Late winter weekend in Vienna: 48 hours in Austria’s capital

Let’s delve into the magic of a late winter weekend in Vienna, a city that shimmers with frosty beauty and brims with cultural treasures. Picture the scene: snowflakes are gently falling on the grand architecture, turning the city into a veritable winter wonderland. This is more than a whimsical journey – it’s an adventure that unfolded over 48 hours in Austria’s capital.

Our journey began in a swirl of snowflakes and a twist of fate. As we prepared to depart for Vienna, Mathieu, my ever-enthusiastic travel companion, took an unfortunate tumble and twisted his ankle. It was a moment that could have cast a shadow over our weekend, but instead, it became the spark that ignited our spirit of adventure. Our plans may have changed, but the allure of Vienna remained as vibrant as ever.

That weekend, Vienna wasn’t just a city; it was a canvas of our adaptability and resilience. We navigated the cobblestone streets with newfound appreciation, savoring the delights that awaited us around every corner. From the cozy warmth of traditional coffee houses to the breathtaking beauty of historical palaces, every moment in Vienna became a cherished memory.

So, as you journey with us through this story, you’ll see that this isn’t just about visiting Vienna; it’s about embracing the unexpected and making the most of every moment. You’ll discover what we did, what we saw, and what we experienced during that unforgettable weekend.

But the journey doesn’t stop there. Beyond our winter adventure, there are countless other experiences that Vienna has to offer. Some of these have left footprints in our hearts from previous visits, while others are waiting in the wings for future exploration. So, buckle up and join us as we embark on this thrilling roller-coaster ride through a winter weekend in Vienna. The city of music, culture, and timeless beauty awaits!

And remember, every journey begins with a single step… or in our case, a little twist!

Why a weekend in Vienna, especially in winter?

Vienna, resplendent in her winter attire, becomes more than a city. She transforms into an ethereal realm, a timeless tableau where the past and the present converge amidst a snowy landscape. This is where the magic truly happens, and this is why a weekend in Vienna is an experience like no other.

Vienna in Winter is a melody. It’s a symphony composed of snow-tipped trees, the soft crunch of boots on fresh snow, and the joyful laughter that fills the air as people skate across the frozen city parks. When the world around you is a sparkling winter wonderland, it’s impossible to resist the allure of the outdoors. And, that’s exactly why things to do in Vienna in winter become a riveting quest rather than a simple query.

Imagine sauntering through cobbled streets dusted with snow, their charm magnified under the soft glow of street lamps. Picture yourself warming up in a traditional Viennese coffee house, savoring the taste of a delicious Sacher Torte as you watch the world go by. Or, envisage standing in awe of the majestically illuminated Schönbrunn Palace, its grandeur amplified by the winter night.

Yet, the heart of Vienna’s winter allure lies in its endless array of experiences. Each day dawns with the promise of new adventures, from exploring world-renowned museums to reveling in the festive atmosphere of the Christmas markets. And, of course, no winter weekend in Vienna would be complete without a visit to the historic State Opera House, where timeless performances will leave you spellbound.

So, why a weekend in Vienna, you ask? Because in Vienna, winter is not just a season. It’s an immersive, captivating, and awe-inspiring experience. It’s a time when the city’s historical charm, vibrant culture, and Vienna things to do winter blend into a perfect symphony, offering you a weekend escape that will remain etched in your memory forever.

How to get to Vienna from the airport

When we were leaving the airport, there were many representatives promoting airport transfers to Vienna’s city center. So we took round trip tickets with CAT (City Airport Train). This way, we got to the city in just 16 minutes without any stops on the way. And we were all ready to start our late-winter weekend in Vienna.

CAT (City Airport Train)
16-minute non-stop ride from the airport to the city center. The trains have comfortable seats with plenty of legroom and space for luggage. CAT is available daily even on holidays, which makes it convenient when you’re traveling for a weekend in Vienna. The first train leaves from the airport at 06.07, and the last at 23.39. Another train leaves from the airport to the center of Vienna every 30 minutes. CAT tickets cost € 11.00 one way, while return trips are € 19.00.

