The Vienna Itineraries
by Evelyn Eisenhauer, German and Linguistics:-
Reactions from friends in second year regarding the year abroad were endearingly outraged, first banning to to go, then promising to miss me, Skype me every week, and, of course, take the advantage of free accommodation in another city. So far, these promises of Skyping me every week have, somewhat thankfully, not come to realization, but what has is, far more pleasantly, the dedication and loyalty so many of them have shown by flying over for a weekend in Vienna. So, upon arrival, beaming and arms flung wide, one of the first questions they ask is : how well do you think you’ve got to know your new city?
This recurring question is what inspired this article.
A sense of pride comes with the realization that I really have begun to know the place. But aside from the place, it’s been the friends too that have made the memories and, because of this, the form of my mini Vienna travel guide has been split up into daily itineraries named after them following what we did. Enjoy!
3 Day Vienna Intensive
Traipse around the many museums; marvel at Vienna from afar; stroll around castle grounds; indulge your inner child at the zoo; get lost on a night walk in Vienna; go wine shopping; enjoy people watching in the augarten; visit a cat café; go bar hopping; enjoy cake as good as at Grandmas; invent a hipster museum trail; indulge in hungover spa treatments on the cheap; peruse the Naschmarkt and get off of the Mariahilferstrasse; wile away the hours in a Viennese coffee house.
See the bottom for general tips.
Day 0: Arrival.
If you arrive in the morning jump straight to Day 1.
Afternoon arrival: Do the morning shop advised for the morning of Day 1. That way you can enjoy a chilled morning the next day, and cook for yourself this evening.
Evening arrival: Go on the night walk from Martin’s Itinerary (Day 1) which is ideal as you will not know Vienna at all yet. The winding streets of the Innenstadt are perfect, as you will quickly lose your sense of direction. Start at the Stephansdom (U1, U3), and don’t bring a map.
Alternatively get to Liebsteinsky which has a delicious late night kitchen, and the sweetest waiters who will do their best and more to please you. (€13-22 Mains, €5-12 Dessert)
Schubertring 6, 1010
Martin’s Itinerary (Day 1) :
Morning: Assuming that not everyone has a friend on their year abroad in Vienna, you are probably staying in a hostel or airbnb, and likelihood is that you will have a kitchen. Take this morning to grab some groceries and save on restaurant prices – Merkur has the best prepared food (for packed lunches) and Spar too is a good option. If you’re happy to spend a little extra €€€, Denn’s Biomarkt sells only organic produce and there are a few dotted around Wien.
The Sunday Dilemma: Shops are closed on a Sunday, with a few exceptions. The Spar website will detail all of their branches open on a Sunday, but in short: Interspar in Wien Mitte/Landstrasse (U4, U3), a Spar at Babenbergerstraße 9 (U2 Mariahilfer/Museumsquartier), and the mini-mart called U3 Supermarkt at Westbahnhof (U3, U6)
Get on the U2 to the Museumsquartier, where you’ll see a banner with Wien hat Kultur! blazoned on it, and it’s not wrong. Vienna certainly is cultural, and it can be hard to know where to start, but the Museum’s Quarter is a good bet, with a stunning Schiele and Klimt collection at the Leopold, and intriguing modern art exhibitions at mumok.
Leopold: Student €8
mumok: Student €8
Afternoon: Ask for a belegtes Brötchen [filled sandwich] at one of the many bakery stands at the U-Bahn for lunch on the move. €3 at the Der Mann, Felber, Ströck bakeries.
Take the U4 to Schloß Schönnbrunn, and walk up to the Gloriette viewpoint to enjoy views of Vienna on a clear day, or spot the spires of the churches and Stephansdom peeking out of the mist on gloomier afternoons. On the way back down stop off at the zoo for a few hours – the sloths are actually quite active, so be sure to stop by their enclosure. The gardens of the Schloß are beautiful, and viewing the palace itself makes for an aesthetically appealing afternoon’s activity.
Zoo: Student €8
Schloß Schönnbrunn: Student €9,50
Evening: Tucked down one of the quieter streets of the Innenstadt, Phó Saigon is probably my favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Vienna: order the curried butterfish rice-noodle soup (Number 99 with Fish) and a fresh coconut for a drink. (€8-13 for a main, €3,60 for the fresh coconut)
Phó Saigon, Hegelgasse 7, 1010
Upon leaving the restaurant, make sure to walk a different way than you arrived, and try to get a bit lost in the Innenstadt – it’s tiny, and sooner or later you’ll come across an U-Bahn, so be a little pretentious and romantic and get lost in a beautiful city
When you’ve oriented yourself again, get yourself to one of the Wein & Co. branches, and prepare for a wine bar like you’ve never seen before. A combination of a wine store and a bar, the selection of wines is modest by Austrian, but far from it by UK, standards. Choose a wine, buy it, and then take a seat in the adjoining bar, where you pay a small extra fee for the wine’s decanting and a bottle of sparkling water. It goes without saying that you should choose an Austrian wine…
Wein & Co., Wien
Mariahilferstraße 36, 1070
Linke Wienzeile 4, 1060
Jasomirgottstraße 3-5, 1010
Alice’s Itinerary (Day 2):
Morning: Mr. & Mrs. Feelgood in the Freihausviertel – or what the Viennese call the ‘bobo’ district, coming from David Brooks’ book Bobos in Paradise. Try the Brainpower Breakfast: granola with lactose free Mango-yogurt , goji berries and pistachio nuts; a goats cheese and basil roll; and freshly squeezed orange juice (€8,50).
Paniglgasse 22, 1040
Avoid the well known museums and try to find the smaller, more obscure ones – mainly in the Innenstadt. There’s a museum of peace, contraception, fake art work, esperanto…
Tickets: Free to €5 depending on the museum.
