A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Classical music, horse-drawn carriages and lots of Kaiserschmarn. These are only some of the things waiting for you in the cultural hotspot that is the Austrian capital – Vienna.
For sure, studying in the Netherlands is an adventure in itself, but you also have all of Europe at your fingertips: Within a couple hours and with little money, you can travel to truly amazing destinations, such as Vienna.
Even though Vienna is quite a big city, getting around is super easy. You can go everywhere by car, public transport or you channel your inner Dutchie and opt for the bike. Either way, you’ll have no difficulties navigating the city.
Things to see
-Schloss Schönbrunn: The big palace was the summer home of Vienna’s royal family, and is considered one of the most beautiful examples for baroque architecture. You can take (audio-) guided tours or just stroll the impressive garden (which is so big that I’d consider it a park, but ok).
-Albertina: This museum is home to an extensive collection of classical and modern paintings. Famous artists include Monet and Picasso!
-Hofburg: A huge palace complex right in the heart of Vienna. It is also home to the Sissi museum – an entire museum dedicated to Empress Elisabeth, who has become a cult figure all around the world.
-Prater: A big park that is home to Vienna’s famous giant wheel. You have an amazing view of the Viennese skyline and there are lots of fun rollercoasters!
-Stephansdom: It’s Vienna’s most famous landmark and right in the centre, so you can’t miss it. After sunset, the interior gets a ghostly atmosphere that really suits the gothic architecture.
-Shakespeare and Company: Just like the original in Paris, this small bookstore has a truly amazing flair. I’m talking floor-to-ceiling shelves, creaking wooden floor panels and a great mix of contemporary and antique books. It’s like a flytrap for booklovers!
-Freud Museum: A must for my fellow Psychology students. Even if you are not a Freud enthusiast, this museum will offer some fascinating insights into the life of one of the most famous Psychologists! Side note: the museum is currently being renovated.
Things to eat
-Wiener Schnitzel: Everyone knows it, everyone loves it. The Wiener Schnitzel is a classic among the classics. It’s a thin, breaded escalope of veal that is usually served with a potato-based side dish.
-Apfelstrudel: It’s a traditional Viennese pastry with an apple-cinnamon filling, usually served with powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream. In short, the perfect side to your coffee!
-Kaiserschmarrn: This was the favourite dish of Vienna’s Emperor Franz Joseph I., and we can all understand why: It’s a fluffy, shredded pancake that packs rum-soaked raisins, and is served with powdered sugar and plum sauce. You had me at pancake.
To summarize, Vienna is the perfect place for everyone that likes grand architecture, cultural getaways and pastries! Have you been to Vienna? Let me know in the comments!