Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vienna and around - April 2017

It has been several years since I updated my travel blog. I have decided to try out a new format where I cut down on pages and pages of descriptions, and instead focus on facts and tips that might be of use to others.


Day 0: Land at Vienna airport at 20:30
Day 1: Bratislava, Devin castle
Day 2: Hofburg Palace and around, Prater and around
Day 3: Schonbrunn palace
Day 4: MusuemsQuartier, WU. Depart from Vienna Airport at 21:00



  • There is way too much to do in and around Vienna. Research ahead, plan well and pick and choose. It is practically impossible to take in all the sights and attractions in a week or even a month probably.
  • Excellent public transport in the city. Also very reasonably priced (€2.20 for a single ride anywhere in the city, using any form of public transport). Also reasonably priced passes for 24, 42 or 72 hours are available.
  • Google Maps does not cover all the public transport options. Do not rely on it. Instead use Wiener Linien or this third party app. But these do not show the fast airport trains (which are run by OBB or CAT). For those, and other outstation trains, use the OBB app.
  • Transport is about the only reasonably priced thing in Vienna. Stay, food, entry tickets are all expensive compared to elsewhere in Europe.


Day 0: Arrival

Vienna airport is outside the city, and needless to say, pretty well connected. Trains and buses depart regularly from the airport and take you to various points in the city in around 15 minutes.A train ticket from the airport costs €3.90 and is valid until your final destination.

We landed around 8:30 at night, and as expected did not do much on Day 0. Checked in to the hotel and went to sleep.

Day 1: Bratislava

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is about an hour by train from Vienna. Trains run from Vienna main station (Wien Hauptbahnhof) to both Bratislava Main station and Bratislava Petržalka.

We wanted to visit Devin castle outside Bratislava first. We took the train to Petržalka, and from there bus 91 to Most SNP which is sort of a bus terminus in Bratislava. From there, we took Bus 29 which takes you to Devin castle in about 20 minutes.

In hindsight, we think it would have been more convenient to take the train to Bratislava central station. 

A day pass for Bratislava including zones 100 and 101 costs just €3.50. Devin castle is in Zone 101 so this ticket is valid for Devin castle too.

Devin castle is really beautiful. It was absolutely worth the visit. Overlooking both Danube and Morava rivers, it is a sight to behold. The entry fee to the castle is €4 per head.

View from Devin Castle


Bratislava old town is also very nice. Good enough to spend an entire afternoon. Food is relatively cheap compared to Vienna.

For the return to Vienna, we walked to the main station, where we missed the train to Vienna by about 10 minutes. The next one however was almost 2 hours away. So, we took bus 93 from main station to Petržalka,  where there are hourly trains to Vienna.



  • On the onward journey, go to Bratislava main station, and use Petržalka for the return journey
  • Most places in Bratislava are generally child-buggy friendly, but there are exceptions. Bus 29, for example, has steps that you need to climb. 
  • Devin castle has some flights of stairs here and there but mostly you can manage with a child buggy. The initial climb is very steep but it is a road so you can push the buggy up the hill.
  • Main station does not have lifts but there are provisions to cross the tracks at the ends of the platforms. 

Day 2: Hofbug Palace and around, Prater

Hofburg palace and the area around is packed to the brim with tourist attractions. Museums. Shopping streets. St. Stephen's Catherdral. Austrian National Library.

Take your pick. Extremely well connected by U-Bahn. Do account for the crowds though!

Late in the afternoon, we visited Prater. The main attraction here is a theme park, but we were more interested in the micronation: Republic of KugelMugel. Look it up, it has a very interesting history.

Tip: While you are here, visit the WU library. It is a modern architecture attraction. We somehow missed it and ended up visiting it on Day 4 when it was closed so we could only photograph it from outside.
WU Library

Day 3: Schonbrunn Palace

There was an hour long queue for tickets to get into Schonbrunn palace, so we skipped the queue. The gardens are so vast that we spent an entire day there! There's a children's museum, a maze, a zoo and a small hill with a view in the gardens. If you had only one day in Vienna, then I would suggest Schonbrunn palace as the place to visit.

Schonbrunn palace

Day 4: MusuemsQuartier, WU

MuseumsQuartier has, you guessed it, museums. Lots of them. We took a tour of Mumok, which is a modern art museum. We did not understand a single item in the entire museum of 6 floors.

My suggestion: Research in advance and decide what museum you want to visit.

On the afternoon of our last day in Vienna, we decided to take in the sights by using surface transport. We had been using mostly the subway until now, which is not the best way to see a city. So we hopped on a random tram and went to its last station. This took us to Prater again and fortunately we got to visit WU.

We then took this tram back and stumbled upon another well-known attraction: Hundertwasserhaus. This one also has an interesting story behind it. Look it up!



Remember that Vienna international airport is a large airport with lots of terminals and gates. It is wise to allocate extra time to navigate the airport on your way out!


  • Vienna has something for everyone. Arts, music, technology, architecture, history, outdoors, children.
  • Vienna is relatively expensive compared to many other European cities.
  • Compared to many other places we have visited, we felt the need to research in advance is more noticeable for Vienna.