Getting around Vienna Austria

A real game-changer when it comes to navigating this splendid city during your weekend in Vienna: is the Vienna 48 hours ticket, or as the locals call it, the Wien 48h ticket. This ticket is your golden key to unlocking the city’s myriad treasures seamlessly over a 48-hour period.

Imagine holding in your hands the power to explore Vienna’s grandeur and secrets without fretting about transport. No more grappling with change or trying to decipher foreign ticket machines. The tiny 48h ticket Wien smoothens out all those creases, making your Vienna weekend a carefree adventure that flows as smoothly as the Danube itself.

The Vienna 48 hours ticket is more than just a transport pass. It’s a ticket to freedom, to spontaneity. It’s the promise of a city waiting to be discovered at your own pace, in your own style. With this ticket, Vienna is not just a city. It’s an open book, and you have 48 hours in Vienna to plunge into its captivating tale.

And if you’re planning to be in Vienna this weekend, here’s a secret: the city is pulsating with life and vitality. Every corner, every street, every landmark is set to welcome you into its enchanting world. With the Vienna 48h ticket in your pocket, you’re not just visiting Vienna. You’re living Vienna!

Hop on that tram, bus, or subway. Let the city’s rhythm guide you through architectural wonders, cultural hotspots, cozy cafes, and bustling markets. You have 48 hours in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. With the Vienna 48 hours ticket, every moment is yours to savor and every experience is yours to cherish.

weekend in vienna weinschenke am siebensternplatz
Weekend in Vienna: Weinschenke Siebensternplatz or Weinschenke Siebensterngasse

Day one – Friday night arrival

Let’s take a dive into our winter weekend in Vienna, starting with our Friday night arrival. After a long day of travel, the first glimpse of Vienna’s twinkling lights and frost-kissed streets was nothing short of magical. The city was veiled in a blanket of serenity, yet alive with anticipation. As we made our way through the hushed streets, the charm of the city whispered stories of the adventures that awaited us.

Our hunger led us through a maze of cobblestone streets, where we stumbled upon a hidden gem, Weinschenke am Siebensternplatz Wien. The moment we stepped inside, the warmth of the pub enveloped us like a comforting hug, melting away the winter chill. The friendly staff and the animated chatter created an atmosphere that felt like a second home in this foreign land.

Our first beers in Austria came served with hearty smiles and a clink that resonated with the promise of a memorable weekend in Vienna. As we bit into our juicy burgers, some of the best we’d ever had, the flavors of Austria danced on our palates, teasing us with a taste of the culinary delights that Vienna had to offer.

As is our custom, we ordered different dishes, allowing us to savor a wider range of flavors without wasting food or money. We discovered that the local culture welcomed this practice, adding another feather to Vienna’s cap of hospitality.

Our first night in Vienna ended with a leisurely stroll back to our Airbnb, the city’s lights guiding us through the quiet, snowy streets. The anticipation for the next day’s adventures was palpable, adding a spring to our steps despite the exhaustion of the journey.

Vienna welcomed us with open arms, and we couldn’t wait to dive into our winter weekend exploration. The city was an open canvas, ready for us to paint our memories on. And as we drifted into a peaceful sleep, our dreams were filled with the Vienna things to do, the adventures that awaited us with the dawn of a new day.

So join us as we embark on our weekend in Vienna. The city has shared its first secret with us, the cozy Weinschenke am Siebensternplatz. We could barely wait to discover what other treasures Vienna had in store for us.

Day two – a full-day adventure in Vienna

The morning of our second day in Vienna dawned with the promise of adventure. Despite Mathieu’s nagging ankle pain, we were determined not to let it dampen our spirits. We had a free walking tour scheduled, but Mathieu’s ankle had other plans. Weighing our options, we decided to forego the tour and instead prioritize Mathieu’s health. A quick stop at a local pharmacy armed us with an ankle brace, and we were ready to take on the city again, albeit at a slower pace.

