For my birthday, my husband organized a weekend in Vienna from Friday to Sunday. This historical city has so much to offer! Due to the recent event that happened in Vienna I then decided to honor this beautiful city through this article.
Where to stay
We stayed in the Motel One hotel for two nights. The hotel is extremely well located: right in the center and only 200 m away from the Staatsopper (Vienna State Opera)!
The hotel has an excellent value for money with confortable and clean rooms.
What to do
Meet Sissi the Empress
The Hofburg Palace, also called the Imperial Palace, was built in the 13th century. This is where the Habsbourg emperors resided until 1918. Now it houses, among other things, the offices of the President of the Republic of Austria.
The palace is huge and covers an area of 240 000 square meters! There is more than enough space to held three main exhibitions (the entrance ticket will directly give you access to all these):
- In the Sissi museum we had the opportunity to learn more about the life of Austria’s most iconic Empress, Elizabeth in Bavaria, known by her nickname Sissi;
- Then, we went back in time by strolling through the 20 rooms of the imperial apartments;
- We finally discovered the exceptional silverware collection, from table service to the ceremonial washing of the feet.
Discover Vienna’s Spanish side
In the Hofburg palace there is another gem to discover: the Spanish Riding School! The school is famous all over the world for its equestrian dressage and its performances of the Lipizzaners – the “Ballet of the White Stallions”.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend demonstrations but we walked through the baroque riding school and met the Lipizzaner stallions, which are housed in the Stallburg.
Side note: If you would like to become a professional rider, be at least 172 cm and know German, then you can always try your luck by applying to this prestigious school! However, be aware that the training (spread over 8 to 10 years) is very strict. For example, the first two years you need to work on stables and material maintenance and then are not permitted to ride yet.
Visit Vienna like an aristocrat
A multitude of carriages are parked just in front of the Hofburg palace. I am usually not a fan of doing those kind of tours due to the working conditions of horses. However, I was relieved when I read this article.
The tour was extremely nice and the coach was a perfect guide.
Go to the opera
The Wiener Staatsoper is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Even if we couldn’t see a representation, we wanted to visit this marvelous building. The tours are masterfully managed and are given in several languages.
If ever you would like to see an opera there, know that to make it accessible to everyone, the Opera is offering extremely cheap places (3-4 euros) if you are willing to stay up. It is one of the only operas to offer so many standing places (567 out of 1709). Apart from those places, prices are ranging from 10 to 265 euros.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Art History Museum, is also a must-do! We regretted not having enough time to visit it but we are planning to visit it next time 😉
Where to eat
Start the day with a big brunch
We ate a brunch at the Melangerie, a cafe close to the Auersperg Palace. The staff was nice and and even gave us advice for our stay. The plates were also extremely generous, exactly what you need to start the day perfectly!
Take a time break
Café Central was the favorite meeting place of some of the best poets, philosophers and storytellers to discuss anything and everything. The coffeehouse was perfect to enjoy a piece of cake and Viennese chocolates.
Eat in a botanical greenhouse
We ate our first dinner at the Palmenhaus, located in the Burggarten, a garden in the city center. The food was not the best but the environment and building were simply beautiful and are worth a detour (maybe for a drink)!
Enjoy a local gourmet meal
For our last meal in Vienna, we tried Buxbaum Restaurant, a restaurant located in a charming courtyard. The food was modern and tasty. In addition, the restaurant had an excellent local wine selection.