All you need to know before going to GERMANY

German Flag

Whether it’s the legal and formal stuff or the fun and quirky things – everyone should read this compilation before setting foot in Germany.I’m listing relevant figures and important rules and regulations as well as sometimes unpredicted peculiarities and fun facts to know before you go so that no unexpected surprise will impair your experience.

this way to read the whole story >>>

What (not) to pack for JAPAN

Yes, of course, you can just grab some suitcase, throw a hodgepodge of clothes, shoes, and cosmetics in and you’re good to go – provided you stay within your airline’s weight limit.

bye:myself at the Hida Folk Village in Takayama in Japan
I’d found this umbrella at the Hida Folk Village in Takayama – but it was just a prop that could be used for pictures.

However, if you do a little planning when putting together your itinerary for Japan and while packing, your trip will be much more enjoyable – take it from me as I just came back from a road trip around Honshu island.

this way to read the whole story >>>

How (not) to behave in JAPAN

Before travelling to Japan, everyone is making a big deal of on how to behave correctly in Japan – because it’s so different.

Group of students in Tokyo Japan
Follow the leader. And follow the rules. And….oh, when in Japan, just follow.

I really don’t know why everyone emphasizes how different Japan is. Because – different from what? Like everything else in life, different is very relative.

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in AMSTERDAM

(Update March 2020)

This category 24 hours in… is designated to transform a – maybe forced – stay like a layover into a short extra-vacation. You’ll see that my itinerary is so attractive and fun that you might postpone your connecting flight just to enjoy 24 hours in Amsterdam.

Boat on a Gracht in Amsterdam
Life takes place on the waters in Amsterdam – located about 40 centimeters below sea level.

And if you’re not on a layover at the capital of the Netherlands – well, you also can come visiting on purpose; even if it’s only for…24 hours!

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in MIAMI

I know it must sound totally out of line putting together an itinerary for only 24 hours for a city as big’n’busy as Miami.

Palmtree on South Beach Miami, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
Welcome to Miami – bienvenidos en Miami.

The fact is that Miami is a pivot point when it comes to travelling to Central and South America as well as the Caribbean Islands. Therefore, chances are that you have to spend a couple of hours or even one night her.

This is where my guide – for a sunny and for a rainy day – comes into the picture.

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in MUNICH

(Updated January 2020)

Munich, capital of the federal state of Bavaria, stands, of course, for the famous beer and the Oktoberfest and is practically the epitome of Germany.

Marienplatz in Munich. A must see during 24 hours in Munich.
Mary overlooking the Marienplatz from her column. In the backdrop Munich’s most iconic symbol, the Frauenkirche, Church of Our Lady – it cannot get more Bavarian.
(Photo: Nicknicknick97, München Marienplatz , CC BY-SA 4.0

Since Munich also has Germany’s second-largest airport – after Frankfurt – chances are that you have a stopover here.

However, this guide comes also handy on another occasion when you stay for 24 hours in Munich.

this way to read the whole story >>>

travelling all by myself – five PROs and CONs

(Last Update March 2020)

When I’ve started my blog in the Spring of 2017, it was mainly because I got asked so often about travelling all by myself. Well, obviously, there are PROs and there what might be considered CONs.

Travelling all bye:myself to the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba
This picture was just too congruent to illustrate solo travel – you do not always walk alone!

Therefore, I decided to share my experience not only with my friends. Actually, I hope to inspire, inform, and encourage as many of you as I can.

this way to read the whole story >>>

Paris Airport Charles de Gaulle: Instant Lounge, Instant Leisure

I didn’t know anybody who was excitedly looking forward to a stopover in Paris – notably at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Soyez bienvenus at the – free! – transfer lounge of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
It’s not only comfy and cozy, it’s most of all hyper classy!
(Photo: Gwen Le Bras / Aéroports de Paris SA)

Well, this changed dramatically, and I’m here to show you what you are missing out on when you choose not to stop there.

The Cost-Comfort-Balance 

An unlimited urge to travel versus a pretty limited amount of money – how do you manage? I do it by travelling on a budget; and saving starts with the means of transportation – namely flights.

I have no intention to advertise for them, but it’s a fact that the national Dutch airline KLM has often the best deals, whether flying to Asia or to South America.
While I find that their service, at least in economy, is quite average, I’m always looking forward to my connection at Schiphol airport. It’s big, it’s entertaining and most importantly it’s quite comfortable: Many ‘themed’ waiting areas, furnished with all sort of large, soft seats and loungers – perfect to relax between flights.

