Activities in Vienna
I came across Time Travel Vienna while I was walking through the city. I was intrigued by their interactive and fun approach to the city’s history, so I signed up for a short 45-minute tour. A guide leads you through different rooms where 5D films, talking historical figures or waltzing seats bring to life the history of Vienna until the present day. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a really well-done exhibit and a much more interesting way to learn about the city than by reading plaques.
A Biking Tour of the City
Since there are no free walking tours in Vienna that I could find, I immediately opted for my other favorite type of tour: a biking tour. I signed up for the Classic Vienna Tour with the company Pedal Power, and we took a three-hour ride throughout the city with plenty of stops to learn about what we were seeing. I really enjoyed this, but a few things could have been improved upon. There were no helmets, instructions on how to use the bikes or checks of the seat height before we began. I was also the only English speaker in my tour and while the tour was bilingual, I felt as if the guide was sometimes skimping on her descriptions to me and that everyone was just waiting around for her to stop speaking English. It ended up being okay but it was a bit uncomfortable at first and I’d recommend checking with the company ahead of time to see if it is a German-dominated group or if there is an English-speaking tour you can join.
The World's Largest Amusement Park
Vienna is home to the Weiner Prater public park which is twice the size of Central Park! In it, you can find green areas, cafes, sports fields, and "Wurstelprater", the oldest amusement park in the world. The amusement park has a few notable landmarks including the giant ferris wheel and the Praturturm, the world's largest high-flying swing! There are also beer gardens and plenty of spots for eating and drinking in and around the amusement park.
An Endless Market (in a good way)
For fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and more, the Naschmarkt is the place to go. It is a huge market (that also has a flea market on Saturdays) where people-watching from a cafe is as much fun as tasting the delicacies and looking at the region's specialties. It is walking distance from the main ring downtown so it is a good place to start your touring.
Performances in Vienna
A Horse Show
The Spanish School of Riding is the oldest classical equitation institution in the world, and a must-see for anyone interested in horses, dance or culture in Vienna. (The ‘Spanish’ comes from the breed of horse which is a mix of Spanish, Arabian and Berber). There are a variety of activities you can join from a stable tour to see the famous Lipizzaner stallions to a performance in the beautiful arena (which I did). I signed up for standing room tickets because they were much cheaper, and I definitely couldn’t see the full arena, but the riders are good about moving around the ring so everyone can see. I enjoyed watching the riders on their extremely fancy and talented horses, and it made me want to ride and even learn dressage! However, to be honest I think I preferred the performance in Jerez de la Frontera better. I thought the show was more interesting and the seats had better views. That said, I still think it is worth spending 90 minutes watching the incredible precision and grace of the horses and riders at this show.
Vienna is a world hub for opera and classical music, so it is definitely the place to see a show. There are so many venues that it is actually quite easy to secure tickets, and I heard you can often get tickets to a show at the main opera house for under 5 Euro if you stand in line the day of a performance! I was extremely lucky to be invited to a premiere of the “Feuersnot” opera at the Volksoper, one of the other opera houses in the city, so this is another venue to keep in mind when looking for a show.