‘A load of old buildings and shit’ is how Vienna was described before we arrived, and for the much part that was about right. But as you delve deeper you realise the Austrian capital is much more than historic buildings… and shit.
Don’t get me wrong; there is amass of spectacular architecture dotted all around the city, which makes it worth the visit alone, but the city has a chilled vibe and a lot more that goes with it.
Three quarters of Austria’s population is housed in Vienna, so as expected the city is densely populated and always busy. Apart from Sundays, when like most of Europe, everything stops.
Our accommodation, Hostel Ruthensteiner, was much like the city, a very chilled vibe, but also one that never stopped and comes alive at night. The instantly welcoming staff are more than happy to advise you of what the city has to offer as well as any tips you’ll need during your stay.
Quick Tip: Google Maps doesn’t work in Vienna, be sure to download the alternative ‘Quando’ on arrival.
Ruthensteiner has an open dining room conjoined to a bar and common room. The bar is open from 7 and beer is cheap and very soft. It’s ‘til about 12, so if you don’t fancy going out but want to meet your fellow travellers, it’s the perfect place.
The Hostel is very music orientated, and is many musicians choice during their stay. They supply guitars and a piano, with playing hours between 10am-11pm.
They have a large kitchen and two very nice garden areas. Dorms are spacious and the beds comfy. Rooms also come with a en suite bathroom, which we thought was a nice touch.
Be sure to try the Elderflower Lemonade on offer in the reception too. It’s delicious.
Location wise, Hostel Ruthensteiner is good. A 20 minute walk to the city centre and much of the cities sights. And a two-minute walk to the Westbahnof, where you’ll find the flawless train service that will take you anywhere you want for just over 2 euros a trip.
Another thing the hostel’s a big champion of, is advertising the Opera, with updated events always on a notice board. Tickets sell for around 5 euros and it is definitely worth the visit.
The State Opera building is stunning. The fact you can see a very high end show, that many locals dress up for, for such a good price is astounding. The tickets are standing though, and right at the back of the Opera House, but don’t let that put you off. They go on sale around 90 minutes before the show, so check the timetable in the hostel, get there early and reserve your spot.
Quick Tip: Take a scarf or something similar to reserve your spot. You can leave that there and go and admire the beauty before you show begins.
Museumquartier, Hofburg, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and The Parliament Buildings are just a few of the many amazing buldings in Vienna. What makes it even better, is that they are in very close proximity and you can spend a day wandering around the city unearthing new gems.
Schonbrunn Palace is another wonder, but this one is a 15 minute train journey away, but well worth the journey. The Palace itself is enough, but you can also walk around it gardens and onto the hill right at the back and look out to the rest of the city.
If you want to sample some of the Austrian cuisine, look no further than the Naschmarkt. Over a kilometre of food stalls, restaurants and shops. From asian, to fried chicken or even fresh fish, it’s all on offer.
Vienna was a city I didn’t expect much from, but left pleasantly surprised and don’t expect to see many nicer buildings during the rest of our trip.