sightseeing & day-excursions, Vienna
I love architecture and I like to walk around and exploring new places. I try to make as many photos I can. I think this is the best way to learn about new places.
It is interesting to see how much Viennese put effort in architecture. They preserve monuments, object, washing them and build new one to connect them with present style. It is not exclusive Viennese custom, of course. One thing that is was attract my attention on specific way is a very strange (by look and style) ornaments or sculpture on seemly building with new style. I don't know yet much about it.
Fondest memory: I found some ornament on angles of building. See attached photos with this review.
First ornament I find on Wasagasse/Hörlgasse streets corner.
Second ornament is on corner Landstraßer Hauptstraße and Eingang Rasumofskygasse near Rochusmarkt
It is the best, when you start at Karlsplatz or Oper - both of them are in the centre of town and it is really easy to get there by tram and U-bahn.On Karlsplatz you may see first the Art-Nouveau-stations built by Otto Wagner , they are used as a cafe today. Karlskirche is great to see from a distance already, but to enter it, you have to pay an entrance-fee.
Go back to Ringstrasse and Oper :take tram #1 or #2 - both of them DO NOT FULLY go around the Ringstrasse anymore, so check the schedules at the stations !
A dayticket will allow you to hop on and off these trams any-where you may want.
Walk finally through Graben and Kohlmarkt to the Hofburg - through the giant gate you get to Heldenplatz - cross the Ringstrasse again and see Kunsthistorisches- and Naturhistorisches Museum with Maria-Theresia-Platz.
Your 3 hours will pass by quickly, but you have seen some of the best places and buildings already
Fondest memory: Along Ringstrasse you will pass by :Oper - Hofburg - Parliament - Townhall - Burgtheater - Votivkirche - University - Boerse - Stadtpark with Johann Strauss-monument (300 meters off the Ring) and a lot more . Once around the Ringstrasse without getting out is about 30 minutes.
From the Opera you may start to walk towards the Stephansdom and see the interesting details of it during the day.
As the next "module" in addition to the tips above, I can recommend to visit Schloss Belvedere: Go to Suedbahnhof by tram #18 or #0 and walk 5 minutes to Oberes Belvedere with the famous ornate iron-gates, the Sphinxes and the great castle that you may enter in order to see the famous Klimt- and Schiele-paintings and works of Kokoschka, Hundertwasser etc.
Walk down through the park, passing by the lovely Sphyxnes and see Unteres Belvedere - the smaller part of the palace with baroque paintings and sculptures inside the museum.
Through a side-gate you may walk to Schwarzenbergplatz and take the tram back to Ringstrasse (or walk 5 minutes)
Fondest memory: This is the upper entrance to the Park of Belvedere castle - just a few meters from Vienna's "Südbahnhof" (the trainstation for trains to Hungaria and Italy ) - so if you have just a short stopover at the trainstation 30-40 minutes are enough to see this lovely park and castle...
When you have just half a day in Vienna, you can add Schoenbrunn palace to the itinerary I have given for "2-3hours" . Maybe you start with Schoenbrunn - Take U-bahn U4 - the castle is between the U-bahn-stations Schoenbrunn and Hietzing and you have to walk about 15 minutes to get to the ticket-box. Photography is forbidden INside the palace, but it is really worth walking through it - you may do it on your own or take a guided tour at certain times. In a seperate building you may see the Royal carriages and the car of Kaiser Franz Joseph - THERE you may take pics without tripod or flash and have to pay a small extra-fee for the entrance.
Fondest memory: Combination-tickets for the various museums in Schoenbrunn are available as well. In the park of Schoenbrunn you may spend almost the whole day exploring the Gloriette on top of a hill, the (fake) Roman Ruins, several fountains, a Maze, the Orangerie and of course the Zoo (close to station Hietzing)
Mayerling is a small village south of Vienna and it all of a sudden became famous in 1889 for the fact, that crown-prince Rudolf commited suicide there togeather with his 17-years-old mistress Mary Vetsera. The Kaiser donated the hunting-lodge to Carmelite nuns - it was completely reconstructed by them, but a few things were not changed and became a place that plenty of tourists enjoy to visit. In combination with Mayerling you may also visit the monastery Heiligenkreutz , just a few km north of Mayerling. 13 medieval Babenberger-kings are buried in Heiligenkreutz. Seegrotte Hinterbrühl is a lake inside a mountain and you may explore that grotto by boat.
