One Day In Vienna
Vienna is one of those places that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime and experience the cultural greatness of this European city. But if you only have one day to explore the fabulous city, to take in all its majesty, history and art, plan your day wisely because there are so many things to do in Vienna! You don’t want to miss the memorable treasures that grace the city’s incredible history. Even if my stay there was short, one day was more than enough to leave me with a nostalgic feeling that I must return, without worrying about the flight back booked for the next morning. By Sashka May
With only one day at your disposal, I would suggest you start with St. Stephan’s Cathedral. The building of this magnificent edifice started in the 12th century. How many buildings have you seen that old? And yet it has stood the test of time brilliantly. I was bowed down with reverence when I first saw it and agree with the common wisdom that it’s the most magnificent edifice in all of Austria.
For example, the carved wooden altarpiece in St. Stephen’s will take your breath away. The Cathedral also contains the tomb of Frederick III.
Frederick was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1452 and when he was married, at the age of 37, to a rich, much younger noblewoman, her dowry helped him to pay his debts and enhance his power. His brother was his first opponent, whom he imprisoned along with his nephew. He died in a failed attempt to have his left leg amputated. He may not have been a nice man, but he was brave and it is in this light that you should visit the Cathedral. If you manage to climb the 343 spiral steps in the south tower, you will see a panoramic, spectacular view of Vienna. I took the elevator.
There are so many places to visit in Vienna, but this is a city that needs to be visited on foot. You will definitely want to see Kärntnerstrasse, the main street for shopping in Vienna. Like New York City’s Madison Avenue, you will notice some of the world’s most spectacular merchandise, including rare jewels and designer gowns in the windows. The prices were too high for me, but I loved the displays.
Another tourist attraction in Vienna that I loved was the Spanische Hofreitschule, or Spanish Riding School, with its famous Lipizzaner Stallions. They put on quite a show, dancing beautiful dances including a slow waltz. I admired their tails and manes braided with gold ribbons.
And if you enjoy opera, as I do, don’t miss the Staatsoper. This is Austria’s leading opera house. Some of the world’s most glorious music from renowned Austrian composers of yesterday like Beethoven and Bach is presented here in this French Renaissance-style building, a marvelous public building along the Ringstrasse. This is your opportunity to hear opera as it was meant to be heard and to attend an unforgettable performance.
Any time you need a break from walking around this illustrious city, head for one of the tempting coffee houses. One I can recommend is the Café Tirolerhof. They serve a large cup of mocha flavored coffee with apricot liqueur, topped with whipped cream — a Maria Theresia. So delicious! You can also order snacks and pastries to go with the coffee. Don’t miss the famous Sacher Torte (chocolate cake) too.
Get back to your tour of Vienna now with a visit to the Kaiserappartements in the Hofburg. These are Imperial Apartments of over 2500 rooms but less than two dozen are open to the public. This is where the emperors lived with their families. A note tells you that mistresses lived elsewhere, although there was certainly room for however many may have existed. The apartments are lavishly decorated with glowing collections of imperial silver and porcelain.
I absolutely couldn’t get over the Schatzkammer, the Vienna Imperial Treasury. All those priceless Habsburg jewels are on display there including the Imperial Crown from 962! And, no, you can’t buy any of them, even if you could afford them.
If you love graphic arts, as I do, be sure to visit Albertina, an 18th century palace which houses more than a million old masters’ drawings and engravings as well as architectural designs dating from the 1300s, including the work of Durer.
Visiting Vienna just for one day was an amazing experience. The city is a genuine European cultural center. After spending little over 24 hours in the city, a nostalgic feeling kicked in as if I owed it to myself to return and stay for another day or two. I can’t wait to go back to magical Vienna, sit at one of the outdoor coffee houses and watch the elegant Viennese stroll past. What a perfect day I would have again!
About The Author
Sashka is a travel enthusiast who loves to write about world travel destinations and places she has been to. After writing about her catamaran sailing experience, massages in Bali and trips to India, this article brings her back to Vienna, one of the most beautiful European cities.