Many years ago my dad told me that Vienna is his favorite city in Europe, and from that day on Vienna has been on my bucket list. I wasn't quite sure what was there, but I knew that I wanted to go. When planning my spring break trip with my mom, Vienna was an easy choice mostly because of its proximity to Prague. I honestly thought Prague would steal the show, but surprisingly it was Vienna that truly captured my heart.
Colorful tulips at the Naschmarkt
We found gluten free chocolate cake!
While Prague was undoubtedly fairytale-esque, Vienna was full of charm and sophistication that seemed a bit more genuine. Unlike Prague, its magic wasn't exploited by the tourism industry to attract more visitors. Although there are still plenty of sights to see, Vienna's character remains untouched.
Pretty cocktails at the Palmenhaus
One of my favorite parts about Vienna was its café culture. The city is abounding with elegant cafés, adorned with crystal chandeliers and waiters in tuxedos. While many regulars visit these cafés to order an espresso or traditional mélange and read the Sunday paper, many visitors are enticed by the mouthwatering variety of cakes and pastries. Of these, the most notorious are Hotel Sacher's Sachertorte, a decadent chocolate cake with apricot jam, and classic Viennese apfelstrudel.
Exquisite details inside the Opera House
Inside St. Stephen's Cathedral
Vienna embraces a fervent obsession with music, for many famous composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Strauss have called this city home. In order to bring music to the masses, the Opera House broadcasts its performances on a large screen outside facing the street. While there are plenty of classical concerts worth attending, you can also find many talented musicians performing on the streets or in the plazas. Needless to say, the city's passion for music is delightfully contagious.
Vienna exudes class and sophistication. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of culture that this majestic city has to offer. This former Habsburg capital offers a plethora of first-class museums, lavish royal palaces, exquisite shopping, and not to mention the world's finest opera. Vienna is polished and refined, but not pretentious. In many ways, I see Vienna like I see Paris: enchanting, addicting, and brimming with unparalleled beauty. I could keep coming back here for the rest of my life.
My Vienna Picks:
Best People-Watching: Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
Favorite Museum: Collection of Historical Musical Instruments
Favorite Tours: Vienna State Opera & Hofburg Palace Imperial Apartments
Best Views: The Sky Bar at Steffl
Favorite Restaurant: Palmenhaus
Must-Try Dishes: Apfelstrudel, Wiener Schnitzel and Sachertorte