Mr. D and I visited Austria two years ago ... however, it was just Salzburg and Innsbruck. This time around, we were so close to Vienna ( like literally 3 hours away in the Czech city of Cesky Krumlov), and we knew that we wanted to spend some time there. We took a private bus from Cesky Krumlov to Vienna and spent 2 days there. We stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson Uno City Vienna, a 4 star property ... not exactly in the heart of Vienna, but pretty close. The nearest train station was a 7 minute walk away. The good thing about Park Inn hotels ( besides the room of course ) are the free breakfasts. It made those early morning walks to the station pretty easy!
Let me warn know, you're gonna to see a lot of Christmas in this post ( Yayy, Christmas came early! ) as we visited Vienna during the holiday season (Okay, I'm SO late!). In case you're visiting now, its probably gonna be the same thing ... minus the Christmas market ... and Santa.. and the frozen red nose! Here's what we did/saw/ate in 2 days:
1) Sachertorte - Vienna is home to this world famous chocolate cake. It was invented by Franz Sacher 180 years ago and is available at Hotel Sacher. We waited in line for nearly half an hour to try this out. I cannot say that it was the best cake I'd ever tasted, but atleast I can tell people I tried it.
2) Rathaus - We were here for one of the biggest Christmas markets in Vienna. The main building here is the Vienna City Hall which looked spectacular at night.
3) St Stephen's Cathedral - Yes, I do have a thing for churches and this wasn't an exception. This was a 12th century Gothic church in the middle of a very busy Stephansplatz. You have to pay to enter certain areas. We just did the free bit. You can even visit the tower and the Catacombs.
4) Karlskirche - One of the most beautiful Baroque style churches I've ever seen ... and yes I've seen many churches and most of them have most or less the same interior. This was so different, for instance - the ceiling was so high. There's an elevator that takes you right to the top. Worth it if you're not afraid of heights. Just in case you don't wanna go up, there's much to admire on the ground level.
5) Belvedere Palace - A historic building in Vienna. You pay a fee to enter inside. Again, we were happy to see it from the outside and nibble on some Christmas market goodies.
6) Schönbrunn Palace - A prominent Baroque style palace in Vienna which we (unfortunately) were forced to see from outside as the queue was pretty long. We headed to the Christmas market around it instead. It looks simple on the outside, however, I think the beauty is inside ... which we missed :(
7) Hundertwasser House - A very ... umm... unique looking apartment building that would make your & my apartment look boring! It was designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Be prepared to take hundred photos at every angle. Visitors are not allowed in ... I wonder why ? This should be on your places to-visit list.
8) Christmas Markets - I know, I know .... Christmas is six months behind us and six months ahead of us. But the main reason we wanted to visit Vienna were the markets. At every teeny weeny corner, we found a market. They even had a Christmas tram with Santa onboard. I did not keep a track of all the markets we visited, but the biggest one was at Rathausplatz. You know what, if you have time, just visit everything. There's something special about every market.
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