36 hours in Vienna

To be honest, we probably should have visited Vienna first. After the absolute joy that was Salzburg, following it up with a busy, lively city where everyone smokes- even inside the restaurants- was quite a shock! We definitely made the right decision when we decided to stay for only one night in Vienna.  Hotel Astoria Vienna
We started our journey at Salzburg train station which was so clean and empty that it reminded me of this. Our train was the hourly Westbahn service direct to Vienna. Since I'm used to our crammed, dirty, delayed trains this was a completely different experience. Our comfy leather seats were inside a small self-contained carriage which only had about 8 other passengers. It was insanely clean and only cost the equivalent of £20 each for a journey over 2.5 hours long. If you want to travel in Austria, this is the way to do it! Although I was disappointed that our allocated seats were on the lower deck, this turned out to be for the best as the upper deck was a bit busier (though still a vast improvement on British trains!). I'd brought a book to read during the journey but I was so enamoured watching the Austrian countryside and lakes whizz by that I didn't even touch it! Westbahn train service Austria Review Westbahn Salzburg to Vienna
On our arrival in Vienna, we took the U Bahn a couple of stops to Stephansplatz, which is more or less smack bang in the middle of the city. Just like with Berlin, the service was punctual, easy to use and cheap. God bless the Germanic countries! Although our hotel was nowhere near as luxurious as Leopoldskron (far from it!), it was only a few hundred metres away from the U Bahn station. 
Austrian flags Vienna Vienna horses Vienna horse carriage ride
After checking in, we decided to get some lunch so, after a bit of trial-and-error trying to find somewhere that wasn't engulfed in a cloud of cigarette smoke, we settled down in an Italian restaurant. Since we'd spent our entire time in Paris running around trying to cram everything in, we made the decision not to plan our activities in advance while in Vienna. Instead, we figured we'd start our trip with a short tour of the city in a horse-drawn carriage.
Vienna architecture Vienna statue Hofburg Vienna
This turned out to be a really great idea as it helped us get our bearings and identify places that we might want to visit. Our driver pointed out different places of interest and told us facts about them, such as the oldest pub in Vienna and the musical clock that plays a song every day at 12pm. Rich had already considered visiting the Hofburg Palace and, when we trotted past it, it was so beautiful that we agreed to head straight back after the ride.
Summer in Vienna Chanel boutique shop Vienna Vienna Chanel Boutique Statue
We walked through the central shopping street, which has the most beautiful shops I've ever seen. The grey building on the left in the picture above is Chanel and it has these stunning statues adorning the sides. Surely the prettiest Chanel store in the world! We also found an Austrian Lush and it was the most exciting thing ever since everything was in German. You better believe I bought something! 
Lush Austria German Labels Original Wiener Apfelstrudel Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae Apple Strudel Almdudler Glass Bottle
When we reached Hofburg Palace, we decided to admire the architecture rather than go inside so we sat outside in a wonderful little cafe for an ice cream sundae in Rich's case and apple strudel in mine. Although the strudel wasn't quite as good as the one in Mondsee, it was still absolutely delicious! This cafe also puts on a daily apple strudel show where you can watch it being made, which I kind of wish I'd gone to see! Of course I also asked for an Almdulder and was delighted to see it come out in this kitschy glass bottle. I do love Almdudler. And I do love kitschy things. And the bottle was just sitting there, on the table, all empty and forlorn looking... so I popped it in my bag. I wasn't entirely sure if I was allowed to take an empty glass bottle in my hand luggage but it was too cute to resist! (In actual fact, when I got to the airport, I saw them stop the conveyer belt and focus in on my bag. The security guard called a colleague over and they both looked at it intently before one said "Ah! Almdudler!" and waved the bag through. I guess they get a lot of tourists smuggling out Almdudler bottles...)
St Stephan's Cathedral Vienna Hofburg Palace Vienna Hofburg Palace Dome Vienna
As we'd had an early start to catch our train, we headed back to the hotel early and settled in for the night, watching badly-dubbed Big Bang Theory and a German police drama called Die Chefin, which actually turned out to be really gripping even though I only understood about three words in the entire hour. It also showed graphic scenes of murder and nudity at 8pm, so I guess there's no watershed in Austria! (Turns out there is. I just looked it up on Wikipedia because I'm the kind of dull person who does that. If you are too, here's all the info you need)
Stephansdom Vienna Viennese Whirl Spring in Vienna
We woke up early the next morning so we could take advantage of the glorious weather before our evening flight. I'd got all excited when I heard that the 9th largest cemetery in the world, Zentralfriedhof, was in Vienna... until I realised it was a million miles outside of the city centre and only accessible by bus. To cheer me up, Rich suggested we visit the Kaisergruft, the resting place of generations of Austrian royalty, only a few minutes away. As with Petersfriedhof, I'll have a separate post about it to keep this post from getting longer than it already is! 
Ankler Musical Clock Vienna Danube canal Vienna
Afterwards, we walked up to see the aforementioned musical clock and then towards the Danube to see how blue it really was. Not that blue as it turns out... Mind you, we did only see the canal rather than the actual main river so maybe it's a bit bluer when you get to the main Danube. There was a Hard Rock Cafe nearby so, although it's hardly Austrian culture, it was smoke-free and you know what you're going to get. We did both choose the Local Legend Burger with cheese-infused Austrian sausage, so that's close enough! 
Vienna Natural History Museum Vienna Natural History Museum map Taxidermy birds museum display Painted decorative human skull
While we were eating, we looked up places to spend our last couple of hours and settled on the Natural History Museum. Let me tell you, it puts the London one to shame! The architecture and interior is absolutely stunning, and it has a wonderful anthropology department with a whole bunch of interesting skulls and skeletons. My favourite was this beautifully painted one.
Achtung! Vienna at Sunset
As it was such a lovely day, we spent a few minutes lying on the grass outside watching the busking band until it was time to head back for the airport. With that, we were bidding farewell to Vienna. I'm sure I would have loved it if only I hadn't been to Salzburg first! I'm sure I'll return for a daytrip at some point but it's not at the top of my list. 