Saturday morning in Vienna

weekend in vienna aida café konditorei stephansplatz
Weekend in Vienna: Aida Café Konditorei by Stephansplatz

The silver lining to our unexpected change of plans was the leisurely breakfast we got to enjoy at the Aida Café Konditorei by Stephansplatz. Bathed in the early March sun, the terrace was a picture of tranquility. The café, with its pink decor and dolls peering out of the windows, was the epitome of quaint charm. Breakfast at Aida was a treat to our senses. The two-tiered platter, laden with charcuterie and cheese on the lower level and an assortment of pastries on the top, was a sight to behold. Savoring our breakfast, we sipped on the legendary Viennese coffee, a much-needed caffeine boost for the day ahead.

weekend in vienna st stephen cathedral
Weekend in Vienna: St. Stephen’s Cathedral

With our appetites satiated, we strolled through the heart of Vienna, soaking in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Our next stop was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a majestic Gothic masterpiece that stands as a testament to Vienna’s rich history. With a Roman-style foundation dating back to 1147, the cathedral is a symbol of Vienna’s architectural prowess and cultural heritage. The intricate details of the cathedral, both inside and out, left us spellbound.

Despite his discomfort, Mathieu was eager to climb the 343 stairs leading to the top of the South Tower. The panoramic view of Vienna from the tower was breathtaking, well worth the effort. But the descent was not as kind to Mathieu’s ankle. He confessed to feeling pain, a clear sign we needed to slow down.

After resting on a nearby bench, we made our way to the Wiener Stadtpark. As we strolled through the park, designed in 1862 as an artificial landscape within the city, we marveled at the statue of Johann Strauss, fondly known as the King of Waltz. The park was a haven of tranquility amidst the city’s hustle, the perfect ending to our morning in Vienna.

And so, despite a few hiccups, our second day in Vienna was off to a memorable start. With Mathieu’s ankle protected and our spirits high, we were ready to continue our winter weekend adventure in this beautiful city.

Saturday afternoon in Vienna

winter weekend in vienna big bus ride
Weekend in Vienna: Big Bus Vienna ride, an easy answer to what to do in Vienna in winter

As the afternoon sun cast a golden hue over Vienna’s magnificent cityscape, Mathieu and I hopped aboard the Big Bus Vienna, our tickets a lifeline to 48 hours of effortless exploration. We had decided to give Mathieu’s ailing ankle a well-deserved break and take advantage of the hop-on hop-off service. Looking out the double-decker’s window, Vienna unfolded before our eyes, every corner revealing another chapter of the city’s rich tapestry of history and culture.

Big Bus Vienna
See all the major attractions of Vienna with one-day, two-day, or three-day tickets. Choose from two routes, with audio commentaries recorded in 13 languages. Classic tickets are valid 24 hours and available for hop-on hop-off sightseeing on the two routes. Premium tickets are valid for 48 hours and also include a free guided walking tour and a Hundertwasser tour. Deluxe tickets are valid for 72 hours and also include a Historic Night Tram Tour and a Vox City walking tour app.

The rumble of our stomachs interrupted our sightseeing, so we disembarked at the city center, right across from Plachuttas Gasthaus zur Oper. Known for serving the best Wiener schnitzel in town, this restaurant was a must-visit during our winter weekend in Vienna. We found a cozy corner table just as the place started to fill up with fellow travelers. With each bite of the crispy schnitzel and tangy potato salad, we got a taste of authentic Viennese cuisine. As we wiped our plates clean, the restaurant was abuzz with chatter, a testament to its popularity among locals and tourists alike.