Afternoon: Head out to the Augarten in the 2nd District. The garden seems a world away from the busy centre and the huge old flak towers looming either side lend a futuristic feel to the park’s otherwise baroque atmosphere. Read, chat, bask in the late autumn sunshine.
Should the weather not allow for the Augarten, Café Neko offers a cosy alternative. Although Alice and I are both allergic to cats, we enjoyed sipping green tea and watching the cats in this cat café play and flirt with the other customers, or ignore them entirely from their beds. (€3,20 Green Tea, €3 Vanilla Kitten Muffin)
Blumenstockgasse 5, 1010.
Evening: Bar Hopping. The bar scene in Vienna is wonderful, and although cocktails are not cheap, they are always good. The vibe, which is never snooty, even in the fancier places, means you can show up in trainers on a bad hair day and no-one will bat an eyelid.
– Palmenhaus, Burggarten 1, 1010
– Kruger’s American Bar, Krugerstraße 5, 1010
– The Sign Lounge, Lichtensteinstraße 104-106, 1090
– If Dogs Run Free, Gumpendorferstraße 10-12, 1060
– Sky Bar (Not the most characterful, but the drinks are amazing and the view of the Stephansdom is unbeatable.) Kärtnerstrasse 19, 1010- Take the Steffl lift to the 6th floor.
– The Naschmarkt, 1060. Head away from the Innenstadt towards the bottom of the market, there are plenty of little cafes and bars here, but it’s not open on weekends.
Elena’s Itinerary (Day 3):
Morning: A good hangover soother is visiting the Vollpension, a café run by the elderly residents of Vienna, for whom retirement does not align with their Weltanschauung (life philosophy). As good and relaxing as staying with Grandma, they also run a weekly knitting drop in.
Schleifmühlgasse 6, 1040
If merely impressive artwork isn’t enough for you, Schloß Belvedere’s stunning collections are displayed in equally refined gardens and palaces. Klimt’s Kiss and Judith are housed in the Oberes Belvedere.
Tickets: €11 for students for the Oberes Belvedere, €17 for a student combined ticket with the Unteres Belvedere.
Afternoon: Head to Douglas on Kärtnerstraße, which has a Jo Malone section. If you feign enough interest in the perfumes and candles, you’ll probably be offered a free hand and arm massage, and ours came with a free glass of Sekt (sparkling wine), which we found to be 30 minutes well spent.
If you take time to shop in the Naschmarkt, you’ll probably notice that many shops repeat; rather than being due to kitschy tourist influence, it has always been like this, with each spice-shop, butcher and grocer competing with the next to attract browsing shoppers.
Favourite shop: Alles Seife, Nachmarkt 54, 1060 – handmade vegan soap, body butters and oils
The Mariahilferstrasse is famous for one thing: Shopping. Mainly dominated by chain stores now, you may struggle to escape the H&M, Zara and Forever21 shops, so moving into the 7th District (Neubau) might allow you to shop in Vienna, rather than on the generic high street.
Werkbank, Breitegasse 1, 1070 – handmade crafts
Le Shop, Kirchengasse 4, 1070 – trendy trinkets
Tongues, Kirchengasse 27/III, 1070 – Record shop and delicatessen
Motmot, Kirchgasse 36, 1070 – t-shirts, posters, stationery
Evening: You’ve probably heard Viennese café names like Demel, Hawelka, Central, Landtmann, and although these are good options, my favourite is the ever so slightly lesser known Diglas, which is, however, still an institution in its own right. With a daily changing cake menu and delicious savoury options, the hours will fly in this café. Wine is cheaper than the tea, although the house infusion (Oma’s Tee) is so good you can see why. Be sure to visit the toilets. Trust me. (€4,50/cake, €4,00 for a glass of Wine, €4,30 for a bowl of tea)
Café Diglas, Wollzeile 10, 1010
Day 4: Departure
Morning Departure: Minimise your travel time (and therefore maximise your sleeping time) and take the CAT to the airport. €12 rather than €4, but delays are almost unheard of, and it is a quiet and smooth ride from Landstrasse/Mitte to the airport in 15mins.
Afternoon Departure: Enjoy a last breakfast, and turn it into a brunch by ordering more and more sides and extras. Tapas, but with Eierspeise instead of bacalao.
Point of Sale Café, Schleifmühlgasse 12-14, 1040 (€4,20 -13,30 for a small/huge breakfast incl. juice and tea/coffee; extra sides €0,50 to €3,50)
Evening Departure: Enjoy some late brunching and then go to the Hundertwasserhaus, the museums you’ve missed, or to a last minute concert, where tickets for students are €3 if you buy a standing ticket 2 hours before the performance.
• 112 is the Emergency Number
• Tipping is a must in Vienna, unless you want a sarky comment from the waiter, and fear that you’ll never be able to return to that venue. Seriously. So, it’s probably important to note that you do NOT leave the tip on the table, but round up the bill immediately when you pay. Paying in cash is the norm, and just stating the full amount you want to pay is the best way to tip (i.e. say €15 if your bill was €13,20 when handing over your change).
• You must have a valid student card to get the discounts. This probably applied to most cities, but it’s worth remembering.
• Make sure you have a valid transport ticket. Ticket checks are infrequent, but if you are caught there really is no excuse, and you’ll be paying a nasty fine. Stamp/validate your 72h travel card when you first use it in one of the blue boxes before you get on the form of public transport (buses, S-Bahn, U-Bahn, the trams all have the machines), and keep it on you at all times.
• The U-Bahn is 24h on Friday nights, Saturday nights and the nights before public holidays. Otherwise they stop running around midnight, although it is worth checking the public transport websites (wienerlinen.at and the app Quando is also pretty good)