How We Spent 72 Hours in Vienna

I almost didn’t make it to Vienna. A few days before departure, I found out that WizzAir changed our return flight from Sunday to Monday evening and considered asking for a refund. Luckily enough, I decided we should use it as an opportunity to explore the city properly because let me tell you… Vienna is officially one of my favourite city break destinations and I don’t say this lightly.

A street sign on a pastel pink building in Vienna, Austria
A street sign in Vienna, Austria
View from a bridge in Vienna, Austria
The Ankeruhr clock in Vienna, Austria
The outside of Café Prückel in Vienna, Austria
A street in Vienna, Austria

Vienna is a picturesque place where you can find something worth capturing at every corner. It’s a city as cosmopolitan as my beloved London without the hustle and bustle and the overwhelming crowds. A city perfect for history, architecture and music enthusiasts that feels like it was taken straight from a fairytale with all of its opulent palaces and buildings.

St. Charles’ Church in Vienna, Austria
A blossoming magnolia tree in Vienna, Austria
A girl in an animal print dress standing by a blossoming magnolia tree in Vienna, Austria
The outside of Aida café in Vienna, Austria
Traffic lights in Vienna, Austria
A couple crossing the street in Vienna, Austria

The best part about Vienna is you can easily explore all of its highlights in a couple of days. I, however, could easily spend an entire week there and I often catch myself thinking about returning in the future.

Getting from the Vienna Airport

The airport transfer system is something we didn’t quite grasp the concept of. Having done our research on Wikitravel, we decided to take the S7 train to the Rennweg station as it was the cheapest option. According to Wikitravel, you need two separate tickets to board the train – one for the Vienna zone and one for the outside zone as the airport is technically outside of the city, with a single fare of €4.20. Our Airbnb host also confirmed it.

When we used one of the ticket machines available at the airport, the price came to €2.20. We decided to buy our tickets at the counter to make sure we did everything correctly. A friend of ours paid €4.20 for her ticket, whereas my boyfriend and I paid €4.60 for 2 tickets. We just assumed that buying more than 1 ticket counts as a group ticket, hence the price difference. This is definitely something to keep in mind though!

Places we visited in Vienna

Prater

The Wurstelprater, commonly called Prater, is the world’s oldest amusement park that is open 24/7 and accessible free of charge. Only access to individual attractions is charged, with fees ranging between €1.50 and € 5.00.

The Wiener Riesenrad in Prater - Vienna, Austria

It is also home to Wiener Riesenrad, one of the tallest and oldest Ferris wheels in the world. At €12, it is a rather pricey attraction, but the views from the top make it worthwhile. There are also a number of hire cabins. You can enjoy a candlelight dinner, coffee or cocktails if you are looking for an unforgettable experience and the price tag doesn’t scare you.

Apart from the Riesenrad, we also went on the Super 8 Bahn rollercoaster which cost €4.50. Although we found it enjoyable, we agreed that the lap bars felt rather unstable. As it was my boyfriend’s first time ever riding a rollercoaster and I’m an old hand, I had to reassure him that this is absolutely not the standard. Not an ideal first impression, but we’ve since been to Tivoli Gardens together, so I suppose it wasn’t all that bad 😉

Schönbrunn Palace

The Schönbrunn Palace is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful baroque palace complexes in Europe and is not to be missed. It is the former summer residence of the Habsburgs, including Maria Theresa, Emperor Franz Joseph, or Empress Elisabeth who you might better know as Sissi. As I vividly remember watching the movie ‘Sissi’ with my mum as a little girl, I was excited to finally see this place in person.

The outside of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
The outside of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl standing outside the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl sitting on the steps of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl on the steps of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl standing under a pergola with vines in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl standing under a pergola with vines in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl standing under a pergola with vines in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

The Schönbrunn Palace park, which is lined with magnificent fountains, statues, trees, and flowers can be accessed free of charge. You can also enjoy some coffee and pastries at Café Gloriette located on top of the hill overlooking the palace.

Café Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
Café Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl standing by Café Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl standing by Café Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
A girl standing by Café Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

The Imperial Carriage Museum, Orangery Garden, Crown Prince Garden, Maze and Labyrinth, Vienna Zoo, Palm House, and Desert Experience House are also part of the complex. They can all be accessed at an additional fee.

