Although it was not the high season for visiting Vienna in February, we decided on behalf of it for several reasons:
⁃ Our vacation duration was limited, only four days. In this case the only chance would be non-stop flight from Tallinn and there are not that many destinations with that criteria
⁃ As we were flying with our 1,5 year old son, we preferred to have rather short flight than long one. From Tallinn to Vienna it took only 2 hours – the same as from Tallinn to our parent’s place by car.
Obviously we were not going for a beach vacation, the temperature was pretty much the same as in Tallinn, around 2-5 degrees Celsius. The main purpose was to see much appreciated Old Town, it’s architecture, a few sightseeings and visit a museum.
Our flight departured already at 7am in the morning from Tallinn, leaving us 1 hour and 15 minutes to wake up, drive to the airport, park the car, pass the security control and catch our flight. We managed although this was the first time I have ever gone on a plane with a final call! The flight went smoothly with no problems at Tristan’s sight.
We arrived in Vienna at 9am, took a 16 minute non-stop metro to the city center and left our luggage at our hotel. Basically the only research I made before the trip was to find out where is the city center, how to get there from the airport and book a hotel there. We stayed in an apartment style hotel room in Appartement-Hotel an der Riemergasse, only 350 metres away from the main Stephansplatz square.
CITY CENTER AND ATTRACTIONS
The city center is walkable, we managed to gather aprx 14 000-20 000 steps each day. In less than 1 km radius from the Stephansplatz square you can see most of the city attractions such as St Stephans Cathedral (locates at the same central square), St Peter’s Catholic Church, Vienna Opera House, shopping streets, Museums Quartier, Butterfly Garden, as well as many parks such as Stadtpark (which was the first public garden in Vienna), Burggarten park, Maria-Theresia park, Volksgarten etc.
In a bit longer distance walk from Stephansplatz (about 2,5 kilometres) you can find an amusement park called Prater with it’s iconic giant wheel from 1897. Unfortunately the attractions there were closed when we where there, one employee said that they open the whole park in March, actually.
The only attraction that’s a bit further away is Schönbrunn Palace. To be honest, we saw that great palace only outside from the hop on-hop off tour bus, as we decided not to hop off there to have a closer look at the place. At that point, we had already seen so many palaces, churches and other sightseeings that we actually did not feel sad about missing that one palace out. Though I’m sure it’s pretty mighty experience to see this overwhelming giant place.
FOOD AND DRINK
Viennese are coffee drinking people, so be sure to visit some of the coffee houses. We had our lunch in these two cafes (prices are a bit higher than in simplier cafes):
⁃ Cafe Central (Herrengasse 14), which as they write in their menu “was first opened in 1876 and at the turn of the 20th century it was a popular meeting point for leading lights in the world of art, literature, politics and science such as Arthur Schnitzler, Sigmund Freud, Peter Altenberg and Leon Trotsky.
⁃ Cafe Schwarzenberg (Kärntner Ring 17) which is one of the oldest still working cafes in Vienna, first opened in 1861. There we had a MUST in Viennese kitchen: Wiener Schnitzel. If you decide to try the dish in a bit less expensive dining place (in Cafe Schwarzenberg only the schnitzel plate cost nearly 24 euros, plus coffee, plus juice and for two people the bill will be quite as in a restaurant), be sure to get a schnitzel of beef not pork!
We also tried out sausage as a famous Viennese street food and a children’s cafe Dschungel (although we actually didn’t understand what was so special there to go with children, except for more free space – there was no play ground neither any toys).
World famous chocolate Mozart is originated from Austria, so we ourselves basically bought that in various different packages as a souvenir gifts. But we also bought local tee from the tea house, a t-shirt for Tristan, winter hats, coffee beans, butterfly stickers from the Butterfly garden for my sister’s daughter and a few magnets.
CHILDREN FRIENDLY CITY
Vienna is very children friendly city. We didn’t have a single problem with getting around with a stroller. You can see families with little children in every popular place in the city, starting with museums and ending up with cafes (to have a comparison, we had difficulties when staying in Amsterdam: there weren’t baby seats available in cafes, the streets were rather inconvenient for strollers, there’s not much parks in the center).
One of the first things we saw in the city center after arriving was a group of about 1-year old babies heading their way to the park with children-care. They were so little. Made me appreciate Estonian politics in parental benefits even more.
What else caught my attention was that I saw quite a few little children (aged around 2-3 years) who wore no hat in this wintery weather conditions. Yes, the 5 degrees Celsius feels a bit warmer there than it does in Estonia, but I myself would definitely not consider leaving my baby’s hat at home. Maybe it’s their way to strengthen the children’s immunity – that’s possible, I didn’t ask. 🙃
Vienna is the perfect destination if you are travelling with children and looking for culture experience. We very much enjoyed our time spent there. If possible, I’d recommend travelling there in summer, but it definitely is worth visiting at winter time as well. Until the next time, Vienna!