Vienna is one of the most interesting destinations that is close to Bratislava. Being only an hour away on the train, we sometimes discussed going there on weekends. As usually is the case, time flew by and we did not visit the Austrian capital as many times as we would have liked to.
One thing though, I can still remember our first visit of Vienna. Susann and I weren’t even a couple yet. It had only been a few weeks earlier that we met for the first time and we were both new in Bratislava. In October it happened that Susann and I, together with two of our new friends Ville and Tanya, decided to go on a day trip to the nearby metropolis.
Vienna: Going There
Our trip took place before the new train station in Vienna had been finished. We took the train from Bratislava-Petržalka railway station to what was then Vienna Ostbahnhof. The trains departing from Bratislava-Petržalka are part of the Vienna public transport system. The new main railway station (Hauptbahnhof) later replaced the Ostbahnhof.
The train ride from Bratislava to Vienna takes around an hour, stopping in several small towns along the way. There are actually no more stops in Slovakia after leaving the station in Petržalka, with the next stop being Kittsee on the Austrian side of the border.
There are also trains departing from the main station in Bratislava; these also take approximately an hour to Vienna Hauptbahnhof.
Vienna: One Day Of Walking
A day in the Austrian capital passes very quickly. Our favorite mode of transport is walking. Just think about all the beautiful buildings in this capital of culture – you wouldn’t want to miss those! Vienna is a very stylish city: it’s clean, cultural, and it also feels a little bit conservative. In our opinion, that is. It breathes history and music.
Here are some of the buildings and attractions that we saw on our first visit to Vienna.
Belvedere consists of two Baroque palaces and one of Europe’s most significant historical gardens in French style. It is of late Baroque garden design. The gardens, together with the two palaces on the site, are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace houses a museum and an impressive collection of Austrian art.
Soviet War Memorial
After the end of World War II, the allies split Austria into four different zones, as they also did with Germany. The eastern part of Austria was given to the Soviet Union and as was the case with Berlin, a divided Vienna ended up surrounded by the part belonging to the Soviets.
In the part of Vienna that was controlled by the Soviet Union, a memorial was constructed for all Soviet soldiers who had fallen during the liberation of Austria.
Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church)
Karlskirche is a baroque church – and by many considered one of the most spectacular buildings in the capital – that stands on the south side of Karlsplatz.
Hofburg (The Hofburg Palace)
The Hofburg Palace used to be the principal imperial winter residence for some of the greatest rulers and statesmen of Europe. The palace has been the documented seat of government since 1279 for various empires and republics. Currently, a part of the palace is the official residence and workplace for the president.
Apart from various residences Hofburg also includes the Imperial Chapel, the Naturhistorisches Museum and Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Austrian National Library, the Imperial Treasury, the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School, the Imperial Horse Stables, and the Hofburg Congress Center.
This is the place for anyone who is into culture. The quarter is home to various art museums and exhibition spaces, festivals, and studios.
Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral)
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is yet another impressive building in the heart of Vienna. The current Romanesque and Gothic cathedral stands on the ruins of two earlier churches. The first one of these, a parish church, dated back to 1147. The cathedral has borne witness to many important events in Habsburg and Austrian history and it is one of the most famous Viennese landmarks.
The cathedral stands on Stephansplatz, a square at the geographical center of the capital. This square is always filled with crowds of people.