This trip to Vienna was so, so special. Definitely the sort of thing I am going to remember for the rest of my life. It was my first time visiting and we spent three (pretty packed!) days and three nights and I did not want to leave. I had been nervous about traveling so far but in hindsight wish I stayed for longer… maybe a few nights in Prague (so close and also beautiful) or visiting my friends in London or Belfast. I shared more tips for international travel but honestly, it was not bad at all – as long as you stay nice and organized!
Vienna reminded me a lot of Paris, especially the architecture. Like a cleaner Paris (and the Austrians were so friendly!). In talking to many of you in my DMs, it seems like Vienna is both underrated and under-visited by Americans. Also! I rounded up everything I wore in Vienna and also have a Vienna highlight on my instagram page with more in the moment photos and coverage! Lastly, there are tons of recommendations from YOU in the comments of this grid post.
Three Nights in Vienna
I flew Austrian Airlines and had a great experience. I thought the plane was nice and the food was very good! But I will say that the cabin got a bit hot so I had a hard time sleeping but I think this was probably limited to my plane. Getting into Austria was an absolute breeze. Immigration and customs were both very quick and the airport is only about twenty minutes away from the city.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Grand Hotel Wien and it was incredible… like something out of a storybook! I loved my room – it was so romantic, with a little balcony overlooking the street. The location was perfect too – right in the middle of everything and perfect for walking and sight-seeing. (The opera was just a few blocks away).
Where we Ate:
I will be honest, Austrian (and German) cuisines aren’t really my favorite so if you are looking for true authentic Viennese cuisine you are not going to like my recs. I don’t really like schnitzel (I tried it for the first time!). I’m also not a big fan of cake. I know Sachertorte is everyone’s favorite but I grew up eating it (my dad had it on the dessert menu at our family restaurant) and have never been a fan. So I’m sharing the restaurants we ate at (they were all GREAT) but needed that caveat.
Hotel Ferdinand – We had dinner here on our first night! We all got the wiener schnitzel with truffle fries. And lots of champagne.
Sole – On our second night, we had an amazing dinner here after the opera. Really delicious, authentic Italian. I had the minestrone soup and split the truffle pasta with a girlfriend. It was REALLY GOOD.
Restaurant Nihon Bashi – Sushi in Vienna? Strange. But sushi is my favorite food so I happily obliged.
Sacher Hotel – We had an amazing breakfast here! I definitely recommend getting the pancakes for the table (pancakes in Vienna/most of Europe = crepes… drool). Fun fact: this restaurant invented the Sachertorte!
What We Did:
The Belvedere Palace was the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy and was absolutely beautiful. The museum houses an incredibly impressive art collection (including famous paintings by Gustav Klimt like The Kiss).
This was incredible and where I found the most inspiration for my shoe. Schönbrunn means “beautiful spring,” and this was the main summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. You will want to spend some time here. There are 1,441 rooms (we obviously did not see them all!) and so much incredible art, furnishings, etc. If I am being honest though, my favorite part of it was the gardens outside. They were truly breathtaking. This is an absolute must in my opinion.
If you are able to get tickets, the opera is an absolute MUST. We saw The Barber of Seville (Il barbiere di Siviglia) by Gioachino Rossini and Giovanni Paisiello – an Italian classic! The energy of the orchestra was incredible and I was actually pretty surprised by how funny it was. And there was something so special about sitting in this 150+ year old building where so many had sat before me, watching an even older (nearly 200 years!) performance. I loved every minute. We got there early to take some photos while it was still light out… and enjoy some champagne and snacks before the p
For a work trip, we did quite a bit of shopping! The vintage shopping in the 7th was amazing.
Burgasse 24 – wow this spot had amazing vintage. Nearly all of us bought something. I snagged a crystal clutch and a metallic top from Stella McCartney. Highly recommend and they have a very cute cafe int he back.
Uppers & Downers and The Purple Cave we went to both of these as well. Burgasse 24 was my favorite though!
Lena Hoschek – Lena is one of Sarah Flint’s favorite designers. We were able to visit her in her showroom and also do a little shopping. Truly incredible dresses and coats. I was so impressed by her craftsmanship.
Things I wish we did!
(aka my list for next time!!!)
Lipizanner Stallions – Several people recommended this – you can get tickets and learn more here!
Saturday Flea Market – Lena Hoschek recommended this but Saturday had already come and gone!
Die Glasfabrik (Vienna Glass Factory) – This was another Lena recommendation and looks incredible but was closed on our last day.
Motto – Lena also recommended we go here – it’s a fun up and coming hotel similar to Soho House (I have not actually been, this was her description!) The photos on the website look v v chic.
More art museums! Specifically, Albertina Modern and Kunst Historisches.
Had an ice cream sundae – I don’t love cake but ice cream is my favorite. Becca had told me that Vienna had amazing ice cream parlours but I never found myself near one when we had down time.
