Oh Vienna

Vienna is such a beautiful city.  We quickly made ourselves at home staying at Mercure Wien City Hotel on Hollandstrasse 3 which is located in a great area. As we opted not to stay in the heart of Vienna, preferring to be away from the nightlife, but a short walk away, this location suited us perfectly.  It was a very quiet with a cosy atmosphere and provided the perfect setting for the next five days.



There was a bakery on the corner where we had a very traditional breakfast.  Funny because not speaking the language we couldn’t read the menu so just pointed at what we hoped we’d enjoy.  Steve was bought a whole canister of muesli to help himself and some yoghurt to top it off. I had hardboiled eggs, Viennese rolls, slices of soft cheese and ham. We were both also served croissants and coffee, good coffee.




Our hotel was conveniently only a ten minute walk from Stephansplatz, the central part of the city and well served by public transport with trams and underground stations also within a short walk.  Across the Salztorbrucke bridge were all the famous sights of St Stephen’s cathedral, Hofburg Imperial Palace, State Opera House and Albertina.




First on our list was a visit to the mighty St Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) originally built in 1147 and later destroyed in a fire.  The surviving two towers were incorporated into the new building and much of what stands today results from 1359. Further expansions continued throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The crowning piece of Stephansdom is the south tower, fondly known as Steffl (little Stephen) where a tight spiral staircase of 418 steps leads to the tall Gothic tower’s spire.




In the Tower’s spire is the watchman’s lookout 137 metres above street level to an observation point.  Surprising something built in the fifteenth century still dominates the city skyline. The facade facing Stephansplatz is the only surviving part from the thirteenth century.  The cathedral is mix of gothic and renaissance styles and the altar is baroque.  The tower houses a huge bell cast in 1711, one of the largest is Europe.  The roof is decorated in two hundred thousand glazed tiles that form a mosaic.  The coloured mosaic forms an enormous double headed eagle. The interior has a huge gothic vaulted ceiling which reaches 27 metres, a stone pulpit adorned with statues and stairs leading down to the catacombs.




Outside Stephansdom one day we were stopped by a man in traditional period costume and wig who seemed to be spruiking tickets for the Opera.  Against my better judgement, between his poor English and our vague understanding, I allowed Steve to be talked into these tickets for the following evening. It was quite entertaining listening to him humming the music, gesturing the movements of the conductor, familiarising us with tunes.  As soon as Steve agreed the guy revealed his own mobile eftpos so we could pay for the tickets on the spot.  This concerned me! No second chance to rethink.  Phew. The guy had hard work convincing us and after the deal was finalised he said we should seal it with a kiss… so Steve lunged forward and surprised the man with a Kiss!




Wandering around Stephansplatz we came across this insignificant church, St Peter’s (Peterskirche) and decided to go inside. The façade was undergoing renovation so appeared uninteresting, except for the monumental verdigris dome overshadowing the churches’ two towers. To our amazement when we entered we were overwhelmed by the sumptuously decorated interior. Complete with an abundance of marble pillar, gilded sculptures, intricate stucco, ornate pews and lavish works of art on the ceilings this is one of the most beautifully ornate churches we saw in Europe complete with a jewel encrusted skeleton.




The pulpit is particularly excessive with its numerous gilded sculptures.  St Peter’s is the first building in Vienna to have a dome and the design was inspired by St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.  This church may be on a smaller scale than many of those in Europe, but it lacks nothing in grandeur.  There were only a few other people inside which made is even more appealing, no crowds, no noisy tour groups.




The following evening we made our way to on foot to Musikverein for the Vienna Mozart Orchestra concert.   The Musikverein is renowned worldwide for it’s acoustics and is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world.  I was still a little uncertain whether we had in fact purchased legitimate tickets into this neoclassical building.  Inside is housed the Golden hall which seats 1744 and a smaller chamber music hall Brahms Hall seating 600.




Still cautious that we may not have valid tickets we apprehensively handed in over tickets and we were surprised to be directed to front row balcony seats.  Wow, that was impressive. Not only had we made it inside this beautiful building, but were so lucky to actually have such good seats.  We felt like we needed to pinch ourselves to check we were not dreaming. The evening was an absolute delight, the Viennese orchestra performed various chamber music ensembles in 18th century costume.  The repertoire, elaborate setting, authentic costumes and wigs and the musicians’ enthusiasm all contributed to wonderful ambience which made us feel like we had truly stepped back in time.



