Travel guide: Vienna in 48 hours
Walk around Vienna and you will know why Austria’s capital is one of the finest and most historical cities in Europe. The imposing buildings and imperial palaces are the living proof of Vienna’s grandeur in earlier times. Today, the city still hasn’t lost its charming character!
Vienna is a joy to explore. With its many shops and galleries, various museums and multiple music venues, the list of things to do is endless. Spending 48 hours in Vienna is the bare minimum to get a glimpse of this wonderful city.
However, if that is all you got, here are are our Vienna travel tips to spend your time as efficient as possible!
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Language: German
- Airport: Vienna International Airport (train connection straight to city centre)
- Weather: Beware of cold weather between December and March. Optimal mild and sunny weather around May/June or in September.
The famous Hofburg Palace is a must-see location and a great way to start the day. This former winter home of the Habsburg court is located in the centre of Vienna and houses three fascinating museums. The Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Silver Collection provide great insights into the daily life at the imperial court.
Museums aside, it is also home to the prestigious Spanish Riding School. The traditions on how to train and master the Lipizzaner stallions have been passed on by word of mouth for over 450 years! A morning training is scheduled almost every day and however tickets cannot be reserved, we found no issues getting in when showing up as early as the training begins.
You probably need an entire day to cover the complete art collection of the Albertina Museum. Not much of a surprise when you know that this is one of the largest and most prestigious art collections in the world!
If you’re not into the art-thingy, just walk around the Albertina Museum and you’ll find the former royal garden for the Habsburg family. A Mozart memorial, a butterfly house and the majestic Neue Burg building dominate the sights.
This green spot in the middle of the city is a popular spot for office workers to escape their crowded desk but is equally suitable for travellers looking for a little respite!
Vienna State Opera House
We happen to keep on stumbling upon opera houses in the past months! After Paris and Milan, the Wiener Staatsoper was next! Opened in 1869 and being one of the world’s leading opera houses, its stage has seen many great musicians. However the initial opera house got destroyed during the Second World War, the reconstructed building is impressive by itself!
Unmistakenly called Vienna’s most beautiful church by many locals, this is a spot not to pass on. The impressive Karlskirche was built to impress and its unique appearance makes that very clear. With its Roman and Greek influences, you could easily mistake yourself for being in Southern Europe!
When visiting Vienna in November or December, the square in front of the church has a very enjoyable Christmas market! Cozy little stalls and a hay-covered floor included!
The historic complex of Belvedere is another cultural highlight you want to see with your own eyes. I’m still not sure what I like most: its impressive Baroque construction or the beautiful park that surrounds it. Regardless, it’s a wonderful place to walk around.
The palace itself is now an art museum, housing one of the largest collections of paintings by Gustav Klimt. Though impressive, walking around the gardens is probably what romantic souls enjoy most!
Located just outside Vienna but easily reachable by metro lies another historical gem. Built to compete with the palace in Versailles, the impressive Schönbrunn Palace is yet another 18th-century masterpiece. Having served as a former hunting residence and later as the residence of Maria Theresa, the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions, it’s 1.441 rooms hold a lot of history.
However only 40 of those rooms are open to the public, a visit is still worthwhile. Particularly interesting are the stories and anecdotes about the Austrian emperors that throw you back in time as you make your way to the historic quarters.
If the weather is with you (so nothing like the pouring rain I made the above picture in), make some time to walk the palace’s spectacular gardens. Over 500 acres of greenspace awaits you, with numerous pathways leading to the many flowerbeds, sculptures, the huge Neptune’s fountain or the impressive Palm House.
Vienna has many cultural highlights, but the area around the Museumsquartier is a hotspot for art or history aficionados. If you don’t belong to that group, we can highly recommend the beautiful Natural History Museum.
Forget the boring displays and dusty maquettes, this museum is all about providing an informative overview of mother nature’s best work! Minerals, prehistoric species, dinosaur bones and high-quality taxidermy on animals from all over the world summarizes an impressive collection.
Enough of all that history? Fortunately, shops and galleries are just as present as museums and music venues! The area around the Kärntner Strasse gives various shopping opportunities that suit everybody’s wallet. From high-street stores to glamorous designer brands, Vienna has something for everybody’s style and taste!
All our Vienna travel tips gathered on the map:
What we liked
- Culture and history in Vienna are all around. Whether you around the many historical buildings or visit one of its many museums, Vienna enriches you in many ways.
- We loved the kind and friendly attitude along the Austrians we met. Such nice people!
What we disliked
- We’re not a big fan of the greasy Austrian food. That might be a personal preference though!