St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna
I have just come back from a short stay in Vienna – February was meant to be a clear month from travelling given a January ski trip and a birthday trip planned next month, but last minute Levi got a gig to represent his work place and speak at a conference in Vienna – it was was going to be on Valentine’s Day – so it all just sort of made sense and slotted perfectly into place as the perfect excuse for a trip away. A few weeks of planning and we were off. It was only a very short 2-day round trip but it was still great to get a taste of such a beautiful city and also have a break from the UK – so, if you’re like me, with just a bit of time to spare, here’s how you can utilise a short stay in Vienna…
*As it was such a short trip (and as I err… forgot) – I didn’t bring my DSLR. In which case – enjoy these iPhone 6s photos. I’ll ideally be getting my hands on an X soon, which means better quality 24/7 % of the time, yay.
Grand Ferdinand Hotel Rooftop
Where to stay?
We booked our hotel super last minute, and despite it being Valentine’s Day we managed to book a room at the Grand Ferdinand hotel which was right across the road from where the conference was being held (The Ritz Carlton). We were truly living in up – the hotel had two restaurants, a gym, and a rooftop pool; and although we only stayed in Vienna for a little while we did have the chance to check out the pool, and also enjoyed some steak at the restaurant on the evening of Valentine’s Day. If we were there for longer we definitely would have checked out what the gym had to offer. The staff were extremely nice, very helpful, and the hotel itself was absolutely gorgeous with very lovely interior. If you’re open to spending a little extra – or you’re having a short stay – I would definitely recommend the Grand Ferdinand. Plus, it was literally walking distance from many of the monuments and the city center as it pretty much was in the city center. Away from our little area, we spotted a lot of other hotels when generally walking around, and also heard of a few other pretty luxurious hotels with good price tags which also boasted a number of great amenities. Basically, finding a good place to stay will definitely not be a concern in Vienna. Also, Vienna is super small – so wherever it is you do choose to say is likely to be a max of 30 minutes from the city center (the airport itself is a 20 minute drive!)
What to eat?
Before I went to Vienna my colleagues told me that I absolutely had to try out the “Schnitzels”, so I was pretty much a mission to taste this as soon as I touched down. On the second day, we ended up grabbing lunch from a restaurant called “Schnitzel love” which happened to be next door to our hotel; and what I can say is that the Schnitzel didn’t quite live up to expectations. First of all – for some reason I had an impression that a Schitnzel was just some sort of super sausage, but it was far from. It’s really a slab of meat (veil) baked in fats/oils to produce something that erm… probably wasn’t worth all the calories. That said, I’d still recommend trying out a Schnitzel if you happen to be meat eater and find yourself in Vienna, just to get a more authentic taste of the city. Away from this, I was told to try out the “Sacher” cakes, another famous food of Vienna (aka, a chocolate cake). Although I never got around to trying this, I did walk away eating a whole pack of the Manner wafer cakes, which was an achievement in itself. A positive of the food in Vienna is that it was pretty cheap, and coming from London where everything is crazily priced, that is always something refreshing about going abroad. Whilst it’s not exactly as cheap as Budapest, it’s definitely very well priced for what you get and makes for comfortable spending when abroad in the city.
What to see?
As we spent the first day at the conference/eating out for Valentine’s Day, we were up early the next day to get in as much sight seeing as possible, and tried just to target the main monuments. Luckily, as we were close to the center, everything was really within walking distance. Perhaps unluckily – it was cold as a mf, so we split up our sight seeing up with a lot of stops in random shops which also led to a lot of unsolicited, impulse buys.
A few of the sights we were able to see include St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hofburg Palace and Peterskirche. For sure if you are a fan of Baroque architecture – with the churches, cathedrals and palaces, then Vienna will be your cup your cup of tea. There are an endless amount of monuments to visit, which are also each quite close together. It is definitely a beautiful (and romantic) city, something I’ve always been told about Vienna over the years.
Overall, it was great to get a taste of the beautiful city that is Vienna. Vienna has been on my radar as a place to visit now for maybe just over a year, so it was pretty perfect timing to be able to go on Valentine’s Day with a lot of the trip already funded due to the occasion. I’d definitely love to go back, perhaps in a hotter time, to really experience and soak up the city in its entirety.