Waltz, Schnitzel and a Backpacking Break – Vienna, Austria
Occasionally backpackers want to get away from the squalor that is associated with travelling and taste the finer things in life. Vienna is the perfect place to do exactly that. The country’s location in central Europe makes it easily accessible whether your backpacking trip is primarily around western or eastern Europe, and it’s certainly well worth a visit.
When to Visit
Vienna is a brilliant holiday destination in that it’s great to visit all year round, with every season boasting different benefits to travellers coming to stay. In the winter you’ll get to experience the beauty and magic of the city’s Christmas markets, whereas the summer is a great time for sightseeing in the sunshine and enjoying all of the festivals that get put on from June to August.
Sping and Autumn are utter times for tourism which makes them a great time to visit if you’re after cheaper travel and accommodation costs, and the city is still just as beautiful at these times of the year. It’s also a lot less busy, so you can enjoy popular attractions in peace most of the time.
Where to Go
The Ringstrasse, or Ring as the locals call it, circles around the historic centre of Vienna and was built to try to connect the city’s suburbs to its imperial centre in the 1800s. Walking around the Ring is a great way to see some of the most famous buildings in Vienna such as the State Opera House, the Burggarten, the Hofburg and the National Library. Who needs a tour guide?
For a cultural experience that contains a little bit of everything, head to Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier. Consisting of over 60 different institutions, you can find everything here from art to theatre alongside a wonderful selection of different cafes and bars. It’s worth a visit even if art isn’t really your thing, as the whole area is full of interesting architecture and quirky locals.
The Naschmarkt is a 16th-century open-air market in the middle of Vienna that offers the perfect chance to try a huge selection of different local and international cuisine. Get your money at the ready and cruise around the different stalls with an open mind and eager tastebuds, and you’ll likely discover ingredients and flavour combination that you’ve never tried before. It’s also a great place to buy edible souvenirs for friends and family back home, but maybe not if you’ve still got a lot of your backpacking trip left!
What to Do
Take a Trip to the Opera
Vienna is famed for its music, theatre and opera which, whilst perhaps stretching the backpacking budget slightly, should certainly be included on the itinerary. Where better to see a Viennese Waltz than in Vienna?
Enjoy Viennese Cafe Culture
Austrian food is similar to its German neighbour, with schnitzels galore and plenty of sausage, but the city is also famed for its wonderful cafes which have a long and distinguished history that dates back centuries. Rest those legs with a filter coffee (a process the Viennese claim to have invented!) and a glass of water, an age-old Viennese tradition.
Admire the Views from the Donauturm
in the Donaustadt district of Vienna you’ll find a viewing tower that stands at 252m tall, offering incredible views across the entire city and beyond. There’s no better place to et a real idea of the scale of Vienna that from up in the sky, and it’s particularly magical at night when all of the streets are lit up. Be warned however, this is not an activity unless you have a good head for heights!
Is Vienna expensive for tourists?
Vienna is more expensive than a lot of backpacker destinations in Europe, so if you’ve been visiting a lot of cheap towns and cities then you may be surprised at the prices in the city. However, it’s not a hugely expensive city compared to other European places if you plan your trip accordingly, avoid eating out too much, and stick to a budget every day.
Is Vienna easy to walk around?
The centre of Vienna is very easy to walk around and an ideal place for sightseeing on foot, particularly if you follow the Ringstrasse Bouvelard. For those who want to get a little further out of the city, the U-Bahn underground train system is very efficient.
Vienna echoes Paris in that backpackers will have to reach slightly deeper into their pockets than usual, but it is also similar in that it will leave you with a travelling experience you will never forget. It’ll also give you a nice break from slumming it before you end up in another hostel with ten strangers who haven’t changed their sock for a week!