Greetings, Internet Stranger! Where would I like to start this perfect Vienna in a day itinerary? What’s the number one attraction in Vienna, Austria, according to Tripadvisor? It’s the historic center of Vienna of course. What else could it be? But don’t worry. You’ll read nothing about the historic center of Vienna in this blog post.
Now, what’s the number two attraction in Vienna? That’s right, Schonbrunn Palace. (I can hear the workers at Schonbrunn Palace chanting in the distance, “We’re number two! We’re number two! Oh wait, but they probably speak German. “Wir sind die Nummer zwei!” “Wir sind die Nummer zwei!”)
A Perfect Vienna in a Day Itinerary
Where to Stay?
I can’t recommend the exact hotel where I spent this Vienna in a Day Itinerary because it has “gone out of business”. But I can definitely steer you to the right neighborhood. I always believe in staying as centrally located as I can afford, especially when traveling solo. It helps save valuable travel time, and it usually means staying in the safest part of the city. That’s why I suggest getting as close as you can to the historic part of Vienna, aka the Innere Stad. You’ll thank me later!
If you want to explore over 3000 great deals on hotels in Vienna, just click here!
Vienna in a Day Itinerary
What to Pack?
The weather in Vienna is unpredictable, and it definitely rained during my 24 hours in Vienna. So the two most important things you’ll need to bring are an umbrella and some rain boots. My favorite travel umbrella is the Repel Teflon Waterproof Umbrella. It is strong enough to stand up to the sometimes-quite-strong winds of Austria.
For rain boots, I recommend the Asgard Rain Boots. They are comfy/cozy and keep my feet dry all day. Plus they’re cute enough that I can wear them about a classy city like Vienna without feeling like some gauche American with gross feet.
Finally, if you’re not from Europe, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with either American or British plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.
Vienna in a Day Itinerary
Morning: Schonbrunn Palace Area
I call the Schonbrunn Palace Habsburg Disney World because it feels more like a theme park than one tourist attraction. You can spend the Vienna in a Day Itinerary there if you want, and I did! Get the Classic Pass like I did to follow this Vienna in a Day Itinerary . I think the price is well worth it for the number of attractions it lets you in to.
There are so many attractions to see in the Schonbrunn Palace area, so to help you avoid feeling as confused as a Hapsburg, I present to you…
The approximately top 5: schonbrunn palace edition
1) Schonbrunn Palace grand tour
Do you know how long I spent trying to take a photo of the Schonnbrunn Palace without a whole bunch of tourists in it? Some people spend no time thinking about my Instagram!
Speaking of Instagram, photo taking is strictly forbidden inside the Schonnbrunn Palace. Of course I did that thing where I managed to sneakily take one photo and then felt horribly guilty about it. I can’t share the photo with you unfortunately, even though it is the prettiest photo the world has ever seen. I took the Travel Blogger’s Oath! Also, I don’t want to get sued by the Habsburgs.
Anyway, even if you can’t do it for the ‘gram, the Schonnbrunn Palace tour is well worth the time. It’s a self-guided audio tour around a humiliatingly grand palace. You can actually spend time roaming the halls where Mozart played music and ate candy with his face printed on it as a child. Most of the information on the audioguide is about the former ruling family of Austria who lived in this palace, the Habsburgs. So I’ll be happy to clue you in on…
Three fun facts about the habsburgs
A) Who’s the coolest Habsburg?
Habsburgs! Meet the Habsburgs! They’re a monarchical Austrian family! And the big mama of the Habsburgs was Maria Theresa. She was the lady who transformed Schonnbrunn Palace from a half-finished hunting lodge into the gobsmacker it is today. But there really seems to be nothing that Maria Theresa could not do. She had 16 children in 20 years, and she still cut a glamorous figure in this lacy blue number shown above.
On top of that, she was the only woman to rule the Habsburg territories. Thinking about Maria Theresa too much makes me feel that I have accomplished nothing in my life. How does someone manage to bear 16 children and also rule Hungary, Croatia, and Austria? I barely manage to make it to the 6 train on time in the morning, and I do not even have a pet cat.
B) Who’s the dorkiest Hapsburg?
One of Maria Theresa’s eleventy million children was this Jim Dandy, who happened to be her successor. Joseph II is the most famous Habsburg in my house because of his appearance in the movie Amadeus. He is the bewigged chappie who says that Mozart’s music has too many notes.
On the Schonnbrunn Palace tour, they call him an exemplary Enlightenment prince. I say that a real Enlightenment prince wouldn’t have been played by Principal Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but the Habsburgs didn’t ask my opinion.
C) Who’s everyone’s favorite habsburgs?
Oh man, are you going to be hearing a lot about Franz Josef and Sisi if you spend time in Central Europe. There are so many fun facts about them. Franz Joseph was the second to last Austrian emperor! His nephew Franz Ferdinand’s assassination started WWI! He had a dope mustache! You pronounce his name “Yosef”!
Sisi’s real name was Elisabeth! Sisi spent three hours on her hair every day! She wore her clothes so tight she had to be sewn into them! She was murdered by an anarchist! (That last part is really sad, but if you have to get murdered, I think being murdered by an anarchist is pretty glamorous.)
2) carriage house museum
I was initially confused as to why anyone would dedicate museums to the carriage. How much can there be to know about a carriage? Then I actually saw the mad collection. Apparently Viennese nobles felt about their carriages the way the modern 1% feel about their clothes. The Viennese actually changed carriages with the season.
