Join for four days in Vienna. In this part, we will be visiting Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, Schönbrunn Palace, National Library, and more.
Table of Contents
- 1 Map
- 2 First Day in Vienna
- 3 Second Day In Vienna
In the morning we left Graz and drove to Vienna airport. After a week with the car, we returned it (since it is more hustle than a benefit in a big city). Then we took a train to Vienna. Checked in, and around noon, we started our three and a half days of exploring Vienna.
Map of the area:
First Day in Vienna
Saint Stephen’s Cathedral
Though our hotel was within walking distance from the old city, we decided to save time and use the subway. The subway was easy to navigate, not expensive (2.20 euro per ride per person), and comfortable. We took the subway to Stephansplatz. The square Stephansdom is also known as Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is located on.
Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions. And upon entering, I got a feeling of a tourist money extraction system.
You can see very little for free. There is a long fence closing all the inner parts. Thus, for free, you can see only from a distance.
When you reach the ticket box, we found cashiers tired of tourists and not willing to explain. And the signs are not very clear. The system is not that simple. There are many tickets for different parts of the cathedral. There are tickets for each tower, Treasury, Catacombs, the Nave, and probably other parts of the cathedral. Each of these tickets costs 5-8 euro and a combo around 25 euro per person.
The problem is that you do not know what you will see in each place and thus not sure which ticket to buy and we did not want to spend 25 euro per person. And yes, I checked their website in advance, and it too lacked basic information, like a photo from each part.
In the end, we purchased two tickets with audio guides to the nave (8 euro each).
Behind the fence, there were many people photographing Stephansdom, so I decided to create a Cinemagraph from camera flashes.
If you take a closer look, you will see a person peeking from the window in the bottom part of the photo. This is a self-portrait of the unknown sculptor gawking. It is known as the Fenstergucker (gawking out of a window in German).
This was one of the nave’s last stops, and the whole audio tour took about an hour.
Saint Peter’s Church
Within several minutes` walk, you can find Saint Peter’s Church. Saint Peter’s Church, also known as Peterskirche, was our next stop.
We were lucky to walk in within the middle of a free concert held by American students. We enjoyed the concert for about 20 minutes (till the end) and during this time we heard the choir and various musical instruments including the organ.
I made several interior shots of this beautiful Baroque Roman Catholic parish church when the concert ended.
Austrian National Library
Next, we headed to Austrian National Library.
The library is located in the Hofburg Palace, about a 10-minute walk from Saint Peter’s Church. Austrian National Library is the largest library in Austria, with 7.4 million items. The library complex includes four museums (there are different tickets for each one) and multiple special collections and archives. We visited only the State Hall.
The State Hall – built in the 18th century as part of the former Court Library – is a breathtaking 80 meters long and 20 meters high. An intricately decorated dome and numerous frescos provide an Imperial flair. This baroque jewel is home to over 200,000 tomes.
Source: Official Site
If you love old maps and globes, consider visiting the nearby Map collection and Globe Museum.
Evening Walk in Vienna
When we finished our visit to the Austrian National Library, it was around 17:00. Because we could not visit anything else, we decided to walk around the city and absorb the atmosphere.
Though there are many horses, the streets are clean. Later, I noticed a big bag between each horse and a carriage. Basically, it is a horse’s diapers.
Rathaus or the is the city hall of Vienna:
It is a beautiful and enormous building in a Neo-Gothic style. Many event and festivals are held on the square in front of it, but unfortunately, there was nothing on that day.
Second Day In Vienna
Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence and one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions. Therefore I ordered Classic Pass tickets online several weeks before our visit.
One of the problems in buying tickets in advance is that you don’t know the weather, and it was a rainy day.
We did the Grand Tour of the Palace with an audio guide. It took about an hour and unfortunately, I can’t show anything. Photographing inside is prohibited. Thus, I photographed this postcard stand to give you a feeling.
Though most people consider it a must-visit attraction in Vienna, it is hard for me to agree. I agree with this statement if you haven’t visited other palaces in Austria or Europe. But, if been to others, like Eggenberg Palace in Graz, then this will be more of the same. For me, it did not have a wow effect and didn’t leave a memorable experience.
In front of Schönbrunn Palace, there was a small Easter market. We took a short stroll and tasted local food.
The Gardens And Gloriette
We walked around the palace, and in the distance on a mountain, we saw the Gloriette. Since we already paid for the tickets to the Gloriette with viewing terrace, and they say it offers a great panorama of the city, I dragged my wife there.
We climbed on the roof of the Gloriette and I created this Cinemagraph:
From the palace, we went back to the subway station and headed to:
Natural History Museum
Museums are an excellent place to hide in bad weather, and since we planned to visit the Natural History Museum anyway, we decided to do it at this point.
One of the most famous exhibitions in the department of prehistory is:
Venus of Willendorf
The Venus of Willendorf is an 11.1-centimeter-high (4.4 in) Venus figurine estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. It was found in 1908 by a workman named Johann Veran or Josef Veram during excavations conducted by archaeologists Josef Szombathy, Hugo Obermaier, and Josef Bayer at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria near the town of Krems. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area and tinted with red ochre.
Very little is known about Venus of Willendorf, but we can deduce different things from the fact that similar figures were found from France to Russia. People around 30,000 BCE had abstract thinking, lived in communities, used tools, and many others. Or shortly, they were more advanced than many initially thought.
Ritually damaged helmets are one of history’s riddles that modern scientists cannot answer. We are still not sure why it was done.
Many archeologists believe that it was some ritual and maybe had religious significance to the Bronze Age people. But, there is also a theory saying it was made to control the amount of bronze on the market and thus control bronze’s price.
It was getting late, and we were primarily interested in the exhibits on the first floor. Thus we skipped the second floor.
As I mentioned, it was getting late, and we decided to finish it for today. But, don’t worry, Vienna’s second part is coming.
Note: all posts from the trip to Austria can be found at 11 Days in Austria.
Here are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.
And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.