Mom and I had a fabulous time visiting Austria for the first time this past week! We were a bit nervous because initially someone had suggested that our Airbnb might be in a neighborhood that wasn’t the best. Thankfully, we were fine with it. There was public transportation is very nearby and a huge and beautiful grocery store with everything we needed. The apartment it’s self was excellent, everything that we could have possibly needed and spotlessly clean. Two things that were much appreciated were the air conditioning as temperatures have soared in Vienna and also a refrigerator with an ice machine again due to the temperatures and the fact that I took a tumble and wrenched my ankle and was able to make an ice pack! We ended up purchasing two Viana passes for two days which included the hop on hop off bus and free entry to many sites. I know that people have mixed feelings about hop on hop off bus says but in most cities I find this is a great way to get the lay of the land. Are usually ride it the entire route first and then hop off at sites I want to visit. The only place where this type of bus did not work at all for me was in Rome where the buses never came when they were supposed to! Otherwise, I’ve been pleased at every other place. We picked up the Vienna passes at the airport very easily and got a discount on airport transportation to our Airbnb which ended up costing €33 for the 18th district which is not In the city center, so that seemed reasonable. We arrived late Thursday afternoon and spent the rest of that day grocery shopping for a few things and settling in. The next morning, we walked to the nearest hop on hop off bus stop. We rode for a while and then got off at a market which sold fruits, vegetables, souvenirs, and had wonderful restaurants throughout. I had my first weinerschnitzel and goulash, wonderful!Then we got back on the bus and rode around for a while longer. We made it an early evening, still trying to get over jet lag. The next morning we took the hop on hop off bus again to Schönbrunn Palace and spent several hours there. You can attend an apple strudel making demonstration and I even got chosen to be the assistant, wearing an apron and a chefs hat! Afterwords, we sampled the delicious strudel. After that, we visited inside the palace and then took the wonderful little tram around the grounds. There is also a zoo and other places to visit but we were limited on time so we stopped at the Gloriette, which is a beautiful building that you can climb to get Lovely palace views and views of the surrounding city. We got back on the hop on hop off bus and took it back to city Center where we attended a concert at one of the smaller palace is in town. This was a small venue without the costumes and elegance of some of the other options, but we really really enjoyed the Mozart and Strauss music! After this, we took the subway back to the apartment. Our final day in Vienna, we took a train trip, about 2 1/2 hours each way, to Salzburg. At Salzburg we again got a hop on hop off bus and rode it around the loop. We also bought a Salzburg card for free admission to a couple of places. This also included free public transportation for the day. We stopped at Mirabelle Palace, of course to see where the scenes of the sound of music were found, and it’s an amazing and beautiful garden! Then we got back on the bus road a little while longer and stopped at a place to take a funicular up the hill to a huge fortress. This was wonderful and we ate lunch overlooking the beautiful city with the mountains in the distance. Then we got back on the bus and made it back to the train station to catch a train back to Vienna. It was a lovely few days and in retrospect I think four days would have been just perfect. We would like to go back again and see the beautiful horse shows and possibly take a waltz lesson! But it was a wonderful first introduction and we enjoyed it immensely! Now we are on our way to Ireland!
Thank you for your report! Just watched the RS video on Vienna last night! Enjoy Ireland!
Thanks for the detailed report. I am taking notes! We are considering the day passes. Glad you and your mom enjoyed your journey. Happy travels to Ireland!
I hope your ankle is getting better.
Nice report - thanks.
Great report. Thanks. It doesn't appear that your ankle slowed you down much. I love Salzburg. We were there a few years ago during a really hot spell. Our room had no AC so we were uncomfortable. I heard Europe was really hot right now. Did you have AC or just survive?
Hi Nancy, we were lucky enough to rent an Airbnb with air conditioning that worked extremely well. Mom and I are both a bit sensitive to the heat and knew that we would need air conditioning in order to be comfortable! It was so hot and so very nice to come back at the end of the day to a cool space! Anymore, when I visit Europe in the summers, even in the UK, I booked places with air conditioning. For me it’s worth it!
