Vienna is easy to get around and has an efficient subway system. English is widely spoken. However, having been an exchange student in Germany, I was keen on polishing up my German. Vienna’s ornate architecture resembles a wedding cake with all the flourishes. The Opera House and Musikverein are just two examples.
Vienna is filled with museums and tourist sights. Leading among them are the Hapsburg and Belvedere Palaces and the Parliament. You will also want to visit the famous Spanish Riding School. It dates to the 16th century and is known worldwide for its Lipizzaner horses. I was especially excited about trying out the fabled Sachertorte at the luxurious Sacher Hotel cafe. It is conveniently located right across from the Opera House. where it was originally created. Music lovers can visit Vienna’s Haus der Musik and try out a computer musical game based on an earlier version from the 18th century.
Two key museums are well located right across from each other. The block-long art gallery, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, on the Ringstrasse, has about 600 works to view. Its major artists include, among others, Northern European masters from Vermeer to Rembrandt and Pieter Brueghel the Elder. The Natural History Museum has over 30 million objects to keep visitors busy. Dinosaurs are a big draw in this palatial setting that serves as a twin to the art gallery. For a real change of pace, you can try out the Circus and Clown Museum. It was founded in 1927 and holds 20,000 items to view.
One of my favorite excursions was taking the subway to the Schoenbrunn Palace. Dating to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Palace was once the residence of Maria Theresa. As you may recall, she was the mother of the better-known, Marie Antoinette. The Palace has 1,400 rooms, plenty to fill several hours tour. The formal gardens and grounds include a zoo and a labyrinth of hedges. You can try it out or just watch everyone else get lost. For the warm weather exploring the gardens, there is a mini-train.
Coming from a somewhat warmer climate, I was intrigued to see hearty Austrians seated outside on a cold day enjoying a hot chocolate or gluhwein. Even in late November, the outdoor Christmas market was in full swing. While you’re there, don’t miss the world’s oldest zoo. It dates back to the mid-18th century and mixes the Baroque with an array of exotic animals. Many you expect only to see in Australia! No fear of heights? Take a ride on the tall ferris wheel. If you haven’t seen enough grand royal residences, you can visit not one but two at one spot, the Upper and Lower Belvedere Palace. Once the residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, it also serves as the setting to display a broad array of art from the Baroque to expressionism.
Solo Travel Destinations Vienna: Day Trips:
Two side trips to consider. First: Salzburg. It is the home town of Mozart. His birthplace is now a museum. If you are a music lover, check for local festivals and concert seasons before booking your trip.
The second is the Abbey at Melk. It is only a short train ride. However, the weekend scheduled trains were less frequent, particularly on Sunday. Perched high above the Danube River, the original Abbey was founded in the 11th-century. However, it was rebuilt in Baroque style in the 18th. I arrived just as a visiting choir had begun a free concert. It was one of the highlights of my stay despite the cold.
Vienna: In Sum:
I recommend adding Vienna to your bucket list for traveling alone in Europe because:
- It has deep history and culture.
- It has sheer beauty with its ornate architecture.
- It is easy to navigate.
- As large cities go, it is not known to be especially dangerous for tourists.
- Flights from the Americas are frequent. Inter-European trains connect throughout the region. It is possible to combine a vacation including Prague and Budapest as well.
I found vacationing off-season was less crowded than the high season and a better savings than high season. However, if you prefer to spend time in outdoor cafes and hiking nearby, I recommend you try for the late spring through early fall. For more tours nearby, please go to our solo search engine, the Solo Travel Pricing Tracker. For alternative lodgings, check out our Home Page for Booking.com listings.For a local site, click here plus regional options.