Vienna: Vineyards, Ice-cream and Sunshine!
We arrived in Vienna late at night after our epic train journey from Zurich, not knowing quite what to expect. We were finally about to enjoy our first ever Airbnb booking in Europe and nervously waited to see whether all the pictures were accurate (as you do). While on the train we day dreamed about all the yummy meals we would make since we would finally have a kitchen. Our mouths watered at the joy of having a fridge, yay for cold drinks! We could finally boil our own eggs in the morning, have our own snack platters at home and do some long overdue laundry.
We were not disappointed. Our apartment felt spacious, our host was welcoming and when we walked outside to explore we discovered we were only a few blocks from Stephansplatz – the hub of central Vienna. More importantly we immediately discovered multiple late night vegan ice-cream vendors (cue big smiles).
Our recommendations for a 2-3 day visit to Vienna:
- Walk through the Centre of town at night. We found it buzzing with tourists, even at 11pm on a Sunday. Churches and statues are lit up. Grab the aforementioned ice-cream and enjoy some people watching.
- Stay inside the ‘ring road’. When you look at a map of Vienna you will notice a natural ring around the City centre. If you stay inside this zone you should be able to walk everywhere and spend hours admiring grand old buildings to your hearts content, day or night.
- Schönbrunn Palace. The main attraction of Vienna is not over-rated. If you visit in Summer be sure to get there early to beat the crowds and the heat (you will be outside a lot, walking the gardens). Tickets are confusing to say the least and will be bound to cause a few arguments. We went with a Classic Pass in the end which allowed full access to most of the Palace and grounds. Be sure to walk up the Gloriette, visit the maze and give yourself enough time to relax in the gardens and soak up the sun. Take plenty of water!
- Wachau Valley Winery Bike Tour! Also known as ‘The Grape Escape‘. We took the version run by PedalPower, although other companies run similar trips. Our host Giovanni was engaging, enthusiastic and charming (very Italian). The level of biking is easy / beginner, covering around 25km total on mostly flat cycle lanes. It was one of our most memorable days – visiting private cellars in tiny villages, riding through acres of vines alongside the Danube. Absolute bliss.
- While we didn’t personally hire bikes in the central City, they looked like a fun way to get around. There are stations everywhere and the first hour is free.
- Hofburg Palace is also worth visiting on foot. Take an hour or two to walk around this area and admire epic statues. Many photo opportunities to be found. This is also where the famous Spanish Riding School is based, although check opening dates as we found this closed when we visited in July.
Continuing our Vegetarian European Food Odyssey – Two particular eateries stood out amongst the rest:
Swing Burger – Vegan fast food chain that plays Swing music while you eat. Need we say more?
Simply Raw Eatery – the best iced coffee we have ever had the pleasure of enjoying (complete with home made vegan ice-cream).