As we drove into Vienna, I had the Falco songs in my head (you know the ones from the ‘80s… Amadeus and Vienna Calling?!) and I expected Vienna to be very similar to the other places we have visited on this trip, but this is definitely not the case.
The Danube River runs straight through the centre of Vienna and the buildings on each side are amazing, old-fashioned and several storeys high but not of the old-style architecture which features prominently throughout Europe. Some of them are painted in vivid colours, brightening up the city. The Underground train is the easiest way to get around as the traffic is chaotic, and the Underground makes all of the important sights easy to access and visit.
Schonbrunn Place was first on our sightseeing list and my oh my, this castle was stunning and home to some of the most revered Royal families in Europe. We undertook the Imperial Tour and boy were we impressed; twenty-two rooms that were the focal point of the Palace and home to the Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elizabeth as well as Maria Theresia (Mother to Marie Antoinette). The rooms were stunning and not dissimilar to the Palace of Versailles; gilded, light and airy in the main Public areas although in contrast quite simple and basic behind ‘closed doors’.
The gardens at Schonbrunn were out of this world, grandeur of a whole new level to what I have seen before and truly stunning. We were also lucky in that the courtyard was filled with Christmas Markets due to it being December, all making for a truly memorable morning and the highlight of our trip.
Karlsplatz and Stephan’s Platz are the other two main sightseeing areas. Karlsplatz is home to Karl’s Kirsch (Karl’s Church) which was great to see and close to the nearby Belvedere Palace, making everything an easy walking distance. Karlsplatz is also home to the largest Christmas Market in Vienna and is filled with beautiful stalls selling all sorts of wares, not only food and drinks. We were there on a Sunday and the place was filled with families and children all having a wonderful time.
Stephan’s Platz is the main shopping area which spreads around the huge and magnificent St Stephan’s Cathedral and is an area where you can meander and explore for hours. The area is filled with bars, cafes and restaurants and make sure you have an original Wiener Schnitzel for lunch or dinner. I was so excited that it started to snow whilst we were there, making it extra special!
The other ‘must do’ on everyone’s list when visiting Vienna is to stop for afternoon tea at the Sacher Cafe, home to the original Sacher Torte which was first made by Anna Sacher in 1832. The surroundings are splendid and luxurious and enjoying a hot chocolate and a slice of Sacher Torte is a grand experience and one to be savoured. If you prefer coffee, try the Sacher Coffee as this has a nip of Sacher Liqueur in it, similar to Baileys but thick and chocolatey and definitely worth the splurge.
We’re certainly having the trip of a lifetime and vibrant Vienna has not disappointed!