Thank you to Sarah Flint for an incredible experience… and the opportunity to design a shoe together – more on that, soon!
Photography by Anna Sandul.
Grace, it sounds AMAZING!!! Definitely under-traveled by Americans. I’m going to try to convince my mom to go with me next year. I was really looking forward to this post – did not disappoint!!
It was such an incredible trip!!!
Vienna is magical. On my next trip I also need to visit Salzburg so that I can have my Sound of Music experience.
Yes, SAME!!!! I watched that on the way home.
Yeah and you can sleep even in the Villa…its on booking com -) we did it and we felt the atmosphere of the house. Budapest is as well same distance (19€) by ttain as Salzburg is…even a day trip will amaze you…welcome in Europe
Officially adding Vienna to my wishlist. This trip looked awesome. And still can’t get over those stunning photos of you in the black dress. So good!
an indigo day
You must go!!!!! (And thank you!) xx
Well THIS trip (as a viennese) was 5 ***** there are some gr8 hotels (motel 1 Elisabeth strasse) opposite the opera for 69€ -) you will like it…and LOOS Bar and HEURIGEN and a lot of history…happy you guys consider vienna greetings from my 2nd home Budapest
Totally agree that this sounds absolutely amazing! So glad you had a lovely time. Out of curiosity, and I recognize that this was a work related trip for you, but do you think that 3 nights was sufficient or do you wish you had more time than that? I know that some places you can truly cover a city in 3 nights and others you feel like you left a lot on the table. Just curious!
I definitely need to go back, there is so much more to see!
To be honest when I travel to Europe, my favorite thing to do is to go to 2-3 cities for 3-4 nights each. I think it’s more fun that way, and while no you do not see everything, bouncing around is fun. I think I like to see a few things, go somewhere else, and then plan a return trip maybe a few years later. If I hadn’t been so nervous about traveling during COVID I would have added on a few nights in Prague and maybe gone to see my friends in Belfast. Next time!
Hope that makes sense… I’ll also add that we all travel differently and that’s just my particular preference.
Thank you for the travel post. As someone who can rarely take an entire week off for travel, I have found that short trips to European cities is a totally underrated way to go. Pick a city with a non-stop flight and spend 4 to 5 days soaking it all in. It’s enough time to get over jet lag and see a good chunk of the city and short enough to afford a splurge on a nice hotel and restaurants. I would never have been to so many amazing places if I said that’s not enough time!
Yes, it is totally doable!!!! I have other guides on my blog with shorter trips (off the top of my head, London, Copenhagen, and Paris!)
So interesting and a great approach. I am Australian and we are renowned for travelling for very long periods of time because we are so far from pretty much anywhere! I can’t imagine going to Europe or America for less than 3 or 4 weeks but then it takes me forever (and costs a bomb) to get there in the first place so it just generally makes more sense.
Oh I totally hear that! If I were going to Austrlia or Asia it would be for a few weeks!!!!
Just amazing photos to view to see the city . Your photos were beautiful . It was all so indescribably great to see through your Lens.
Thank you Lynn!!!
Please do not use German food as a reference it is not nice to Austrians. We have a language in common, sort of because not all germans understand Austrian German and vice versa. Other than the language Austria is totally and absolutely different from Germany in every way
Noted, thank you!
Actually, that’s not entirely true. Tyrol is very similar to Bavaria in just about everything. When one descends from the mountains into Innsbruck from Garmisch-Partenkirchen one would hardly know when Germany ends and Austria begins. The same holds true when crossing over the German side of the Obersalzburg, say from Berchtesgaden, into Salzburg. There is very little to distinguish the two countries. That’s simply because historically speaking these areas were Bavarian.
The Viennese are usually the ones who get their feathers ruffled about the German/Austrian comparison. It makes sense because Vienna lies in the East and close to the Slavic countries that border the country there and have a different culture compared to Salzburg or Innsbruck. This is somewhat similar to Parisians differing from their country cousins in say, Burgundy.
I have spent much time in all the areas and have friends throughout the country. I enjoy it all.
Try going to the Grinzing district next time. Lots of good places to enjoy local wine. I’m from Canada and have travelled to Vienna many times. My Aunt lived in a lovely place in Hietzing, the 13th district. 1 do love Austrian food but then again my heritage is European.
I never been to Vina and dieing to find the time to visit. Your article is spot on and motivation to make a trip. Do you think three days is enough to see everything?
Thank you for this post. I’ve been to Austria and absolutely loved it but have yet to go to Vienna. The schnitzel thing is so funny to me since it’s literally just a fried piece of meat and you even live in the South now. But absolutely each to their own. This trip sounds dreamy. Also thank you for the international travel post! That was incredibly helpful information.
I mean just because I live in the south now doesn’t mean I suddenly eat a ton of fried meat. 😉 Not for me. Unless it’s chicken parm. But clearly lots of other people love!
Hoping to visit Vienna soon so have screenshot so many of your recommendations. Makes me so excited to visit!