I would love to return when all the flowers are in full bloom and the Palm House can be seen in all its glory. The woman selling tickets told us there was barely anything inside at the time of our visit and advised us against purchasing tickets. We greatly appreciated the honesty though!

Belvedere

The Belvedere Palace complex consists of two magnificent baroque palaces, the Upper and the Lower Belvedere. They are located on a shallow slope and separated by a beautiful garden area with decorative fountains and baroque sculptures.

The outside of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria
A sculpture in the garden area of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria

Both palaces are home to the greatest collection of Austrian artwork. They are complemented by the work of famous international artists, including Van Gogh and Monet. We decided not to go inside and took a walk in the palace gardens instead.

A girl in an animal print dress standing outside the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria
The outside of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria

Stephansdom

Stephansdom, also known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, has become a symbol of Vienna. With its multi-coloured roof and the enormous south tower, it is a distinctive feature of the city’s skyline.

The outside of Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) in Vienna, Austria
The outside of Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) in Vienna, Austria

It holds the tomb of Emperor Friedrich III, the Vienna Neustadt altar, the catacombs, and Austria’s largest bell. They can all be viewed at an additional fee.

Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) in Vienna, Austria

Schmetterlinghaus

You may have seen a graphic circulating on the Internet that lists the word for a butterfly in various languages. The harsh-sounding German word ‘Schmetterling’ definitely stands out among other translations, which became a source of many jokes.

The inside of Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria
A butterfly at Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria
A man taking photos at Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria

While I’ll admit the suggestion to visit this place was a direct consequence of these jokes, it ultimately led to us discovering this hidden gem right in the heart of Vienna. Schmetterlinghaus, aka the Butterfly House, is a tropical paradise located in a magnificent glasshouse right by the Hofburg Palace. You can see various exotic freeflying butterflies and, if you’re lucky, some may even land on you for a wonderful photo op.

Adult tickets are €7, while students can enjoy this underrated attraction for a mere €5.50.

Butterflies eating an apple at Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria
Butterflies eating an apple at Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria
A girl taking photos of butterflies at Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria
The inside of Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria
A girl looking at butterflies at Schmetterlinghaus in Vienna, Austria

Ringstraße

You may also take a walk along the Ringstraße. The boulevard is 5.3 km long and forms a circle around the Old Town district of Vienna. It is lined by the most important buildings and sights, including the University of Vienna, Vienna State Opera, Imperial Palace, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Parliament. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare, it’s the perfect way to see many of the city’s highlights in one afternoon.

The University of Vienna building
Art History Museum in Vienna, Austria

I hope you found my little travel guide helpful and it gave you some ideas of places worth visiting if you ever decide to tick Vienna off your list. As I have already mentioned, I would love to return and spend more than 3 days in the city. While I enjoyed my time there thoroughly, as this trip was done on a budget, we didn’t go inside most of these places and just took advantage of the marvellous weather! I’m currently working on putting together a blog post listing all the restaurants and cafés we visited during our stay in the Austrian capital, so keep your eyes peeled for the second part!

Read more: The Best Dishes and Restaurants We Tried in Vienna

A postcard in Vienna, Austria

If you have already been to Vienna, feel free to tell me your favourite places and recommendations! Is there anything I absolutely cannot miss next time I’m in the city?

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8 Comments

    • Dominika
      Author
      September 25, 2020 / 5:47 pm

      Thank you so much, lovely! <3 Have you ever been to Vienna?

    • Dominika
      Author
      April 13, 2020 / 10:49 am

      I would highly recommend Vienna for a city break, I’d love to go back! Where would you like to go when all this is over? x

  1. April 11, 2020 / 3:28 pm

    Looks like a picturesque and lovely city. I like all your maxi dresses, you look fabulous. That sign with a kangaroo is so cool, I think because Austria sometimes mistaken as Australia or the other way around.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    • Dominika
      Author
      April 12, 2020 / 10:52 am

      Thank you so much, lovely! Yes, it’s a source of many jokes among people, although I’ve personally never heard anyone mistake these two! As a person living in Australia, do you get that a lot? x

    • Dominika
      Author
      April 9, 2020 / 10:40 am

      Couldn’t agree more! Have you ever been to Vienna?

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