I can’t imagine having so much money and so many horses that I could have a different formal carriage to go with each season. It reminds me of that Robin Williams quote about how cocaine is God’s way of telling you that you have too much money. Except in this case, the cocaine is a bunch of horse-drawn carriages.
3) Desert house
This red-hot botanical garden outside Schonnbrunn Palace was commissioned by everyone’s favorite mustache, Franz Joseph. The DH contains Franz’s fairly fabulous collection of desert plants from Africa and Australia. I’m especially impressed that Franz Joseph managed to collect this dusty Reebok because I don’t think they existed back before WWI.
The Desert House is also home to a cohort of naked mole rats. They are very ugly. Do not look at this picture of them:
I warned you not to look! Now you’re upset! You need to listen to me next time, Internet Stranger.
4) Palm House
The Palm House outside Schonnbrunn Palace is the most glamorous botanic garden I have ever been inside. There are three different pavilions inside, each with a different climate. One is cold, one is temperate, and the last is tropical. I am dying to know how they managed to engineer this technology 100 years ago.
I beg one of my readers to write a novel called Franz Xaver Segenschmid: Habsburg Botanical Architect and explain how he did it. You don’t have to send me any of the lucrative royalties. Just dedicate the book to me.
The maze is certainly nowhere as confusing as the maze of the Jim Henson classic Labyrinth. It is but a simple place to go for a leisurely stroll and let the hedges protect you from the Austrian sunshine. If you are a solo adult traveler like me, you will probably be the only solo adult there. I suggest amusing yourself by pushing a small child out of the way and yelling, “I win the maze, neener neener.” Bonus points if the child only speaks German and doesn’t understand what you are saying.
The Gloriette is this triumphal arch with the aggressive-looking imperial eagle on the top. I guess any Austrian imperial eagle that didn’t look aggressive would be a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You don’t build an empire by winning Miss Congeniality awards! You have to walk up a large hill to reach the Gloriette, but the views of Schonbrunn Palace are well worth it. Don’t believe me? Feast on my proof:
It’s good to be a Habsburg.
Vienna in a Day Itinerary
Of course you’re going to want to visit the Tiergarten. It is the oldest zoo in the world, so you’re going to want to visit just to check that one of your bucket list. Not only that, but it’s actually located on the grounds of Schonbrunn Palace. There are an impressive number of animals located inside, but I’ll let us stick to…
Approximately top 5: tiergarten animals
The noble bison is indigenous to my continent, North America, but they now exist in the wild only in Jellystone National Park. Most of them were destroyed when the railroad was built across the Western United States. The railroad is very convenient, but I can’t think it was worth it. Look at that bison’s majestic beard! I would much rather have him than Amtrak.
The word for anteater in German literally translates to “nose bear”. German is such an honest language. I love it! I think my German name should translate to “Traveling Girl Who Makes Terrible Puns”.
3) when emu met tapir…
Once upon a time there was a lonely tapir. She lived all by herself in the Tiergarten Zoo. She thought no one would ever love her. The only fun she had was ordering salad with the dressing on the side.
Then she became friends with an emu. The emu was also sad and lonely. People said their friendship would never work. “A tapir and an emu can never be just friends,” the other animals in the zoo said.
One day, Emu realized that he loved Tapir. And on New Year’s Eve, he ran to be by Tapir’s side. “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible,” Emu said to Tapir. And they lived happily ever after.
One of my favorite things about visiting zoos in other countries is learning names for animals in other languages. The German for rhinoceros is panzernashorn, and I know panzer is German for tank. I guess if I were going to compare any animal to a tank, a rhino would be a good choice. The rhinos in the zoo are both rescue animals. Both of their mothers were killed by poachers. I know I joke about a lot of things, but even I cannot think of one joke about orphan baby rhinos.
5) Humboldt Penguin
Humboldt penguins are South American, from Peru and Chile. They are considered a threatened species because humans have been hurting them in an effort to…steal their poop. Humans are truly the weirdest of species. I know that many species hunt and eat each other, but I’d be surprised if any non-human species were destroying another species to take its feces.
I am always excited to meet a new animal friend, and I had never heard of a peccary before. As you can probably tell, they are related to the piggie. Much like the Habsburgs under Maria Theresa, peccaries are ruled by a dominant female member of the herd.
They also mark members of the same herd with a special scent from one of their glands so they can recognize each other. I think it’s easier to give each other nicknames, piggies! That’s a free tip from me to you.
Vienna in a Day Itinerary
Evening: Dinner at Brandauers Schlossbrau
We’ve been spending all day at Schonbrunn Palace, but we’re not going to eat there! Instead we will dine around the corner at a proper Austrian beer garden. After a day of living it up, Habsburg style, we will sup like proper peasant folk at Brandauers Schlossbrau.
I paired a light Austrian beer with this ugly plate of chanterelle mushrooms in a cream sauce with napkin dumplings. I can never resist trying a new food, and I hadn’t even heard of napkin dumplings before. But never fear, Internet Stranger. I will explain.
24 hour treat: napkin dumpling
Napkin dumplings are not made out of napkins. You boil them in a napkin and that’s how they get their name. Like French toast, they are made using slightly stale bread. I like any meal that is economical and delicious! I guess the Habsburgs never needed to have the pleasure of reusing their bread. Too bad for them. I guess that’s why I’m glad to be Stella Jane and not Sisi, no matter how fab her hair was.
And That’s a Perfect Vienna in a Day Itinerary
How would you spend a Vienna in a Day Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Vienna? Would you ever steal someone’s poop? Will you have what Tapir is having? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have one Vienna in a day itinerary. If you want another Vienna in a day itinerary, try this itinerary!