excursions from Vienna, Vienna
Bratislava is a capital of Slovakia, it is almost like a border town with Austria, Hungary is also not so far. As a capital, it is one of the main touristic objects in Slovakia. Old town, castle territory, Petrin hill, Devin suburb can be visited. To make city more important, one fact can be mentioned - it was even a capital of Hungary for some time.
It is possible to be around 3 days in Bratislava, but day trip is OK also, if only for basic things. Place is easily reached by bus or train.
Bratislava is about 66 kilometers from Vienna.
Kuglmugl is the name of a small building close to Riesenrad / Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater of Vienna. It is surrounded by a fence and barbed wires and by its constructor - the "artist" Edwin Lipburger-Kugelmugel - this place is considdered to be a seperate state. In 1971 he built this round house first in a village far away from Vienna and was invited in 1981by the mayor of Vienna to move it to Vienna. Afterwards he had plenty of problems with the burocracy in Vienna, because he started to print his own passports, stamps etc.
You may walk easily around that tiny "state" and take a look inside through the fence. The entrance to the state is mostly locked - see my pictures.
All around the "state-border-line" you may read everything about the "bad" behaviour of the authorities against that "poor artist"
In my opinion it is a funny relict of a time, when almost everything was possible to produce, and it was ART, as soon as it was made by an ARTist : a piece of butter thrown on a wall became the famous and precious "Fett-ecke" etc.etc.etc.....
Kugelmugel is next to the station of the Liliput-bahn in Prater !
is situated in the north of Vienna. You can take the public bus from Grinzing or you can drive up there by Höhestrasse. On a clear day you may even see into Slovakia and Hungary !
And in the distance you will see the Danube on the right and a small artificial island in the middle ( = Donauinsel ) and the 'Alte Donau' - the original bed of the Danube on the left.
There is also a great restaurant with a perfect view at Kahlenberg and Leopoldberg !
Taking a boat from Vienna to Budapest is by far and away the best way of making the trip. The hydrofoil is quiet, smooth, uncrowded and has a top speed of 100 km/h.
The route on Danube offers you to see scenic cities, villages, old castles, and beautiful countryside from your seat.
You leave Vienna from the terminal DDSG Boat Pier, Handelskai 265. at the Mexican Platz, opposite the UNO-City. Latest check-in 15 minutes before departure. No seat reservations are available, passengers will take seats as boarding.
BOARDING POINT VIENNA / REICHSBRÜCKE: DDSG Schifffahrtszentrum, 1020 Wien, Handelskai 265 (U1, Vorgartenstraße).
Season generaly from April to October daily
Update for 2009: Season from 1st May to 27th September daily dep. 9am (282 km, 5 and 1/2 hours).
Tickets one-way: Adults € 89.00, Students € 79.00, Children (2-14 years old) € 44.50,
Tickets return: Adults € 109.00, Students € 99.00, Children (2-14 years old) € 54.50,
Children under 2 free.
Leopoldsberg is a 425 m high mountain in the 19. district of Vienna. Graves from 1300-1200 BC) were discovered here in 1935, meaning the area was inhabited over 3 thousand years ago.
The castle was built here in the 13. century and was destroyed in 1529 by the invading Turkish. Kaiser Leopold I. donated a new church with 4 wings around a central domed room in 1679. This is where the name "Leopoldsberg" comes from.
The church was damaged in 1683 and renovated and expanded from 1718-30 by A. Beduzzi. Under Joseph II. the church was again damaged and was in 1798 again consecrated by Stift Klosterneuburg. A palace was built here in 1718, but burned down in 1891. The church was damaged in 1945, but was again rebuilt, and so it stands today
In 1550, it was owned by Heiligenkreuz convent. In 1886 Rudolf, crownprince and Habsburg offspring, bought the residence and used it as personal hunting seat.
It was there, that Rudolf commited suicide after killing his lover Mary Vetsera. January 1st, 1889 was the date of this tragic event. It was a fatal blow to the Austrian monarchy. We will visit this historic setting and will be bewitched by many fascinating details illustrating a long gone era.
"Stift Heiligenkreuz", which means the "Abbey of Heiligenkreuz", is a beautiful and living Cistercian monastery, close to Vienna, the capital of Austria. Stift Heiligenkreuz is the second-oldest Cistercian monastery in the world and the oldest continuously active and inhabited one, now full of young vocations. In September 2007 it was blessed by an official visit by Pope Benedict XVI.
Stift Heiligenkreuz, peacefully situated in the middle of the "Wienerwald", the Vienna woods, is one of the most beautiful medieval monasteries in the world. It was founded in 1133 by St. Leopold III of the House of Babenberg. Leopold’s son, Otto, had been sent to Paris for an international education. Otto came in contact with Cistercian monks and soon decided to enter a Cistercian monastery. When Otto visited his father in Austria he asked him to build a similar monastery for Lower Austria. This was the reason St. Leopold built Heiligenkreuz as well as Klosterneuburg to the northwest of Vienna.
Currently the monastery has 77 members, 18 affiliated parishes and a Pontifical Theological Academy (founded 1802) with around 180 students.
