This was my second trip to Vienna, but it had been a while since my last visit. I couldn’t remember much about Vienna so I was glad to have a guide to show me around the city for a couple of days and help me to discover the best places to visit in Vienna in 2 days. His name is Wagner, and he is a wombat.
Now, before you think I’ve gone completely mad let me explain. We were staying at Wombat’s Vienna Naschmarkt, part of funky hostel chain Wombat’s City Hostels, whose mascot is, unsurprisingly, a wombat. These furry marsupials inspired the name of the hostels after the owners Marcus & Sascha met a fun-loving Australian on their travels who had an idea for opening a hostel and naming it after his favourite animal. Sadly, he was killed in an accident a year later so in honour of their Aussie friend, Marcus & Sascha decided to name their hostels after these cute Australian animals.
I actually have a great affection for wombats, which stemmed from watching a documentary about them as a child. For some reason, we took to calling my mum a wombat, a term of endearment for this cuddly creature that we all loved. When I saw that Wombat’s hostels have cuddly wombats, I couldn’t resist the chance to take one of them around Vienna for the day. We named our wombat Wagner and had a lot of fun taking photos of him around the city. We got quite a few strange looks I can tell you, especially the following day when my fellow #WombatsTraveller Helene left, and I was wandering around on my own taking photographs of a stuffed toy by myself as Wagner posed in front of various Viennese landmarks, and chowed down on all the delicious Viennese food we could find. We hit up all the popular sites in Vienna and some others which I didn’t expect before arriving in Vienna
What to Do in Vienna in 2 Days
Free Walking Tour
Before we met Wagner, I took a walking tour from Wombat’s to see many of these places on foot. Our guide was a human this time, and he told us a lot of information about the history of Vienna, the best food to try in Vienna, and everything about the landmarks we passed. This was a great introduction to the city, and worth a couple of hours to get your bearings.
Places to Visit in Vienna in 2 Days
The Naschmarkt is an essential stop off, especially on Saturdays when the market expands to include a flea market and loads more food stalls.
The Opera House
Get off the underground at Karlsplatz to see the beautiful Opera building. You can get tickets for live performances here by booking in advance or queueing up outside for cheaper standing room tickets. However, you need to be there to queue at around 5 pm to get tickets for the 7.30pm show. Alternatively, shows are usually played on a big screen behind the Opera House so you can watch there for free. Nearby, Wagner found a friend to talk to – a huge pink rabbit (which is actually a sculpture of Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer).
Heroes’ Square (Heldenplatz), Maria-Theresien Platz & the Museums Quarter
I’ve included these together, as depending on how much time you have in Vienna you may want to visit some or all of the museums here. The statues are impressive, although Wagner was a little nervous being this close to a lion!
This pretty garden was filled with roses when we visited Vienna in June and is worth strolling through if nothing else!
The Vienna’s Rathaus or Town Hall is a beautiful building, and often the site of various events from Christmas markets to Pride celebrations which were going on when we were there. We missed the Pride parade, unfortunately, but Wagner still wanted show his support for the LGBTQ community and bought a little flag to wave. Love is love after all, even for wombats.
The Hofburg Palace is a huge complex, and if you go inside to visit any of the museums this could take a whole day alone. We just admired the beautiful building from the outside and saying hello to the many horses and carriages that wait outside.
The National Library
This is one thing I am very glad I didn’t miss! I had seen photographs of the stunning Baroque building, which is the largest library in Austria. The ceiling frescoes and statues were beautiful, and there are millions of books here. It is €8 to get in, but totally worth it. And wombats get in free, so Wagner was pleased. (No real pets are allowed though!)
The Spanish Riding School
I had dreamed about seeing the Lipizzaner horses perform since I was a little girl. These magnificent horses are usually white and are trained with their riders to perform incredible jumps to music. You can also take a guided tour of the stables or watch their training, but we caught a performance which was quite short, but incredible for me. We also got lucky as we bought the cheapest standing room tickets, but the seats in front of us were vacant so we had great views! No photographs are allowed during the performance in case it spooks the horses, so we just took a photo before the show. The arena itself is also stunning!
St Stephen’s Cathedral
This was my highlight of Vienna, and although Wagner didn’t come inside, I climbed up the tower to see the beautiful tiled roof up close and to see the views of Vienna. The cathedral is free to enter, and the tower is just €6.
The Danube Canal
All along the Danube Canal close to Schwedenplatz underground station, there are new bars and restaurants popping up alongside street art and even a floating gym. The canalside is booming and is THE place to go in the evening. It is also a pleasant walk during the day, as we went to check out the street art too. If you want to know more about street art in Vienna, check out this post.
Schönbrunn is a beautiful place to explore. We didn’t actually go inside, but Wagner enjoyed walking around the gardens and admiring the fountains. You can also get a great view of the gardens from up the hill at the far end of the gardens.
Other Things to Do in Vienna
Depending on how long you spend visiting museums, you may also have time for these, which are worth it if you can afford the time! We didn’t go here with Wagner though so no wombat pictures for these!
Prater Theme Park
Prater is a huge theme park which has a range of rides and amusements including a giant Ferris wheel which was built in 1897. The park and Ferris Wheel has featured in several films, including Orson Welles’ ‘The Third Man’. There is also a chocolate museum here, which we went to but didn’t enjoy, and plenty of scary rides if you are that way inclined!
This is a spectacular palace, with beautiful gardens and a wonderful art museum. I came here on my first visit to Vienna to see the Gustav Klimt pieces, in particular, ‘The Kiss’. We didn’t have time to fit it in on this trip, but if you are a Klimt fan I highly recommend it!
Getting Around Vienna
Vienna is an easy city to get around. The underground U and overground S trains and the trams can all be boarded with a 24-hour, 48-hour or 72-hour ticket, which is the best value if you plan to travel around a lot. Individual journeys cost €2.60, so for any more than 3 single trips in a day is worth buying the day or multi-day ticket.
Where to Eat in Vienna
There are tons of great restaurants in Vienna, check out my other post on what to eat in Vienna for more details. My favourite places to eat in Vienna were the Naschmarkt for Turkish specialities, and an amazing cheese place, and Café Central, where Wagner loved the delicate cakes and got to meet poet Peter Altenberg, who spent so much time in the Café he listed it as his home and working address!
You can also grab a Viennese sausage for a quick bite to eat at any fast food kiosk around the city. If you want to take some foodie souvenir from Vienna, then Manner chocolate hazelnut wafers are a great choice for gifts – if you can resist eating them that long!
Where to Stay in Vienna
Wombats Vienna Naschmarkt is a fabulous option for backpackers and budget travellers, with dorm rooms and private rooms available. The hostel is right next to the Naschmarkt which is Vienna’s largest market, and a great place to get a bite to eat any time of the day. Wombats Naschmarkt has a bar where you can meet other travellers, and an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast for a couple of euros extra, which is well worth it to fill up for a day’s site-seeing, with or without a furry wombat for company.
Do you travel with a mascot? I’ve seen a lot of Instagram accounts for cuddly toys, and they are very cute!! Although Wagner is a little too large to come with me everywhere, I think he’s enjoyed his holidays away from Vienna. He is now settled at my home in England, with my mum to look after him when I’m away.
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This post was brought to you as a result of the #wombatsTraveller blog trip, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with wombat’s CITY HOSTELS. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I maintain full editorial control of the content published here on Tales of a Backpacker.
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