When I visited Vienna, Austria, I only had two days to explore before traveling onward to Bratislava, Slovakia. In those 48 hours, I saw a lot of incredible sites, including the Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg, and the Vienna State Opera. If you’re interested in hearing a story or two about my trip to Vienna, keep scrolling down!
When I first landed at Vienna International Airport, I ran into a bit of trouble. On the plane, I was seated next to a man who was friendly at first, but bordered on overly-friendly. I was quietly looking at sites to visit on my phone when he asked me a few questions: “First time visiting Vienna?,” “What are you going to see?”. At first, I kept it light and friendly: “I’m definitely planning on visiting the Opera House and Schönbrunn Palace,” I said, and continued to explain a bit about where I was from and where I was planning to travel after Vienna. However, the conversation quickly took a turn.
The man began to ask if I wanted to stay at his house, which struck me as way too forward. I quickly waved the request off and tried to be polite by saying, “I’m traveling with a friend, I would have to ask him.” When our plane landed, I told my friend about the conversation and we both felt uneasy. Although his offer was kind, it was strange considering that his offer was completely free. One quote stuck with me: “If it’s too good to be true, it’s a no-do.”
My friend and I followed our gut instinct and declined his offer. This did not bode well. The man, who was physically a foot taller than both of us, grew more persistent in trying to convince us to stay at his place. The forcefulness of his offer was concerning and the fight-or-flight part of my brain was scanning through all the possibilities: “Is this Taken 2 but Vienna Version?” and “Is He a Serial Killer?” We quickly turned our heel on the man, left the conversation, and called an Uber at the airport. I remember turning back to look at the man as we were walking away and seeing him tense his fist in frustration. To this day, I still wonder who this man was and what his true intentions were.
Which leads me to say: if you are a women, you are vulnerable. If you are a young woman, you are twice as vulnerable. Take extra precautions when traveling and decline any offer that strikes you as forceful, too good to be true, or abnormal. Your safety comes first!
Aside from the strange encounter at the airport, the rest of our trip to Vienna went by seamlessly. After taking a cab to the Belvedere Palace, we decided to hop on Lime Scooters to quickly get from destination to destination. Since my friend and I were carrying two large backpacks with all of our clothing and electronics for the month, walking more than a mile was quickly tiring. By using the Lime scooters and buying a local bus pass, we were able to see the Vienna State Opera, St. Stephan’s Cathedral, Stephansplatz, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and the Hofburg in a day’s time.
Saint Stephan’s Cathedral was an unbelievable site. Pictured in the photo above, the cathedral stretches to the sky and is surrounded by shops, cafés, restaurants, and bars in Stephansplatz. This Gothic-era cathedral also has an interesting mosaic design on its roof, which adds a surprisingly modern element to its design.
At the end of our first day in Vienna, we booked a cheap room (at a big discount) on Hotwire.com and settled into our hotel. While I tried to explore Vienna’s nightlife, the streets were vacant and I only managed to find an Australian bar that was semi-crowded. Maybe, if you go out on a weekend, you’ll have more luck than we did?
On the second day, we were able to leave our backpacks at the hotel and make our way by Lime Scooter to the Schönbrunn Palace. While I would not recommend using a Lime Scooter to travel further than three miles, the scooter got the job done. Once I arrived on-site, the palace quickly became the highlight of my trip to Vienna. In Schönbrunn, we ordered a few beers before hiking up to the LFZ Schönbrunn, a research institute that sits on the highest hill of the park.
Before we left to board our Flix Bus to Bratislava, Slovakia, we grabbed another Lime scooter back to Innere Stadt to take a final look at the beautiful city of Vienna. While visiting Vienna was a whirlwind 48 hours, it was an experience I will always remember.
What’s your favorite location in Vienna? Do you have any suggestions on what to add to my Vienna Travel Guide? Let me know in the comments section below!
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