Our gastronomic adventure didn’t end there. Just a stone’s throw away was the Hotel Sacher Wien, home of the famous Sachertorte. This decadent chocolate cake was a fitting end to our delightful lunch experience.

hofburg palace seen on a winter weekend in vienna
Hofburg Palace seen on a winter weekend in Vienna

Recharged, we made our way to the Hofburg Palace, an emblem of Vienna’s imperial past. The palace was a maze of grand halls, intricate courtyards, and sprawling gardens, each corner whispering tales of emperors and empires long gone. We were awestruck by the New Palace, a stark contrast to the medieval castle it was built upon, its modern architecture adding a fresh layer to the city’s architectural timeline.

In the heart of the palace complex, we found the Spanish Riding School, a living piece of Viennese heritage. The rhythmic trot of the horses seemed like a dance, a delicate ballet that had been perfected over centuries. And in Heidenplatz, the majestic equestrian statues of Printz Eugen and Erzherzog Karl watched over us, silent guardians of Vienna’s storied past.

Every Sunday ar 09.15, the Vienna Boys Choire performs in the Imperial Chapel. You should book tickets in advance if you wish to listen to them during your weekend in Vienna.

Saturday evening in Vienna

As the sun started to dip below the horizon, casting long, whimsical shadows on the cobblestone streets of Vienna, our stomachs began to grumble in anticipation of the culinary delights that lay ahead. Vienna during winter is a gourmet paradise, with the city’s biggest market, Naschmarkt, coming alive with the scent of richly spiced Austrian dishes and a dazzling array of international cuisine​. Yet, our evening was to take an unexpected turn as we stumbled upon not just one, but two interesting pubs, introducing us to an entirely different side of Vienna’s culinary scene.

weekend break in vienna bockshorn irish pub
Weekend in Vienna: Bockshorn Irish Pub

Our first stop was the Bockshorn Irish Pub, tucked away in a quaint alley. With the sound of good music and cheerful chatter guiding us, we stepped into the pub, anticipating a cozy evening in its warm embrace. Yet, it seemed we weren’t the only ones with this idea – the pub was bustling with patrons, their laughter mixing with the clinking of beer mugs. Although we couldn’t find a seat, the lively atmosphere of the Bockshorn Irish Pub left a memorable imprint on us.

Our quest for dinner led us through the heart of Vienna. We admired the glowing Donner Fountain and the imposing St. Stephen’s Cathedral, bathed in the ethereal glow of moonlight before fate led us to an unexpected find – Crossfield’s Australian Pub, the kangaroo pub Wien.

Crossfield’s was a surprise in the heart of Austria. Upon entering, we were greeted by two floors of lively pub atmosphere, with the basement doubling as the main dining area. The decor was unapologetically Australian, from crocodiles adorning the walls to the stereotypical attire of the staff. But what caught our attention was the menu, an adventurous blend of Australian and Austrian cuisine​​.

Despite having a varied menu that also includes grilled grasshoppers, we went for the chicken, paired with kangaroo-branded draught beer. And that’s how we found kangaroos in Austria!

Satisfied and slightly buzzed from the kangaroo-branded draught beer, we left Crossfield’s, our hearts filled with the joy of discovery. The pub was a significant find, providing us with a unique and enjoyable dining experience in Vienna, a testament to the city’s diverse culinary scene​​.

As we strolled towards the Opera House, our path illuminated by the city lights and our hearts’ content from the unexpected culinary journey, I made friends with a giant pink bunny. A fitting end to an evening full of surprises. We then headed back to our Airbnb, already looking forward to the adventures the next day would bring in this enchanting city in Austria.

