There is no doubt that islands, beaches and flip flops are my highs. After all, the best memories are made in flip flops. But there comes a time when I miss the busy street life, the smell of the food trucks, the fine dining, exploring history, the music playing on the corner of building or even bumping your shoulder with a possible lover or stranger sprinting to get to where they want to get to. It happens to me a lot…missing the busy street life ofcourse…I guess that’s what being a Libra really means maybe. Trying to balance my state of mind and my (expensive) hobbies. So one morning, It just made sense. I’ve dreamed of going to Austria, I never knew why I still never visited. Hallstatt was on my dream list for as long as I can remember. If I had to think too much about it, I will find rational reasons why I shouldn’t just pick up and go. “I’m thinking Austria next weekend, can you take over?” Chloe over heard me asking him and immediately planned her weekend with her dad. In 1 hour, I booked my flight with flydubai, which lands in Bratislava airport, a 45 minutes car ride to Hilton Vienna Plaza where I booked to stay for 4 days. Don’t over think things, you’d come up with so many valid reasons why you shouldn’t just pick up and go. Just go.
Here is 72 hours in Vienna
Travel Junkie Diary
72 hours in Vienna
Stay at Hilton Vienna Plaza- The recent renovated art nouveau Hilton Vienna Plaza hotel is overlooking the historic Ringstrasse and is centrally located to the historic sites. Ask to meet Leo at the front desk to greet you! Hotels in Vienna are dime a dozen so to stand out, you need to work really hard at both service and decor. I found that Hilton Vienna Plaza has a wonderful boutique and personal feeling to it and loved staying here!
Rent a City Bike (Registration might take time but its worth it!) – They are in every corner and around the Ringstrasse. I highly recommend you pick one and explore the city. Registration should be done on site with a debit or credit card and it could be challenging at first, it took us about 20 minutes but once you get the hang of it and register, you will only need to remember your password and you’re good to go! Just make sure you cycle in your lanes and don’t attempt to cross a red light.
Lunch at Naschmarkt – Vienna’s most popular market. The Naschmarkt has existed since the 16th century when mainly milk bottles were sold (as milk bottles were made out of ash (wood from an ash tree), “Asch” (German for “ash”) led to the name “Aschenmarkt”). From 1793 onwards, all fruits and vegetables brought to Vienna with carts had to be sold there, while goods arriving on the Danube were sold elsewhere. Nowadays, one can buy fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world, exotic herbs, cheese, baked goods such as bread, kaiser rolls, and torte, meats, and seafood. There are also many small restaurants. We took your advice and went to Naschmarkt with our bikes. Every city or town have those markets and it was filled with flavors, stalls of different food variety. Where ever you come from, you will find a little bit of home blended with Viennese.
Cycle to the Danube river banks (Graffiti) – Europe’s second longest river passing through 5 capital cities. The river passes through or touches the borders of ten countries: Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Austria , Germany , Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine and Moldova. Whether you are a graffiti fan or not, cycling by the river is one of the most exciting things to do in Vienna!
Sunset drinks at Badeschiff (Open air) – Swimming on water! The Station Bad in the Prater, possibly the closest to the city center, the so-called ‘Pool Ship,’ anchored between Schwedenplatz and the Urania in the Danube canal, is easy to spot in the murky water. The upper deck has sun lounge chairs which if you are in summer could be put to use.
Book a PolaWalk Tour – Walking and learning how to take pictures as you go sounded…exactly my thing! As we walked through the most historic moments in Vienna, Gilbert (or Thomas) from PolaWalk showed me how to use the Polaroid and how to capture wonderful images. I have to say though, if you are heading there in Winter and happen to forget your jacket, Gilbert will gladly lend you his…or not.
Lunch at Rebhuhn – Rebhuhn, a local modern restaurant with great value for money and authenticity at its best. A cash only diner right on the Pola Walk tour. Try the Schnitzel and their house wine.
Visit the oldest zoo in the world – The oldest zoo in the world since 1752. A tram and a tube ride later and lots of walking, we stopped at Schönbrunn Zoo and is the oldest existing zoo in the world and has been named Europe’s best. More than 500 animal species – from Siberian tigers and hippos to one-horned rhinoceroses – live here. Did you know that the arrival of the first giraffe in 1828 influenced Viennese fashion and city life. Clothes’, accessories’, and other items’ designs were influenced, and Adolf Bäuerle performed his play titled Giraffes in Vienna (German: Giraffen in Wien).
Dinner at Emile at Hilton Vienna Plaza – After walking 26,000 steps almost 28 kms in one day, I was reluctant to move once I arrived back to my room. But as wonderful it was the thought of sleeping at 8pm, I knew I would regret not dining at Emile Brasserie and Bar. I walked downstairs to find myself sitting by the window table while the ever so stylish waiter took my order. The food arrived and I had confirmed to myself that Vienna has got to have the best in gastronomy! Succulent food and wine and just in time for my bedtime! Make sure you order the Viennese asparagus and the beef tartar! Make sure you dine at Emile!
Visit Hallstatt – You know how sometimes your life is so perfect you’re afraid for the next moment because it couldn’t possibly be quite as good? That’s how it felt like traveling to Hallstatt.
The Westbahnhof is Vienna’s largest train station and it is the principal station for trains on the East-West rail lines, so starting at the Westbahnhof – board a train in the direction of Linz – Salzburg. Change trains at Attnang-Puchheim and continue on to Hallstatt Station. Get off the train at Hallstatt Station and let the ferry take you across the lake. As the arresting scenery of a tiny village tucked between mountains and water comes into view, you’ll immediately want to know more about this destination. What could be the secret to Hallstatt’s wealth and beautiful baroque architecture? For centuries, villagers have traded a very sought-after commodity that lies deep below the surface: salt. Bring the family to the Hallstatt Mines and travel by slide deep into the world’s oldest salt mines. Discover a subterranean salt lake and the mummy of a prehistoric miner who became preserved in salt. In addition to a museum with 7,000-year-old artifacts, several tours are available to reveal more about how Hallstatt came to be.
Lunch at couple of great places in Hallstatt to eat. For Wonderful views you can dine in Rudolfsturm which is at the top 800 meters up and close to the UNESCO View Site or at Braugasthof where I tried my first schnitzel!
Take the Boat ride around Hallstatt – Unfortunately it was raining when I got there but the boat can take you all around the town an worth every penny!