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A weekend in Vienna

© by Österreich Werbung, Photo: Peter Burgstaller

A weekend in Vienna – fun, fascinating, and flavoursome for anyone! For families with children, couples on a romantic weekend, or backpackers.

A list of suggestions on what to do on the weekend in Vienna could easily have been almost endless. Notwithstanding, we have collected a few places and sights in Vienna to show you the variety available. Moreover, our recommendations should be suitable for most people, regardless of age. Our suggestions are not mere tourist traps but activities or places that even the locals enjoy visiting.

Hundertwasserhaus

The Hundertwasser House in Vienna is one of the city’s architectural highlights. Designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the house attracts visitors from all over the world. Its colourful and quirky facades could not be more different from what you would expect from the old imperial city. However, it is more than just a piece of artistic expression because this is an actual apartment building. Moreover, the residents can even set their stamp on the house by decorating around their windows.

Prater & Wiener Riesenrad

Vienna’s famous amusement park Prater lies within a large public park, which used to be the hunting ground of the nobles, in the 2nd district of Vienna. Besides the vast variety of the usual amusement park rides and attractions, the Prater also houses one of Vienna’s best-known landmarks since 1897, the Wiener Riesenrad (giant Ferris wheel). So if you are on a romantic weekend in Vienna, you can even have your private cabin on the Ferris wheel and enjoy breakfast or candlelight dinner onboard. Another long-time running attraction is the Liliputbahn (narrow gauge railway), which takes you around the park in a 4 km loop in about 20 minutes. The Prater is open 24/7/365, and access is complimentary. You pay for the individual rides or attractions.

Haus das Meeres

Vienna has taken the opportunity to use one of the hideous concrete anti-aircraft gun towers left over from the Second World War. The 47 meters (130 ft.) tall concrete structure stands in the Esterhazypark (Mariahilf neighbourhood) and today houses an aquarium (Haus das Meeres). Spread out over 11 floors; you find more than 10.000 animals, most of them aquatic. Furthermore, the displays are very well designed and presented despite being constrained by the flak towers’ heavy blast-proof concrete shell. Last but not least, the view of the city centre is fabulous from the roof terrace at the Haus des Meeres.

The Danube Tower

Situated on the northern bank of the Danube, the massive communications tower has been a part of the Vienna skyline since 1964. The viewing terrace at 150 metres (490 ft.) is the main reason to visit the Danube Tower (Donauturm). Moreover, the 360° open-air platform offers spectacular views of Vienna and its surroundings. Try bungee jumping from the tower for thrill seekers who need an adrenalin kick. And for those in less of a rush to get back on the ground, there is also a revolving restaurant in the tower at 170 metres.

Horse and carriage

In the same way as a gondola ride in Venice, a trip with a fiaker (horse and carriage) is essential for an all-embracing experience of Vienna. Before the car took over as the primary means of transport, the Fiaker dominated the streets. Indulge yourself in a sightseeing trip in an open carriage and the sights of Vienna explained by knowledgeable coachmen or women. You will get much more than the standard historical anecdotes and facts. Furthermore, they know their city well and can readily answer most questions about Vienna.

Coffee and cake

Austria is well known for its fantastic cakes and confectionaries, and visiting a “Konditorei” is obligatory. Moreover, the café is an integral part of the Viennese culture, probably one of the best places to observe how the locals socialize. Unfortunately, many famous places such as Demel and Sacher are often packed with tourists who make a quick splash and go. Thus, we recommend finding your way to some of the local favourites to relax and enjoy. Hidden away in the 21st district, Konditorei Kriegl is a gem with good quality sweets and a lovely terrace too. We can also recommend the Oberlaa chain, with quality products and nine cafes throughout the city.

Schönbrunn Palace

We nothing but end our recommendations for a weekend in Vienna with a visit to the imperial Schönbrunn Palace. A popular tourist attraction since the 18th century and a UNESCO world heritage since 1996. Although, the queue to enter the palace museums and guided tours can be ridicelously long in the summer months, it’s worth a wait to get to see the fabulous interior. Furthermore, the imperial palace with its magnificent gardens is a must for any visitor to Vienna, Austria’s capital.

Visit a market or two

You can still find 26 different markets around Vienna. Here are some examples. In the 16th district (Bezirk) you will find Brunnenmarkt and Yppenmarkt. The pedestrian street that houses a colorful and multicultural market runs from Thaliastrasse and right up to Yppenplatz (See Google Maps). Even if you are not going shopping, it is fun to sit in a cafe and observe the bustling life of the 160 stalls. Meidlinger Markt in the 12th district is a little gem that most tourists are not aware of. In the daytime, there is a farmers market, while in the evening this is a place for small nice places to eat and drink (See Google Maps).

Chill out in one of Vienna’s parks

Wiener Stadtpark is located until Ringstrasse is a wonderful oasis. A beautiful park with a mix of open lawns, large trees, and flower beds. In the middle of the park, you will also find a small lake where you can dip your toes on a hot summer day. You can also stroll around a bit and have a look at some of the memorials dedicated to celebrities like Johann Strauss. Donaupark is one of Vienna’s largest parks and is located on the north side of the Danube. Here you can always find a quiet corner, even on hot summer days. In addition to huge lawns, you will also find sculpture parks and a small lake surrounded by stunning flora. Furthermore, the park even has a small sightseeing train, Donauparkbahn, and of course the city’s best viewpoint Donauturm.

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.