Day three – last day in Vienna

As the sun rose on the final day of our whirlwind Vienna 48 hours, it cast a golden glow on the baroque facades of the city, imbuing it with an air of timeless elegance. We decided to embrace the day fully, starting with a visit to the majestic Belvedere Palace, a testament to Vienna’s rich history and cultural heritage.

weekend trip to vienna belvedere palace
Vienna in 48 hours: Belvedere Palace

Stepping into the grandeur of the Belvedere, with its high, ornate ceilings and extensive art collection, we found ourselves immersed in a different era. The palace, once the summer residence of Prince Eugen, now houses the National Gallery of Austria, boasting works from illustrious artists, the likes of Gustav Klimt. The ticketing process was a bit of a puzzle, with various options to choose from, but we eventually settled on a combo ticket, granting us access to the Upper and Lower Belvedere and the 21er Haus.

Despite visiting in the cold season, the French-style gardens, albeit barren, exuded a silent beauty. The empty fountains and dormant foliage created a serene atmosphere, allowing us to appreciate the underlying structure and design of the garden. Our morning exploration concluded with a quick lunch at Café Pierre, an unexpected French corner in the heart of Vienna, where the staff communicated in German under the watchful eyes of French inscriptions.

Our afternoon took an unexpected turn. On our flight from Bucharest to Vienna, Mathieu had struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger, who fervently recommended a visit to Haus des Meeres Aqua Terra Zoo. As a spontaneous decision, we decided to allocate our remaining time in Vienna to this intriguing recommendation.

Weekend in Vienna Haus des Meeres Aqua Terra Zoo
48 hrs in Vienna: Haus des Meeres Aqua Terra Zoo

The Haus des Meeres, a former flak tower from 1944, has now transformed into an edifice dedicated to educating the public about wildlife and conservation. We marveled at the variety of exhibits spread across its 11 floors, each one offering a unique glimpse into a different part of the planet’s ecosystem. From an Atlantic tunnel surrounded by a sea of fishes to a rainforest echoing with the chatter of birds and monkeys, the zoo was a spectacle of biodiversity.

Notably, the Haus des Meeres displayed a profound commitment to environmental protection, with profits channeled toward wildlife preservation. This added another layer of meaning to our visit, making it feel like a contribution towards a greater cause.

If ever you find yourself in Vienna over the weekend, I highly recommend climbing the 192 steps to the terrace of the Haus des Meeres. The panoramic view of the city is a sight to behold, providing a fitting conclusion to our visit.

As we stood there, taking in the Vienna skyline, we felt a pang of sadness knowing that this marked the end of our Vienna adventure. It was a mild trip, indeed, compared to other city breaks we had taken, as Mathieu was nursing an injury. But his determination was a testament to the allure of Vienna. Despite the physical exertion, the rich cultural experiences and unforgettable sights made every moment worthwhile. Our Vienna 48 hours had come to an end, but the memories of the city would linger on, like the melody of a beautiful symphony.

Optional activities for a winter weekend in Vienna

Winter in Vienna, the imperial city that once bore the weight of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is a magical experience. Frosty rooftops glisten under the gray skies, the chilled air carries the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, and the city’s grand architectural beauty becomes even more captivating under a blanket of snow. A weekend in Vienna, however, might leave you gasping for time with the city’s countless offerings. So, should you find yourself wondering What to do in Vienna this weekend? or pondering over this weekend in Vienna plans, let me whisk you away on a virtual tour of some enticing alternatives.

Picture a typical Viennese winter morning. The city is slowly awakening, with the soft rays of the sun seeping through the thick, gray clouds. You’ve just savored a hearty Austrian breakfast, and you’re ready to explore. But where to start? The majestic Schoenbrunn Palace? Or perhaps the Schoenbrunn Zoo? I vividly recall my first trip to Vienna, a brief stop during a family road trip through Europe. The Baroque splendor of the Schoenbrunn Palace left me spellbound, its gardens, even in winter, were a symphony of frozen elegance. The Schoenbrunn Zoo, the world’s oldest, was a delight, its residents seemingly undeterred by the frosty weather.

