Vienna is, for me, the most romantic city in Europe.
Its liberty and imperial style, its clean streets, its buildings so white and brilliant to be almost blinding in the sun, its cafes that taste of chocolate, the music in every street… everything contributes to making it an almost poetic city.
I should not be surprised: it is the homeland of Klimt, Mozart, Strauss, Schubert, Sissi…
Vienna is also a cosmopolitan and vibrant city, attracting millions of tourists and travelers every year.
Getting there is very easy, and once at the airport take the S7 metro line or the CAT (City Airport Train), more expensive but faster.
Is it possible to see Vienna in two days?
It is obviously not possible to see everything, there is so much that it would take you at least five days.
I was lucky enough to go there twice for a week, so I was able to understand what you really shouldn’t miss.
In a weekend you can discover the heart of the Austrian capital.
Vienna in two days: the itinerary
You can start from the Innere Stadt, the historic center declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With the U1 underground line (U-Bahn) you get off directly at Stephansplatz, under the famous gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom), considered a symbol of Austrian identity. It is open until ten in the evening and classical music concerts are often held there.
The cathedral is huge, but you don’t notice it right away, you have to walk around it to realize its real size. Also take a walk along the outer walls, so you can see, on the right angle, the large mosaic on the roof representing the Austrian eagle.
The cost of the visit does not include the two twin towers – Pummerein and Steffl – which you will see at the entrance, guarding the door called Portal of the Giant.
It is the classic gothic cathedral, with dark atmospheres and dark colors, completely different from how it appears on the outside and this contrast makes it even more peculiar.
Fun fact: the cathedral is positioned so that on December 26, St. Stephen’s Day, the axis that goes from the entrance to the altar looks towards the dawn
Outside the cathedral (but also throughout the rest of the historic center) you will find boys and girls dressed as Mozart who will invite you to see one of the dozens concerts held every night in the capital. Go for it: We did and it was a great experience.
A few meters from Stephansplatz there is the Anker clock, a bridge-shaped clock with the ancient Viennese symbol, which every day at noon plays typical music from the early twentieth century, while a roundup of figures representing important characters from Austrian history parade in front of it.
From Stephansplatz you can continue towards Karntner Strasse, enjoy the liberty cafes of the city, its shops, the music played at every corner, stop in one of the many pastry shops or at the famous Hotel Sacher to taste the most famous dessert in the country.
At the end of Karntner Strasse is the Staatsoper, the most famous theater in the city (but it is not the one of New Year’s Concert, which is held at the Musikverein, one of the three most elegant ballrooms in the world).
Nearby, you can swing by Schwarzembergplatz and admire the monument dedicated to the 60,000 Russians who died in the battle of Vienna during the Second World War.
Following this route, you will also see Karlsplatz with its Secession Building, its Klimt’s dome, and Otto Wagner’s underground pavilion.
A must-see in Vienna is Schonbrunn, the Habsburgs and Princess Sissi summer residence, the symbol of imperial Vienna’ splendor.
The residence has 1441 rooms and lounges (only 190 are open to the public), a park, a zoo, the Gloriette (which the royal family used for breakfast) and the Palm House.
In the guided tour they will also tell you the real story of Sissi, who was not at all the sweet princess that everyone expects: she lived between vanity and anorexia, whims and hatred for her husband’s family. A story not to be missed as you stroll through the impressive riches of the royal family.
Various tours are available, and the ticket goes from 11.50 to 49 euros for the Gold Pass (prices before pandemic), which gives access to everything. A whole tour of Schonbrunn, including gardens and park, will take you almost a whole day. If you have to visit Vienna in two days, opt for the shorter tour (the Imperial Tour) and a tour of the castle by carriage and horses, to feel a little princely!
The other two imperial residences in the city are the Belvedere and the Hofburg.
The first one is the residence wanted by Prince Eugene of Savoy. It is divided into the Upper Belvedere (Oberes), – today a museum where it is exposed the largest collection of Klimt’s works (including “The Kiss”) in the world and by other Austrian artists – and Lower Belvedere (Unteres), the private rooms and representation of the Prince.
The most beautiful part of the Belvedere, in my opinion, is the garden, with its flowers and its fountains, the perfectly kept grass carpets. The only part that can be visited for free. There are various options for tickets, student discounts … Check the official website to find out more.
There is still one last thing not to be missed in Vienna: the Prater and its Ferris wheel, one of the symbols of the city.
The Prater is nothing more than an amusement park with rides, restaurants, souvenir shops, the Madame Tussauds museum.
There is no entrance fee to visit the park itself, but you have to get tickets to each carousel and to the Ferris wheel, on the top of which you can admire Vienna from almost 65 meters high.
Inside the Ferris Wheel there is also a permanent installation where, in wooden reproductions of the wheel cabins, the whole history of Vienna is told.
It is said that you haven’t really seen Vienna unless you get on the Prater wheel, and I agree.
Vienna is an extraordinary city, which knows how to satisfy the tastes of all types of travelers. Romantic, lively, inviting, it will leave you with an indelible memory even in a single weekend.
We suggest to stay at the Austria Trend Hotel Beim Theresianum, near the Belvedere.