I do not want to find myself in a situation where evacuation is necessary, but I wouldn’t mind someone chauffeuring me around a little bit on this chair while I’m waiting for my connecting flight at Schiphol airport.  

Like most airlines, KLM is part of an alliance, here it’s SkyTeam, and so is Air France, so that often I have to fly one way with KLM and the other with their French buddies. Which is fine when it comes to the flight itself – there Air France even takes the cake….metaphorically – and literally trades it for delicious food and very friendly service; a real treat for their customers.

When it came to the always obligatory stopover in Paris at the Charles de Gaulle airport, it was a different story: Terrible! Long, confusing corridors, hardly any store or restaurant or inspiration of any kind. Just dull and draining. I’ve never heard of anybody looking forward to a stopover at CDG.


The Cost-Time-Balance

This said, do I have to explain why I was pretty depressed facing my flight home from Rio de Janeiro, not only coming from from plus 40° C (over 100° Fahrenheit) and heading for minus 5° (sadly 23° Fahrenheit) – facing a stopover of over seven (yes, seven; as in….seven) hours at one of world’s most depressing airports?

Seven hours – in Paris too short to go downtown, especially after a 12 hours flight, and far too long not to get into a really bad mood.

But as I was dragging my feet as well as my hand luggage from the plane towards the next gate where I intended to sit for seven hours on a metal woven chair, embossing its design into my but, I spotted a sign: “instant Paris – free transfer lounge”. Free transfer lounge? At CDG? What could that possibly be – a complimentary cushion on the metal woven seating surface?
Grumpy and pessimistic, I followed the signs.

Remembering how my poor child had to sleep on uncomfortable metal seats, having only her plush penguin for a pillow. Well, at least in Paris, this misery is over.

I came to a large, white reception. To its left a gorgeous red sofa. Behind the counter a young man in a black suit looking at me in friendly anticipation. He was polite enough to ignore my traveller appearance of torn jeans and a hoodie stained from the French menu they served on the flight from Rio. And he was friendly enough to assure me that all the services in this area were completely free of charge.


Bienvenus à Paris

Whether Bauhaus or haunted castle style – every passenger waiting for the
connecting flights finds a quiet corner to relax, read or work.
(Photo: Gwen Le Bras / Aéroports de Paris SA)

I kept on dragging – feet and luggage – along a couloir, the hallway, which leads from the polished shiny white counter. To the left and the right are two different kinds of very comfy looking fauteuils – a Bauhaus-ish square kind with a middle grey cover.

To make up for the minimalist charm of these seats, the other kind looks a bit inspired by the Addams family: pseudo-baroque curvy shells in red and black.  Not my taste, but definitely very comfortable; plus the round shape certainly provides enough privacy to read or work undisturbed.

So does the whole arrangement, by the way: The furniture is positioned in a way that everybody is able to keep to himself if he so chooses.



The Cafeteria

If you don’t have your device with you, next to the hotel entrance is a large table
where you can use their pads for free – against the backdrop of the Eiffel tower.
(Photo: Gwen Le Bras / Aéroports de Paris SA)

Approximately halfway between the counter with the polite and friendly young man and a hotel entrance, the hallway opens to a sitting area with a food counter where they sell sandwiches, pastries and hot and cold drinks to be enjoyed in a very pleasant seating area.

I will not go so far as to praise their cafeteria: It’s still the same (whereby hopefully ‘same’ only in the sense of identical) pretty dry sandwich made of a forearm long piece of baguette with a paper thin slice of ham, garnished with a tired lettuce leaf – 8 €uro = are you kidding me?! To get this pretty dry stuff down, you need to order some sort of drink with it. Like for instance a large coffee – which everywhere else would be a small or at most medium coffee – for 5 €uro = seriously?!

I forgive them. I had the pleasure to enjoy my totally overprized breakfast at the spotless eating area next to the counter, listening to very soothing, slightly jazzy versions of different songs from the charts. I don’t know whether it was due to the early hour or to this quite relaxing atmosphere that everybody was very quiet, even speaking into mobile phones pretty piano.

Only in front of the hotel entrance was a Chinese guest yelling into his phone, otherwise: silenzio!

In front of the hotel? Yap, if all the comfort they are offering for free is not good enough for you, you can check in at the Yotel at the end of the corridor. This hotel counts with many amenities and you can book yourself in already for a minimum of four hours.

