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Eat, See, Do: Vienna

A handful of years ago, I spent a rainy 48 hours in picturesque Vienna, the City of Music. Famous for its Imperial palaces, museums, galleries, architecture and monuments; Vienna could be considered a museum in itself.

Though there are a myriad of things to do, my Mum (whom I was on vacation with) and I decided to forego the museums to walk around and see what we would stumble on to.

Here are some fun ways to spend a short stay in Vienna:

Walking through Vienna.

Walking through Vienna.

1. Explore the underground Imperial Crypt:

Below the Capuchin Church lies the Imperial Crypt. Call me morbid, but the minute I heard there was a crypt, I was all for exploring it. Hundreds of members of the Habsburg dynasty have been laid to rest here, from 1633 to as recently as 2011. The sarcophagi are some of the most beautiful and ornate ones you’ll ever see, and truly fascinating.

Monument of Mozart in all his musical glory at the Burggarten.

Monument of Mozart in all his musical glory at the Burggarten.

2. Take a tour of Mozarthaus at Domgasse no. 5: 

One of several apartments that Mozart lived in, the one at Domgasse number 5 has been turned into a mini-museum, chronicling his life, his time in Vienna and his most famous works. The cost of an audio guide is included in the ticket cost, and will talk you through the tour as you make your way through this six level house.

The Burggarten was once the private garden of the Emperor.

The Burggarten was once the private garden of the Emperor.

3. Have a picnic in the Burggarten: 

Once the private gardens of an Emperor, the Burggarten is now a public park. Landscaped similar to an English garden, the park also houses famous monuments like a bronze statue of Emperor Franz Joseph, as well as an intricately detailed marble statue of Mozart. Grab some grub from the food carts that line the outer perimeter of the park, or dine in at their open-air cafe if you prefer a fancier option.

Fans of Mozart's work flock to the Burggarten to pay homage to his monument

Fans of Mozart’s work flock to the Burggarten to pay homage to his monument.

Inside Schmetterlinghaus.

Inside Schmetterlinghaus.

4. Stroll through Schmetterling Haus:

The Imperial Butterfly House (who knew such a thing even existed) in the Burggarten is a tropical greenhouse. Home to hundreds of butterflies, this art-nouveau structure is considered one of the ‘most beautiful’ of its kind. The enclosure is landscaped to simulate an actual rain-forest, also providing tons of photo-ops of these stunning insects. The butterflies roam freely in the enclosure, and there are also little observation boxes where you can watch them emerging from their pupas. Keep an eye out for the Atlas Moth, the largest species of moth in the world.

Watching a butterfly emerge for the first time in the 'pupa box' at Schmetterlinghaus.

Watching a butterfly emerge for the first time in the ‘pupa box’ at Schmetterlinghaus.

An Atlas Moth. Schmetterlinghaus, Vienna.

An Atlas Moth. Schmetterlinghaus, Vienna.

Exterior of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.

Exterior of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna.

5.  Appreciate Gothic Architecture at St. Stephen’s Cathedral: 

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate great architecture. The Gothic design of St. Stephen’s Cathedral – situated in the literal heart of Vienna – is one of Austria’s most iconic symbols. If you care to venture inside, you’ll be floored by the beautiful patterns of colour that dance across the room, refracted by the stained glass windows. I’ve never seen anything like it. There are also ancient relics, adorned altars and side chapels worth admiring.

The alter inside St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.

The altar inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna.

Tiled roof & exterior of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.

Tiled roof & exterior of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna.

6. Shop til you drop along the Stephansplatz:

Kärntnerstrasse and Graben are two streets that run adjacent to Stephansplatz, and form the city’s touristic hub. Shop for everything from knick-knacks to high-end fashion along these streets, or find a spot to relax and do some people-watching.

Bustling Stephansplatz

Bustling Stephansplatz

Spanish Riding School, Vienna.

Spanish Riding School, Vienna.

7. Watch the Lippizan Stallions at the Spanish Riding School: 

My Mum’s personal favourite (and secretly, mine) thing to do was our brief visit to the Spanish Riding School. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get tickets to watch the famous Lippizan white stallions perform their ballet, but we did get to watch them train in the baroque setting of the Imperial Palace. Top-notch equestrian skills and horsemanship have been maintained here for decades, and it has been deemed an ‘intangible cultural heritage’ by UNESCO.

A Lippizan Stallion being led back to the stables at the Spanish Riding School.

A Lippizan Stallion being led back to the stables at the Spanish Riding School.

One of the many tempting displays of artisanal chocolate and sweets.

One of the many tempting displays of artisanal chocolate and sweets.

8.  EAT your heart out: 

You simply must (and I cannot stress this enough) make sure that you get to try a Wiener Schnitzel, Doner Kebabs, Bratwurst, and a Sachertorte (pastry) before leaving Vienna. You’ll thank me later. Confectionery stores aplenty, don’t miss out on tasting some truly exceptional chocolates and sweets!

Sizzling Bratwurst on a food cart outside the Burggarten.

Sizzling Bratwurst on a food cart outside the Burggarten.

Happy Exploring!

Remember to check online for opening hours, ticket prices and other variables before making plans! Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat for real-time updates on my trip to Cambodia in October!

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