Day 1 - See as much as you can
Like with most cities, the best way to see all the attractions and make sure you don’t miss anything is on one of the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ city sightseeing tours. Departing from the city opera house at 10am daily, and returning at 5pm, the tours visit Vienna’s ‘must-do’s’, the best known being Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral). Completed in 1433, construction of this magnificent cathedral began in 1147, almost 300 years previous. It can be spotted effortlessly thanks to the blue, black and yellow tiles on the roof.
When you want to sit down at some stage during the day Stephansplatz right beside the cathedral is a square perfect for watching time go by. Otherwise, another good place to take a breather is somewhere along the banks of the River Danube. There are a string of cafés here where you can stop for a coffee.
Other highlights on the tour which are worth getting off for are some of the city’s churches such as Peterskirche and Michaelerkirche, the latter famed for its catacombs.
The best-known area in Vienna for socialising is known as the Bermuda-Dreieck, or the Bermuda Triangle which is the area around Ruprechtsplatz, Seitenstettengasse and Rabensteig. All around here are tourists filling a number of bars and clubs so you will have no problem finding something to take your fancy in the area.
Day 2 - Day of culture
In the south-west of the city, not far from the Innenstadt in the centre of the city is the Museums Quartier. The best known of all museums (also one of the world’s best known art galleries) is the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Thanks to the wealth of the Hapsburgs it contains the fourth largest collection of paintings in the world and some beautiful Greek, Roman and Egyptian relics. Many people come to see the collection of Bruegels which is the largest in the world but ther are numerous painting by artists that are household names, such as Rembrandt, Raphael and Caneletto.
Other museums which are sure to enthral any visitor are the Naturhistorisches Museum which houses a very impressive collection of ancient artefacts including an anthropological exhibition and fossils from the Ice Age, and the Leopold Museum which also houses another impressive art collection.
After learning more about the city’s history and wondering at the paintings the various museums boast, there is an area in the city centre known as the Innenstadt. To put it literally, many streets ending in the word ‘ring’ make up the Ringstraße. These make up three sides of the Innenstadt, while the Danube makes up the third. All the city’s premier attractions are in this area, but walking around and taking in a coffee somewhere along the way is a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
If you visit Vienna, and you enjoy styles of music other than rock or dance, plus you want to take in some culture which the Austrian capital after dark, then you must visit the Wiener Staatsoper, better known as the Vienna State Opera House to English speaking visitors. Staging operas and ballets between September and June and standing tickets can be quite cheap. Make sure and queue early though.
If classical music is your thing, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the Musikverein.
Day 3 - Shopping and relaxing
When on holiday it’s always nice to treat yourself to a present of some description. You’ve probably worked hard enough to save enough money to go on holiday. Vienna’s best known shopping street is Mariahilferstrasse. All along this street you will find the world’s main shopping stores as well as some department stores also. But if you don’t want to go splashing all your hard earned cash in one go, make your way to the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s open-air market which takes place from Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm. Situated close to the Karlsplatz, just south of Ringstraße, this is the best place in the city to get fruit and veg if you want to do some cooking in your hostel.
When walking around shops or stalls becomes a bit too much, and you want to do nothing more than relax for a few hours, maybe grab a newspaper or watch life go by, go to Stadtpark which is west of Innenstadt. This is also where you will find the Strauss Monument.
West of the city centre (Innenstadt) is a street called Gürtel. This long street is divided into different sections and there is a good selection of bars all along here.