If you just want to refresh yourself, you can access their shower area for 20 €uro.


The Lounges

While the walls in the hallway are mainly decorated with large scale mirrors – giving it, especially in combination with the pompous rococo-ish chairs, an air of Versaille – the lounge next to the seating area is decorated with pictures of Parisian icons. There is even a miniature wooden Eiffel Tower.

Next to the very comfy lounge, the smallest guest can play and build in their own little space – and learn to love flying with mummy and daddy.

Since you cannot go to see the icons, instant Paris! lounge brings the icons to you – like the Arc de Triomphe – or the inevitable Eiffel tower.
(Photo: Gwen Le Bras / Aéroports de Paris SA)

At this point I was already so impressed that I forgot about all the horrible hours I had spent at this airport in the past. They’ve made up for it big time. It couldn’t get any better!

It couldn’t? Well, walking further down the hallway, I stood corrected: Entering their library!

Their library is a real library with real books – and everything else that characterizes a library: Dim lights, silence, comfortable armchairs….and two of the most beautiful and most commodious sofas I’ve ever seen. Or sit on. Or laid on.
I crashed.

Can a sofa become a home? This light golden beauty can!
It’s not only one of the most beautiful sofas I’ve ever placed my behind on, it’s also incredibly comfortable.
(Photo: Gwen Le Bras / Aéroports de Paris SA)

These things are long. I am about 5″10 and as I laid down, there was still room for another person to sit (which of course no other person did!).

These things are wide. I am about…I don’t put it in numbers, but I’m big, and as I laid down, there was still room to move freely without falling down.

What can I say, guys? After I had spent a couple of hours at their library, I hated travelling on. I wanted to stay longer! I wanted to move in!

You know what? I think next time I buy a ticket via Paris, I might just skip the rest of the trip altogether and stay at CDG – it might be the best vacation in Paris ever.

You should pin this for your next trip via Paris – this experience is not to be missed:

a few words about a few words: learning languages for travel

Considering that at least in Germany babbel.com is advertising a lot, to my surprise, I don’t know anybody actually learning with this online tool.

a few words about learning a few words. bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels
A pictogram might be the last resort when you are unfamiliar with a language; but to get to know a country and its people, you should rather use words – their words.

Anybody but me that is. And I will tell you why I love using it.

Just coming back from a very hard language course that I took on the occasion of my education leave, I’d like to encourage you to get a basic knowledge of the language spoken in the country you are travelling – and be it only a couple of words.

a few words about learning a few words. bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels
Agree, agreed: Learning Portuguese about one mile from the beach of Copacabana might be a bit more entertaining than learning it a home in front of your computer – but it’s way more expensive, too.

Coming back from a country where not too many people speak some basic English, I’d like to sort of urge you to get a basic knowledge of…you got the drill.

No kidding, nobody will ever learn a language using babbel. Learn in the sense of I speak it, I read it, I understand native speakers.
Depending on which language you are dealing with on babbel, you hardly learn any grammar, you get to listen to very few whole sentences, you’re hardly ever engaged in any form of conversation: practically every key to having command of a language is missing.

a few words about learning a few words. bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels
Depending on the language you are practicing, there are some basic dialogues. Before they abolished the individual vocable database, you were able to keep this additional vocabulary there, too. Let’s hope they re-install this great feature soon.

When I told my Portuguese teacher in Rio de Janeiro that I was practicing my basic knowledge of the language on babbel, she only rolled her eyes. Well, she is an excellent teacher with very high standards.

But – and this but does not only have a capital B because it’s at the beginning of this sentence, this but is a but with a capital B because there’s the other side of babbel: it’s a great tool for you savvy traveller who wants to say thank you and please and good morning and pleased to meet you and bread and water like the local people do! And for this basic knowledge of a language, babbel is just great because it has exactly what you need.

a few words about learning a few words. bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels
Instant friendship (and a blurry picture): A simple “selamat malam” (= good evening) impressed these lovely ladies from Jakarta, vacationing in Kuala Lumpur, so much that they insisted on lots of information – and a couple of pictures.

It starts with a really basic vocabulary such as good morning, good night, thanks etc. You are practicing these with pictures on little tiles; makes you feel like a toddler learning to speak.
But since the system is based on your brain relating to these pictures and thus visualizing the word and its meaning as well as on lots of repetitions, it actually works and makes remembering really easy.

a few words about learning a few words. bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels
Using these little pictures makes it easy to grasp. But take it from me: Every time someone asks you “A quelle heure?”, you’ll see these colorful clocks before your inner eye.

