An Afternoon in Vienna

posted by Sharon 48 Comments
Vienna St Stephens

An afternoon in Vienna will give you a taste of this elegant city. You may visit here on a cruise or as a stop along the way. Or you may arrive here midday and wonder where to begin exploring. As a first-time Vienna visitor, I wanted to take in some of the sights by walking the center of this historic city. If you find yourself arriving in Vienna with an afternoon to spend, I recommend this short itinerary to get a taste (literally! Yummm!) of this genteel place.

Start in the Center on the Ringstrasse Road

We trained from Budapest, then took the U-bahn to Stephansplatz. You emerge onto the street right in the heart of the city. The famous Ringstrasse Road surrounds Vienna in a circle, and here you are in the middle of the ringed streets. After checking into our hotel, the Graben, we set out to explore.

Vienna impresses right off with its elegance. Yes, tourists filled the wide boulevards. No problem if you look up, though. And Vienna offers plenty of artistic expressions to enjoy. My favorite was the Plague Column rising up from the ground, topped with gold. This is the memorial to the victims who died in 1679 of that disease.

ViennaVienna

ViennaWalk by the Imperial Hofburg Palace

We meandered along lanes offering upscale shopping, and we found the Imperial Hofburg Palace. Once home to the Hapsburgs who ruled here, it’s now the residence and offices for the Austrian president. The Spanish Riding School, where the Lipizzaner Stallions are trained, is part of the complex. Vienna

ViennaSavor Cakes at Demel

Cakes and coffee are a must when you visit Vienna. Demel is a tradition here, dating back to 1857. Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife “Sissy” loved Demel. Vienna

ViennaViennaVienna DemelYou can observe the creation of the sweet delicacies through a large glass window. This is where the magic happens. Vienna

ViennaVisit Magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Next we retraced our steps back to our arrival point because we wanted to see the giant spire of the magnificent Gothic cathedral, St. Stephen’s. Vienna St Stephens

This is one of Vienna’s most popular landmarks, attracting more than a million visitors each year. A fun fact is that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart got married here in 1782. We did find the inside so crowded that we cut our time there short, but it is a place of hushed beauty. Vienna St Stephens

Vienna St StephensVienna St StephensWe headed outside to find the entrance to the winding stairs up to the viewpoint. This is definitely worth the climb, if your knees cooperate. Vienna St Stephens

Vienna St StephensVienna St StephensVienna St StephensVienna St StephensVienna St StephensUp here, we found this intriguing carved note in the stone wall. Vienna St Stephens

A man who lives in Vienna saw us and immediately started telling us the meaning. He seemed pleased to find someone interested. We learned that an Allied bomber aiming for a nearby industrial plant dropped a bomb on the church by mistake on April 11, 1945. Fire ravaged the church for 4 days. One casualty was the giant bell. Here’s the empty place where it hung. A bell is now in another tower. The roof of the cathedral was also destroyed. It’s been rebuilt with lovely mosaic tiles. Vienna St Stephens

The sun was setting as we came out, glowing gold on the top of the cathedral. Vienna St Stephens

Wrap Up Your Afternoon in Vienna with an Evening of Memorable Dining

All that climbing made us hungry. We found a perfect restaurant for dinner, Osteria d’Atri, near the Palace. The specialty is wine, and the Italian cuisine was light and delicious. Vienna St Stephens

End Your Day with Dessert at Historic Cafe Central

We passed up dessert here because we wanted to visit one more famous cake and coffee restaurant, Café Central. Opened in 1876, the café has served patrons famous and infamous, including Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin, and Adolph Hitler. It closed after World War II but has now reopened and welcomes everyday people like you and me. Vienna Cafe Central

I chose the signature chocolate cake, and my husband enjoyed the apple strudel. If you eat in only one place in Vienna, I’d recommend this one! Vienna Cafe Central

Vienna Cafe CentralComing from Budapest and arriving in Vienna, I noticed so many differences, some stemming from the fact that one had been behind the Iron Curtain and one was free after World War II. Vienna received funds to rebuild, and its people donated to reconstruction, too. It’s difficult to imagine that Vienna was bombed 52 times in the war and rubble reigned at war’s end. Vienna today is clean, with modern shops lining these central streets. Yet the history of the city is apparent, too. And the cakes alone are worth the trip.

