During my time in Austria, I fell madly in love...with Vienna. I have never felt so connected to a city in such a short time, it genuinely freaked me out. Vienna is charming and elegant, as are the people who live there. I even tossed my train ticket in the trash to extend my stay. Here is a list of what to see and do so you can fall head over heels too:
1. Wander through Ringstraße
Ringstraße is the beautiful "ring road" that circles around Vienna's historical city center. It's easy to hop on and off the tram and walk through all the main areas. Some of the highlights are the Vienna Opera House, Neue Burg, City Hall, Hotel Sacher (to get a famous Sachertorte), Burgtheater and so much more.
2. Cafe Jelinek
Become your inner old Austrian man by visiting cafe Jelinek for a piece of kuchen. I loved going to different cafes around town and feeling like a local. My favorite was Cafe Jelinek for its cozy atmosphere and its old-school patrons. Stepping into this place felt like a time capsule and I could have easily sat there with a cup of tea and a book for hours.
3. Schönbrunn Palace
Take a stroll through the gardens surrounding the massive Schönbrunn "beautiful spring" grounds, circling around the magnificent palace that holds over 1,400 rooms. The palace was build to its current state in the 1700's and became a national museum of Austria in the 1990s.
4. Christmas Markets
The Christmas markets in Vienna are littered throughout the entire city. What's great about them, is how different they are...whether you're interested in various gluhwein options or artsy crafts or food, there is a perfect Christmas Market for everyone. My two favorites were Rathausplatz, which is surrounding city hall and complete with an iceskating rink and also Spittelberg, tucked between the Biedermeier buildings in a pedestrian only part of the city, which focuses on locally made crafts and food. Be sure to eat some Raclette!
5. The Austrian National Library
Located in Hofburg Palace, the National Library is quite the sacred place. The oldest book they have is the gold painted Holy Gospel, which dates back to 1368.
The 7th district in Vienna is home of all the best museums and complimenting architecture. Peruse the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien to see the effect global warming has had on the Austrian Alps and the Architekturzentrum Wien for some urban architectural design. Conveniently, there's a Christmas market right in the center!
7. Get a Drink at Dachboden
Dachboden meaning "attic" is situated perfectly in the Museum Quarter, offering great views of the surrounding historical architecture. The bar itself is cozy and has a gorgeous rooftop area.
8. Eat at Ulrich
Hidden away from the crowds, Ulrich is a charming modern restaurant with fantastic food and a sleek design. After walking through Ringstraße go to Ulrich to reward yourself with a warm meal.
9. Shopping on Graben and Mariahilferstraße
The Graben is one of the nicest shopping streets in Vienna, with an array of high end shops surrounding St. Stephen's Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1147AD. To explore some of the hole-in-the-wall shops and outlets, Mariahilferstraße is perfect. It's also the city's longest shopping street, so its easy to get lost for hours and buy too much beautiful Viennese clothing.
10. Eat Kaiserschmarrn
This dish is some sort of mysterious shredded pancake sent from heaven. It's fluffy with eggs and topped with different fruits. It literally translates to "emperor's mess" and permanently messed me up cause now I'm obsessed. Some friends I made in Vienna opened their doors to me and served it for breakfast, but you can find it at most restaurants too!