"Vienna" Vienna by MishyM
Vienna Travel Guide: 7,173 reviews and 17,491 photos
While I was studying International Diplomacy at University, I decided going on an exchange would be a fantastic idea. After looking at our exchange website, and finding our only links were horrible universities in the middle of nowhere, the idea of going to Vienna occurred to me.
Austria has always been a place that has very much appealed to me, I think watching the Sound of Music 1 million times as a child probably helped, but also all the culture and history Vienna had to offer helped seal my decision. Not to mention the fact that growing up in Australia has meant my language skills are at 0. So I enrolled myself in ActiLingua, a German Language School in Vienna, and took the semester off University.
My accommodation was a lovely share house, with about 8 people in each of the 2 flats. I was living with people from Mexico, France, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Denmark and America, and it was a fantastic way to make friends at first. Unfortunately our common language was English, as our level of German greatly differed... which did mean I was more inclined to chat in English than practice my German as much as I should have.
I spend over 4 Months in Vienna, and they were some of the best of my life!
In all honesty, Vienna is the most beautiful, fun and interesting city I have ever lived in, and I have moved a lot!
There is so much history, culture and music in the city. Any sort of music you could wish to see, you can find playing somewhere there. There are some really brilliant Latin dancing clubs, as well as the normal pop, or R&B and dance clubs. There are German musicals, classical concerts, ballets and opera's.
The Vienna Opera House is beautiful, and even allows poor students such as myself to go along for only 2 - 3 euros! Sure you have to stand up, but it's really not as bad as it sounds! You just line up for about an hour before the performance begins and you can get a pretty good view. I saw the ballet The Nutcracker this way, and I had a perfect view, not to mention the performance was brilliant.
I also saw a couple of operas, however I would recommend you buy a seated ticket for anything over 3 hours, as by the end of Tosca, I was just as ready to kill myself as she was! It could have also been that I found this an incredibly boring opera!
I love art, so I saw as many galleries as possible while I was there. I highly recommend the Belvedere for those of you who like Gustav Klimt. Not to mention on a sunny day the gardens surrounding it are a great place to have lunch in. I used to go there all the time on my breaks between classes.
The Leopold Museum is another good place to go with artwork from people such as gon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and August von Pettenkofen.
The Museum of Fine Arts is fantastic, and has paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael and Titian. A few people I know there said that if they had to choose 1 museum to re-visit before they left, it would be this one, it's pretty good value for money in so far as all of the famous artwork you will see there, as well as it's size.
I am slightly biased in so far as I don't really like modern art, so my pages will be lacking slightly in information about this, but I did see the KunstHaus Wien, and if you go only for the architecture, it is worth it! It's such a cool building, and houses art by Hundertwasser.
Another great place is the Military History museum. It's a bit harder to get to than the others, but it's so interesting.
Not only does Vienna have amazing culture to offer, it has some of the best night life around. (despite rumors!) Seeing as I went out almost every night of the week there, I can speak from experience!
A very handy thing about Vienna is the night busses, most of the public transport stops around 12, but these busses run most of the night, which is excellent when it is -10, snowing, 4 am and you are wearing a skirt and desperately trying to get home without loosing a leg to frostbite! I would recommend whenever you are going out that you bring a good city map with you, with all the streets clearly written, it came in handy for me more than once.
There are some fantastic latin dancing clubs in the city centre - Habana being one of my favourites, as well as great normal dancing clubs with 3 or 4 rooms playing different types of music in each.
I even gave into temptation at went to an Australia bar called Crossfields (Maysedergasse 5) which was quite fun, as well as traditional Austrian pubs and bars.
Vienna is pretty safe from my experience but I still wouldn’t recommend walking around by yourself down dark street though, ever, it is best to stay with 2 or 3 friends if possible.
During my time in the city I was followed by some strange men more than once, but as long as you are sensible, you should be fine. I just walked into the first bar or restaurant I could find, and waited until they gave up, or had someone working there say something.
The Christmas markets were one of the first things my friend from Vienna took me to. We had many a good night there drinking gluwein and chatting. The Christmas markets are so beautiful. Whether you go during the day or at night. The first time we went the city had set up a ski jump in the middle of the markets, and there were crazy Austrians jumping all over the place. I have to give them credit for being game! There are stalls selling things from beautifully made glass balls for Christmas trees in as many different colours and designs as you can think of, as well a carved wooden decorations... I loved the little nutcrackers, food, toys, Christmas music (in German as well) and of course, and most importantly, the fantastic gluwein stalls. It just has such a fun and festive feel to it, and it is really something you shouldn’t miss if you are in Vienna at the end of November – December.
- Pros:Culture, great food, friendly people, lovely weather
- Cons:You won't want to leave!
- In a nutshell:The most beautiful city on earth
Stephansdom is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vienna and is located int he heart of the city - you... more travel advice
Hundertwasserhaus is a really cool, funky apartment house in Vienna, filled with colour and unusual architecture. At... more travel advice
MishyM's Related Pages
Vienna Travel Guide
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