ViennaVienna

Whether you are passing through and taking in all you can of lovely Vienna just for the day or you are staying on for more Vienna magic, you’ve made the most of your time here with the beauty and yumminess of this itinerary!

PIN IT FOR LATER!

Weekend Vienna - Exploringrworld.com
Afternoon in Vienna - Exploringrworld.com
Arriving Vienna - exploringrworld.com

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48 Comments

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Sandra at

I love Demel! I’ve been to Vienna many times and I always stop by Demel 🙂
#MondayEscapes

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Tamar Strauss-Benjamin at

What a beautiful city!!!

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Carol at

Thanks for taking me on another fabulous adventure!

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klara at

what a beautiful city!

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Eileen Wise at

Hello, it is a beautiful city. The cathedral is one of my favorite images. The food looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your visit.
Enjoy your day, have a great new week ahead!

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Fun60 at

I discovered Vienna just a few years ago and couldn’t understand why I had not been there before. A beautiful city and I look forward to my next visit.

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KVVS MURTHY at

Great pics and narration.Welcome to India.I am always there for you.

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Jim, Sydney, Australia at

An amazing place.

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Junieper2 at

Vienna reminds me of Berlin, so many cultural things to see, and so refined- like the desserts, and the buildings! Don’t tell me you walked those 343 steps! I already have trouble when it’s a hundred! Pipe organs can get very complicated – this looks like one! Magnificent church.:) Thank you much for sharing it with All Seasons (it has been so long ago, don’t recall off hand which building and parks we visited)

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rupam { xhobdo } at

Beautiful post. Amazing pics.

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Wendy Maes at

I am in Vienna in the beginning of March. I love good food, so I am going to pin this one for later. #MondayEscapes

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Marcia at

We visited in 2016 as part of a river cruise. We were in the fast walkers group with a very good guide. We had some good laughs because at one point he was directing us to look at the spires on the cathedral but he called them squirrels. English was not his first language but we learned a lot.

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dee Nambiar at

Food, the cathedral, the views from its spire the other building…all — so inviting.

Is that a net on the sculpture? To keep birds away?

Thank you for the sights from Vienna, Sharon.

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Lady Fi at

Wow to your superb shots of that fabulous architecture!

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Sara at

I love Vienna! I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks! Your photos are beautiful – love the one of the Imperial Palace! I love Demel and Cafe Central, too. We’ve stayed on the ringstrasse on previous trips but we’re staying closer to Stephansplatz this time! I’m excited to be more centrally located since it will be so cold!

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Little Wandering Wren at

What a useful itinerary, the climb was definitely worth it, for the view yes and the well-deserved cake to follow!

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Allison at

I love Vienna! It is such a beautiful, fascinating, vibrant city. #wanderfulwednesday

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hilary at

I visited Vienna as a teen and really appreciated this walk down memory lane. I think my boys would love to visit a place where cake plays such an important role! #farawayfiles

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Ryan K Biddulph at

These images are eye-popping Sharon. Plus you cannot go wrong with the sweets.

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Sarah at

You got some really stunning aerial photos of Vienna!

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Scarlett Roitman at

A visit to Café Central is a definite must, as is Mozart’s Gothic wedding venue. What a fabulous trip, you must be buzzing from it all. #farawayflies

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Emma Raphael at

It’s one of my most favourite cities in the world, I am always checking for jobs there for Mr R! Thanks for a glorious photo tour! 🙂 #farawayfiles

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Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid at

I would go just for the cake! I’ve actually always wanted to go to Vienna – even moreso now I’ve read your post!

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Esther at

Vienna is indeed stunning. I hired a bike for a day to discover some Art Nouveau and street art outside the city centre, which I can really recommend!!
#FeetDoTravel

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Grand Adventure Story at

I love how much you loved the cakes! That’s what Austria is for me (Salzburg in my case) sightseeing between coffee and cake shops. I have so many favourites. #farawayfiles

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Deborah Regen at

Vienna is one of those world class cities that require a visit. So much art, architecture, history, cafes, desserts, museums, and more. It looks like you had the blessing of good weather during your stay from your photos. I would go back there anytime. Pinned. #FeetDoTravel

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Trish at

We were in Vienna about this time last year and I agree – Cafe Central is a must! It’s an incredible city, isn’t it. I found it a bit overwhelming at first as we had been walking in the hills and then had a couple of days in Salzburg. Suddenly we were in the big city.
Great photos of the buildings, Sharon.
#farawayfiles

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Tomas at

It looks like you had a great time 🙂 I love your photos and tips. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Lisa | Handmade in Israel at

All the cakes look so delicious and the architecture is amazing. I am sure I also would have walked around with my head upwards all the time!

