Traveling to Austria for the first time with my fiancé. Any suggestions on things to do and see in Vienna and Salzburg that are great for couples?
When and for how many days?
Last few days in August and first 2 in September. We'll be taking the train from Munich to Salzburg and enjoying the area for 8 days.
Limitless possibilities , but where does the focus of your interest lie ? Art , Architecture , Music , Natural Beauty , Great Coffee etc . Give us an idea .
@steven We love beautiful scenery, architecture/history and food :)! Not so much into the art.
See my posts and Emily's posts in the Austria Review section for food and drink, plus the best Cafes.
Where to start ? here are a few ( and I mean only a few ) ideas . The Altstadt ( Old city ) is bordered by a roughly circular boulevard known as the Ringstrasse . Begun as a grand modernization plan similar to Baron Haussman's plan for central Paris , it is lined with Grand Neo Classical , Neo Gothic and Historicist Architecture , among additional styles . The road is , alternatively , laced with many parks which give the city a feel that wonderfully combines these two aspects of design . Strolling along this beautiful street is a must highlight for any visit to Vienna . Another must for beautiful rural atmosphere are the Heurigen or wine taverns in the hills , or Vienna Woods , slightly to the north of the central city . A favorite for me is Grinzing which is reached by the #38 Streetcar from the Schottentor terminal on the Ringstrasse quite near the University . There are several villages like this ,all equally charming and accessible where you can wander in the woods and vineyards . One last idea , remember , the list is endless , would be to day trip out to Melk Abbey , OBB ( Austrian State Railways ) sells a combo ticket that combines the rail trip from Westbahnhof to Melk . the abbey and church , A cruise down the Danube through the Wachau Valley to Krems , and the rail trip from Krems back to Vienna . Great fun if you have a day for it .
Thanks Steven! we were thinking about using a Fiaker for a city tour - any idea on how much it costs?
Also, which of the palaces - Schonnbrunn, Hofburg or Belvedere - do you suggest we tour?
We would also love recommendation for a good heurigen accessible by public transport that isn't in Grinzing as it is very touristy. Are there heurigens in the Wachau that we could stop at after our visit to Melk before getting back to Wien?
Take the D tram to its end in Nussdorf and go to the Schurbrt Auer:
You are correct not to go to Grinzing...I don't care what others say, it is for tourists. If you want better go to Zimmermann in Neustift am Walde:
I recommend an overnight in Durnstein...stay in the vineyards at Stockingerhof...Peter is a fine host and proud of his wines:
For Salzburg you will love the Hotel Auersperg:
The best place we ate at in Salzburg is Barenwirt (reserve, reserve). Excellent local cuisine and few tourists:
For Wien, if you are not into art, go to Schönbrunn , EARLY, so you don't encounter the hordes of tourist buses. The gardens are really nice and free to stroll. The palace tour is a good one (as a historian of the Hapsburgs, I won't go into all the details that can be tiresome to the layperson) suffice to say it will give you a great overview of their opulence and power.
Fiaker ride is okay, costly, but if is what you want...We always prefer wandering the 1st district on foot.
I urge you to read Emily's post on Cafes in Wien in the Review section...she really knows her stuff.
A few comments first - regarding your question on the Belvedere, Hofburg and Schonbrunn. The Belvedere is an art museum housed in a beautiful palace. Put it on your list. The Hofburg is the city palace; Schonbrunn is the "country" palace, but still in town. The interior rooms are pretty much the same, but as the grounds of Schonbrunn are glorious, opt for Schonbrunn.
As has been already said, don't do Grinzing. For something different than suggested, go to Stammersdorf (take tram 31 from Schottenring to the end). Cute little village worth wandering. Have dinner at Heuriger Wieninger:
Alternatively, go to the U4 end station of Heiligenstadt, take the 38A bus to Kahlenberg, walk towards the church for a fab view of Vienna (you will be on a very large hill/mountain), walk down the stadtwanderweg 1 (well marked path with map) and end in Nussdorf, another cute village home to great heurigen (Schuebel-Auer, for example). If you do this on a Sunday, you will pass some hillside heurigen with views, great for a glass of wine and a schinkenbrot.
Finally, this place, uber-awesome:
Here is a post I recently wrote up on TripAdvisor for a romantic weekend in Vienna:
Stay: Hotel Daniel. You can get a hammock in your room.
