Vienna is one of our favourite European cities. It has everything a cosmopolitan capital needs, majestic monuments, unique cafés, cool bars & breweries, exciting museums, great restaurants and casual street markets. Every time we visit the city, we try to discover a new corner.
This spring we invited our parents to come with us. We took it slow and enjoyed our stay very much. Here are our tips on how to spend a sunny day in Vienna without hustle.
Start the day at Naschmarkt
At the famous Viennese food market, Austrian and central European cuisine mixes with an oriental influence. You’ll find everything there, from Russian caviar, over sushi and baklava stands to stalls serving Schnitzel and cucumber salad.
The market dates back to the late 18th century. Some stalls belong to the protected national heritage. Naschmarkt is a perfect place for breakfast or lunch.
Admire the frescos in Karlskirche
Karlskirche built in the 18th century on request of Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, is considered the most spectacular baroque church in Vienna.
Inside the church, there is a platform from where you can get a very close look at the dome’s frescos. A lift will take you up there, so there is no need to climb stairs. It’s an extraordinary experience for a church visit.
Appreciate beautiful architecture
Just opposite the Karlskirche, you’ll find an excellent example of Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) architecture, Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station building from the late 18th century.
Then, cross the road and continue until you reach the neo-renaissance Vienna State Opera House. Soon enough, your feet will lead you to Albertina, the well-known art museum. Climb the stairs and get a better overview of the surroundings from the terrace.
After that, it’s only a few meters until the roof of the former imperial palace, Hofburg emerges from behind a corner. Since the 12th century, Hofburg had been the seat of power of the Austrian monarchy.
Then, continue to the very heart of the city, Stephansplatz with the world-famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Tip: There are two accessible viewpoints on Stephansdom, the south tower, and the north tower. To get to the top, you can either climb more than 300 stairs of the south tower (Südturm) or get an elevator to the top of the north tower (Nordturm). When we visited, the lift to Nordturm was temporarily closed. Ask in advance at the entrance to avoid any surprises.
Rest your legs in a traditional coffee house
In 2011 Viennese Coffee House Culture has been recognised as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Large selection of coffee drinks, décor in style of historicism, international newspapers attached to a holder and delicious pastry dishes create a unique atmosphere for coffee lovers. Famous artists, scientist, writers, and politicians like Sigmund Freud or Leon Trotsky used to have their favourite Viennese coffee house. The tradition has survived until today. So, pick one, get in and enjoy for example a cup of Melange together with a piece of apple strudel. We particularly enjoyed Café Hawelka and Café Landtmann.
A word of advice: Choose your coffee drink carefully. Don’t ask for “black coffee.” Also, don’t get your drink at franchise coffeehouse chains in Vienna. Travel global, drink local!
Look for concerts in the evening
Austrian capital has lured music enthusiasts and talented composers for centuries. If you are interested in classical music, check announcements for upcoming concerts in front of churches. The concerts are mostly for free or a small donation. We spotted an advertisement for an evening concert at St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche), so we went in and had an enjoyable music experience.
Of course, Vienna offers more than “just” one city-walk. But if you like exploring at a slow pace from time to time and the weather is good, stay outside, and enjoy the bustling metropole on foot. It’s a parents-friendly alternative 😉