One of my oldest friends visited me for her spring break not too long ago and we decided to start off her vacation with a quick trip (less than 48 hours!) to Vienna, Austria. (If you’re interested in quick rundown of my top recommendations, I’ve put them into a list at the end of the post). As seems to be the ongoing trend for me, my trip started off a little bumpy. Everything was going well–I made my flight with plenty of time, there were no delays, and so I was deceived into a false sense of calm–and then I got on the train to the center of the city. Somehow, within the ten minutes of purchasing a ticket and boarding the train, the ticket disappeared. And, as it turns out, you can’t buy a ticket on the train like you are able to in the States. The woman checking tickets thankfully took mercy on me–probably due to the stress-induced-tears quickly filling my eyes–and let me get out at the next stop to buy a ticket rather than give me the fine which is usually imposed. I promptly had a mini breakdown at the stop I got off at–which for some odd reason was deserted–but did manage to make it to the center of the city. At that point, I just wanted to get to the hostel and meet up with my friend.
We stayed at the Wombats Hostel Naschmarkt. I would absolutely recommend this hostel to anyone visiting Vienna on a budget–the staff was super friendly, the rooms were clean, the bar downstairs was fun, and the 5 euro breakfast was a decent amount of food. Not to mention the location! The Naschmarkt is a famous outdoor, permanent market in Vienna that’s a mixture of stalls and restaurants. You could easily make a meal of the free falafel you get walking through it. (No shame).
Once Gaby and I met up, around 2pm on Monday, we went in search of a hot beverage and snack. We first tried to go to a cafe that ended up being closed (of course) so we went in the general direction of the spires we could see from where we were standing. Though the weather was chillier than expected, the beauty of Vienna made up for it. The architecture is breathtaking. All of the buildings, particularly in old Vienna, were a sight to behold. Eventually we made it to Konditorei Oberlaa for coffee and cake–though upon sitting down we each ordered a glass of wine. (At the time, we thought it would warm us up). Gaby got a tiramisu type dessert while I went for a classic chocolate torte. It was perfect pick me up.
Then–because why do things in order?–we walked back to Naschmarkt for dinner. We ended up in one of the little restaurants which had classic Viennesse fare. I ordered the Wiener Schnitzel which I thought was sausage (not sure why, really) but it turned out to be a lightly breaded and fried piece of pork. It was tasty, nonetheless. I think I may have liked Gaby’s meatballs better, though. After dinner we headed back to the hostel and went downstairs to the bar. While we would’ve loved to experience Viennese night life, it was a Monday so not much was going on. But perhaps that was a blessing in disguise as we made some wonderful friends whom we spent the following day with.
Thoroughly exhausted, we retired to our room around 2am for a quick 5 hour sleep before getting up again. Oh, the walking that ensued. I think we walked close to 15 miles on Tuesday. From the Hostel, we went to the Ringstrasse which is the circular ring road where many of the main sights in Vienna are. After walking the majority, we headed to St Stephens Cathedral which I have no pictures of because none could truly do it justice.
Eventually we made our way along the river to the Hundertwasser House–an architecturally unique apartment house built in 1986. Though it was smaller in scope, some of the architectural details reminded me of Barcelona quite a bit. From there, we went to the accompanying museum and it’s cafe for another pick me up, and Gaby and I shared apfelstreudel with vanilla cream–a must in Vienna, of course.
As we had quite a long walk back to the Naschmarkt, we were all feeling quite hungry by the time we got there. We chose a Greek restaurant for dinner and then Gaby and I walked around the Naschmarkt one last time. I couldn’t help but treat myself to some dried mango. And before getting an uber back to the airport (I decided not to deal with the train again) we had one last little excursion to Cafe Phil. Cafe Phil is a really cool cross between coffee shop/book shop/ and bar. (I say bar because there was no qualms about ordering a bier). Before we knew it, it was time to get back to the airport.
A Few Favorites
- Stay: Wombats Hostel Naschmarkt
- Eats: Naschmarkt (the falafel and dried fruit are highlights), Cafe Phil, Konditorei Oberlaa, street sausage carts
- Sights: Ringstrasse, the Museum Quartier, St Stephens Cathedral, Hundertwasser House, Schonbrunn Palace (which we didn’t get to but is supposedly gorgeous)
Though it was an exhausting trip, it was well worth it. I would go back to Vienna in a heartbeat–you can see a lot in 48 hours, but one more night would’ve been perfect.