Is it possible to get a tour of Vienna in one day? Should be simple, after all, 80% of the monuments are located within the Old Town – that’s what we thought when we were planning a tour at home. We quickly changed our minds when we were there and we suspect that even a whole week wouldn’t be enough. Vienna is such an architecturally and culturally rich city that to see even the most important of its attractions, you really need to spend a lot of time in it, or have a better condition than ours. After one, quite an intensive day, we dreamed only of cold beer and something comfortable, where we can put our four letters with your legs outstretched and sore.
VIENNA IN ONE DAY?
Before we left Poland, we were reading the guides from the series: “How to visit Vienna at the weekend”. We developed a tour plan, but it turned out that the plan might have been feasible, but only for a cyborg. We didn’t include many things – temperature, crowds of people, queues and ordinary fatigue. During these holidays we learned one thing for sure – to forgive ourselves the places we haven’t seen and have no regrets about it. And Vienna in one day? We tried, but now we know that for us it is not possible.
The first impression that the capital of 3 classics made on us
Vienna is the most eclectic city we have ever visited. Buildings in different styles, intertwine with each other all the time, but we must admit that together they form a very coherent and aesthetic whole. Pure colors, splendor, monumental and full of elegance structures make you feel truly Imperial. We’ll probably come back to Vienna to see everything we didn’t manage to see this time, but the elegance and sublimity of the architecture distanced us so much that we are not able to say about Vienna that it’s a place where we’d feel at home. It’s like being at a stylish party, where you have to stick to stiff rules, and you’re wondering all the time when you’re gonna make a shameful mistake. We are the simple people. Nevertheless, we believe that everyone should come to Vienna to see it and form their own opinion.
Vienna in one day – stop number one – Votive Church
We started our trip by finding a parking place near the Votive Church. And here was a nice surprise, most of the parking lots, almost in the city center, on the street, were free of charge, we also found a free space to leave our motorcycles without any problems.
When an assassination attempt on Emperor Franz Joseph I was thwarted on February 18, 1853, grateful Viennese decided to build a church to commemorate these events. They could not entrust such an important building to the first, better architect, which is why the competition was held in which more than 70 architects took part. The best was Heinrich von Ferstel, who was also the author of the church of the Saviour in Bielsko-Biała. This beautiful neo-Gothic church was built in 1879 at the main boulevard of the city – the Ring.
Vienna in one day – stop number two – City Hall
During the reign of Franz Joseph I, the Vienna City Hall was also built. Just like the Votive Church, it was designed in the neo-Gothic style and from the very beginning, it fulfilled a public role. The architect was the clever German architect Friedrich von Schmidt. Why was he clever? Emperor Franz Joseph forbade him to build a town hall higher than the nearby Votive Church. It seems that Friedrich von Schmidt had no other choice but to meet the Emperor’s demands. The tower of the town hall is 1 meter lower than the church’s tower, but on its top there is a sculpture modeled on Maximilian I Habsburg, measuring 3.4 meters, holding an even longer spear in his hand. And who will say now that he did not listen to the ruler?
Vienna in one day – stop number three – Parliament
The Parliament was built between 1874 and 1883, this time not in neo-Gothic but neo-classical style. Practically all of Vienna’s architecture is based on historicism, which was very popular in Europe in the 19th century. Also in Poland, you can find some great examples of this trend. Historicism was not a creative trend, but an eclectic one, i.e. it combining or imitating other styles. So standing in front of the parliament building you have the impression that it has become a monumental temple, whose entrance is guarded by Athena – the goddess of wisdom, justice, and protector of all cities. At the same time, such a view raises the rank of the secular power. There was nothing better what Theophil Edvard von Hansen, the architect of the Viennese Parliament, could offer to Emperor Franz I.
Vienna in one day – stop number four – Hofburg Palace and Volksgarten
Volksgarten (People’s Garden) is a great place to relax in the shade of trees and enjoying the beautiful rose gardens. It is located right next to the Hofburg Palace in the heart of the city. This is the first public garden in Vienna to be designed in French style with flowery flowerbeds. In the heart of the garden is the Theseus’ Temple, a miniature copy of the Hephaisteon, right next to the Palmenhaus greenhouse and the Butterfly House.
Hofburg Palace, one of the most famous residences of the Habsburgs, is a huge complex that houses the Spanish Riding School, the Austrian National Library and imperial residences. The entire complex was built, expanded and enlarged for almost 7 centuries in different styles, from Rudolph I to Charles I – the last Austrian emperor who relinquished his power in 1918. In the same year, the German Republic of Austria was established, which definitively ended the monarchy. Interestingly, Charles I, never renounced the throne, he only resigned from power. The Habsburg dynasty still exists today.
Vienna in one day – stop number five – Graben Square and the Plague Column
Are you looking for exclusive fashion stores brands, world-famous and elegant restaurants? Graben Square is one of the most important and elegant places in Vienna. Here you can buy a handbag from Louis Vuitton or shoes from Tods. However, Graben Square has not always been a fashionable and cultural place. Until the 12th century, it was the city’s border, it was Maria Theresa who turned the square into the centre of Vienna’s metropolitan life. In the middle of the square there is a column of the Holy Trinity, also known as the Plague Column. This is where people who died of the plague were buried. The column was built to thank God after the end of the plague in 1676.
Vienna in one day – stop number six – St. Peter’s Church
Right next to Graben, on the Petersplatz, there is St. Peter’s Church. The first church that stood in this place was probably the oldest church in Vienna, according to legend, it could have been erected by Charles the Great at the site of the former Roman camp. The first historical mention about that temple dates back to 1137. The present building was built in 1733 and was the first dome building in the whole of Vienna.
Vienna in one day – stop number seven – St. Stephen’s Cathedral
At the other end of Graben Square is Stephansplatz, in the middle of which is the pride of Vienna – St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I must admit that it is completely impressive. The cathedral is currently one of the highest and largest churches in Europe. The highest tower, one of the four, commonly called Steffl, is 136.4 meters high. The present building is already the third, which is located in this place. Two of them were built during the reign of the Babenberg dynasty. On the one hand, there are only relics left in the basement of the present cathedral, on the other hand, there is a part of the western façade. The present Gothic church was erected in the 14th and 16th centuries as one of the most important buildings founded by Habsburg’s in the Middle Ages.
What can you eat in the city on the blue Danube?
The most important question is, where to eat well so that it would be tasty and by the way not to lose half of the contents of your wallet in the restaurant. We’ve never been drawn to schnitzel in Viennese, which is basically a big Polish cutlet, only a bit more famous. So we were satisfied with food from the food-trucks near the town hall. For a few euros, you could taste other then Vienesse, more oriental cuisines.
And what about dessert? Only and exclusively Sacher’s cake. After all, for that taste, we came to Vienna. Unfortunately, before we remembered to take a nice and aesthetic picture, we have eaten half of a beautiful looking cake. Where to eat the best Sacher’s cake? So many opinions, as many fans of this sweetness, so there’s nothing left for you to do but to arrive here and try. You can buy it in almost every café, but apparently the original one can only be bought in the café next to the Sacher Hotel, which was founded by Franz Sacher’s son.
A handful of useful information at the end
- Don’t forget the vignette, which is obligatory in Austria. You can buy it at almost all petrol stations without any problems. There are several types available for 10 days, 2 months or a year. You can find the prices of vignettes and their types in our article.
- We had no problems finding a parking place (near the Votive Church).
- It is worth to invest in the metro tickets. We made this mistake and walked everywhere. In the middle of the day, we started to feel quite tired and we had to miss many places.
Are you looking for a place to stay in Vienna?
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