First Impressions of Vienna (Austria)

I visited Vienna recently as the first (official) stop on my latest rail trip around Europe. In total I was there for 3 nights. Although it’s impossible to really give an in-depth analysis of a city in just 3 nights, what I can do is provide you with my first impressions, a taster if you will. Hopefully this will help you make up your mind on whether you want to visit Vienna yourself in the future.

Grandiose Buildings

Vienna MuseumsQuartier

I’m in two minds when it comes to Vienna’s architectural beauty. There is no doubt that the city is plentiful in feature buildings. If it’s your first time in Europe and you happen to land in Vienna as one your first stops then I’m sure you’ll be aweing and ahhhing with every gasp. Particularly in the Museums Quartier and down by St Stephen’s Cathedral. There is no denying how beautiful these buildings are and how much work must have gone into creating/building them. With all that said though, I’m not sure I was in the right frame of mind to truly appreciate Vienna’s abundance of architectural beauty. I think for me being based in Europe now for so many years, I’ve become somewhat jaded (and dare I say it bored) of a lot of European architecture. In this continent it really takes something spectacular like Gaudi’s work in Barcelona for example to really get me going. I think I am just craving something different. With my trip to South America fast approaching I’m sure I’ll get that soon, but I do feel bad that where I would have once marvelled at such grandiose buildings in Vienna, I’m now taking a picture and then thinking “So now what?”

Film Festival 2013

wiener film festival venice

I was fortunate to have arrived in Vienna during the Wiener Film Festival held every year at Rathausplatz. Every night (during 2013’s schedule) from June 29th to 1st September they play a different movie outside on a 300sqm screen (with the stunning Rathausplatz as backdrop). It’s a completely free activity that you can do in Vienna.

This year’s festival was (apparently) dedicated to Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi. The night I discovered the festival they were playing a Rod Steward concert on the big screen. I’m not sure exactly how Rod relates to Richard Wagner or Giuseppe Verdi, but nevertheless it was a nice way to spend the evening! Just remember to bring a rain coat if you’re going! Even during the height of summer it can still rain in Vienna as I discovered the night I went down.

Wombats “The Lounge” Hostel


My base and accommodation during this short stay in Vienna was at Wombats “The Lounge” Hostel. Not to be confused with Wombats “The Base” and Wombats “The Naschmarkt”, the chain’s other 2 hostels in the city.

In terms of location I really couldn’t have picked a better place which is the main reason why I wanted to write about Wombats here. The hostel was just a 2 minute walk from Wien (Vienna) Westbahnhof Station, the main train station for international rail departures and arrivals in the city centre. The adjoining Westbahnhof metro station is also on the same line (U3) as the bus station at Erdberg. It’s 11 stops away without any changes, making it very easy to get to/from both the international rail and bus stations.

Mariahilfer Strabe (the street which the hostel is located on) also happens to be the main shopping street of the city.  Walk in a straight line for 20 minutes, or hop on the metro 3 stops, and you’ll find yourself as Museumsquartier, the start of the main sight seeing & touristic area of Vienna.

Aside from the convenient location the hostel was also just a really nice, clean, fun place to stay. The basement bar in particular was a cool place to hang out and play pool. Check the picture above to see my private double room, although it should be noted there are regular dorms available too.

River Side Vibe


Down by the riverside in Vienna city centre there is a really cool youthful vibe. You’ll find a lot of graffiti art down here, nightlife, and beach bar type huts that serve food and drinks during the day with sun loungers you can lie out on too! It’s simply a really cool place to hang out.

One Response to “First Impressions of Vienna (Austria)”

  1. Neil says:

    I was in Vienna in Spring Jane and agree with your points. For me, it just did not have the wow factor in its streets that we’re used to in other parts of Europe. I found the nightlife pretty poor too but good to read about the graffiti part of town though, sounds more like it!


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