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Vienna: April 2011 - Part 2 {1st Anniversary}

We wanted to make the most of our last full day in Vienna so made an effort to get up early {very unlike us}, have breakfast, then catch the first journey of the Ring Tram. We got on at the second stop so were the only tourists on board at 10am! This was fine until a man with a microphone, looking suspiciously like he was on the radio, came towards us and asked if we wouldn't mind singing happy birthday to the tram, I think it was the 1st birthday of the new tram or something like that! Of course we couldn't really say no so if anyone in Vienna was listening to the radio that morning, yes we were the silly tourists singing to the tram; I wish I had taken a photo!

The tram tour took less than half an hour to go round the Ringstrasse which is the ring road around around the main centre of the city, and where you can see loads of the sights including the parliament building and the state opera house. While you could have done it yourself on two of the normal trams, we wanted to have the audio guide, even if we did miss the first 10 minutes due to our singing!

From there we hopped onto the underground for the journey out to the Schönbrunn Palace {Schloss Schonbrunn}. The palace which started as a hunting lodge, summer palace then then the main residence of the imperial dynasty, is now a world heritage site and Austria’s most frequently visited tourist attraction.

The palace has 1441 rooms in total, with only 40 open to the public on the grand tour. We did the shorter Imperial Tour which allows you to visit 22 of the rooms with an audio guide. This was the perfect amount for us as we aren't really lovers of history and just wanted to get a feel of the interior. The audio guide was very good and gave you just enough information about each room. They were in the process of renovating / restoring a couple of the rooms but you were still able to walk through and it was really interesting so see how they were doing it. For instance in the great gallery they were putting a copy of the fabulous ceiling frescoes at the top of the wooden structure they had built to protect the walls & ceiling; they had also used foam where the wooden structure stopped against a wall to protect it fully. Unfortunately no photographs were allowed inside so we took plenty outside in the sun instead.

The palace has massive gardens and you could easily spend hours walking around. Since we didn't have that much time, we walked up to Neptunes Fountain then around past the zoo and Palm House back to another underground station.

We headed back into the city and to the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s biggest and most popular market dating back to the 16th century. It is full of stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables, olives, pasta, meats, cheeses, herbs, bread & seafood as well as loads of little restaurants, coffee shops & bars, which I wasn't expecting to see. We wandered around the stalls but the weather had suddenly changed to stormy, cold & wet so we quickly found somewhere to eat. We had a delicious lunch of chicken satay & red curry beef / chicken noodles at a little noodle restaurant. We were given a sample of sushi when we arrived as well and one of the waiters seemed surprised that we had come all the way from Scotland.

Another trip on the underground took us to the second palace of the day, the Belvedere. The complex includes the Upper & Lower Belvedere, which are now both art galleries. We visited the Upper Belvedere to see Gustav Klimt's most famous work, 'The Kiss'.

They were in the process of restoring parts of the palace including the grand staircase and one of the exhibition rooms so some of the paintings had been moved around slightly. Everyone goes to see 'The Kiss' so it was no surprise to see it within a glass cabinet in one of the first rooms.

A tram ride later {it had gotten too cold to walk without coats, even though it was boiling earlier} and we were back at the Museums Quarter where we went to the Architecture Museum. They have a permanent exhibition about Austrian Architecture in the 20th & 21st Centuries which I thought was really interesting, except for the bits that were only in what I think was German! Graham wasn't so enthralled with this museum and it didn't take him long to look around then sit and wait for me!

On our last night we wanted to sample some traditional Viennese cuisine in a beisl. Following recommendations from a couple of guidebooks, we ate at Figlmuller, which reportedly has 'Vienna's most famous schnitzel'. We had already tried to get a table on our first night, when people were queued down the street at both their locations, so we knew it would be busy and went quite early. We were lucky to snag a table for two just in time as we then saw loads of people being turned away.

We both ordered the speciality Figlmuller Schnitzel along with the recommended potato salad. Although the schnitzel here is made of pork and not veal {which is Viennese schnitzel}, it is supposed to be the biggest, thinnest & crispiest of all the others! As a former wine tavern they only served produce from their winery so I enjoyed a glass of white wine while Graham sampled the grape juice. When the schnitzels arrived they were massive and you could hardly see the plate. Needless to say, although it was lovely, I just couldn't finish it all!

Once we got back to the hotel, stopping on route to buy some Manner wafers, I enjoyed a complimentary glass of prosecco in the hotel bar, the perfect way to end our holiday! Unfortunately we had to catch the 7.20am train back to Bratislava to get to the airport in time for our 11.10am flight so it was an early pick-up from our hotel!

I loved Vienna, and would definitely go back; perhaps at Christmas as I would love to see all of the markets and I think the city would look beautiful in the snow! I would totally recommend a trip to both Vienna & Bratislava to anyone who hasn't been before. Now we are looking forward to our next trip; Marrakech in June for Grahams 30th!


  1. that schnitzel is effin huge!!! no wonder you didnt finish it! and I love that you had to sing on the radio, mental!

  2. Vienna looks beautiful!! Awww, I'm feeling gutted now coz we were looking at stopping there for a few days on our next trip to the UK but decided to scrap it. It will have to be another time. Photos look amazing!!

  3. Can't wait to get to Vienna!... Lovely pics.. (following now, i hope you can follow back also if you like my page! I'd appreciate it so much :-)
    Thank youuu!


  4. Anonymous16/5/11 13:09

    What a gorgeous place... and yes you could hardly see the plate!

  5. Rune Thomassen2/10/12 21:13

    Thank you for a good travel article, I really enjoyed it :-) I have been to Vienna and Bratislava in 2004, and loooooved the cities! We were only a daytrip in Bratislava, arriving a sunday morning, and wow, wow, wow! We had the whole old quartier for our selves (almost) for hours, walking around in silent streets. It had so much atmosphere, like timetravelling back to medieval times. We did not know anything of Bratislava, absolutely nothing upon arrival (but expected something negative, I guess), so the place gave us a real shock. And Vienna, oh, sooo nice and cosy, so nice that I decided to learn the language and move there some day, for a year or two (I am a norwegian). But, as you see, I am not there yet ;-)


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