I’ve always wanted to visit Christmas markets abroad so before Christmas (in 2018) I decided to take a trip to Vienna, Austria as it is supposedly home to some of the best Christmas markets in the world. Although the Christmas markets were amazing, there are lots of non-Christmas related things to do in Vienna too. Here is a list of what to do and where to eat. Hope it helps. 🙂
Vienna is a beautiful city. When I visited it was the week before Christmas so it was super cold. It had been snowing all week before I got there and although it wasn’t snowing while I was there the temperature was below 0 most of the time. If you are visiting in December/January make sure to bring lots of layers.
Where to stay?
We stayed in the Heart of Vienna Apartments. The apartment was comfortable, had everything you needed and was super central. Given that it was below 0 degrees I was a little worried about if it would be too cold or if the apartment would be overheated to try to make up for the weather outside but the whole time it was just perfect. Given how central the apartment is the price was really really good. We were within walking distance of everything we wanted. I would definitely recommend staying here.
Where to eat?
Ristorante La Sosta – This is a very cute yet chic family-run Italian restaurant. Slightly off the main street it the perfect place for a pizza and glass of wine.
Haas&Haas Restaurant – This is a beautiful little boutique tea room. The food was so delicious and there was so much to choose from. I had the scrambled eggs and toast with bacon but the pancakes looked really good too.
Bermuda Bräu – I really liked this pub. There was nothing special about it other than it was just a nice laid back pub. The perfect place to go after a long day of touring the city for a few pints or Austrian wine. The drinks were really affordable too.
JOMA – The food here was extremely yummy. I had eggs benedict and a plate of fresh fruit. Although the food was lovely there was a bit of a weird vibe. We felt very much rushed.
Onyx Bar – This bar is really cool. Situated on the 6th floor of the Do & Co Hotel, it has a beautiful view of St. Stephens Cathedral. It has an extensive cocktail list but they are a little on the pricey side. It’s really easy to miss though so keep an eye out for it.
Dunkin’ Donuts – I mean, who doesn’t love a good doughnut?
Hard Rock Cafe – I started this tradition where I have to get a set of drumsticks in every city I visit that has a Hard Rock Cafe so I usually just end up eating there when I go to get the sticks. The food is the same as every Hard Rock Cafe but I have to say it’s always really good. If you’re looking for a decent burger then you won’t be disappointed.
Rinderwhan – Again, if you are looking for a really good burger and beer – Look no further. Now, this may be a little biased because I was STARVING but this was one of the best burgers I’ve had.
Residenz – This place is on the left-hand side as you walk into the Schonbrunn castle. It was recommended to me by a friend as the best strudel in the world but if you don’t like strudel don’t worry as they have an extremely extensive dessert menu too. They also have a strudel show where they make the strudel in front of you. Unfortunately, although I was there at 4:05 pm and the shows stop at 4 pm so I missed this but it’s something I would have loved to do.
NOTE: The service in Vienna is not like what we are used to in Ireland. It may have been down to the language barrier but I just found the staff in the restaurants weren’t as tentative compared to what we are used to here in Ireland. And for some reason, no matter where you went at what time of the day everything seemed to be booked out? Super weird I know. We went for breakfast at 10:30 am on a Tuesday morning (which is a working day) and the restaurant was apparently booked out. I could see there were loads of empty table so I said we would wait (this obviously isn’t the done thing in Austria as the staff got a little unnerved by this) but within 2 mins we were sitting at a table looking at the menu. I still don’t understand why this was but just be aware of it. Even every bar we went too was ‘fully’ booked out.
What to do?
Schönbrunn Palace – There is so much to do here. From tours of the palace to beautiful gardens filled with mazes, fountains and so much more. We got tickets for the Winter tour which gave us access to the extended palace tour, the zoo within the gardens, the botanic gardens and the desert experience house. I would definitely recommend doing all the above. The tour of the palace is so so interesting and the decor is breathtaking. I’m not a huge fan of visiting zoo’s but seeing as it was included in the ticket so we said we may as well check it out. The animals were very active and they had a few we don’t have in Dublin zoo so it was nice to see. The botanic garden was very beautiful and tropical too. There were so many different plants and trees with little walkways throughout the whole thing and benches to sit in and admire the garden. Overall, it’s definitely worth the visit.
Day Trip to Bratislava
While in Vienna we decided to do a day trip to Bratislava in Slovakia for a change in scenery. We got a train to Bratislava which is about an hours journey and just spent the day walking around Bratislava Castle and doing a bit of shopping. The castle is beautiful and has an amazing view of the city and the Danube river.