Vienna Tourist Trap Tips by longsanborn Top 5 Page for this destination
Vienna Tourist Traps: 116 reviews and 81 photos
After many years in Vienna, I decided to see the Schmetterlinghaus (Butterfly house), which is part of the Palmenhaus (Palm house or greenhouse) within the Hofburg (Imperial) Palace, next to the Burggarten and just 200 meters from the Opera house. The Schmetterlinghaus was advertised like this... "Come and be amazed by hundreds of live, free-flying tropical butterflies, in an exciting recreation of their natural rain forest environment".
Sadly, in reality, we found this advert to be untrue. When we were there last summer 2008, there were not many butterflies ~ in fact we saw only 10 butterflies! When we asked the people there, they said that the butterfly numbers depended on how many pupae they will get from the supplier. We did see some pupae in an glass enclosement container there but still not enough to shout about!
The whole inside area was a lot smaller than it appeared on the outside. The whole place didn't seem to be very well maintained and we didn't see much tropical plants either. The glass windows were dirty and the whole place looked like it could do with a good scrubbing. Inside was was hot, humid and smelly and we wished we hadn't wasted 4 euros each on the tickets.
I have been to the Butterfly Houses in Malaysia (in Kuala Lumpur and in Penang), in Singapore and in Montreal, Canada. There, I saw so many beautiful exotic butterflies in their tropical enclosed garden settings.
Hence, I would have expected the butterfly house in Vienna to be just as good (since they have a very nice Zoo) but alas, it was not to be true. It is a great pity because Schmetterlinghaus has a great potential to attract more visitors if they could clean the place up and get more butterflies.
Unique Suggestions: Just don't go - it's a waste of time and money. But if you are curious, here is the link: Schmetterlinghaus
Fun Alternatives: Go and enjoy a walk in the adjacent Volksgarten or around the Stadtpark instead.
The Mozartkugel (English: Mozart ball), originally known as the “Mozartbonbon”, was created by the Salzburg confectioner, Paul Fürst in 1890 and named after the famous music composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I am not such a fan of these chocolate balls (because I don't like marzipan) but tourists buy because it's considered as a typical Austrian souvenir.
Buying mozart balls itself is not a tourist trap, but it is where you buy them would be a big tourist trap. The Mozart balls are sold in all souvenir shops or at the airport duty-free shops are very very expensive.
Unique Suggestions: If you really have to buy them, go ahead and have fun.
Fun Alternatives: You can buy the mozart balls at the BILLA or SPAR supermarkets around the city. The prices are very much lower.
I went on a guided tour around the Opera House with a group of friends. The tour cost is Euro 6.50 per person for about half an hour, and I don't think it was such a good value. There were many groups on tour and we were herded around too much, not leaving much time for the tour guides to explain much, not giving us much time to really look around. We didn't see much of the Opera House - front and back of the curtains, some empty rooms, and 2 ballrooms, that's it.
For Euro 6.50 per person for half an hour? That is too much for too little time.
Unique Suggestions: If you really want to see the inside of the Opera house and don't have time to explore it, try to go during low-peak season or in the morning when there are less tourists around.
Fun Alternatives: If you have the time, bring your guidebook along and explore the Opera house on your own. If you happened to see a guided tour group, you can sort of eavesdrop on the group tour...hehehe. :)
When summer comes to Vienna, it comes suddenly and with such heating force. One day, it is nice and cool, and then the next, it is hot and sunny. When it gets hot, people gets thirsty easily and they will be wanting a nice cool drink - fast.
But do not be tempted to buy drinks from the city centre's food stalls, souvenir shops, etc. The prices of these cold drinks will be very expensive when compared to supermarket prices. A 0.5L bottle of mineral water will cost Euro 1.50-1.80 while in supermarkets will cost less than Euro 0.50. A cold Coke or Iced Tea can cost you Euro 1.80 - Euro 2.00 per 0.5L bottle.
Unique Suggestions: Well, if you are really dying of thirst, go ahead and pay a premium price for the bottled water, coke, or soft drink beverages.
Fun Alternatives: If you plan to spend a long time outdoors, it is better you buy from the supermarkets or carry your own bottled water. By the way, the water from the tap is cool and delicious as Austria has good quality tap water. There are a few supermarkets located around the city centre - these are called BILLA or SPAR/INTERSPAR or HOFER or ZIELPUNKT. It is nice to visit these supermarkets (especially in summer) because they are air-conditioned and they sell good snacks (ready-packed sandwiches, pastries, cakes, donuts, etc.) and different sizes of bottled water.
The Secession Museum is a building with cupola of golden laurel leaves and its art deco facade. It is one of the keyworks of Viennese Art Nouveaux architecture and was planned and built by Joseph Maria Olbricht, a student of Otto Wagner. Laurel leaf garlands decorate the facade and front of the building, the masks of 3 gorgons preside over the entrance symbolizing the 3 art forms of architecture, sculpture and painting. Above the entrance you can read the motto of the secessionist: "Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit." (To the Age its Art. To Art its Freedom)
The Secession museum specializes in contemporary art.; it is a museum that exhibits radical - sometimes contraversial, sometimes weird - and modern works of arts. However, the so-called works of arts are really not worth the visit.
The last time I went there, it was in 2005 and I was not impressed at all with the so-called work of arts at the time. It was an exhibition of sound and media, and I saw dark empty spaces in cubicles with TVs in the middle of the rooms. There were shadows and light plays which meant nothing at all. I was flabbergasted at these "Arts". Then I decided to see Gustav's Klimt's exhibit - it was located in the basement of the building and I was very disappointed to see that Klimt never finished the paintings. The "Beethovan Frieze" paintings were small, way up near to the ceilings and they only covered less than 1/4 of the walls.
I was very very disappointed - I felt I was ripped-off.
Unique Suggestions: If you really have to enter the Secession Museum, go and see the famous Gustav Klimt's Beethoven Frieze (the Secession Museum's best-known exhibit). Designed in 1902 as a decorative painting, it covers 3 walls and is 34 m (110 feet) long. It shows interrelated groups of figures and is thought to be a commentary on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the Belvedere Museums. You can see much more and better works of arts for Euro 10.
The City Bus Tour is the Hop on and off bus tour, where you can visit the main tourist site and get off and then get on later. For this, you pay almost Euro 30 and you get a crappy headphone with audio guide, then circle around the city and maybe visit a few sights away from Vienna (e.g. Schonbrunn, etc.).
Unique Suggestions: Do the city bus tour when you don't have much time in Vienna. The bus tour is good for busy people because the bus will bring you easily and directly to the main major attractions without much hassle. If you take this tour, get off at every stop and enjoy the sights as much as possible.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the tourist office and get the map of the city. Then you should walk to every tourist attractions; you don't have to walk far because most of the attractions are close to each other. You can take the Tram # 1 or # 2 and enjoy the ride around the "Ring" road. You get to see the Hofburg palace gates, the Empress Maria Theresa square and the 2 museums, the Parliment, the Town Hall, the Votiv church (from far), then around to Schwedenplatz, the Stadtpark and the Schwazenburgplatz. You just pay Euro 1.50 for the Tram ticket and you can use the ticket for the underground as well, as long as it is within one journey or 60 minutes, whichever is earlier.
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