An intellectual visit to Austria's capital
I spoke to a few friends who have visited Vienna before to get an idea of what to expect—they all unanimously said that it was a beautiful city, but there wasn't much to do beyond a few days.
My expectations were lowered, only to discover that Vienna has so much to offer the curious visitor. The Austro-Hungarian Empire may be long gone, but traces of Vienna's historical opulence survive in the city's urban architecture and artistic circles.
Steph and I were ambitious in our sightseeing while we were in Vienna—we covered a lot of ground during the three days and two nights we stayed despite the cold and the snow.
I took the CAT train from the airport and it was very easy to figure out. It arrives every half an hour and takes 16 minutes to reach the city center via Landstrasse. I bought a 72-hour Vienna pass for all public transportation so that I didn't have to worry about constantly buying tickets throughout my stay. With that being said, we ended up walking to most places and probably could have gotten away with the 48-hour pass instead.
Where to Stay
We booked our stay at Wombats City Hostel by the Naschmarkt. We booked our room on the top floor that offered an amazing view of the Naschmarkt and the main street by the hostel, Linke Wienzeile. Two buildings by city architect Otto Wagner—The Majolikahaus at 40 Linke Wienzeile and 38 Linke Wienzeile, which stands out with gold accents—are prime examples of art nouveau or jugendstil.
Many of the attractions in Vienna suit a variety of different people. We didn't make it a number of popular attractions recommended by —Belvedere Palace, Schonbrunn Palace, Prater, etc.—but we felt accomplished in taking our time and enjoying what we did visit.
This just means we need to come back to Vienna in the summer to check out the palace gardens and outdoor parks.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Similar to how writers and artists would congregate at cafes in Paris, cafes also have a historical significance and cultural relevance in Viennese culture. The cafe is a place to read the newspaper and drink your morning coffee or enjoy a midday beer with schnitzel and linger until the early evening. Regardless of how old-fashioned or modern a cafe is, the most important thing is that you experience what it feels like to take your time and enjoy the moment.