Vienna, the capital of Austria, is a city of grandeur. Their architecture is all huge and imposing, emphasizing the opulence of the city. Each and every building seems to be competing to flaunt their dazzling resplendence and glory. If you want to fully explore every attraction, the Vienna Pass would be a good choice, but it isn’t exactly cost-conscious for a 1-day adult pass costs 59 euro while the 2-day pass costs a whopping 89 euro. But you can still definitely enjoy the best of Vienna without splurging on the pass.
Chilling in Palace Grounds
The very first place we went to was Schönbrunn Palace, for we stayed in a serene neighbourhood near the palace. People who actually live near the vicinity are blessed to be able to enjoy morning or evening jogs and strolls in the palace grounds which are open to all visitors for free. Now that is luxury.
What I enjoy most about Europe are their sprawling green spots of relaxation with sublime views. And the hill overlooking Schönbrunn Palace and the whole of Vienna is one of them, possibly because the palace was built as a summer residence and was used as a recreation ground. I could spend a day lazing on the grass scattered with wild marigold.
Hofburg Imperial Palace, one of the biggest palace complexes in the world, is home to many museums housing numerous collections varying from ornate imperial artifact to historical natural showpieces. For people interested in horse riding performances, you can also visit the Spanish Riding School which is also located in the complex. I didn’t catch the performance, obviously, but was very fortunate to reach the stables just as the horses were heading to their training areas.
Another beautiful palace in Vienna is Belvedere. Built as a summer villa, there is a countenance of restfulness just like Schönbrunn which Hofsburg lack. The abundance of fountains and ponds and beautiful sculptures in its gardens accentuates the extravagance of the ancient imperial times.
Visiting St. Stephens Cathedral
Aside from grand palaces, Vienna also has many other awe-inspiring attractions. St. Stephens Cathedral (Stephansdom), standing in midst of the city centre, is most known for its arresting multi-coloured tile roof and its tall South Tower which is a significant icon of the city’s skyline due to its height. The interior of the cathedral is beautiful as well, decorated with elaborate carvings and elegant paintings.
Hanging at Museumsquartier
And if you are a museum lover, you will feel like you are in paradise at Museumsquartier, one of the largest cultural and arts precincts in the world. Contemporary museums, artsy shops, swanky cafes and bars can be found in the complex, and many arts events such as dance, music and film festivals are held in the area throughout the year. The interior courtyard feels like a gigantic outdoor living room, with couch-like benches where locals like to cosy up with a good book or just lounge and chat with friends.
Chilling at a luxurious public square
Just across the road you will also find the Maria Theresa Monument sitting at the heart of the Maria Theresa Square (Maria-Theresien-Platz) between to almost identical buildings with are actually also museums, The Museum of Natural History and the Art History Museum. This ostentatious monument is dedicated to Maria Theresa who is the only female ruler in the House of Habsburg, the Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. And this public park is possibly the most beautiful and lavish park I have ever been to.
Window-shopping and trying food samples at Naschmarkt
And if you are looking for some market shopping, Naschmarkt is the largest in Vienna, with over 100 food stalls, and a flea market is held on every Saturday. As we were in Vienna over the weekend, we visited it on Saturday, and was happy just to bask in the vivacious atmosphere and check out interesting vintage items on sale. The clutter and disarray is an interesting contrast from the clean and beautiful streets which tends to formal feel in its structure. While the prices of the food in the market is a little on the higher end, you can actually sample some food for free.