Our Guide to a Long Weekend in ViennaMay 11, 2017 10:00 am
Planning a city break in the Austrian capital? You’ll want to check out our guide to a long weekend in Vienna first!
Setting off for a long weekend in Vienna? This historic capital city has lots to offer, from imperial palaces and acres of greenery, to philharmonic delights and delicious cakes. Brought to you by the team at the Vienna PASS, here are our top tips to get your trip off to a flying start.
Day 1 – Keep it central
The entire historic city centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site – it’s essentially an enormous open-air museum. Located here, is the Spanish Riding School. It’s more than 450 years old and offers spectacular dressage performances, set to classical music, as well as public viewing of some training sessions. The 20-minute quadrille is considered the longest and most difficult in the world.
The Stephansdom (St Stephen’s Cathedral) is also close by. Founded in 1137, this is the church where Haydn sang as a schoolboy and where Mozart got married. As well as the beautiful architecture, there are spectacular views to be had from the church towers. Or why not go into the catacombs for a guided tour?
Ready for lunch? With a history dating to the 1600s, Vienna’s famous coffee houses offer a lot more than just cake. Although you would be in the perfect place for Sachertorte as dessert.
Energy levels replenished, it’s time for more sightseeing. Why not visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the traditional seat of the Habsburg dynasty? Admire the opulence and grandeur of the imperial apartments and learn more about the fascinating life of Empress ‘Sisi’, who helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria and Hungary.
Day 2 – Off to Schönbrunn
The Schönbrunn Palace is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the imperial summer residence for over three centuries. It’s outside the city centre, but the palace is easy to get to with good public transport connections. Alternatively, you can also hop onto the yellow HOP ON HOP OFF line by Vienna Sightseeing Tours. A perfect destination during a long weekend in Vienna.
A tour of the palace’s grand state rooms and luxurious private apartments offers a glimpse into the changing tastes and aspirations of the Habsburg inhabitants over the centuries. Don’t miss the Room of Mirrors, where a young Mozart gave his first public performance.
The gardens are also beautiful, so it’s well worth allowing time for a leisurely stroll or for a coffee break at the Gloriette. The Privy Garden with its rare plants, the Orangery and the maze offer a chance to relax for visitors of all ages.
The Schönbrunn Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn) is also in the palace grounds. Built in 1752, it is the oldest zoo in the world. Originally home to the imperial menagerie, the zoo’s main purpose is now as a conservation centre. The new giraffe house is due to open on 10 May.
And why not round off the day with a classical concert? There are many held in the Schönbrunn grounds by the Palace Orchestra and Ensemble, as well as by visiting orchestras and groups. If you prefer, you can also choose from the dozens of concerts held across the city.
Day 3 – End on a high note
Vienna is not all about classical culture though. The Mumok Museum of Modern Art houses a collection from the 20th and 21st centuries, including work by Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Pablo Picasso, Yoko Ono, Günter Brus and Gerhard Richter. It now has more than 9,000 pieces of work and also includes performance art, photography and video.
End your visit on a high note at the Prater amusement park. Home to the Riesenrad, a giant Ferris wheel that takes you 212 feet (65m) into the air for spectacular views over the city. Constructed in 1897, it has been a recognisable part of the capital’s skyline for a long time. It also appears in the James Bond film ‘The Living Daylights’ and the 2015 film ‘Woman in Gold’, about the reclaiming of the Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. (also in The Third Man movie from 1949).
A weekend in Vienna is of course much too short to really explore all that the city has to offer. Maybe this trip will whet your appetite for more! Many of the above mentioned attractions are included in the Vienna PASS. Visit our website for more details or download the Vienna PASS guidebook for free!