With my long first layover in Vienna, I managed to walk and familiarize myself with the city and the transport system. With my second layover, I managed to see quite a bit more. After retrieving my iphone (See My Lost iPhone)from the airport, I headed directly to Schönbrunn Palace traveling on the U4 from Wien Mitte Train Station to the Hütteldorf stop. From there it was a quick 5 minute walk to the Palace.,
Schönbrunn Palace, with its surrounding buildings and the huge park, is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Austria. From the 18th century to 1918, Schönbrunn was the residence of the Habsburg emperors. The castle was build to rival Versailles in France with its in Baroque beauty but the House of Habsburg lacked funds to outdo its competition. Nonetheless, it is a remarkable example of Baroque architechture and opulence. It was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996.
High on a hill behind the main palace is the Gloriette which was constructed in 1775. The building now houses a small cafe and the views of the Palace and surrounding Vienna from atop the hill are simply stunning.
Trivia: In the sixth leg of the Amazing Race 23 teams had to race through the garden’s maze and search for the pit stop located at the Gloriette.
There is no photography allowed inside of the Palace, but I can honestly tell you it is one of the most magnificent buildings I have ever visited. Only forty of the building’s over 1000 rooms are open to the public, but they serve to give a great testament to the glory of the Hapsburg Empire. Visitors are allowed access to the grand state apartments and the rooms of Franz Josef and Elisabeth (Sissi). One incredibly beautiful room was the round Chinese Cabinet, a room decorated with porcelain walls. There are tours available for other parts of the Palace, but as I was on budgeted time, a visit to those will have to wait until another visit to Vienna.
More sights in the park include a Botanic Garden, a Japanese garden, the beautiful Taubenhaus – a dovecote, the Meierei (dairy farm) which is now a café-restauran, and the labyrinth – a recreated version of the original seventeenth century version.
From Schönbrunn, I hopped back on the UBahn (U4) which took me back to Karlsplatz, a short walk from the Museum Quartier. The Museum Quartier is an area located near the Hofburg Palace where you can find the Leopold Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Library. While I could not visit everything, I did choose to visit the Imperial Treasury located in the Hofburg Palace and accessible from the Schweizerhof (or Swiss Courtyard).
There was even a giant Narwhale tooth, thought to be the horn of a unicorn, on display.
Leaving the Imperial Treasury, I decided to walk towards the center of town with the idea of finding a good cup of espresso. On the way I stumbled across an incredible candy shop with candy making actually taking place – Zuckerlwerkstatt – located on Herrengasse off Michaelerplatz behind the Volkgarten and Museumquartier
What an incredible little find! After standing and watching for about twenty minutes, the owner was delighted to offer samples and explain the process to me. Mesmerizing! With two bags of Austrian candy in hand and a recommendation for where to secure a great cup of coffee, I headed to City Center (I hope you enjoy the video about Zuckerlwerkstatt at the end of the post).
I wandered around a bit stopping in a few of the small shops. I even stopped in a small phone shop and they were more than happy to let me charge my phone. (So if you are in Vienna and need any help with your phone, check out Bling My Phone located on Plankengasse 1).
I couldn’t leave Vienna without trying some Wienerschnitzel. Although available at many restaurants, I went with the recommendation of the concierge at the Intercontinental and dined at a small restaurant/pub just a few blocks away called Bettelstudent.
I have one more layover planned for Vienna… not sure what I will manage to squeeze in… but whatever it may be, I don’t think I will be disappointed. There is just so much to see and do in Vienna.
If you go:
I took the Imperial Tour which is the shortest offered. It is self guided, however, audio guides are available. The cost was € 11,50.
Other tour information may be found by clicking here.
Imperial Treasury – Hofburg, Schweizerhof
Adults €12,00, Under 19 Free, Seniors €6,00