But exactly this effect is at the same time an obstacle: Try to remember the stupid word without the picture – you’ll feel like having a hole in your brain; you know exactly what it is…but what is it again?
Anyway, I will not discourage you, when you learn only a handful of words and expressions, it works really well.

So before you try it out here are some information: Surprise – you need to set up an account. There is a free trial of the first lesson and this might even be all you need. But watch it: If you happen to have a thing for languages, you get hooked pretty fast. For a trip to Bali, I started with the free Indonesian lesson – and got immediately addicted and wanted more and more.

You can choose how long you want to learn, the monthly costs are between 4,95 € if you subscribe for a year and 9,95 € for only one month. With the paid version you have access to all themes – some are really useful being designed for travel and meeting the people.

I practiced Indonesian maybe about one month and learned really a lot.
But actually everything beyond the standard pleasantries was pretty useless and like I explained above, out of context (and without the corresponding pictures) you remember only a part of what you have practiced; you have practiced, you didn’t learn.
However, the useful pleasantries are absolutely worth it, people in Bali and in Malaysia and Singapore were amazed that I was able to say a couple of words.

Babbel offers 14 languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, and Indonesian.
You can choose whether you want to repeat the words over a microphone or only klick on tiles resp. type the words.

Besides Portuguese, I’ve practiced Indonesian and Turkish, and the choice was surprisingly different: Turkish offers a much wider range of lessons including much more grammar and even short dialogues while Indonesian is basically a long list of vocabulary and a couple of sentences.

Unfortunately, they abolished my favorite feature where you were able to add your own vocabulary to your personal database. I hope they will re-install it since it was so helpful and fun.

But anyway, even as it is now, it’s a great and easy tool, and if on your next trip you want to impress and get right into people’s hearts, give it a try, it’s so much fun. Try it out right now!

And remember: The best way to actually learn (!) a language is to….travel! 

If you have any questions regarding travellers’ communication, I’d be very happy hearing from you.
How about you, do you learn some local vocabulary when travelling?
How do you do it, what are your sources?

If you choose to pin this post, please use this picture:

 

24 hours in…VIENNA

On my last flight to Vienna, I was surprised how many passengers were on their way to farther destinations, i.e. in Austria’s capital only on a layover. Therefore, after having already published an extended article on my stay, I put together my best tips in this “24 hours in…”-post.

Majestic Vienna: At the Imperial Apartments of the “Albertina”

As usual, it’s meant as an itinerary for just a layover or a short stop on a road-trip through Europe: Austria has eight(!) neighboring countries*!

If you have more time to enjoy Vienna, don’t miss my recent post!

?   Local Currency:

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1,14 US$ (November 2018) / current rate



?    Emergency Hotline:

Police: 133

Ambulance: 144

 

?    National Airline:

Austrian Airlines

 

?    Airport:

Vienna International Airport, IATA Code: VIA

 

?    Tourist Info online and onsite:

The official Vienna Website is excellent and very informative.

At the airport are dispenser with free maps – albeit only showing the very center.

You get information and help either right away at the airport

Tourist Info Vienna Airport 
at the arrival hall
Open daily from 7 a. m. to 10 p. m.

or at the info point downtown

Tourist-Info Vienna
Albertinaplatz/Maysedergasse
1010 Vienna
Open daily from 7 a. m. to 7 p. m.

Furthermore, all the hotels can supply you with info material, tourist cards and more.

 

?    Getting Downtown and Back

 

Taking the streetcar is the fastest and cheapest way to visit Vienna. (@ WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Taking the streetcar is the fastest and cheapest way to visit Vienna.
(@ WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud)

To get from the airport to the city center, your best option is to take the S7 (‘S-Bahn’) towards Floridsdorf and get off at Landstraße/Mitte. This train takes only about two minutes longer than the CAT (City Airport Train)  and costs a fraction: If you just buy one way, it’s 3,90 €uro. If you get a 24 hours ticket – for 7,60 €uro highly recommendable since a single ride costs 2,20 €uro – you only have to pay an additional 1,70  €uro for the trip from the airport – while the CAT costs 12 €uro (and the shuttle bus 8 €uro).

