Overview: What can I say about Vienna? It was a spectacular surprise. Out of the three cities: Prague; Budapest; Vienna, I only heard one person say how much they loved Vienna. So I was a little concerned that I wasn’t going to like it. But I LOVED it! I had such a magical experience in this city and I cannot wait to plan my next trip here. Vienna has so much history and culture, no wonder it was recently named # 1 city in the world to live. The people, the food, the low crime rate, the cost of living, and the overall cleanliness of the city, makes it the most desirable location to plop my fat heiny and stay for a while. The next time I come here, I will check out Salzburg, the Austrian Alps and Switzerland.
How We Got There:
Our last train ride and the shortest one yet. From Budapest to Vienna, the train only took us about two hours. It was also the nicest train that we had thus far.
Where We Stayed:
The Imperial Riding School, Renaissance Vienna Hotel (apart of the Marriott Collection)- Not going to lie, not my favorite hotel. They offered a dirt cheap rate of €89 per night. The lobby is stunning and they have a great outdoor section and indoor bar. But they pumped zero dollars into the sleeping rooms. I mean it looked like they went untouched for decades. The carpet was old and dated. There were no outlets anywhere. It was a drastic change from the Boscolo Budapest. The proximity to city center wasn’t that great either. We had to either take a taxi or Uber into the city. So that ate up some time. The Hotel Bristol is world-renowned five-star hotel and with the Opera peaking through its windows. It is also apart of the Marriott collection, meaning you can use points! I will be staying here next time.
What We Did:
High Tea at the Kempinksi Hotel: After my unsuccessful attempt at high tea in Paris, I tried once more in Vienna and totally hit the jackpot. The staff, the food, and the tea were all amazing, and all for a great price. It included unlimited tea and specialty cocktail drinks dedicated to the specific menu you select. Some of the food items were not apart of your traditional high tea menu, but I won’t see my complaining about sausage and a mini burger 🙂 The whole experience was wonderful and relaxing. Cost: €38
Hop-On/Hop-Off Tour: A great way to see all the sites in Vienna. I’ll admit, it was slightly confusing trying to figure out where bus we needed to catch as they were multiple, with different lines going to different places. At first the driver wouldn’t accept our vouchers, but then just didn’t have the time or patience to argue. So we rode the bus all the way around, which took about an hour and a half. Cost: €28
Opera House: While we didn’t get a chance to go inside the opera and enjoy the culture of Viennese music. We were able to snag some seats outside where they have a large monitor with a live viewing of the opera. Get there early because those seats go fast!
Visit Mozart House: If you are a huge music buff, then I would suggest you add this to you “To Do” list. For me, I’ll be honest, it was kind of disappointing. The only thing that still stands that is completely original is the building and collections of his musical writings. There’s absolutely no furniture inside. They don’t even have a clue as to what each room was used for, and tell you to use your imagination! I mean, how would they know? Mozart era was so long ago, it’s hard to maintain any realistic idea of what his home would look like. If you need some time to kill, then stop by. It doesn’t hurt! But if you can skip it, then keep on walking! Cost: €11
Wine Tasting at Coburg Palais: I found this place as I was researching wineries in Vienna, and it is a complete gem. It also happens to be a very exclusive hotel. This specific winery holds the largest collection of wine in the entire world. Over 60,000 bottles to be exact. I emailed to set up a private reservation. When we arrived, the overall atmosphere seemed a little dreary and not all that friendly, as they questioned me about the reservation and who I made it with. Like, dude, it’s on your website. It’s not a secret! We met our sommelier was little stiff at first, but my friend and I got him to crack and smile. He was very pleasant and extremely knowledge. He even let us try some wine from 1973. Don’t be jealous, it wasn’t that great. Some bottles are dated back to the 1800s. Inside they have several cellars, including a very cold champagne cellar, which were not allowed to see due to our attire (not enough layers to sustain the cold). About 90 percent of the bottles that we came across is available for purchase. Apparently, the bottles cannot leave the property and must be finished onsite. I’m sure for the right amount of money, you can do whatever you want. While I didn’t get a chance to see the entire property, I could tell from pictures that the grounds are stunning! The price is a little hefty, but we got to see wines from literally all over the world and got to taste of the best there is. I would highly recommend! Cost: €89
Where We Ate:
Cafe Central: A long-standing Viennese cafe, playing host to many locals and tourists. We stopped by to grab a quick bite and sip on some famous Viennese coffee and nosh on chocolates. It was simply delicious. Make sure to head there early in the morning as the line can be seen all the way out the door and around the corner. Cost: $
Pizzeria Venezia: Kind of a tourist trap as it sits right in the middle of the pedestrian walk way. The menu is extensive and even almost repetitive. But overall the food was good and our waiter was very easy on the eyes. Cost: $
Shiki: We had to get away from the heavy meats and schnitzels for a while. The concierge at Kempinksi highly recommended this restaurant and it did not disappoint. Everything was so tasty. Service was sub-par, but I can deal with it as long as the food is good! We sat outdoors with a nice heat lamp over us. I had a cup of the miso soup and the shrimp tempura roll with the freshly grated wasabi. Everything was so fresh and nicely presented. Cost: $$$
Zum Schwarzen Kameel: Our last meal of the trip! We had originally planned to go to Fabios, but was closed when we arrived. We wandered the streets for a little, and then came across this restaurant. Funny enough Travel and Leisure had it listed as a place you should eat. We ordered oysters to start. They were super bland. No flavor at all and super watery. They were also more expensive than my entrée. Needless to say I wasn’t all that thrilled. Our server wasn’t all that friendly either. But I don’t blame her, we came right around closing time. I ordered another pasta dish and it was fine. Nothing too memorable, as I can’t even remember what kind of pasta it was.
What You Should Do:
Obviously, everything above, but there was so much we didn’t get a chance to do that you all should experience.
Learn the Viennese Walz: A prominent and historical dance which was created in Vienna. Who knew it would cause such a controversy with the men holding the women oh so close!
Prater Park: Think of it as a small amusement park.
Visit Wachau Valley/Melk Abbey Winery: If I had enough time, this would have been our first stop.