Would you like to immerse into royal luxury, noblemen’s chambers, sounds of delightful music and smells of piquant food? If you would, Vienna is just the place to visit.
PLACES TO VISIT
Most Viennese adventures begin in the Innere Stadt, the Historic Centre of Vienna. The Hofburg Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in the world, its oldest parts dating back to the beginning of 13th century, was the home of the Habsburg Royal family until 1919. St. Stephen's Cathedral is a medieval place of worship and the city icon at the Stephansplatz. There you can also visit the symbols of Vienna’s music, State Opera and Wiener Musikverein, the fabulous place from where the breathtaking sounds of New Year’s Concert conquer the world. There are famous squares, Michaelerplatz, Maria Theresien Platz, streets like the shopping one, Kaertner Strasse, palaces - Schonbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, and many more significant architectural pieces of art like Austrian Parliament Building, Rathaus and St. Peter's Catholic Church.
Outside the Historic Centre, it is worth visiting the Danube Tower and walking along the Danube River or the Donaukanal and Donauinsel. The city parks, Stadtpark, Burggarten and Volksgarten are nice places to have a rest.
VIENNA FOR FAMILIES
Why is Vienna the right place for families? This historical city might seem boring for children and teenagers. However, it is full of kid-friendly places. Vienna was named the best city to live several years in a row, and that can be a good reason to take your family there at least for a holiday.
One might think the Rococo building of Schonbrunn Palace has nothing to offer to kids. On the contrary, who can refuse the Apfelstrudel show at Schonbrunn palace, waiting to try a fresh-baked piece of the world’s tastiest apple pie? The Schonbrunn Zoo is just a few steps away from the palace. No child will resist trying to find a way through the maze in Schonbrunn garden, especially because there is more in Labyrinthikon playground – a jumping station, water gargoyles, climbing poles with sound-effects and other cool things.
Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel built in 1897 can also sound boring if you are a kid. Unless it is at the entrance to the Prater Amusement Park, the oldest of this kind in the world, with hundreds of different rides and stalls that no child will be indifferent to. There is even more: Madame Tussaud’s, the Prater Museum, the Vienna Planetarium and the Vienna Chocolate Museum.
Aqua Terra Zoo or House of the Sea surely sounds amusing enough with 10,0000 creatures giving you a feeling of being in the ocean. Children can have pleasant moments at the Butterfly House that belongs to the Imperial Palace complex. They will enjoy going to Time Travel Vienna on a Magic Vienna History Tour, 2000 years back in time in the 5D cinema. This is a perfect getaway for the whole family. In Vienna House of Music, you can walk up the “piano stairs”, conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, virtually compose a waltz and hear it played back or listen to other interesting sounds like the ones that a baby hears in the mother's womb.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES IN VIENNA
Art lovers will be able to visit different museums and galleries: Wien Museums Quartier, a baroque Vienna’s museum district, Albertina, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Imperial Treasury Vienna, Wien Museum, Mumok, Museum of Applied Arts, Mozart apartment, Sigmund Freud Museum, Austrian National Library and many other institutions of art.
Visitors can choose from different types of accommodation. There are numerous hotels, some of them in the Historic Centre as well as the ones at the outskirts of the city, which can be as comfortable. If you are traveling on a budget, you can stay in one of many hostels or use the Airbnb services. The prices of accommodation are similar to many other European cities.
WHAT TO EAT
One of the European gourmet cities, Vienna can boast of unique recipes, some of which specially designed for the royal family members. Visitors should certainly try Wiener Schnitzel, probably the best known Austrian national dish. They are also ready to wait for their seat at the Sacher Hotel to try Sachertorte, the symbol of Vienna. Nobody will leave Vienna without trying Apfelstrudel that you can buy in coffee shops or bakeries. If you don’t want to waste your time sitting in a restaurant, you just stop at a street vendor to get delicious Wiener Wurstel (Viennese Sausages) and eat them while going sightseeing.
Traveling with kids usually mean spending more than we plan. However, there are cool things that you won’t pay for, and also the things you can pay a reduced price for.
- Over 30 museums in Vienna are free for kids under 17 or 18 (The Museum of Technology, Belvedere, the Exhibition Section of the Zoom Children’s Museum and the Natural History Museum).
- Choose to have breakfast in a café or a bakery if it isn’t included in your hotel rate. Between meals, treat yourself with krapfen, which look like doughnuts with different fillings.
- Carry a bottle. There are a lot of drinking water fountains everywhere. Vienna’s tap water is excellent.
- Buy a sandwich from the bakery for lunch or sausage and bread from a sausage stand in the street. If you want a proper lunch, you can get affordable menus at lunchtime. For dinner, you can get children’s portion at a lot of restaurants.
- Public transport is free on Sundays and public holidays for children under 15.
TIME TO VISIT
Any time is a good time to visit Vienna. Summers in Vienna can be rather hot and winters can be rather cold but the weather can’t be the reason not to visit this magnificent city.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Be sure to visit the Spanish Riding School with Lipizzaner horses.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Naschmarkt, colourful, rich old market place with over 100 stalls with different food.
Vienna’s Christmas Market in December is a must.
There are a lot of interesting places off the beaten track. Visitors can see Hundertwasserhaus, an interesting “askew” apartment house, Schlumberger Cellar World, 300-year-old wine cellars. In Burggasse 24 you can buy vintage clothes and have a coffee in the café. Don’t miss Hermes Villa, a palace located in Lainzer Tiergarten, the former Habsburgs’ hunting area, Franz Joseph’s present to Queen Sisi. For visitors who love something different, WUK (Workshop and Culture House), an entertainment venue and alternative cultural center in Vienna’s 9th district is a great place to hear different bands and attend themed-parties and art exhibitions. When in 9th district, visit the Crypt bar, so well hidden that it takes some effort to find it. There is also a Renaissance Justice Palace for architecture lovers and many more places.
You can get to Vienna by plane (Vienna International Airport), by bus & train or by car.
You can use city public transportation to get around the city. There are four main forms of transport: U-Bahn (subway), Schnellbahn or S-Bahn (local train), Straßenbahn (tram) and Autobus (bus). Tickets can be purchased at ticket offices in the main stations, ticket machines in stations, and from newsagents/tobacconists. You can also get a taxi.
All things considered, Vienna is an enjoyable family vacation city, with various kid-friendly places and locations their parents will enjoy, too. They are fun, informative and relaxing. There are places to anyone’s taste: art and history lovers, gastronomes and adventurers. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit it.