A few years ago, I traveled to Vienna in Austria with my boyfriend at that time. I was 23 and the world was a place of discovery for me. It was my first big trip and I never forget it. Vienna was adventure, discovery, romance, and a stage for learning. The beauty of the city and of the nearby Semmering Alps, which are only a short train ride away, left me feeling overwhelmed.
Come to discover the Capital of Music, that in 2019 was considered the best place in the world to live.
1. Stephanplatz: The Heart of Vienna
The heart of Vienna is on Stephanplatz, home to the Gothic cathedral of the same name. It is an icon of the city due to the originality of the roof covered with colored tiles, which make it unique. Mozart married here. The Cathedral survived devastating events, including World War II. This reminds me the story I had with an employee of one of the museums I visited, who, asked us if we were Portuguese, and then thanked us for the help given by Portugal to the Austrians in the war.
I shudder when I remember a gentleman of age, saying that thank you. It was so heartfelt that I still remember today. Teachings of gratitude that only the world can give us. I left the museum with my heart full and proud of being Portuguese.
2. Schönbrunn Palace
A visit to Schönbrunn is a must. The former Habsburg summer Palace, is one of the most important monuments in Austria.
Here you can go back to royalty. I recall a photograph I took on the steps that actress Romy Schneider immortalized in the film “Sissi, and the Destiny”, starring Sissi (Elisabeth of Bavaria). The staircase is indeed imposing. When I walked down those stairs, I almost felt like a princess, despite the fact that I was wearing jeans at the time.
Know that you can dine exquisitely in Schönbrunn and be sure to experience Vienna’s most famous classical music concert in the rooms where Mozart and Salieri played. I was there and I assure you, it is worth it, for the music and the waltz, starring dancers dressed up. It looks like we’re going back through time.
Still in Schönbrunn, but outside, see the entire palace from the top of Gloriette, the crown of this place, and like me, get lost in the labyrinths of the gardens of this magnificent palace.
3. Semmering: An exciting adventure
It was not only in Schönbrunn that I got lost. We decided to take a train to Semmering, the Austrian Alps closest to Vienna. The place looked untouched and was absolutely green. We walked a whole day and after a long time we found a restaurant where we had lunch. We then proceeded to discover that blessed place. We passed a golf course where we thought it was funny to take the balls out of the places where they were. Just “teenagers” having fun. And the tour continued with conversation, hugs, photography and lots of laughter.
Suddenly, I stop. In the middle of nowhere, we found a magnificent chapel. We went in, lit a candle and made a promise of love. If you are in love, I recommend this destination, where the purity of the place is beyond imagination. There were unique moments I experienced in Semmering, but the adventure was far from over.
We continued our journey, not knowing exactly where we were or how we were going to, so we got back to the train station where we had left, and arrive almost at night time.
When we looked at the clock, we saw that the train that we had to take was the last one of that day and suddenly we heard it, it was already at the station, the passengers had already entered and the train started his march. We looked at each other and we realized that it was catching it or sleeping in the station.
We ran wildly. It was an old train, some doors were still open and there was a step in each one. He shouted for me to jump first, while he was helping me to give the impulse to go up, all with the train running. He jumped after me and luckily the story ended up well. I confess it was a moment full of adrenaline, but I would not repeat it again. Totally madness, typical of adolescence time that never fades from our memory.
4. The Art Cluster
Returning to the city, in Maria-Theresien Square we find several museums essential in Vienna: the Natural History Museum, the Art History Museum and the Museums Quartier. Interestingly, from an architectural point of view, the first two are practically twins. The Museum of Art History is distinguished by having several works by renowned artists. Elsewhere on the square is the Museums Quartier, surrounded by pleasant cafés, and sun loungers, where you can rest.
Still on the trail of museums, I advise you to visit Hofburg, the Palace of the Imperial Family, currently the official residence of the President of the Republic. Don’t miss the Belvedere Palace. When we first saw it, we felt like that space swallows us up by its magnificence. It is formed by two Baroque buildings, connected by a garden in French style, where flowers are the main protagonists.
5. Fun and good food
The Donaukanal belongs to the fantastic Danube River, on its banks, at night, people having fun. On the other hand, in Vienna’s oldest market, Naschmarket, you can find from souvenirs to restaurants. Another attraction is the Prater, the oldest amusement park in the world that had opened in 1766. I highlight the ferris wheel on which I rode and where the whole city can be seen. The panorama is overwhelming and incredibly romantic. Here, several films were shot, such as the iconic “Before Dawn”. Admission is free.
Make an unforgettable trip, go to Vienna!