There are so many different tickets and options – you might want to check for yourself. There even is a Queer City Pass and although I did some research online, I don’t get what’s the difference and what makes it queer; if you get, give me a hint, please.

 

?    Morning Activities

Inside Saint Steven’s Cathedral
(©Wien Tourismus/Daniela Stallinger)

Even on a sunny day a visit to the Stephansdom, Saint Steven’s Cathedral is Vienna’s most important landmark and within walking distance from the hotel resp. the Schwedenplatz. Built in the early 12th century, it is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of Vienna’s Archbishop. It has four towers, the highest, southern tower is 136 meters / 446 feet high. There are 343 steps to be climbed to get to the tower chamber from where you have an incredible view of Vienna. Besides precious altars and chapels, there are also the treasury and the catacombs to be visited.

Domkirche St. Stephan
Stephansplatz 3
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 515 52 3054
Open daily from 6 a. m. to 10 p. m. (Sunday from 7 a. m.)

 

 

At Christmas time there even is an
entire Manner streetcar!
(Photo: © Manner)

You’ll probably will enjoy strolling a little around the Stephansplatz, watching some street artists performing, listening to the hoofs of the horses pulling the ancient carriages and stock up on traditional wafers and other delicious sweets at Manner.

Manner Flagship-Store
Stephansplatz 7
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 513 70 18
Open daily from 10 a. m. to 9 p. m.

 

01589-Pestsäule Barockengel, Am Graben©WienTourismus-MAXUM
This little golden Cherub on top of the baroque
plague column is watching over Vienna’s shoppers.
(Photo: ©WienTourismus/MAXUM)

Still in the mood to saunter? You’re at the perfect location: The Stephansdom is facing the Graben, Vienna’s most important, pedestrian shopping street with the flashy plague column in its center.

Although most of the stores and cafés are more or less like stores and cafés in any other city center, I’d like to point out – believe it or not – H&M: In 2004, this chain opened its 50st store in Vienna and chose the beautiful building of the former ritzy department store Braun & Co.

Even though you are at H&M, in the antique furnishing and decoration you’ll feel like shopping at a posh boutique.
Don’t miss out on a ride with the ancient wooden elevator!

H&M
Spiegelgasse 1
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 810 – 90 90 90

 

Vienna's elegant promenade is called "Graben" - which means trench. Well, sometimes shopping can be war. (Photo: ©WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
Vienna’s elegant promenade is called “Graben” –
which means trench. Well, sometimes shopping can be war.
(Photo: ©WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Walking down the Graben away from the Stephansdom, you’ll reach another Viennese institution, the coffee roaster and deli Meinl am Graben. Here you’ll find all sorts of wonderful Austrian delicacies – i. a. of course Meinl’s famous coffees – to sample on the spot or take with you home. This is also a good place for a short break. Get a light snack on Meinl’s terrace while you watch people.

Meinl am Graben
Graben 19
1010 Vienna
Phone: +43 – 1 – 532 33 34
Open weekdays from 8 a. m. to 7.30 p. m. and Saturday vom 9 a. m. to 6 p. m.

 HeldenplatzFotograf © WienTourismus-Christian Stemper
The Heldenplatz, the hero’s square, was not
always a place for the better men.
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Ready to go on? Walking up the Habsburgergasse, you’ll get to the Hofburg, the Royal Castle, that today is the Austrian President’s official seat.

Admiring the magnificent architecture, cross the Hofburg to the huge Heldenplatz, the hero’s square, with the equestrian statue of Prince Eugen.

At the Burgring, turn left and walk a couple of minutes to the gate that opens to the Burggarten, the castle garden with the prominent Mozart statue.

50133-Im Burggarten@ WienTourismus-Peter Rigaud
The Burggarten is a great place to chill –
and the Palmenhaus in the backdrop a great place to eat.
(Photo: ©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

The Burggarten with its huge trees and the little lake is a perfect place to just hang out a bit on a hot day. If you get thirsty, there’s the Palmenhaus serving light snacks or hearty Austrian food. It’s located next to the Hofburg, so it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s really beautiful and if you’re not on a budget, absolutely worth the visit.

Palmenhaus
Burggarten 1
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 533 10 33
Open weekdays 10 a. m. till midnight, Saturday 9 a. m. till midnight and Sunday 10 a. m. till 11 p. m.