Having already been to Vienna a couple of times and visited the top attractions, we used one of our days to take a daytrip to Bratislava, Slovakia, just an hour away. On the advice of some folks on a forum, we booked the Twin City Liner hydrofoil to get there and took the train back, I didn't think the hydrofoil ride was anything special and it was expensive so if cost is an issue, you may want to take the train both ways.
Bratislava isn't as large as Vienna or Prague and doesn't have quite the same level of attractions but it is a pleasant town and worth a visit if you have an extended period of time in Vienna or want to add another country to your list (yep, guilty as charged).
For a change of culture, visiting Bratislava in Slovakia is an easy day trip from Vienna. Trains run from Vienna Sudbahnhof twice an hour and the journey takes about an hour. A return ticket cost 14 euros, which included travel on trams and buses in Bratislava, and the lady in the ticket office gave us a very useful leaflet entitled 'One Day In Bratislava', which included a map and brief details of all the main sights.
After the splendour of Vienna, arrival at Bratislava Railway station is a bit of a culture shock. It's a bit grim and we couldn't find any signs in English to tell us where to catch Tram No.13 to the city centre. We eventually found it on a lower level - you need to go down stairs immediately outside the entrance on the left.
Riding on the tram is an experience in itself and you need to watch out for street signs for the Old Town to know where to get off as there is no information inside the tram. The Tourist Information Office is signposted and you can obtain a free map of the city there. Alternatively, buy an inexpensive guidebook for more detailed information.
Entering the Old Town takes you into a completely different world. It's very beautiful with quaint little cobbled streets, marvellous architecture, interesting museums and plenty of small shops and cafes. It is quite compact and you can comfortably see all the main sights in one day. If you're fit enough to walk up a steep hill (which I'm not) you can apparently get a great view of the city from the castle which overlooks it. A stroll along the banks of the Danube River is nice too. At night, many of the lovely buildings are floodlit.
I loved Bratislava and thoroughly recommend it for a day trip.
One important tip: as most shops and cafes don't accept Euros, visit an ATM to get a small number of Slovak Crowns (Slovenska Koruna) for spending on items such as drinks, snacks and souvenirs.
You can enjoy the view from the hill Kahlenberg. Take bus 38A from U4 Heiligenstadt. The duration is about 30 min. I recommend you to go there in cloudly weather because I went there in a nice sunny day and...my pictures were very, very poor! Another thing- take binocullars with you!
I was there in winter, I could see locals with hiking sticks walking in the marked trails. unfortunately i was not well equipped, and simply chose to stay on the road, watching the snow covered wineyard.
I visited in winter, so boat tour to Melk was out of question. I was advised by the receptionist to simply take the train to melk instead of tourbus, and he was so correct. There are frequent trains to melk (15euro oneway) from Vienna. The abbey is a 10 minute walk from the train station.
In winter you can only enter the abbey with a guided tour only that is offered twice a day. So better watch out for the timing. Guided tour costs only 1 euro more, and I highly recommend that. Our guide was very good (Yes, i have seen not so good guides too).
We had to visit these ruins (which are not far from Baden) because Beethoven regularly walked through the woods around the ruins (it was a ruined castle even in his time) and because his nephew Carl tried to commit suicide there. The walk to the ruined castle is lovely - its about 2 kilometres - but do it on a dry day. It was raining when we set off and even though Koos said it was becoming dry we got caught in a thunder storm on the way there and there is no shelter. We had hail, thunder, lightening and very heavy rain. I was soaked to the skin.... Koos said it gave us the feeling of dispair that Beethoven's nephew must have felt when he tried to kill himself!! Koos felt it added to the "romance" of the area -I was just so cold I didn't feel any romance!
In the film "The Immortal Beloved" there is a wonderful sequence when Carl goes up into the ruins and tries to shoot himself and that brings the terrible feeling of unhappiness he and Beethoven must have felt about their relationship. It is a beautiful film even though it strays from the truth about Beethovens mystery love to whom he wrote that wonderful letter. It starts with:
My Angel, my all,my very self
in the letter he writes;
though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you,My immortal Beloved..... I can live only wholly with you or not at all.
The whole letter is so wonderfully romantic, the langauge so beautiful and it tears at your heartstrings. I can read it over and over again.
Take a daytrip on the Semmering Railway which is listed as a UNESCO World heritage site since 1998.
It was constructed between 1848 and 1854 and was the first mountain railway on standard gauge in Europe. The 41 km trip from Gloggnitz to Murzzuschlag has a difference in height of 460 m and consists of 14 tunnels and 16 viaducts.
The route is frequently served by both Intercity trains and local trains. The Intercity trains leave from Vienna South Station and only stop in Murzzuschlag, whereas the local trains leave from Wiener Neustadt and stop at almost all stations.
A single ticket from Vienna to Murzzuschlag will set you back 17,80 Euro (2005). The Train Information Office provides detailed pocket timetables for the Semmering Railway.
One thing which I really like about Vienna is its close proximity to the Slovak capital Bratislava. Bratislava and Vienna are said to be the two closest capital cities in the world.
There is a frequent train and bus service between both cities which are only about 60 km apart.
The train trip takes about one hour and a return ticket is only 14 Euro (2006). Like Vienna, Bratislava is situated at the river Danube.
For more info about Bratislava please have a look at my Bratislava page.