you go around the right you can see the bulk of the gardens for free.
- Again be aware that tickets in Vienna need validating the same as they do in Budapest…While you can walk to most sights in Vienna some, like the Schönbrunn Palace and the Wiener Riesenrad, are a little further out and it would be very easy to get caught out by this.
Vienna was a lot more expensive than Budapest was, so it’s not the best place to go if you’re looking for a budget holiday, but if you’re an art or music love then I cannot recommend travelling to Vienna enough.
I fell in love with the city immediately, and really want to go back one day to experience it all over again. There’s plenty to see and do and while going in the summer (or when it’s warm and sunny) was nice I imagine seeing the Christmas Markets during the winter would be even more incredible.