Bitzinger's sausages with all the fixings. (©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Bitzinger’s sausages with all the fixings.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

Don’t worry, even if you’re not up for a fancy lunch, you won’t spend the day hungry: Leave the Burggarten on the right side of the Palmenhaus and you find yourself at the Albertinaplatz. Here is Vienna’s most famous sausage stand, Bitzinger Würstelstand.

Bitzinger Würstelstand Albertina
Phone: + 43 – 660 815 24 13
Email: wurst@bitzinger.at

⛈    Morning Activities

Of course, every place looks much nicer in bright sunlight, but if there’s a city ready for liquid sunshine than it’s Vienna with its many, many exhibitions of world-famous paintings and sculptures, but also rather unusual museums like e. g. the Museum of Heating, the Third Man Museum or the Museum of Contraception and Abortion.

Vienna’s public transportation is excellent and if you stay at the recommended hotel or at another one in that neighborhood, you’re centrally hence perfectly located.
Since in the rain you cannot explore Vienna itself, let’s do the next best thing: Explore Vienna’s culture and all the quirky stories around it.

 

The breathtaking architecture of the Upper Belvedere.
(Photo:© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

One of the best places is the Belvedere, which consists of the ‘Lower Belvedere’, the garden palace, built around 1714 for Prince Eugen, and the ‘Upper Belvedere’, which was added a couple of years later (from 1720 on) and is even more luxurious. Both are connected by a manicured garden. While the Lower Belvedere houses temporary exhibitions, the permanent collection at the Upper Belvedere is indisputably a must-see since it shows some of the most important works of mainly Austrian painters like the masterpieces by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Catch the streetcar #2 towards Dornbach at Schwedenplatz and go to Schwarzenbergplatz where you can take a quick look at the Soviet War Memorial. If it’s not raining too hard, you can enter the Belvedere complex here and walk through the garden to its upper building. If that’s not an option, you can also change at Schwarzenbergplatz to streetcar #D towards Alfred-Adler-Strasse and get off at the Schloss Belvedere stop right next to the gallery.

Österreichische Galerie Belvedere 
Prinz Eugen-Straße 27
1030 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 795 57 – 0
Email: info@belvedere.at
Open daily from 9 a. m. till 6 p. m. (Friday till 9 p. m.)

The good thing about bad weather is, it’s a great excuse to take the tram instead of walking – like you do now back at the Schloss Belvedere stop: #D towards Nussdorf will take you in ten minutes to the stop Burgring, located between the Hofburg, the Royal Castle, and two magnificent buildings housing the Natural History Museum to the left and the Art History Museum to the right; and between them is sitting monarch Maria Theresia.

 

Pieter Bruegel's 'Tower of Babel' - certainly one of world's most famous paintings. (©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Pieter Bruegel’s ‘Tower of Babel’ –
certainly one of the world’s most famous paintings.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

Your destination should be the Art History Museum, which houses an incredibly rich collection from any art epoch and every region: the Cranachs, Raffael and Tizian, Caravaggio’s ‘Madonna of the Rosary’ – and of course the masterpieces by the Bruegels like the ‘Tower of Babel’. Besides the paintings, they also show art from Egypt as well as Greek and Roman statues, a coin collection and much more.

Kunsthistorisches Museum
Burgring 5
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 24- 0
Email: info@khm.at

 

?     Lunch

Your lunch options on a sunny day are a couple of snack stops along the way described in the morning itinerary.

What would be Vienna without a Schnitzel?!
To the right a pot roast with a dumpling.
These are of course two separate meals…

On a rainy day, you’ll probably won’t be up for a quick bite on your way, but will enjoy a hearty hot meal at a cozy restaurant, so it’s good that you’re just a five minutes walk away from a typical Beils, a pub, serving authentic Austrian food.

Cross the Museumsquartier west of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (were our first afternoon stop will be, anyway) and you’re practically there.

Glacis Beisl
Breite Gasse 4
1070 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 526 56 60
Open daily from 11 a. p. to 2 a. m. (Sunday to 1 a. m.)

 

?    Afternoon Activities

It’s possible to walk from the Bitzinger sausage stand to the Belvedere; but it’s not exactly close by. If you choose to walk, go down the Walfischgasse and turn right into Schwarzenbergstraße. Continue till you get to the Soviet War Memorial – you cannot miss it. The Belvedere complex begins right behind this very socialist piece of art. If you prefer not to walk, just take either tram #1 (towards Prater) or tram #2 (towards Friedrich-Engels-Platz) at Opernring/Karlsplatz and get off at Schwarzenbergplatz.
Designed for walking solemnly, not for pacing:
The Belvedere Garden.
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Like I explained in the itinerary for a rainy day above, the Belvedere consists of two main buildings that are connected by a very elegant park with fountains and statues. You can just stroll along the gravel paths, rest on the many park benches and be enchanted by the beauty and majesty of the place.

