29 June 2011


Vienna (Wien) is the capital and biggest city of Austria.

Austrian Airlines flies to Vienna from various cities, even from outside Europe. For people coming from India, you can fly from Mumbai or Delhi.

If there's no such flight, consider connecting through Frankfurt from Lufthansa.

Stephensdom (only a part)
Vienna has some good rail links such as Bregenz, Linz and Salzburg in Austria and some out. Check the website of the rail company OEBB for details.

Vienna has several train stations, not just one. If arriving from Salzburg, at the time of writing you'll arrive at Westbahnhof (West Station).

interior of the Stephensdom
The Innere Stadt is the true heart of the city. North and north east of it is Prater, the location of the Ferris Wheel and the Theme Park. Further is the Danube bank with the UN offices.

The allure of Vienna is to roam around the Innere Stadt (Inner City) and see the beautiful architecture and greenery. The problem is that it is very touristy--which can be quite irritating and can make exploring the city a daunting task.
Crowded, touristy street

You can start at Kartner Ring where you can see the opera Staatsoper . This is also the hub of the Vienna Hop-on Hop-off buses. From here, you can go to Kartner Strasse , a major shopping and eating street--very, very touristy. At the end of this street (fully pedestrianised) is the city landmark Stephensdom --a huge cathedral on Stephensplatz. One thought may go to you--how to capture this fully in a picture! It's awfully big. You can go inside and see its marvelous interior.

Another major sight is the Hofburg. Once you go inside the lovely palace, you enter a square with gardens where exibitions are held. That time, a car exibhition was held and there were several cars in tents. You can roam around the lovely squares (2 of them) and the gardens and see lovely views of several buildings close by.

North-east of this area is Prater, home to the giant Ferris Wheel (called Riesenrad). You enter the theme park and walk over to the Riesenrad entrance. You buy your tickets and get in to the queue. The people there would take your photo and sell at a high price. Then you enter the Ferris Wheel. The ride lasts 20 min or so and you get bird's-eye views of the city. One advantage: the "cars" of the ferris wheel are not filled to full capacity- occupants can roam around at their leisure and take in the views.

The Ringstrasse (Ring Rd) is home to some great architecture.

On the Ringstrasse is the Rathaus (Town Hall)

view from Riesenrad
We stayed at the Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel, around 1.5 km south-east of the center. The rooms were good and some had nice views of a cathedral. The hotel had all the usual facilities one expects like breakfast, a shop, a fitness center etc. The breakfast was filling.

If you want to take the Hop-On-Hop-Off buses (see below), tickets are purchasable from the hotel's travel desk. The hotel also has a souvenir shop with souvenir prices comparable to the city's other shop prices.

the Riesenrad
To get to the Innere Stadt from the hotel, you should turn right at the driveway, then right again at Ungargasse and then right again at the junction with Renweg (where you'll see restaurants Burger King and Illy), then straight till you reach the Innere Stadt.

A taxi to the airport from the hotel should cost +/- €40 during day time hours.

Innere Stadt has lots of small restaurants and outdoor cafes and take away places. We once ate at Roseburger Markt which was a buffet spread in a hall below street level near Kartnerstrasse.

lobby of my hotel
- An outdoor eatery called Venezia at Kartner strasse has OK food,
high prices. Has outdoor seating and views from first floor from the
inside has good views.
- Illy, at intersection of Ungargasse and Rennweg serves fine drinks and sandwiches/ciabattas etc, but at high prices.

Pizzeria Venezia
There are trams, U-Bahn, S-Bahn and buses. A day ticket is valid on all and costs €5.70 and needs to be validated once (on the first ride).

There are Hop on Hop Off buses. There are 3 lines (each lasts 1 hr per round).

One goes at the periphery of the Innere Stadt
A second goes to Prater and Danube area
A Hop-on Hop-off bus
The third goes to Schloss Schonbrunn.
The main stop is at Staatsoper where all 3 lines meet.
A day ticket for all 3 lines costs €20 per person.

 Tourist Friendliness 
Vienna is quite a safe place to visit and walk around in, but it isn't too pedestrian-friendly in my opinion. Traffic is allowed in the Innere Stadt and it can be fast. However, there are pedestrian lights.
There's good public transport in the form of trams, U-Bahn (like metro), S-Bahn (like a suburban train, connecting the airport too), the CAT (City Airport Train) and taxis.

The Innere Stadt is safe enough- but this doesn't go to say that precautions aren't necessary. Some areas outside the Innere Stadt may look somewhat sketchy but in general they too should be fine.

view from gardens of Hofburg

Vienna has a U-Bahn, S-Bahn and tram network (see above).


Top Experiences
- Roaming around the Innere Stadt.
- A ride in the Prater
- First sight of the Stephensdom

More Pictures

Last visit- Jun 2011
No of visits- 1

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