During February we did a short trip to Vienna. We spent 3 nights there, almost full 4 days since we managed to get plane tickets with good leaving and arriving times. Since Vienna in Winter is really cold, most of our activities were indoor, including several museums and palaces.
We visited the most famous palaces, including Hofburn and Schonburn. Hofburn palace is located in the center of the city, so we could walk there, since our hotel was very well located. It includes many buildings. such as the Sisi museum, which we visited. We could see most of her rooms, and there’s a very large and impressive collection of luxurious dishes and cutlery. From Hofburn Palace the city center is so close that you can walk all the way to St. Stephen’s cathedral, the most famous one in Vienna. I must say that compared to other famous cathedrals in Europe (St. Paul’s in London, Barcelona’s cathedral, Florence’s cathedral, Milan’s duomo…) I wasn’t particularly impressed by it.
To visit Schonburn palace we took the subway, but the trip wasn’t long (only 5 stations from the city center). For the commuting we bought a 72 hours Vienna card, for a bit less than 30€. It covers as many subway trips as you need for the specified time, and it also guarantees discounts in pretty much all the palaces and museums in the city. Schonburn is a really large palace with big gardens, but I must admit these gardens don’t look so great during the winter. We bought a ticket that included the Schonburn zoo, and I must say this was an unexpected visit that I really enjoyed. The zoo is really large, and though as a general rule I prefer to see animals in their natural habitat, the conditions for them here didn’t seem to be bad.
If you want to visit a museum late in the evening, the Music museum will be the best option. It’s open until 10 PM, and the ticket is half price if you visit after 8 PM. It has areas dedicated to the greatest composers (such as Mozart or Beethoven), and several interactive activities that make the visit a lot of fun.
Among the most famous museums, we visited the Belvedere (where the famous “The Kiss” by Klimt is located) and the Albertina. The Belvedere was really impressive not only for the exposition but also for the building itself and the garden around it. The Albertina is closer to the city center, and has a more varied collection, with some interesting contemporary art. I recommend both of them.
And if you are interested in science, the Natural History Museum was also an amazing visit. I particularly liked the parts about dinosaurs and early hominids. The Art History Museum is right in front of it, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit that one too.
Finally, during one of the evenings in the city we went to see a string quartet playing Mozart and Beethoven at St Anna church. This small church is extremely beautiful and very close to the city center, so I recommend it if you wish to see some live classical music (which you probably do, if you are in Vienna), and don’t want to pay so much as these events usually cost in the Austrian capital. The tickets for these quartet were less than 30€ each.
While I understand that most people will prefer to visit Vienna during a warmer season, the city looks really beautiful under the snow, and during the low season many of the main attractions will be almost empty. And of course, in a city with so many museums and palaces, you’ll always find some indoor activities to do.