On the way back to the hotel we stopped at our favourite, Artur’s for a hot dog and grabbed a hot chocolate from Starbuck’s.  What an amazing evening.  Over the five days we were there we found Vienna was packed with culture, lively atmosphere, imperial history and surprising corners to explore.




We came across an Australian Pub called Crossfield’s which made me giggle when I read the menu. Grilled Grasshoppers, in fact 8 fair dinkum grilled Australian grasshoppers, without wings, of course, served with salad, mashed potatoes and tomato salsa. Now I know some people think we Aussies are a little strange eating Vegemite, but I promise you I have never, ever seen or even heard of grasshoppers being eaten in Australia.




I had another giggle outside Hofburg Palace looking at the figures on the outside of the building. Tell me, am I the only one who wonders if this was the world’s first selfie?


One of my favourite photos of our time in Vienna is a bronze statue that forms part of the massive monument in the courtyard square at Hofburg Palace. The monument is a bronze statue of Emperor Francis I, on the corner of the base are four statues depicting the imperial virtues, religion, peace, justice and strength. The pedestal is octagonal and on each side shows Science, Trade, Industrial production, Mining, Agriculture, Livestock, Art and the art of War.  The one that I am drawn to is the statue depicting Religion, a sitting woman with her hands across her chest.  I love the pose, the expression and the patina.

Oh Vienna!



Have you been to Vienna? Was it love at first sight for you? What did you do there? Please leave a comment below and let us know below.

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74 Responses

  1. Looks like there is so much to see and do. Great food, cafes, buildings and so much more. Planning a trip this summer.

  2. Lori says:

    I simply love Vienna. I’ve been there twice – saw the Stephansdom and its catacombs, Peter’s church was indeed a lovely discovery, saw Kasrlskirche – LOVED Schoenbrunn and Prater – actually, loved the entire city 🙂
    Lori recently posted…Tipping across the globe for restaurants, hotels, and taxis – how much? #infographicMy Profile

  3. The Vienna Mozart Orchestra concert looks like such a wonderful experience. The costumes etc look amazing! Those grasshoppers though eurgh! Not so much!! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes
    Ting at My Travel Monkey recently posted…The Best Urban Beaches in LondonMy Profile

  4. Liz says:

    Vienna is such a beautiful city! I spent a few days there a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. The locals are very friendly, the architecture is amazing, and the food is fantastic, too. I especially loved seeing Klimt’s works in public places like train stations. And as a piano student whose ultimate favorite composer is Mozart, you can bet I was so excited to see a concert at the Musikverein. 🙂 Definitely one of my best trips ever. 🙂

  5. This brought back good memories of Vienna. I think I bought concert tickets in the same way – off a guy in the street – but I was much less suspicious than you! I remember enjoying the concert immensely too. Strangely enough, I remember very little else now… your photos look amazing though! I think I need to revisit Vienna to refresh my memory 😉
    Michelle | michwanderlust recently posted…The Liebster AwardMy Profile

  6. Oh my! Your photos showcase the history and the architecture so beautifully. It’s absolutely stunning. I think I need to add this to the list of places to visit – thanks for the inspiration. #WeekendWanderlust

  7. Great photos, and the grasshopper things is strange and funny! Vienna is high on my list of European cities I really want to visit. It does not look very promising we are going to get there this year but hopefully next year it will happen:)
    Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats recently posted…Louisiana Plantations Guide: 12 River Road PlantationsMy Profile

  8. Those costumed concerts are touristy. But they are so much fun too!

  9. Vienna is such a beautiful city with historical background.I really like these beautiful buildings.I hope to visit there one day and I know these views of architecture can amaze me!
    Amila @Leisure and Me recently posted…10 Singapore Attractions You Must SeeMy Profile

  10. Rhonda says:

    A fantastic display of what Vienna has to offer. I want to go there someday.
    Rhonda recently posted…Inside a Legal Marijuana Dispensary in Astoria OregonMy Profile

  11. Lyn, We love Vienna. There’s always something new to experience. I haven’t done a concert…so see, something for next time.
    Jim @ ReflectionsEnroute recently posted…Travel as EducationMy Profile

