Vienna was the second city in our Eastern Europe Christmas Tour where we stayed 2 days. The weather was cold as Prague but it didn’t rain until our departure day so we were lucky enough :) (I first write about Vienna since I already started writing on the bus, on our way to Budapest.The other cities, Prague and Budapest, will be ready soon :))
- How did we get there?
There are many buses and trains from Prague to Vienna. As I booked this trip 2 months ahead, I could get very cheap prices (290 CZK which was around 13€ per person back then) for the bus tickets and as far as I remember it takes more or less the same time to get to Vienna by train. We took Eurolines bus at 8:00 in the morning and arrived to Vienna VIB terminal (U3 Erdberg Station) at 12:00. The bus had WiFi but it wasn’t working and inside of the bus was a bit cold apart from that the trip was OK.
We bought 48 hour Vienna ticket in the metro station and went directly to our hotel.
- Where did we stay?
We stayed in Bella Vienna Hotel which was very close to center and the shopping street Maria Hilfer Strasse. It is close to the Neubaugasse Station (Line U3 ) and Pilgramgasse Station (Line U4). We had a spacious room and comfortable beds. Breakfast wasn’t included so we had chance to visit some cafes around the hotel for breakfast. There was a computer and a printer at the reception area which helped us to print our boarding passes. Overall, I would recommend this hotel.
- Where did we eat?
We had our lunch here in our first day and we weren’t very happy with the service (took like 20 minutes to order!) and food was not that great. However, I like the ambience of the restaurant a lot. You need to go down 2 floors to get to the restaurant and it is all wooden and nicely decorated. I had Fleischknödel and Markus had Goulash and both were OK but not very delicious. I would go there to have a beer because it is a nice restaurant to see unfortunately with poor service.
We had our breakfast here in our first morning in Vienna. It was just 2 minutes away from our hotel and it had good ratings so we decided to try it. It was a good choice. They had small or big breakfast options but also bread, butter, marmalade, omelette and toasts. We had Wiener Melange for coffee which was very good and I had some buttersemmeln and Markus had some croissants which were warm and fresh. The service was also very good.
As Vienna is famous with its Sachertorte,so we had to try it. A friend of mine recommended me 3 cafes for this cake; Demel, Sacher and Mozart. In all of these cafes, there is always a queue so be patient :)
Cafe Sacher is the one which is the original one. But after reading some bad comments about it, we decided to go to Cafe Mozart. We waited around 10 minutes in front of the door to be seated and then we had a small table for us. Of course I have ordered the Sachertorte (the one in the left bottom corner) and Markus has ordered a chocolate truffle cake. To be honest, I don’t understand why Sachertorte is so famous because for me it was not very different from any other chocolate cake. I think it was a bit dry, maybe they didn’t put much apricot marmalade. I was a bit disappointed with the cake because there were many other nice looking cakes that I could have ordered. But what can I do, I am a simple tourist that wants to taste the typical food of the city :)
This was our favorite restaurant in Vienna. Everything was perfect. We went there early around 6 in the afternoon without any reservation in our last night in Vienna and they told us to finish our dinner in 2 hours as our table was already reserved. So if you think about going here, I would recommend to reserve a table.
This restaurant has also very nice ambience with wooden tables and floor. The waiters are dressed in traditional austrian pants and shirts and they have many Viennese dishes in their menu.
I have read that Tafelspitz is the traditional food of Austria and I wanted to try it. It came with 2 different plates with many side dishes (first row in the below picture) and it was really nice. Markus had Goulash again :) and it came with tasty spätzle which he thinks that they were homemade. Even though we were full, I also wanted to try apfelstrudel so we ordered it but we couldn’t finish as it was a really big portion. It was also nice though.
- What did we visit?
Christmas markets! :) As we were in Vienna only to visit Christmas markets we haven’t done anything else. We just filled ourselves up with Glühwein :)
Christmas markets in Vienna were much nicer from the ones in Prague. The one in Rathaus was just amazing. I think it is the most beautiful Christmas Market I have ever seen.
- Rathaus Christmas Market
The best christmas market ever. As soon as I got close to it, I was amazed. I wanted to take picture of everything :) Everywhere was decorated and it can be seen that they were very generous about it. Now we know who is not in crisis! :)
We have been here twice, because the first time we went there, it was Saturday and it was too crowded that it wasn’t even possible to walk. We managed to get a hot wine but it wasn’t very comfortable to drink it so we decided visit again on Sunday night which was much better. Note that this was the most expensive christmas market in Vienna where the hot wine costs 4€ with a 2,5€ of deposit for the mug that you get it back when you return the mug. In all other markets, hot wine costs 3,5 € with a 2,5€ of deposit.
- Schönbrunn Christmas Market
We took line U4 (Schönbrunn station) to get there and walk a little bit. The garden of Schönbrunn castle was set up for a big Christmas Market. It was quite big and not very crowded even it was a Saturday.
There were musicians playing in the stage which makes it more christmassy with all decorations and the big christmas tree and I had a chance to try apfelglühwein which I haven’t seen in any other market.
- Maria-Theresian Platz Christmas Market
I think this one is the one that I liked less. It was big and located in the middle of historical buildings but somehow I didn’t feel christmasy there but better than the ones here in Barcelona :)
- Riesenradplatz Christmas Market
We haven’t stayed a lot in this market but it wasn’t as big as the other ones. However, it was nice. We decided visit this one just after visiting Hundertwasserhaus since they are very close to each other by tram.
- Christmas Village at Altes AKH
This one maybe the less decorated christmas market that we have been in Vienna but it was still nice. It is located in the university campus so there were many young people in the market. Also there were more tables and chairs so it was more comfortable here to have a hot wine than having it in the crowd of Rathaus.