Austria’s largest city, the seat of one of the world’s biggest empires in the world (Habsburg), home to Mozart, Hadyn, and Strauss, and all the baroque that you need to witness — it can all be found in one place and that place in Vienna. Named as one of the liveliest cities in the world along with San Francisco and Vancouver, we agree you’d need more than 48 hours to truly explore this awe-striking city. But, if two days is all you have, this is probably the ultimate itinerary you should follow. P.S. The lazy strolls around town along with the leisurely breaks are a part and parcel of the Austrian itinerary and missing out on them to cram different places to see would be to miss out on the truth essence of Austria. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Café Prückel
Can you believe this 1950s cafe, which has been a crucial part of the Viennese coffee culture is on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List? Well, you wouldn’t have any doubts about it once you set your eyes on this soft-furnished, pastel pink cafe with waiters in tuxedos. What to order? What else but a kleiner Brauner (espresso with just a splash of milk).
2. Hofbrug Palace
The present Presidential base of Austria is the architectural epitome of the glory of the Habsburg dynasty. The architecture of this pompous palace is an illustrious amalgam of Baroque and Gothic, resulting in an unabashed show of the architectural prowess of the Habsburg even back in the 13th century. There are museums inside the complex, which showcase the history of the dynasty.
3. The City Center/St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Vienna’s city center is where you get to see the Viennese pace of life — super luxuriant yet extremely lively, buzzing with activities and tourists from all over. This is also where the St. Stephen’s Cathedral is. It is the only Roman Catholic church in the city. What attracts millions of tourists to this church every year? The distinctive and easily recognisable Gothic architecture, the 137 metre-high, and a rooftop puts all others to shame. You can have a view of the entire city if you can climb the 343 steps to its top.
We heard Erich has the best gin-and-tonic menu in the city and drooled at the thought of a walk-past-it-and-you-miss-it restaurant that serves all the Viennese traditional must-haves that we want on our plate. Along with, their collaboration with Veganista, an all-Vegan ice cream parlour, adds the cherry on top of the cake.
1. Cafe Central
You may want to take a little more time sipping your morning cuppa if it is at the historic Cafe Central. This place used to be Trotsky and Freud’s hangout spot and we can’t wait for you to find out why. The homemade cakes are savoury Austrian delights, and are best enjoyed sitting under the painted, vaulted ceilings of Cafe Central.
2. Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens
After coffee and breakfast, head over to the Schonbrunn Palace complex, a major cultural and tourist site in Austria. Home to the Habsburgs as well as Emperors of Austria, the palace offers tours to the visitors wherein you can see the Baroque architecture and the life of the royalty up close.
In the same complex is the Schonbrunn Garden, the perfect place to sit under the Austrian sun while admiring its flat flower-beds, labyrinthine floral pathways and mazes. You can enjoy a second cuppa here while taking in the view of the whole garden.
3. Tram Ride at Schwedenpaltz
Hop onto tram 1 at Schwedenpaltz as Vienna starts to light up for a tour of the 19th-century Ringstrasse Boulevard for a quick spin of the Rathaus and the neo-classical Parliament.
4. O Boufes
The last celebratory dinner of your epic Viennese exploration has to be at O Boufes, an industrial-chic bistro right at the heart of the city with a menu that gives bistros of London, Paris, and Berlin serious competition. On the menu? Veal tartare with miso, capers and egg yolk, prawn chowder with mustard caviar and spicy cabbage, and mangalitza pork with crispy rice paired with thoughtfully-selected wines for the a meal to remember and fireworks in your heart.