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  1. I've been really enjoying your travel posts, it's so interesting seeing places through someone else's eyes!

    Can't wait to

  2. Gorgeous photos! It looks like a very interesting place to visit! x x

  3. Ah I'm off in August and will definitely take up your suggestion of the Natural History Museum.
    A Story of a Girl

  4. Vienna is so pretty! I wish we had more time to explore during our trip a few months ago. Just an excuse to get back again soon :)

  5. I've been to Salzburg but not Vienna! It does look beautiful- that coloured-tiled church roof looks really similar to a church roof in Basle! We spent our honeymoon in Switzerland and used the trains for the full 14 days there- it was amazing like you say!!! The natural history museum looks amazing- all those birds!!

  6. Wow! It looks like you had an amazing time in Vienna, what a beautiful place! Also, your blog design is stunning!
    Milly x

  7. Vienna looks like a dream, I'd just love to visit one day! You've seen and done quite a lot, this is what I call a successful trip! The Natural History museum must have been really interesting, that skull is unlike anything I've ever seen! I'm surprised about the lack of smoke-free restaurants though, this is something I wouldn't like!

    Julia x
    Last post: Review of the Stila liquid lipstick in shade Patina!

  8. What a lovely post! I'm living in Vienna and this post made me see the city from a different perspective. I can say though that it is not smoky everywhere, you just have to find a good restaurant :) but yes it is allowed to smoke in the restaurants and I hate it too, but unfortunately our politics can't decide how they want to it :(

    if you travel here the next time I would recommend to visit the Schloss Schönbrunn and the Zoo :) Also a dinner at the Donauturm is really nice!

    xx Mena


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