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Vienna has been on my list for a while and was happy to make a start touching down in the city known for its musical tradition, art, architecture. Here is a list of suggestions on things to cover on a 3-4 day trip in around Vienna (or Wien as its called in Austria).

Hop on Hop off Sightseeing tour – I am not particularly a fan of bus tours, more a DIY person, get a travel card and explore the town on your own. However on this occasion I made an exception to avail a tour on the city’s Yellow bus sightseeing. Offering hop on and off service on 4 routes, it provides an excellent way to get to know the city quickly. The 10-12 language commentary provides an informative commentary on the history of Vienna and its landmarks against a backdrop of Viennese classical music. Recommend bargaining for your tickets, in off peak season you can get good discounts. Start with the Red or Yellow route tour followed by the green route tour on a following day.

Schonbrunn palace – one of the richest palatial landscapes I have seen. Set behind the palace is an imposing gate on top of a hill, overlooking the city and giving quite a grand perspective to look at and look down from. A kind of work only possible in the age of emperors.

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Walk around the town centre – MuseumQuartier, Maria Theresa palace, Parliament, State opera, Burg theatre. Few cities will be endowed with a sense of space and aesthetically pleasing an architecture as Vienna is. No better place to see that by taking a walk around the town centre. Both worth during day and in the evening when buildings are lit up, giving a very elegant touch. Interestingly MuseumQuartier, a collection of 5-6 different museums is what used to be the emperor’s horse stables at one time. Must have been some horses.

Attend a concert – With 2 young kids, we were in two minds to attend an orchestra. Being home of Mozart, Beethoven and Johann Strauss what better place than Vienna to experience first hand. However cost of tickets aside it was whether my kids would sit through a concert. Fortunately there are ‘family friendly’ custom concerts by a local Wiener Opera. Don’t worry about booking online. As you venture to the town centre you will be ambushed by enough red and black period dressed men, to sell you these tickets. Do bargain, but make sure you come back with tickets and having seen the opera.

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Take a day trip to Bratislava – The capital of Slovakia is only a hour’s bus or train journey away from Vienna. If you are in Vienna for 3-4 days, you can easily squeeze in trip to Bratislava and back. There are frequent, comfortable and value for money bus services between the two cities. We got one run by StudentAgency (indeed an interesting name) departing from a mall, 10 minutes from away our hotel, Hilton Danube. For 9 Euros a family of 4 got a trip to Bratislava in relative luxury, TV to each seat, coffee and hot chocolate refreshments – what more! That’s less than my average day commute in and out to work in London. Get down at Novy Most in Bratislava and walk around the town. Not as baroque and rich as Vienna, but aesthetic and upcoming. Interesting to see how politics in the region has influence such divergent level of prosperity between two very adjacent major cities.

Enjoy a foodie trip to Naschmarket – 5 minutes away from the central Karlsplatz station is a permanent street market offering food from what looks like food all over the world, but for most part combination of Turkish, Asian, Mediterranean influences. Good for foodies to explore and indulge in.

Trip to Viennese suburbs – If you have time, take a trip to Wienerwald (Viennese woods in the North West suburbs of Vienna) and  Grinzing, famous for its wine growing. A trip up to Kahlenberg for a panoramic view of the city is also recommended.

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Finally some travel tips,

We used the metro for the most part. I found this information very useful in understanding fare options.

Airport to City – There are plenty of options apart from taxi. On the way back in we used the S-Bahn and U-Bahn. Kids 6 and under travel free, up to 15 at half price. Comfortable journey with a few changes in clean and step free stations that cost less than a third of what the taxi coming in cost us.

Best stations to get to for exploring city – MuseumQuartier, Volkstheater, Karlsplatz, Schottentor. Walking is easy and at times faster when exploring the town.

That’s it. Plan your trip and enjoy.

 

 

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