It must be said: two days is not long enough to see Vienna. There are so many things to do in Vienna! Vienna food, history and charm offer traveling couples adventure at every turn. One could spend an entire lifetime as a student of Vienna. For those of you looking for a two day itinerary for Vienna, here are our recommendations.
Vienna: An Overview
Our first recommendation upon arrival is to get a quick feel for the city. We typically recommend the hop on and hop off buses when we see a city for the first time. We ran into a problem with this in Vienna. All of Vienna looks the same. There is no Eiffel tower, No arc de Triumph to help with memory points. We found a great solution on our last trip to Vienna:
Instead of the bus, we recommend an Iphone app called Gretl Goes. Using Gretl’s handy app you can hone in on a quick walking tour that gives you a much deeper intro into what you will be seeing. Vienna is one of the easiest cities to traverse on foot. The metro and bus system is really second to none. Armed with the maps and insights of this handy app, you will become a Vienna pro in no time.
Are you into WWII? Take her WWII walking tour and hit the high points in roughly 3 hours. (We are begging Gretl to make a WWI tour!)
If you are a foodie, skip to the gourmet walking tour. It includes visits to the Kipfelhaus the birthplace of the Croissant, a pop in at the Sacher café and what food tour would be complete without a visit to the Naschmarket. The foodie tour ends in our fave gelato joint in all of Austria, Zanoni & Zanoni. Grab some lunch in a café and your gelato and get moving! We only have two days!
Once you have your bearings, lets dive into the must see of Vienna. Your afternoon will be spent at the imperial summer residence: Schönbrunn Palace. When you purchase your tickets, make sure and pick up a helpful Schonbrunn Palace map. Schonbrunn ranks right up there with Versailles, Fountianbleau and Dolamache. It is simply stunning and thus a must see for any visit to Vienna. The humble abode boasts 1,440 rooms! You could easily spend two days seeing the mansion and strolling the gardens. A complete afternoon will offer you the highlights and are a great primer on the Hapsburg Dynasty and a little Austrian history. We recommend that you take the helpful audio guided tour of inside the palace followed by some wandering in the parks.
Dinner: Griechenbeisl (The Greek Inn)
Dinner for your first night in Vienna will be at an establishment that opened in 1447! America hadn’t been discovered by the western world yet! The Griechenbeisl caters to tourist for the most part now, but the food is actually really good. On the evening we dined there a piano player churned out some great tunes and the wait staff were very attentive. We highly recommend the filet of beef with green beans. The prices are affordable and the portions sizable.
The Spanish Riding School
Since you are only in Vienna for short time, we recommend seeing things that are uniquely Viennese. The Lipizzaner Stallions of the famed Spanish Riding School fits that bill. Seeing an evening Lipizzaner performance is quite expensive for those of us that are “Euro-challenged”. A much more affordable option is viewing the practice session held in the morning. It is open to the general public for a reasonable fee, check their website for specifics. We do recommend that you get there early. The early birds get the best seats. http://www.srs.at/en/ Hit the gift store on the way out and get your brood some Spanish Riding School swag.
Just down the road from the stables is the Imperial Treasury. This impressive collection of state offers the highlights of both the Hapsburg and the Holy Roman Empires. Highlights of the museum include: the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the Holy Grail (yes, it could be that one), as well as Napoleon II’s crib. There are also vestments of royalty, gaudy jewel encrusted gloves, and historical arms and armaments. We would skip visiting the royal apartment tour. The Schönbrunn Palace tour you took yesterday is better organized and frankly more impressive. Keep moving!
Zentralfriedhof (The Central Cemetery)
For your last afternoon in Vienna, we recommend that you visit some of Vienna’s best and well know composers and musicians. No, we are not sending you to a concert. We are sending you to their final resting place. This last stop is a bit morbid, but for us it was one of the most interesting stops in Vienna: the Vienna Central Cemetery. We did an entire post about our visit there: Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof: the Intersection of Beauty and Remembrance. Visiting the central cemetery is a lesson is history as well as a Viennese tradition.
Trattoria da Angelo
This recommendation is going to sound a little strange…but hear us out. We are going to send you to a Italian Trattoria in Vienna. The Trattoria Da Angelo is a wonderful little (there are only a handful of tables) place just behind St. Stephens Cathedral. The fare is southern Italian with really good seafood dishes. The scampi dish is to die for! The best part is that it is owned by a great couple!
Enjoy your visit to Vienna!