  12. Marcia says:

    LOL, I agree. That looks like the first selfie.
    Vienna is such a culturally rich city, visually stimulating- thanks for the tour, Lyn!
    Marcia recently posted…The Oculus, NYC’s 3rd Largest Transportation HubMy Profile

  13. What wonderful photos you’ve taken! It sounds like you had the most incredible trip. I love that your musical evening worked out well and those churches are incredible – especially without crowds, as you say. I spent a memorable few wintry days in Vienna many years ago and loved it. I’d like to go back with my kids. #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…City Breaks with Kids: BathMy Profile

  14. Oh Vienna, you are a pretty place aren’t you. Great photos guys.

  15. Ruth says:

    I can’t get over how beautiful this city is! This week I was reading an article about destination most overlooked by Americans and Austria is one of them (not sure what is going on). I have been to Salzburg and Innsbruck and fell in love with those cities. Would love to go back to Vienna and visit the country’s Lake District.
    Ruth recently posted…San Xavier: White Dove of the DesertMy Profile

  16. Stunning photos Lyn. I particuarly like the tiled roof.
    I’m not sure I would have given that guy my credit card to swipe, obviously all was OK but still it feels a little dodgy, especially as my credit card was hacked this week and I haven’t been overseas for months.
    Sally@Toddlers on Tour recently posted…How to do Sydney on the CheapMy Profile

  17. Lolo says:

    Oh Vienna! It will always have a special place in my heart because that’s where my fiance proposed! That’s so cool that you saw a performance where they dressed up! I absolutely love that era! #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Lolo recently posted…100 Key German Phrases to Know Before Coming to Germany!My Profile

  18. What gorgeous photos – I had the quickest visit to Vienna years ago (we got an overnight train and an overnight train out, I think) so I have the vaguest memories of the city. From reading other posts, it seems people either love it and can’t get enough of the culture and fabulous buildings, or the opposite, finding it a bit unfriendly and expensive. I think I need to go back and make up my own mind!
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Five things to do at Inle Lake with kidsMy Profile

  19. Ahila says:

    Enjoyed reading about your trip to Vienna. I can imagine the Viennese orchestra experience to have been amazing. It is currently in my list of places I wish to visit within the next few years.
    Ahila recently posted…A sense of connection with my birthplaceMy Profile

  20. Priya says:

    Beautiful Post, we are heading to Austria this November.. hoping to see the Christmas markets. Love the photos, what an amazing experience to see the Vienna Mozart Orchestra concert.
    Priya recently posted…An ATV tour in the Mountains of MooreaMy Profile

  21. artwin says:

    The pictures are just stunning! I really hope I’ll travel to Austria myself one day. I’ve already been to Italy, Germany, Hungary – all the countries around Austria pretty much, but somehow managed to skip this gem. Thanks a lot for the post and for the inspiration to go there finally!

  22. Sarah Ebner says:

    Vienna is stunning – such a beautiful place and with SO much to see. My daughter wrote a post last year on 5 things to see in Vienna after visiting with my parents and she still says it was one of the best holidays she’s been on. Great to find you through #theweeklypostcard

  23. Vlad says:

    Wow, awesome photos! I’ve been to Vienna four years ago, in December, and I may go again next year, hopefully I’ll enjoy it more in spring 😉
    Vlad recently posted…5 Cities I Would Visit Any DayMy Profile

  24. Anda says:

    Wonderful post, Lyn. I visited Vienna about 5 years ago, but only for 2 days. I loved it but didn’t get to do all the fun things that you did. I would have liked to listen to the Vienna Mozart Orchestra concert, but time was too short. Instead, we were there for the Vienna Oktoberfest, which was a wonderful opportunity to tasted the local foods and especially the Sturm (new wine). Thanks for linking up and hope to see you here next week too.
    Anda recently posted…The Weekly Postcard: Hoover Dam on Colorado RiverMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Thanks for inviting me to join the link up Anda. Although we were there 5 days, 3 of them were filled doing day trips to Prague, Budapest and Bratislava so only had 2 full days to look around Vienna. I do recommend if you get the opportunity to see the Mozart concert, it was a highlight of our trip.

      • Lyn says:

        Great to find you on #TheWeeklyPostcard too Sarah. Vienna is somewhere I had longed to visit and will surely return again. When you enjoy somewhere it is always good to leave some places for a return visit.