You can enjoy Mayerling in combination with Heiligenkreutz and Seegrotte Hinterbruehl by a bus-tour of 4 hours by "Vienna Sightseeing"
That tour #4 is 42 Euros and available daily at 09.45a.m. a
nd mostly also at 02.45p.m.
between march 25th and Nov.1st
from Nov.2nd till march 30th daily except wednesday, also at 09.45
Fondest memory: You could of course make that tour also on your own by BUS 365 - it takes you to Mayerling and Heiligenkreutz !
Mayerling is open april1st-oct.1st: mon-sat:
09.00a.m.-12.30p.m. + 01.30p.m.-05.45p.m.
sunday it starts at 10.00a.m., the rest is the same !
Heiligenkreutz - guided tours only and only upon appointment :
Day-excursions to Salzburg are possible from Vienna, BUT the train takes about 3 hours one way. In Salzburg most of the sights are in the centre and 6-8 hours should be enough there, unless you care for the real "Sound-of-music-tour" including places outside of Salzburg, like Mondsee with the wedding-chappel of the movie .
"Vienna Sightseeing" offers such a fullday-tour by buses each Tuesday and saturday ( and also at thursday&sunday in summer) for 99 Euros a person and you will see some places INside of Salzburg, where that famous movie was made, you will see the Festspielhaus, Peterskirche & cemetery, the birthplace of Mozart, the residence of the bishop and Wolfgangsee & Fuschlsee when driving back.
These tours start at 07.15a.m., will last the whole day and are 99 Euros
between march 26th and nov.1st the tours will be Tue/Thu/Da/Su
between nov 5th and march 31st each Tue&Sat.
Fondest memory: An ordinary return-ticket Vienna-Salzburg-Vienna by train will be not a lot less than the price of that bus-tour, BUT in case that you have an EUROpass/Eurail or a similar ticket it might make sense to do it on your own. Also in case that you intend not to go back to Vienna anyway !
by the newly introduced WESTBAHN you get for just
25 Euros one way from Vienna to Salzburg !!!
Read more about it in my transportation-tips !
A day-excursion to Melk&Wachau might be a good idea, when you have more than 3 days in Vienna. You may start by train from Westbahnhof to Melk, where you may see first the monastery and finally take the ship to Duernstein and Krems. There you may take the ship back to Melk or you may take the train to Wien-Nord. When you have enough time it would be the best to explore Duernstein - maybe you get out of the ship there and skip Krems, and take the ship back to Melk again or the train to Vienna-Nordbahnhof.
Fondest memory: "Vienna Sightseeing" offers such a tour of 8 hours for 61 Euros
at 09.45a.m. daily march 25th-nov.1st and
Wed.&Sat. only nov.2nd - march 31st !!
The bus will take you to through the Danube-valley "Wachau", you will see the famous monastery Melk
from april 8th till oct.30th a cruise will be included
the rest of the year you get a lunch instead
Grinzing is an area in the north-west of Vienna and it is ´famous for its wine and the great "Heurigen". The expression was derived from the new wine of this year (=heuer) and by law a Heuriger has certain restrictions to follow : They may serve only their OWN wines and food that was produced by them.
Ask the local people for their favorite Heurigen or take one of the tours to Grinzing :
Vienna Sightseeing offers a "Grinzing Serenade" for 64 Euros
and it includes a ride in the Giant Ferris Wheel / Riesenrad
a Heurigen-show with singers and Viennese operettas
the dinner, including 1/4 litre of wine
The 3,5 hours-tour starts daily at 07.30p.m. mar 25th-nov.1st
and 07.00p.m. nov.4th-dec.23rd ONLY at Tue/Fr/Sa
and 07.00p.m. dec.25th-jan. 2nd daily !!
Fondest memory: Of course you may organize a tour through Grinzing also on your own, or with the help of a local friend !
DON'T go there with your car -
police-controlls are quite strict in that area !!
You may take first the U-bahn to Heiligenstadt and change there
to the buses 10A, 11A, 38A, 39A
Sisi-tour is a walking-tour through the centre of Vienna and it includes Kapuzinergruft, where Sisi is buried next to plenty of other austrian royalties. The tour gets to the Lippizaner Horses then , where you may watch the training (separate entrance-fee, not included ), to Hofburg and to Stephansdom.
Such a Sissi-tour is offered by "Vienna Sightseeing" for 36 Euros
Tue-Sat at 09.45 a.m. - duration is 3,5 hours
Fondest memory: Kapuzinergruft takes only a few minutes to see, but it is a really touching experience
Bratislava is in just a short distance from Vienna and you may take the S-Bahn from Gaenserndorf - it will take you in less than 1 hour to Bratislava.The return-ticket on S-bahn is less than 10 Euros !
On the Danube you can go to Bratislava also by hydrofoil during the summer.