Sounds like you had a wonderful time!
I love your trip report, and I'm really happy that you had a great time. I like that you fearlessly shared your enjoyment of your Hop On Hop Off experience, despite the opinions of some on the forum. Hope your ankle is better and hope you have an equally great time in Ireland.
Well, it is a fact that the HOHO is vastly more expensive than the easy to use, excellent public transportation system in Vienna and it is a fact that the HOHO buses do not go into the historic center.
I so respect everybody’s opinion on this forum and completely understand the plusses and minuses for the hop on hop off bus service. However, I stand by my opinion they are often the best way to get your feet wet in a new city. Also I don’t solely rely on hoho buses and take public transportation wherever I am. And most of all I appreciate the commentary that goes along with the ride so that I get the history and background of a new place and a great view from the top level!! And bundled with the Vienna Pass, it was actually quite economical. Now today we are in Dublin and I’m leaving it up to Mom whether she wants to do the bus or just walk. I’ve already done it on my first visit here! To each his or her own, but the hoho buses have enhanced my trips! 😊
Kristen... I've never been on a Hop On Hop Off bus in 22 trips to Europe, but it delights me that they delight you and enhance your travel experience. I know and respect a well-traveled older couple who absolutely LOVES HOHO buses. Happily, you only have to please yourself on your trips. No need to defend making yourself happy. Once again, glad you had a great time in Austria!
Thanks for sharing your trip report, it sure sounds like you and your mom had an amazing trip!
I hope your ankle is on the mend.
Would you please tell me the name of the small palace where you attended the concert?
Vienna and Salzburg are on my bucket list and hopefully will get there one day.
Do you wish you’d have spent more time in Salzburg?
What’s the name of the fortress where you enjoyed lunch overlooking the city?
Enjoy your time in Ireland! 🍀
Thanks for your lovely trip report. I will be visiting Vienna and Salzburg in December on a RS tour of Munich Salzburg Vienna. The last time I was in Vienna was on another RS tour - Berlin Prague Vienna. It was late June early July and our hotel in Vienna had no AC! I stayed on my own a couple days post tour and roasted in the 95-98 degree temperatures. The hotel gave me a fan but it didn’t really help very much. And I live in the heat & humidity capital of Atlanta!
I loved the city and look forward to being there in the cold weather! It will be my first time to Salzburg as well.
Just to add my two cents about HOHO buses, I used one once in London and we enjoyed it very much, the tickets were good for two days as I recall.
I enjoyed Ireland as well, Dublin is a smallish city - I’m sure you will find it interesting and charming.
Hi all, thank you for the well wishes for my ankle! I am on the last leg of my trip home to Rochester New York and plan to get an x-ray tomorrow just to check that everything is OK. It is pretty swollen! Still, the trip to Austria and Ireland were wonderful!
To answer a few questions, the concert we went to was at Palais Schonborn. It was a smaller venue and not one of the really fancy ones where the orchestra dresses up in Mozart gear! We found out about it by walking near the opera house where people were selling tickets. We were really glad that we chose it- even though there were fancier and pricier options, we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was also a very hot day and the air conditioning worked beautifully! There was a string quartet, a piano and a few singers. The program was about an hour and a half including an intermission where champagne was available and the program was mostly Mozart and a tiny bit of Strauss. I would recommend it!
Another question was whether we wished we had more time in Salzburg. Yes, we had about eight hours total, leaving early in the morning by train from Vienna and returning that night. We would have really enjoyed a more time there. We only had three days total and Austria and to do it again, I would have liked three days in the Vienna and two days in Salzburg. The fortress that we visited was called Hohensalzburg. Hope that helps!! 😊
I'm really glad you had such a wonderful trip. Hopefully the ankle will have time to heal now that you can rest it a little!
Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your Trip Report and how fun to be the official Strudel Assistant!
I’m glad you enjoyed the HOHO buses. I’ve never used one, but I appreciate that we all have different methods that work for us, and it’s helpful to hear what works well for you.