Start the day at one of Vienna’s famous coffee houses, for a typical Viennese breakfast. Or head to Motto am Fluss
, on the Danube Canal. Resembling a glassy yacht and featuring a spacious terrace, the second-floor Motto Cafe is one of Vienna’s hotspots and a perfect – and delectable – launchpad for your explorations.
Next, head across the street to Schwedenplatz for a 30-minute sightseeing tour on the Vienna Ring Tram. The tram circles the famous Ringstrasse, introducing you to some of the city’s most glorious sights such as the Opera, the Parliament
building, the Imperial Palace
and City Hall
. The tram leaves on the hour and on the half hour at Schwedenplatz, with the first one leaving at 10 a.m.
After a full circle around the Ring, hop off at Schwedenplatz and walk up Rotenturmstrasse toward Vienna's beloved St. Stephen's Cathedral
. Construction of the cathedral commenced in the 12th century; it was the site of both Mozart's wedding and his funeral. Today, it remains one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria. Guided tours are available for both the cathedral and the catacombs below. You can also walk 343 steps up the South Tower (or take the elevator up the North Tower) for a rooftop view of Vienna’s first district.
Afterwards take a leisurely stroll along the Graben, a wide pedestrian street sprinkled with inner-city palaces, coffeehouses
and typical Viennese stores. Stop briefly at the Pestsäule, a 17th century baroque column commemorating the Great Plague and its devastation of the city over three centuries ago.
For lunch, stop at one of Vienna’s premier culinary institutions, Zum Schwarzen Kameel. Opened as a spice shop in 1618, the restaurant serves authentic and typical Viennese cuisine. Mingle with the chic clientele in an Art Deco salon and enjoy a lavish meal of Eiernockerl – a local version of spätzle with eggs – with black truffles, and a glass of Viennese white wine.
After lunch, walk up Kohlmarkt, an elegant pedestrian promenade dotted with historic buildings and luxurious shops. Plan for a brief stop at the legendary Café Demel, renowned for its specialty coffee drinks, indulgent hot chocolate and fantastic deserts.
At the end of Kohlmarkt you will reach the Michaelertor, an entrance to the Hofburg Palace
, itself the seat of the powerful Habsburg Empire for centuries. This enormous complex houses numerous museums and attractions. Admire the day-to-day splendor and magnificence of the Habsburg family in their private apartments and state rooms. Or visit the Sisi Museum
, dedicated to the celebrated Empress Elisabeth – who has long since joined the ranks of beloved cult figures. Or discover the Imperial Treasury, considered by many to be the world's greatest. With pieces like Emperor's Crown of the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Emperor's Crown, its collection of insignia and jewels is incomparable.
Make dinner a magical experience at Palais Coburg’s Silvio Nickol Gourmet Restaurant. Palais Coburg is a stunning bit of architecture, built on the former defense wall of the emperor's city. Its award-winning kitchen is matched only by its incredible wine cellar, one of Europe’s largest. The ambiance and cuisine are extraordinary.
If you feel like staying out longer, the Babenberger Passage
is the place to be. In this once-abandoned pedestrian underpass below the Ringstrasse, one of Vienna’s finest dance clubs and bars has blossomed. Chic, elegant and cool – and with a good dose of design -- the establishment is as stylish as the crowd that frequents it.
Still going? Reward your stamina with a late-night snack at a typical Viennese sausage stand. Just steps away is the Bitzinger sausage stand, widely held to be the city's best – and your shot at feeling like a true local.