Fondest memory: "Vienna Sightseeing" offers an 8-hour-tour by hydrofoil to Bratislava. It includes a short walking-tour through the centre of Bratislava, a lunch and in the afternoon you have some time left for shopping !
That tour is 55 Euros, including lunch
it is available Wed-Sun at 09.30a.m. may 4th-sep.6th,2005
and already at 09.00a.m. april 6th-may 1st + sep.7th-oct.30th,2005
City Tour & Schoenbrunn is the most popular tour in Vienna with several departures daily through-out the year. The bus will take you along the Ringstrasse, where you will see Oper - Hofburg - Rathaus - Burgtheater - Universitaet - MAK - Kunst- & Naturhistorisches Museum and finally also Belvedere (from a distance) and it will include a guided tour through Schoenbrunn .
This tour by "Vienna Sightseeing" is 34 Euros and a good opportunity to see Vienna within a short time.
march 25th-nov.1st daily at 09.45+10.30a.m.(ONLY german!)+02.45p.m.
nov.2nd-march 31st 09.45a.m.+02.00p.m.
the tours at 02.00p.m. from Mon-Thu are ONLY in german!
When you have enough time you may do it on your own, with a day-ticket of the public transportations, take tram #1, D or #2 along the Ringstrasse and hop on and off as you like. Take U-4 to Schoenbrunn - the un-guided tours are around 10 Euros
Fondest memory: I made a seperate " SCHÖNBRUNN - page "with more than 30 pics and tips.
In the USA, There is a word that is considered slang and vulgar. (In fact, VT just requested that I not use it, so I won't) This word, "Pi$$" is commonly used, but it is not a word for polite society.
Imagine the reaction I had reading the PISSOR sign on a building in Vienna! ( Michael, globetrott, has just taken the time to kindly informed me that the word on the sign is actually, 'Pissoir,' not 'Pissor' as I thought. Thank you Michael for coming to my aid. Your effort is greatly appreciated!)
So, as I was saying--Finding out that Pissoir is a 'proper' term in the elegant city of Vienna, gives the word 'pissoir'(--minus the 'oir') a better status in my mind, but I still can't use it in my own vocabulary, and obviously I can't use it here!
I appreciate, that you liked your stay here in Vienna, like many tourists coming to Vienna, who are very welcome! - please do not mind my open words re "touristy" or "less touristy" places.It is a fact, that -especially in Viennas city and / or the most frequented "Heurigen"-areas there are restaurants and expensive places, mostly frequented by tourists, - because they pretend to be "very local". So you can experience there a mix of "Austrian culture" from Mozart to "Edelweiss"as well as those austrian dishes, expected by most tourists coming to Austria. - Those places are mostly liked by the majority of tourists. In contrast there are some more quiet, less expensive and less "hip" places, mostly frequented by Austrians. I assumed, that you would prefer the latter.
As to your questions regarding the best lookouts to Vienna: if weather is fine, there are 2 superior places to be recommended:
1. The "Cobenzl- castle and -restaurant on top of one of the northern hills, surrounding the city of Vienna. Take U4 subway to Heiligenstadt, from there Bus 38A to Cobenzl. More infos on my Cobenzl-page !
2. Villa Aurora - a restaurant on Wilhelminenberg, the first northwestern hill overlooking thé city. Take U3-subway to Ottakring, from there Bus 46 B to Wilhelminenberg. More infos on my "Villa Aurora" or "Schloss Wilhelminenberg" - tips!
Have a nice stay and enjoy it!
Favorite thing: Today we did the tour with Vienna sightseeing to the woods and the underground lake. The underground lake is the largest in the world, pity that the ride was so short. It was quite cold down there. 9 degrees is the temp there all year round. We were not quite prepared for such cold weather. The cost of the tour was 49 Euro and I felt like I got my money worth from it.
Bratislava is very cheap but you need to have the right currency for some things - museum entries for example - our friendly graduate of the Rosa Krebs School of Charm at the Prelate's Palace made that perfectly clear. If you are in Bratislava at the weekend when the banks are closed, the Tesco store has an exchange office that will be open - and the girl there was delightful.
The unit of currency is the koruna. At the time of writing (October 2006) the exchange rate is approximately 30 koruna = us$1.
Don't change too much, you will find you will almost certainly have money left over at the end of the day. We changed $80 between four of us and even after we'd bought lunch and some beers, icecreams, coffee and a pile of nuts and dried fruit, visited the Prelate's Palace, left money in a donation box at the Cathedral, caught trams and paid for our train tickets back to Vienna, we still had money left over. We could have bought a trinket or two from the souvenir booths near the Town Hall, or caught one of the jolly open-topped red tourist buses around the city I suppose, but even then I think we wouldn't have spent it all.