If you choose to visit the buildings, that today house museums, please check the rainy weather part above for details.

 

He’s golden – that’s how much Vienna
honors the ‘King of the Valse’
Johann Strauß
(©Wien Tourismus/Willfried Gredler-Oxenbauer)

Right next to the Belvedere is another elegant yet cool park that’s worth a visit, the Stadtpark, the city park. Besides its shady paths and lush trees, there are many romantic statues of Vienna’s great artists – the most famous among them is the Johann Strauß statue, made by Franz Metzner and Edmund von Hellmer in the symbolist style of the Vienna Secession.

 

⛈    Afternoon Activities

The Leopold Museum is not only worth the visit for the art,
it also opens to Vienna’s most beautiful views.

The Glacis Beisl is three minutes from the next great museum focusing mainly on Austrian art from the turn of the last century – a truly exciting era with many ingenious, daring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Albin Egger-Lienz, Anton Kolig, Richard Gerstl, and many others. Since not only the paintings of these gentlemen are colorful, but also their lives, it’s worth it to get an audio guide telling you about their shenanigans.

Leopold Museum 
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 70
Email: office@leopoldmuseum.org
Open from Wednesday to Monday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Thursday to 9 p. m.)

The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate - entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex. (Photo: ©Wien Tourismus MAXUM)
The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate –
entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex.
(Photo: ©Wien Tourismus MAXUM)

No Vienna-sojourn is complete without a visit of the Hofburg,
the Royal Castle, that was the Habsburg’s residence between the 13th century till the end of WWI in 1918. After WWII in 1945, it became the Austrian President’s official seat. Besides the official apartments, the Hofburg houses Austria’s National Library and a couple of museums like the Sisi-museum, focusing on the beloved Empress, the ancient State Apartments and the Silver Chamber.

Hofburg
Michaelerkuppel
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1-  533 75 70
Email: info@hofburg-wien.at
Open daily from 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m. (in July and August till 6 p. m.)

?    Dinner

Tafelspitz, beef in its broth, one of Austria’s delicacies.
Nope, Austrian cuisine is not very light.

If after all the snacks or hearty lunches you’re still hungry, there’s one of Vienna’s most rustic and traditional restaurants just a few steps from your hotel.
If you are coming – on a sunny day – from the Stadtpark, you can actually walk there along the Bäckerstraße from which the Sonnenfeldgasse deviates.
Coming on a rainy day from the Hofburg, you walk back to the tram stop Burgring and take either #1 (towards Prater) or #2 (towards Friedrich-Engels-Platz) back to Schwedenplatz.

Zwölf-Apostelkeller
Sonnenfelsgasse 3
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 512 67 77
Email: office@zwoelf-apostelkeller.at

 

?   Nightcap

41028-© WienTourismus-Christian Stemper - motto
Sundowner on the river front: Motto am Fluss
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Vienna might be historical and traditional, but it’s of course also trendy and hip and there are many clubs and bars.

The Motto am Fluss is a pleasant place for a nightcap – especially since it gives you the opportunity to say Good Night to the city: It’s located on the bank of river Danube and there is a fantastic view over Vienna.

Motto am Fluss Cafe
Franz Josefs Kai 2
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 252 55 11
Open daily 8 a. m. till midnight

?    Accomodation

Even if you have a very early flight, it’s not necessary to stay at an airport hotel: A trip from downtown Vienna to Schwechat, where the airport is located, takes 45 minutes max – and you have the a. m. four options to get there. Only if you intend to take the S7-train you might have to adjust your schedule since these trains are running only every 30 minutes.
A walk from your hotel to the train station Mitte should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Ruby Lissi Hotel & Bar 
Fleischmarkt 19 / Laurenzerberg 2
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 49 – 89 – 12 50 95 210 (note: this is a Germany phone-no at their central office in Munich)
Email: info@ruby-hotels.com

 

Need more ideas and inspiration for Vienna? 

Check out this post.

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* In case you’re curious: Austria adjoins to Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

 

 

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