Day 1 in Vienna
Welcome to Vienna, the capital city of Austria! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do.
The Austrian capital boasts coffee houses, museums, history and imperial palaces. And the best part is that everything is in close range. Most of Vienna`s major attractions are located around the Ringstrasse, a historic city center that is easily visited on foot. This is where some of the most prominent must-see sights in Vienna are located, such as the City Hall and the State Opera.
From the Ringstrasse, you have the option of taking a tram around the boulevard and getting off at the sights, or you can simply walk to them. We recommend you spend some time here getting acquainted with the city and taking in the ambiance.
Spend your first evening in Vienna enjoying a warm schnitzel and a glass of beer at anyone of the many restaurants in the city. If you choose to continue on your evening to the bar scene, make your way to the Bermuda Triangle, an area roughly bordered by Judengasse, Seitenstatengasse Rabensteig, and Franz-Josefs-Kai. You`ll find everything from intimate watering holes to large bars with live music.
Day 2 in Vienna
Wake up early today to continue your Viennese adventure at the Museums Quarter (`MQ`). The inner courtyard with funky lounge furniture, cafes and two main museums: The Mumok (Modern Art) and the Leopold (Austrian Impressionism). The Mumok presents changing contemporary art exhibitions as well as permanent collections of classical modernism, while the Leopold features work from Gustav Klimt, one of the greatest artists of Austrian art. The MQ also has smaller museums such as the Children`s Museum and Austrian architecture museum.
Then take a stroll around Maria-Theresien-Platz, a public square that sits in front of the MQ and holds two massive art museums that face each other, the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Fine Arts Museum) and the Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History). The Fine Arts Museum features Greek, Roman and Egyptian collections while the Museum of Natural History holds the largest collection of meteorites, animal displays and pre-historic art like `Venus of Willendorf,` a statuette of a curvy-shaped female figure from the years 28,000 to 25,000 BCE.
In the afternoon, take a break at one of the Viennese cafes in the area. You may want to try Cafe Landtmann, an elegant Viennese café and tourist hot-spot founded in 1873. Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist, was a frequent customer here.
After lunch take a stroll to Volksgarten, translated as `The People’s Garden,` it is part of the Hofburg Palace. In the center of the garden is the neoclassical Theseus Temple, a small-scale replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens. You will be in for quite the treat if you come when all the beautiful flowers and rose gardens are in bloom!
Walk through the garden until you see Heldenplatz (Heroes Square) - a large public square in front of the Hofburg`s residence. This is where the offices of the President of Austria are located. Also, in 1938, Adolf Hitler`s ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss (the invasion and forced incorporation by Nazi Germany) took place here. On the plaza are two equestrian statues and the Austrian National Library Square, which houses an incredibly large and ornate public library with 7.4 million items in its collections. Behind the library is Burggarten, another imperial garden, where you can take a picture alongside a statue of Mozart.
As you walk through the Hofburg residence, pass by the Imperial Spanish Riding School, the only riding school in the world where the classic equestrian skills (haute école) are preserved and practiced in its original form. Nearby are the Sisi Apartments which you can tour to learn more about Princess Sisi, Austria`s most misunderstood Empress, and see the once lavish lifestyle of Austria`s last Imperial family.
Eventually you come out onto Michaelerplatz (St. Michael`s Place) with the domed Michaelertrakt, a Neo-Baroque monument. In the middle of Michaelerplatz are excavated Roman ruins of a house with medieval foundations. One part of the circular area has St. Michael`s Church from 1792, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It is one of the oldest churches in Vienna and one of the few remaining Romanesque buildings in the city.
Stroll over to Demel, a famous pastry and chocolate shop built in 1786 that once served the royal court. Order a sweet treat such as the Sacher-Torte (famous Viennese chocolate cake with an apricot filling) or an apple strudel, and head to the back of the shop to watch bakers prepare their Viennese delicacies. After Demel, do some window shopping at the Golden Quarter, a luxury shopping street.
As evening approaches, we recommend dinner at Figlmüller, the `home of the schnitzel` for more than 100 years, where you can order their original Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad.
End your night by taking a night walk (gelato in hand) in the city at `Ferrari Gelato,` located near the Opera House. We recommend the almond and caramel flavors - so delicious!
Day 3 in Vienna
Begin your day with a stroll down Kärtnerstrasse, a famous shopping street and eventually end up at the Vienna State Opera House, one of the top opera houses in the world. This masterpiece from the 19th century provides first-class performances with over 50 operas and ballet shows 300 days per year. Next door is the Albertina Museum, known for its elegant staterooms and valuable art collections (such as Monet and Picasso paintings). Nearby is the famous sausage stand, Bitzingers, well known for their Kasekrainer (a cheese-stuffed sausage).
A few blocks away, and only open on Saturdays, is the Naschmarkt, a large farmer`s market that sells fresh fruits, vegetables, exotic spices, meats, and other international goodies. Only a few minutes away is the Secession Contemporary Art Building with its ever-changing collection of modern Austrian artwork. Just next door is another `must see`, Karlsplatz (or Charles Square), with the incredibly large Baroque-styled church of St. Charles built in 1737. Tours of the inside are available for a reasonable price.
In the afternoon, make your way to Belvedere Palace, a lovely palace from the 1700`s. We recommend you spend some time discovering the beautiful and widespread palace grounds, and tour inside the two buildings to see the beautiful collection of famous artwork.
Spend your last evening at Prater, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, it`s like stepping into another world. Take a ride on the Wiener Riesenrad, a giant Ferris wheel and famous Vienna landmark that was built in 1896. Also worth visiting is nearby Danube Park (Donaupark), a 250-acre open space that`s home to a fun miniature railroad, an artificial lake (Lake Iris), and a theater.
Alternatively, if you have more time and are willing to make the trip (about a 30 minute tram ride away), check out the wine tavern village of Grinzingand where you can enjoy some good wine and food at Feuerwehr Wagner, a family-owned establishment that has a 300 year old vineyard.
Additional Days in Vienna
Should you be able to spend additional days in Vienna we recommend you continue to explore in and around the city, there is still so much to see and do. Check out the Vienna Zoo, founded in 1752, this is the oldest zoo in the world. A highlight here is the 750 species of giant pandas, including cubs, as well as the many fascinating creatures housed in the interactive Rainforest House and Aquarium. Another fun attraction is the Madame Tussauds interactive wax museum offering up several photographic opportunities. You can study the wax figurines up close and see the incredible craft details. If you`ve never been to a Madame Tussauds, then this is great! You may also want to visit the Johann Strauss apartment, have a river cruise, check out the Sigmund Freud Museum and enjoy a wine cellar tour.
Your Last Day in Vienna
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel, in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.