        • Anda says:

          Lyn, you are so sweet. You are my best supporter! Thanks for linking up and for trying to tell other about this opportunity. I believe is equally beneficial for both the host and the guests. We all want to “have a party” and comment on each other posts. If you apply the badge code, people who come to your blog in the future, may find out about the link and join too. And if they do, again it’s beneficial for everybody. For some reason though, many people I contacted are very reluctant to link their posts. I believe they don’t understand the concept.
          Anda recently posted…The Weekly Postcard: Château du Clos LucéMy Profile

  25. What a great post! We’ve never been to Austria but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. I’m sure it was a surreal experience listening to the music being played in the concert hall and admiring all your surroundings. Thanks for linking up to #WeekendWanderlust.
    Carmens (CarmensTravelTips) recently posted…Space Needle, SeattleMy Profile

  26. Lauren says:

    What amazing architecture – those churches are amazing! I love your photos. It would be great to see some live music in Vienna, too. I would love to visit there someday, thank you for allowing me to “travel” there through your words & photos 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust!
    Lauren recently posted…Hotel Review: Hotel 71 in Quebec CityMy Profile

  27. Bailey K. says:

    I love Austria. (We even named one of our dogs Mozart!) I’ve been to Salzburg but not Vienna. I’d so love to go, especially to the Musikverein. Thanks for sharing!!
    Bailey K. recently posted…INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLANDMy Profile

  28. Tara Lepore says:

    Hah! The encounter with the uniformed ticket seller is classic, cracked me up. What a great view of Vienna, and I’m kind of bowled over by the amazing architecture.

    And now I want a hot dog.

    Thanks for linking up with us on #WeekendWanderlust!
    Tara Lepore recently posted…Mountain biking in Mljet National ParkMy Profile

  29. Simone says:

    Great pictures! I really like the thumbnails in the post. I have never seen anything like that!
    Simone recently posted…Flashback Friday: New ZealandMy Profile

  30. I havent been to Vienna yet but I have been dying to go there for such a long time now. Lovely pictures! I hope to set eyes on it myself next year.
    Bianca @itsallbee recently posted…China | Food, Retail Therapy and Haggling in GuangzhouMy Profile

  31. I love the title of this post Lyn. It completely sums up my impression of Vienna from my visit a few years ago. My favourite place in Vienna was Heldenplatz, surrounded by some amazing architecture and adjacent to the beautiful Volksgarten. Ahh you’ve brought back some lovely memories for me.
    Jen Seligmann recently posted…Sunday’s Inspiration – 27 July 2014My Profile

  32. Paul says:

    Never considered going to Vienna before – For some reason I have always considered it to be too posh, or thought that there was nothing to do there! Your article has definitely changed my opinion of that – Great photos and information Lyn

    • Lyn says:

      So much to do, we didn’t get through all the things we had hoped to and didn’t find it too posh. True it is regal, cultural and stunning but not in a pretentious way. Glad you’ll rethink Vienna, it was our last stop of our trip to Europe and one I will never forget.

  33. How cool that the orchestra performed in costume! I would love to see that.
    Jessica (Barcelona Blonde) recently posted…The Journey That Almost Made Me Reconsider Road TripsMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Jessica they were amazing, starting with the guy selling the tickets on the street to the orchestra, talk about being taken back in time!

  34. Amy says:

    Vienna is such a stunning city. I love the little church you stumbled on – it’s beautiful! One of my favorite things to do when traveling is just wander around and sometimes you come across the best unknown gems. Great post!
    Amy recently posted…5 easy international weekend trips from the US East CoastMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Thank you. It is a stunning city and we were so lucky we kept going into that church. True it was a little gem, right down to the skeleton!

  35. Lucy says:

    I was in Vienna a few weeks ago and was really wowed by the architecture there – seems like there was an ornate church or palace around every corner. It was pushing 36 degrees while we were there though so may have to back when it’s a bit cooler as had to spent half the time sitting in the shade or eating ice cream to avoid cooking in the sun!
    Lucy recently posted…Ancient Olympia: Let the Games beginMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Thanks for the comment Lucy. What I would give to swap for 36 degrees, we are in winter here, will be 4 degrees tonight. Yes, the architecture is amazing, so many places we didn’t get to either, but then there is next time. It was autumn when we were there so easy to get about quickly.

