We've been traveling for so long in Asia and Oceania, we almost forgot how beautiful Europe is! You know how it is, when you live abroad, you only come back to see your friends and family -and to EAT. That stopover in Vienna on our Miami-Hong Kong trip was ideal to explore a new city and enjoy Europe just the 3 of us, with nothing else to do but discover...
We barely had time to plan this stopover in Vienna. When we got there anyway, all we wanted was to walk around the city, have a nap in a park and eat a good sandwich. We got so much more out of that 8 hours trip in Austria. We fell back in love with Europe. We spent our time dreaming about the day we'll move back in Europe. Maybe. If. Someday.
I won't give you a list of must do in Vienna or an itinerary, as we didn't have any, but here's the recipe that will make you love your stopover in Vienna...
How to spend 8 hours in Vienna?
You could think 8 hours is too short to explore a city, and knowing that you've got a flight to catch at the end of the day would be stressful. But don't worry, the city is small enough to explore it by foot, the public transport is super efficient, and Vienna is a city easy to fell in love with. Well... we had the perfect weather on that day -sunny and 23°C- so I'm probably not objective on that one.
A 8 hours stopover in vienna
When you first get to the airport, you've got 3 important things to think about.
#1. What to do with your bags?
There's a baggage room in the check in area, it costs 4€ to leave a bag for the day. Don't hesitate, you're gonna spend your day walking...
#2. Get some cash before leaving the airport
So you don't have to look for an ATM in the city. We withdraw about 70€ for two, which was more than enough for food and drinks.
#3. How to get to Vienna?
There's a direct train going from the airport to the city in only 15 minutes: the CTA (City Airport Train). It's fast, super clean and it even was the wifi onboard. It's almost too easy!
A sunny sunday day in Vienna...
Sunday, 7am, we arrive in Wien Mitte station, in the city center. Three minutes later, we are at the next bakery, buying some pastries., to then set our camp in Stadtpark for a picnic/nap -don't forget we just go off a 12 hours flight with a 7 months baby. The city is still quiet, the air fresh and the sky blue, the conditions are perfect for a day wandering. It's our first time in Vienna -and in Austria-, we have no idea what to expect, but so far we like it.
After a lovely nap under the shade of the trees, we walk without any map, from a lovely place to another. It's amazing how much you can see within such a short amount of time. I know there's much more to discover, but we're not here to rush. There's a beautiful old building hiding in each and every corner. Churches, cathedrals, old boutiques, authentic cafes, so much to love!
how to spend 8 hours in vienna ? 10 things to do during your stopover
- Stroll / picnic / nap in the parks! Vienna is very green, there are lots of parks around the city, all with scenic views. You just had a long flight, enjoy the tranquility and the space for a while before exploring the city. You can also join an outdoor yoga class if you're lucky to see one -we arrived too late, but found a giant yogis reunion in front of Kursalon Wien, in Stadtpark on a Sunday morning.
- Take the Ring tramway -because it has that vintage kinda-cool vibe. Oh and it's also super convenient, especially if you're still tired.
- Eat the local pastries. You only have a few hours in Vienna, so you've got to be efficient on that one. There is so much to discover! The best option is to get some take aways for your next flight.
- Hop on a horse-drawn carriage tour. Another cool option if you're sleepy. Plus, even though it is a tourist thing, it can be romantic. If you don't do that in Vienna, where will you? You'll find the carriages at the Hofburg Palace.
- Stop in a traditional coffee house to sip coffee while doing some people watching. And get some energy to stay awake and fight the jetlag!
- Take your time. Don't rush it. You won't see it all, you're just here to get a glimpse at the city's atmosphere, not to run from one of Vienna's highlight to the next. Get lost in the old town. Meet the locals. Live like you belong, just for a day!
- Walk on Ringstrasse to see some of the most gorgeous monuments in the city : the Opera House, the Parliament, the Town Hall, the State Theater, the University of Vienna... To name a few!
- Spot the lovely art nouveau buildings around Karlsplatz and Naschmarkt metro stations.
- See the magnificent St Stephen's Cathedral. Step inside to discover the interior, which is as majestic as the cathedral itself.
- Visit one of the beautiful palaces of Vienna. There are so many, you've got the choice.