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Obligatory Traveler at

I not sure what’s more beautiful, the architecture or the pastries? We have friends who recently went to Vienna and were surprised by how great it was. Looks like I’m going to have to get there at some point. #WeekendWanderlust

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Jenn | By Land and Sea at

Vienna is such a lovely city! But, I’m afraid we didn’t feel very welcome there. I’m so glad you had a great experience – we may have to give it another try some day!

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Brooke of Passport Couture at

I was interested about what you shared what Vienna went through after World War II and how it has rebuilt after the devastation of the war. The architecture is beautiful and has great variety–it’s clear to me Vienna’s citizens are dedicated to restoring and preserving the history and culture of the city. The sweets are also enough of a reason to visit. Many friends of mine have visited and raved about the city’s desserts! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Rhonda Albom at

There is so much history in Vienna and so much to see. The cathedral is amazing. I don’t like crowds either so I can understand why you left it early.

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Jill at

Beautiful! And yummy! I’d love to visit there someday!

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Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) at

Oh those cakes look so delicious! We’re heading to Austria later this week (although not to Vienna) so I’m now hoping we get to sample lots of similar treats. I always find myself looking up in busy cities – you can see some glorious sights on the rooftops without the crowds. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

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Lyn@aholeinmyshoe at

So many beautiful memories of our trips to Vienna in this article. No city as good for cake and coffee. The cathedral is spectacular too.

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Tilly Jaye Horseman at

Do knees ever cooperate with that many steps? Worth it for the views though. Would love to visit Vienna some day. I love Austria and have done many trips to the Salzburg area as I have family living there, but never yet made it across to Vienna. #FarawayFiles

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Angela Vincent at

I have yet to visit Vienna but really hope to some time. Those cakes and those buildings are equally fabulous. #FarawayFiles

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Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) at

Those pastries, tho! YUM!! I get the feeling maybe the 343 steps up the tower at St. Stephen’s are atonement for indulging in those sinful pastries. And once you’ve worked them off by climbing the tower, you’ll be ready to go back for more! How convenient! 😉 As everyone has noted, the pastries and architecture are both beautiful.

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Katy Stern at

Wow Vienna looks absolutely beautiful. Thanks for taking us on a lovely adventure, the cathedral looks absolutely beautiful, and those cakes look delicious!!! #MondayEscapes

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Shannon at Fitlife360 at

Beautiful photos and lovely blog! Reading this makes me want to visit Vienna!

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Best Cafe in Vienna – Which One to Visit for What » journey of doing at

[…] at some point.)  If you want a second opinion one the best cafe in Vienna for delicious desserts, Sharon also shared her thoughts and some beautiful photos as […]

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Tracy Collins at

I really need to visit Vienna again – we arrived with a sick child and lousy weather which has tainted my view of it! We travelled onto Budapest and all was well but we have never returned to Vienna! Apparently the most liveable city in the world too! All those cakes and desserts – yes will definitely be visiting when we can! #feetdotravel

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June de Silva at

I have found this post via #AllAboutFrance. I am so pleased because we will be visiting Vienna, for the first time, next week! I have pinned your post so that I can look back at all your useful suggestions for things we can do and eat during our stay. Many thanks!

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Chelsea at

Such beautiful photos! The architecture is stunning.. also as a foodie the food looks amazing!

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Ashley at

Wow! Great photos! Vienna really is a beautiful place. Demel was my favorite stop while in Vienna. I can see why “sissy” loved them.

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Bolet Nathalie at

Vienna is such a beautiful city! Loved this!

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Kelly at

Vienna is one of my absolute favourite cities! I was lucky to live there for the summer a few years ago while I was on an exchange and I LOVED it. This post brings back so many wonderful memories of the city 🙂

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