Do: On Friday, go to the Belvedere and see Klimt's Kiss (as well as other beautiful art in a very romantic palace). Take Tram 71 towards town and have a late lunch at Café Central. Walk around the Hofburg, up Kohlmarkt, across the Graben to Stephansdom. Go up the tower for a view. Go back down and get lost in the first district wandering. Opera maybe; if you want to go to a cool place for drinks, check out Café Tachles. Dinner, I like Palmenhaus. On Saturday, I would head to the Naschmarkt and have breakfast at Neni. From there, get on the U4 and head to Schonbrunn. Take a tour, walk to the Gloriette. Head back to town. Go to Demel Café for some coffee followed by dinner at Figlmuller or Plachutta. If you still want drinks and a view, go the Atmosphere, the bar on top of the Ritz. Sunday morning - have a Viennese breakfast at café Landtmann and then head out.
Thank you so much for taking the time write such thoughtful and very informative replies!
@alex is a fiaker not worth it? How much is it typically? Also, are there tours of Vienna at night? Is it lit up like Paris is? Definitely going to check out the stay in Durnstein!
@emily wow at the choice of options, I was hungry just looking at the menus! Daniels looks amazing and reasonably priced! From Kahlenberg is there a Huerigen Expess to Nussdorf? Is the walk a long one? Our biggest concern is taking public transport later in the evening to our hotel! Also, we've read a lot of articles on Vienna and Salzburg shutting down early. True?
Sorry for the million and one questions, it's our first time and we are a little nervous.
I agree with Alex in his suggestion to arrive early at Schönbrunn in light of the dates you indicated, ie, late Aug, early Sept. Not only to avoid the tour buses and the crowds, but also the heat won't be as oppressive. It may not be so when you are there; if it is, it can be oppressively hot.
My very first time in Vienna was the first week in Sept....yes, that heat in the heart of Central Europe and visiting Schönbrunn...those memories stick. . I suggest walking up to Gloriette when you arrive, then see the inside of Schönbrunn. There is also the special exhibit (Sonderaussttellung) tour.
Last I heard 40-60 euro for around 30 minutes. There are many around Stephansplatz and you can inquire with them when you are there. Wander in the evening and stop for wine or coffee...very romantic. I don't think you will find it as lit up as Paris, but it is very romantic in Vienna despite any lighting effects. Public transit runs late...no worries and Vienna is most-likely the safest city in the world to wander in. Certainly was just re-voted the most livable city.
Anita, yes, there is a heurigen express, but please don't use it. About as un-romantic as you can get. Take a walk in the woods from the top after riding the bus to Kahlenberg. It is an easy, paved walk. Here is a blog I found in English with some photos (I should note that they did the entire loop, including uphill, which I am not suggesting. You would start at the top at the church).
You have heard that Vienna shuts down at night? Well what you have probably heard is that the shops close between 6-7, but everything else is open such as restaurants and cafes. Public transport runs all night long. Super safe city. At the time of year you will be here the sun will be up until 9ish anyway.
One thing you must add to your list is the film and food festival at the Rathaus. Great local restaurants open pop up shops in front of city hall and a movie is shown every night on a huge screen. This is "the" thing to do at that time of the year. Make sure to have dinner there at least one night and grab a table by one of the water fountains off to the side. Surely romantic!
Thanks everyone! Emily and Alex you guys are wonderful. Thanks for all the great suggestions and info. Emily the film and food festival is totally us so we will definitely try to do that one night!
I only wish the heurigen menus were in English, oh well I guess I better start learning German!
At the heurigen, food is served buffet style so you just point to what you want. Easy-peasy.
You will be there at the time Sturm is available...make sure to sample some.
Awesome! Thanks guys, we are so stoked! Any farms that we can visit in the region?
To have a vacation on a farm is a popular thing in this part of the world. Here is the main website for searching farms which offer accommodation as well:
Some are fairly close to Vienna.
"To have a vacation on a farm is a popular thing in this part of the world." Yes, exactly. In 2011 I had a chance to do exactly that, spent two nights in a farm. It was in France, advertised as such, and located in the greater Paris area....a new experience. I recommend it.
Here's a romantic suggestion for when you come home and get married. Have a big Oktoberfest party and invite all your friends and family to come help you celebrate you marriage and happiness. My sister and her husband honeymooned in Austria and have had just such a party for over 20 years. They always dance at least one polka together, but its become marvelous party to connect family and friends of all ages and it all ties back to their honeymoon in Austria. :) One of the very fun, if not romantic aspects is the way the party changes as they have progressed through life. First, all their 20 something friends, and then eventually to families with babies and an earlier start time, through elementary school aged children with hordes of kids weaving between adults drinking beer to just now starting on teenagers. It's become a lovely tradition for them.
@Pamela... what a wonderful suggestion:)
I especially enjoyed the Vienna Woods, as well as Melk Abbey. Also took a riverboat cruise... I would think most anything you do with a fiancé in Europe will end up being romantic... leave plenty of time for impromptu picnics, wandering around and hanging out in cafes. Serendipity:))