If like me you have the ambition to travel, to see as much of the world as you can, to explore new cultures anywhere in the world, then welcome to a little insight into my travels. Although I’ve had a travel section on my blog for a long time, probably since the day I began Life With MCM, I haven’t been open about my passion. I haven’t really shared as much as I could’ve and this year, I want to change that. I want to share with you everywhere I go, from stays in the UK, city breaks in Europe and longer holidays across the world. I am an investor when it comes to travel. I save and invest as much of my spare money as I can for my travels. I think saving for travelling (whether the break is big or small) will go much further than wasting your pounds on unnecessary clothes, coffees and other could-be-easily-cutdown or even stopped bad habits.
There is nothing quite as rich and as invigorating as travel in my opinion, so this year I want to make as much effort in post-trip as I do pre-trip. By this I mean I want to make sure I create content about the places I visit, my tips, favourite places and whatever else comes to mind about my travel and my experiences.
So, number one is a short guide to Vienna, Austria. This was my final trip of 2018 and possibly my favourite city break of 2018.
I went in December, so a lot of my trip was revolved around seeing the Christmas markets and taking in all the festivities, so I will touch on that a little in this post. However, this post is largely based on where to stay, where to eat/drink and what to see if you visit Vienna. Which, by the way, you totally should.
WHERE TO STAY
Now, this is something I spent A LOT of time researching before I go away. For one, I don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the hotel/Airbnb I book, so I want it to be affordable and not blow allof my budget BUT I do want it to be comfortable, convenient and close to the centre (but not too close).
I was a little shocked at how expensive the hotels in Vienna could be, so I relied on Airbnb and I’m so glad I did. If you go to Vienna, don’t blow your money on a hotel as there are a tonne of amazing Airbnb’s for a fraction of the price.
I stayed in a penthouse apartment which sounds so luxurious and a real budget-blower, but it was actually so affordable. At around £39 per night for 2, Mario’s penthouse apartment is situated just around the corner from Belvedere and also Central Station, i.e. the perfect spot for easy access to public transport.
Not only was this super affordable and around ¼ of the price of a hotel per night, it was super spacious with incredible views, homely and so welcoming. Self-check-in means you don’t have to deal with the reception faff you get at a hotel and left to feel like true Viennese locals with our own swanky but pocket-friendly penthouse apartment in central Vienna.
HOW TO GET AROUND
I would 11/10 recommend nothing but using the Metro/U-Bahn whilst staying in Vienna.
As I mentioned, our Airbnb was super close to central station but also about a 2-minute walk to a metro station called Sudtiroler-Platz. Once we bought our 72-hour for just €17.10, we were all set for the 3 days we needed the metro. Super cheap, convenient with metro stations everywhere and easy to use.
WHERE TO EAT
Being the foodie that I am, I do even moreresearch for where to eat than anything else.
My Health Kitchen for Breakfast/Brunch.
MHK have two restaurants in Vienna, both hosting the most amazing healthy food menu I saw on offer in Vienna. They have one located in Zollergasse (closest to Museumsquartier) and one in Wollzeile (closer to the inner city), of which we were kindly hosted at the Wollzeile restaurant for Frühstück (breakfast). It’s in the perfect location if you’re out for the day exploring as seeing as much of Vienna as possible as it’s walking distance from a lot of the main attractions, museums and top places to see.
I went with their Acai Bowl and almond milk latte – aka my perfect breakfast and it was so delicious. Ollie went for the poached eggs with avocado and salmon on toast, and the same coffee as me (v good choice). He reported back that the eggs were the best he’s ever had, and that’s saying something right?
I love a feel-good breakfast during a city break. It’s a good break from all the binge eating of not so healthy foods. Sorry not sorry.
Palmenhaus Brasserie for coffee/drinks.
If you like pretty interiors, good coffee/midday drinks and a relaxing place to rest after a busy morning, then Palmenhaus Brasserie is on my not-to-miss spots. We stopped off for an early afternoon Aperol, as you do, and I was blown away by the inside of this place. It’s even more beautiful in person and more relaxing than you can imagine. It’s one of those places you can spend hours and hours in and not realise time has flown by. A must see/visit if you like Instagrammable interiors, good drinks and a place to lose yourself in.
