A few years ago Vienna, Austria was voted one of the worlds most livable cities. After spending time there I can definitely see why. It’s a gorgeous historic capital city that has seen a lot of history ! Ted and I had just one full day to enjoy everything this city had to offer. Due to unforeseen circumstances (see my An Unexpected Night In Warsaw post for details) our time in Vienna was cut short and on the plane ride there I had to react and make last minute edits to our itinerary. I’m happy to say that I’m pretty sure I made the right choices since Ted and I loved Vienna. Keep reading to see what we were able to fit into one day of sight seeing !
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens –
It was a beautiful sunny morning so we decided to walk to Schönbrunn Palace. Our hotel was just a few blocks away so it was a nice way to kick off the day and save on train fare. Schönbrunn was the summer home of the Hapsburg family. Its most famous residents include the Empress Marie Theresa and her infamous daughter Marie Antoinette. I had visited Vienna years ago when I studied abroad in college so had been inside the castle and chose not to take the palace tour since we had our time cut short. Schönbrunn is a lot like Versailles so once you’ve seen one 18th century palace you get the gist. Instead Ted and I ventured into the free gardens out back and they did not disappoint. We hiked up the massive hill and got a gorgeous panorama of Vienna that we took time to sit and enjoy.
Hofburg Palace –
After the gardens we took the Vienna Metro to the Karlsplatz stop and found our way to Hofburg Palace. I have to give a quick shout out to Vienna’s Metro map – its incredibly easy to understand and so well connected, it made traveling from point A to B low stress. Hofburg Palace was the official imperial residence and has been the heart of Vienna for centuries – its an expansive mass of classical buildings designed to impress. While here you can take one of the palace tours or just wander the grounds and take a break in one of the nearby cafes for some schnitzel!
National Library of Austria –
Being the book lover that I am I try to make a visit to the National Library of every major city I visit. Vienna’s National Library is gorgeous and reminded me of the library from Beauty & the Beast. It’s on the grounds of the Hofburg Palace so it was very easy to get to. There’s nothing so beautiful as a giant room dedicated to books!
St. Stephen’s Cathedral –
Just a quick walk from the Hofburg Palace (if you take the Metro, its located at the Stephansplatz stop) is the 14th century Roman Catholic church – St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I love medieval cathedrals built in the gothic style. They are so creepy and eerily beautiful. ! Unlike its German cousin, Austria has always been very Catholic, so Vienna is full of stunning churches from every era. However St. Stephen’s is the “original” and a must-see.
Maria Theresien-Platz –
We arrived here at sunset and had gorgeous views of Vienna’s famous Art & Science Museums. In the center of this square sits a statue of Marie Theresa herself – Vienna has had many rulers in its history but she is the one everyone loves to remember. She was the original #bosslady.
Dinner at Ilona Stuberl –
The best meal we ate on the entire trip was actually Hungarian food (making a mental note to add Budapest to our list….). The restaurant was called Ilona Stuberl and located on Braunerstrassesmall street, which is just off Graben. It was a tiny space decorated in a folksy style – but oh lord was the food incredible. The most amazing item is the Jokai Bean Soup . The soup was so good I couldn’t even take a picture of it because Ted and I scarfed it down so fast. For our dinner we had the Stuffed Cabbage and Lesco Chicken with Rice.
For dessert we made our way to Delmel, Vienna’s most famous patisserie established in 1786. Have some apple strudel and tea – you won’t be disappointed. The ambience is decadent but the prices are reasonable!
So there you have it – a perfect day in Vienna – I utterly love this city and can’t wait to go back one day.