  36. The culture in Vienna is outstanding. Your photos really capture the city well.
    Mindi @ 2foodtrippers recently posted…Las Vegas Restaurants – 5 RecommendationsMy Profile

  37. Alli says:

    Such regal photos! Loved Vienna myself and how heavily influenced it is with music 🙂
    Alli recently posted…A Trek In The Wild: Backpacking Algonquin Provincial ParkMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Thank you, Vienna sure is regal place. Everything is influenced by music… even eating Sacher Torte. Did you read my Sacher Torte blog?

  38. christine says:

    Woohoo!! You just made me more excited for my trip to Vienna in August!
    christine recently posted…Kissing the Blarney StoneMy Profile

  39. Hannah says:

    Sounds lovely! I was in Vienna for the Christmas markets a couple years back and spent 2.5 days bouncing from market to market. It was totally magical but I think I should go back and see the city for itself not just the markets!
    Hannah recently posted…The Best of NiceMy Profile

  40. Milosz Zak says:

    You’re really lucky to have been at a performance, I’ve been to Vienna 5x so far, and I’m always passing through. I really have to just go there and see some of their productions.
    Milosz Zak recently posted…Great Pyramid at GizaMy Profile

  41. Lyn, I’m visiting from Delia’s hood :-). I have not yet been to Vienna, so your piece is a special treat for me. The ticket guy–I’m guessing he was connected with the opera, and he was selling last minute tickets. In New York, you can go to a kiosk on Broadway and buy half-price tickets the same day; good for them, good for you. What a THRILL that he was the agent of your getting to hear that concert–a memory of a lifetime. You know, these are the only non-canal non-flooded photos I’ve ever seen of Vienna. Such a different impression. In the church–any idea who the bejeweled skeleton was? As a minister, I am deeply interested in church history and traditions. Thanks for a rich and delightful sharing! All blessings–Kebba
    Kebba Buckley Button recently posted…UpBeat Living:  Forgiveness Part 2: Forgiveness for EmpowermentMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Thanks for the comments Kebba, these guys are professional ticket sellers for the various Opera performances, fortunately not a scam like I was originally thinking. It was such a thrill and definitely once in a lifetime memory. I did try to find out more about the bejeweled skeleton, but unfortunately not speaking German I couldn’t get any precise information. It has been suggested because of the fires that destroyed the catacombs this is merely a representation of St Peter, maybe we will never know.

  42. Terra says:

    Gorgeous photos and now I want to visit Vienna! I pinned this post to my travel board on Pinterest in the hopes that I’ll get to visit some day. 😀
    Terra recently posted…Mom’s Day Off (or I Heart Sleepovers)My Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Thank you Terra, I hope you get to Vienna one day. In the meantime we should connect on Pinterest so the inspiration can continue.

  43. This city is beyond beautiful, and somehow we never managed to visit it together with Nastia. Vienna Mozart Orchestra concert must’ve been gorgeous!
    Illia from CrazzzyTravel.com recently posted…What to expect when you’re moving to Sweden?My Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Illia, you and Nastia simply must go there together. Such a romantic city full of beauty and culture and being taken back in time by the Orchestra.

  44. Hi Lyn. I’m a first-time visitor and declare I will return again. 🙂

    Vienna has so much to offer in terms of history and culture and I was delighted to read about the Musikverein. The photographs brought the opera to life, wish I had been there for the concert!
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Networking Alert: How to Connect on LinkedIn without trusting StrangersMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Thanks for the comment Vatsala, The Musikverein was the highlight for us, glad the photos bought the opera to life for you. I hope you get there when you return.

  45. No matter how many tourists go here, the city never looses its charms
    Empty Rucksack recently posted…Mcleodganj – Ultimate Food GuideMy Profile

  46. I love this post! I’ve wanted to go Austria for quite some time as I am a huge Mozart fan! Beautiful!
    Heather @ Life of a Traveling Navy Wife recently posted…Green Virgin Soap Nuts Laundry Detergent ReviewMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Heather, it was amazing, this is just a snippet of a day or so, we were there 5 days and would love to go back and explore some more. And the concert… probably the highlight of our trip.

  1. July 4, 2016

    […] Also linking this week with The Weekly Postcard…. […]

  2. August 7, 2016

    […] Whilst in Vienna we decided to do a day trip to Bratislava.  We enjoyed the beautiful Austrian landscape as we travelled 40 miles east through the countryside on a local bus taking 1½ hours from Vienna. […]

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