Bodega Marques for Spanish Tapas.
Wherever we go, we always end up in a tapas bar as it’s our favourite mutual cuisine. Simply, you can’t beat it. Endless plates of delicious food, great wine and friendly atmosphere is what we like and that’s exactly what Bodega Marques had to offer. This is located right by Stepansplatz, the main station to go for shopping, culture and great cuisines (also the hub and central point of the Viennese Christmas markets). We ordered more than we needed to and seconds of certain dishes as the food was so darn good. If you go you have to try their Calamares A La Placha and the Albondigas, because oh-em-gee, they are delightful.
Santos Wieden for Mexican.
Again, like tapas, if we are umming and ahhing on what we fancy for dinner, it’s usually a toss between Spanish or Mexican. As we’d already tried a Spanish restaurant, we thought why not try out Vienna’s best-rated Mexican on Tripadvisor. After 3 starters to share, a huge main and lots of cocktails, we can see why it is Vienna’s top-rated Mexican in the inner city.
Santos Wieden is located just around the corner from Museumquartier, which is the best location for independent, quirky restaurants. It was busy and it was obvious why. The food, service and location were faultless and honestly, I would’ve happily gone back there for the rest of our stay but of course, I HAD to try out an Asian-fusion restaurant.
JUNN Bar & Kitchen for Asian.
Which brings me onto Junn Bar & Kitchen. I was craving sushi for the last night (and had been the entire trip) after I heard that Vienna hosts an amazing array of Asian restaurants, which are especially good in the sushi department.
If you get the chance to book, I’d say definitely try their California Rolls, Gyoza and Dim Sum. Every dish that came out was demolished and seconds were ordered (even thirds of the gyoza, they are that good). 11/10 from me.
When I visit cities in Europe, I tend to try out their traditional cuisine at local coffee houses or markets, like we did at the Christmas markets. There, I tried *lots* of Gluhwein (basically mulled wine but a million times better), sausages and locally baked biscuits.
WHAT TO DO
We went to Vienna for the main reason being the Christmas Markets, but of course if you visit Vienna a different time of the year then below are my top must visit/see/do.
Just an FYI, our favourite market was the Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz. I was living my true inner-child and festive obsessed dream.
Wander around Stephansplatz and Innere Stadt
Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical centre of Vienna. It’s the home St. Stephen’s Cathedral (another must see for its beautiful architecture, and it’s free!) and also the shopping, food and drink hub. The Innere Stadt is the go-to for high-end shops and beautiful Gothic architecture.
Visit an Austrian wine bar or pub
For a drink before dinner we’d always find an Austrian wine bar or traditional pub for a drink, and their drinking scene is very chilled and the perfect opportunity to experience true Austrian evening culture.
PSA – I forgot how the Austrian’s are still allowed to smoke in certain bars so just beware of that!
Stroll and explore the MuseumsQuartier
For those who love a whole mixture of museums, then the MuseumsQuartier is a must visit. It is the home to Vienna’s museums in the 7thdistrict and has everything from modern art to literature, educational tours to free roaming exhibitions and leisure and outdoor activities. There is so much choice it took us a while to decide, but we both agreed on the museum of modern art. This art museum focuses its attention on 20thand 21stcentury Pop Art and Photorealism. Its main floor exhibits a timeline of Vienna in art form (paintings, photos, displays and more) since the early 1900’s. you could spend hours getting lost in Vienna’s art and culture scene at MuseumsQuartier.
Visit the Sigmund Freud Museum
If you’d like to experience some of Vienna’s cultural history that isn’t necessarily art, the Sigmund Freud Museum is really interesting. It is where Freud once lived and hosts a variety of different artefacts from Freud’s furniture, ideas and documents during his life as a psychoanalyst.
See Schönbrunn Palace
We only visited the outside of the palace as we hadn’t pre-booked and didn’t realise how long the queues would be but even just to see the outside, this is a must visit. This is the most important historical, architectural and cultural monuments of Vienna and has been since the mid-1950’s. It is so beautiful and also hosts the cutest Christmas Market outside during the winter.
There you have it, my ultimate guide to Vienna. Much food, walking and festivities later, this is such a beautiful city and the perfect destination for a European city break.
Where is next on your European city break list?