But what about Prater, Vienna’s iconic amusement park? Is Prater open in winter? The thrill of the Ferris wheel and the promise of cotton candy had drawn me there on my first trip. Contrary to popular belief, Prater, home to the nostalgic Riesenrad Ferris wheel, does not close down during winter. Yes, some attractions might be weather-dependent, but the park itself, with its charming winter vibes, is open for those who dare to brave the cold.

For a more grown-up weekend in Vienna, the Museums Quarter offers a cerebral retreat. With its cobblestone paths glistening under a thin layer of frost, the Quarter takes on a distinct, quiet charm in winter. Here, you’ll find a collection of museums that cater to every taste. Art lovers can lose themselves in contemporary works at MUMOK, history buffs can delve into the rich historical tapestry at the Museum of Natural History, and those seeking a deep dive into the human psyche can explore the Sigmund Freud Museum. As I strolled through the silent corridors of the Freud Museum on my second visit, I found myself mesmerized by the life and works of the father of psychoanalysis.

During this trip, I found a different Vienna. It was no longer the city of Sissy, the Empress whose doll I had relentlessly pursued on my first visit. It was a city of culture, history, and timeless beauty. A city that, even when shrouded in winter’s gray and white, continues to inspire and captivate.

And so, as you plan your winter weekend in Vienna, remember this: the city has more to offer than you could possibly squeeze into a couple of days. Whether it’s the nostalgic charm of Prater, the intellectual allure of the Museums Quarter, or the architectural magnificence of the Schoenbrunn Palace, every corner of Vienna has a story to tell. All you need to do is listen.

Vienna weekend – an enchanting journey through time

As I sit here, reminiscing about my weekend in Vienna, a city that effortlessly straddles the line between past and present, I can’t help but be swept away by its timeless charm. The memories of my weekend a Vienna dance before my eyes – a whirl of imperial splendor, winter magic, and a dash of modern charisma.

Walking through the gilded halls of Belvedere Palace, I was transported back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, every ornate detail a testament to Vienna’s rich past. At the same time, the city’s vibrant contemporary scene, from the fascinating Haus des Meeres to the bustling Museums Quarter, offered a delightful contrast.

Every moment of my weekend Wien felt like a chapter from a fairy tale. The austere beauty of winter added an extra layer of magic, making the city’s grandeur appear even more enchanting. Be it the frosted gardens of the Schoenbrunn Palace, the snow-laden streets of the Museums Quarter, or the twinkling lights of Prater, every corner of Vienna had a story to tell.

Yet, as with all great tales, my weekend trip from Vienna came to an end all too soon. The city, however, left an indelible mark on my heart. Its charisma, its spirit, its blend of the old and new – all converged to create an unforgettable experience.

So, as you plan your next Austria weekend trip, consider Vienna. Let its charm envelop you, let its history move you, and let its beauty captivate you. A weekend in Vienna is not just a trip; it’s a journey through time, an exploration of culture, and above all, an experience that stays with you long after you’ve left its cobblestone streets behind.

Vienna awaits you. The only question is, are you ready to answer its call?

About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur, a seasoned travel blogger coming from the beautiful land of Romania, now calls the picturesque South of France her home. With a keen eye for detail and an insatiable thirst for adventure, Mirela brings a fresh perspective to the European travel scene through her online portal, The Travel Bunny. The blog is a trove of information on budget-friendly yet memorable travel experiences across Europe. Her unique, comprehensive, and free travel guides are a testament to her deep understanding of the varied cultures and landscapes that this continent offers.

As a local travel expert and an adept problem solver, Mirela’s words are not just guides but trusted companions for every traveler navigating the labyrinth of European tourism. With a mug of coffee by her side, she has dedicated countless hours to exploring and understanding the nuances of each destination she covers. Her expertise is particularly illuminating when it comes to a weekend in Vienna, especially during the winter season. Mirela’s knowledge and insights make her an unparalleled resource for anyone looking to unravel the charm of Vienna in all its winter glory. Trust Mirela, and let The Travel Bunny guide you to your next unforgettable travel adventure.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

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