A short break in Vienna


The idea for this 4-week trip was that it was going to be a little impulsive, that is I had a rough idea where I was going and a couple of places that I had to be but I was going to decide all the bits in between along the way.

The trouble with this is that it’s August and Europe tends to book up pretty solidly, meaning that what I ‘fancy’ doing is not always available or, if it is it is prohibitively expensive, or it comes with a long, long queue.

downloadI had three days to fill in between Budapest and Paris and a great little bus company called Orangeway on hand, with cheap-ish fares to a number of destinations.  However just about everywhere that I tried (Berlin, Ljubljana and Amsterdam to name three) were fully booked.  After trying a few combinations (and wishing they had a button labeled ‘where can I go from Budapest on Monday?) I finally found they had just one seat left travelling to Vienna.

So that is how I ended up spending three days in Vienna.

Three days (or in reality two-and-a-half) is probably sufficient for Vienna.  It’s not that it isn’t a perfectly nice little city, but three days were enough.

I went up to the funfair at Prater and rode the big wheel that featured in the movie The 3rd Man.

The Ferris wheel, as seen in the movie 'the 3rd man'.  There is a museum dedicated to the movie, but it's only open on Saturdays and I wasn't there for a Saturday.  Disappointing.

The Ferris wheel, as seen in the movie ‘the 3rd man’. There is a museum dedicated to the movie, but it’s only open on Saturdays and I wasn’t there for a Saturday. Disappointing.

I went to the Naschmarket and the Museum quarter.

Naschmarket, goo for spices, food and tacky clothes

Naschmarket, good for spices, food and tacky clothes/souvenirs

Museum Quarter

Museum Quarter

I went down to the Danube at Donauinsel, where they have constructed a makeshift beach for the city, but it was raining quite hard by then so I didn’t stick around.  The constant drizzle every day was annoying; effectively limiting me to museums and indoor activities.

a closer look at 'third man' Ferris wheel.  It was my favourite thing in Vienna.

a closer look at ‘third man’ Ferris wheel. It was my favourite thing in Vienna. Built in 1897 it has wooden huts that sedately travel round.

There is a very efficient metro system to get you wherever you want to go, with clear concise maps.  Cost: € 2.20 per trip, or get a card if you’re going to be there longer.

Failing that Vienna is very cycle friendly (so much so that you have to make sure you don’t meander into cycle lanes when you’re out walking, or face the wrath of irritated cyclists)

Also note, Vienna does tend to close down a little early – most supermarkets shut at seven. .

18 replies »

  1. I’ve always thought Vienna would be a great place to spend a few days. Great tips – good to know supermarkets close at 7pm! I would be the person trying to go to one at 8pm and end up disappointed!

    • You would be surprised the number of times you think ‘oh I’ll go get a can of coke/bar of chocolate’ or whatever and then find that nowhere is open.

  2. Love the spontaneity! Vienna sounds like a lovely place to hang out for a few days! minus the rain and drizzle of course since we get enough of that in England 🙂 I hadn’t heard of Orangway before, will have to take a look at them.

  3. Vienna is amazing. I was blessed to spend some time in the city and see what it has to offer. I am sad to read that the weather wasn’t the greatest, but you were able to make the most of it! Orangway is new to me, but next time I am there, I definitely will check it out.

  4. Vienna is such a stately city with beautiful architecture and fabulous museums. I could spend three days just visiting the museums. Actually, I could spend another three days on the Viennese cafe trail.

    • I suppose it depends what you are hoping to do. Since it was August I wanted to be out walking or cycling but the weather was too miserable. The museums were good but I really didn’t want to spend my whole trip in a museum.

    • Yes it is expensive, relative to some nearby places like Bratislava or Budapest. Actually I’d rather have Budapest than Vienna, or Prague.

  5. This is almost exactly what we did! We were just passing through and decided to stay a couple of nights! Can agree you don’t really need to long! Though after talking to some other travellers i heard it was great to explore the rest of Austria and head into the country!

    • Well yes you can always fill more time if you have it. But I felt three days was enough; I didn’t feel a great need to explore further.

  6. Vienna is a beautiful city! One of my favorite museums, the Sound Museum, is located there. It’s an interactive museum so you won’t get bored for sure, even if you’re not a big music fan. If you get the chance to go back, I’d recommend checking it out!

    • Ah people always tell you stuff after you leave, don’t they? There are interesting museums there but I wasn’t in a museum mood. Sometimes I am but this was August and I wanted to be out and about

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