We'll be visiting Vienna in late May. We are considering either the Vienna Marriott or the Renaissance Imperial Riding School Vienna Hotel. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has stayed at either of these properties, about their hotel experience. I would also like to know if the Renaissance Hotel is within walking distance to all of the main attractions, or if not, how convienient the s-bahn/u-bahn is. It looks like the Marriott is right in the heart of things.
Finally, I enjoyed this video of the Lipizzaners that I found this morning while doing my research. Warning: If you are a classical purist, you will hate it, so spare yourself. I enjoyed the footage put to contemporary music.
Thanks for your help!
I stayed at the Vienna Marriott on the Ringstrasse across from the park which was a wonderful hotel. The staff could just not due enough for us. They were able to get me tickets to everything I wanted to see, Wagnerian Opera at the Opera House, Vienna Symphony, Vienna Boys Choir, and my all time favorite of course is the Spanish Riding School. It was also very conviently located to the museum, opera house and day trips to Bratislava and Piber. Since the Spanish Riding School was dark while I was there, we thoroughly enjoyed the day trip to Piber. Also, I only rented a car for 2 days, for the day trips below. Rest of the time I walked, used mass transit, or taxis. From Vienna we traveled by train to Prague which was really nice to see the countryside and mingle with the locals. Managed to miss our nonstop train reservations due to clock change from daylight saving so ended up changing trains in Brno. At first I was annoyed to have to change trains, but it was definately a local train, and we really go to see the students traveling to school and back, and the cadets going to/from the academy. Was a fascinating detour.
My Must Do List for Vienna
More Vienna Links
You're a gem! This is some nice info, and I appreciate your taking the time to compile all of the links to the other threads. Our current plan is to arrive in Munich and depart Nuremberg (my daughter lives in Bavaria, and I will spend the last week of the trip with her). We plan to rent a car and do the following loop: drive to Prague, 5 nights in Prague, drive to Bratislava, 2 nights in Bratislava, drive over to Vienna, 2 nights in Vienna, then meet the kids in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a couple of days, then drop off my sister and brother (and the rental car) back in Munich where they'll depart, and then head to my daughter's home for a few days before departing out of Nuremberg (only an hour drive from Bad Windsheim.) Plane tickets already purchased as well as points reservation made for Prague. But after reading some terrific information from you, as well as newhiltonmembr and skiadcock, I am beginning to wonder if we ought to skip Bratislava this trip since there really is plenty to see and experience in Vienna for 4 days easily, and then just do Bratislava on a future trip to Budapest (which I have also never been to). I really want to do Vienna the justice it deserves as I may never return. I also want to give Bratislava the time it deserves as well which I think would be more than two nights and one full day. I would think Devin Castle could take up a day all by itself. Also, I'm really not in to rushing around to see everything a la horse race style any more. It does need to be a vacation as well, and I think it's important to stay in a place long enough to be able to inhale it into my being.
Also, at some point, either between Prague and Vienna/Bratislava and Vienna and Garmisch, not sure which, I wanted to visit Cesky Krumlov.
Am vicariously enjoying your trip planning, and reliving mine!
Are you staying on points or paying?
Also, what dates are you traveling?
If you are paying, its cheaper to stay in Bratislava and day trip to Vienna. Its about a 1 hr drive, or there is a high speed hydrofoil that goes from Bratislava to Vienna and lands right in Vienna as opposed to the slower hydrofoil from Budapest via Bratislava that lands outside of Vienna. Its ~20-30 EUR depending on the day and time. Also, for opera & concerts they are sometimes cheaper in either Prague or Bratislava.
The other thing to check is the musical performance schedules in Prague v. Vienna v. Bratislava. The same performers, e.g. Vienna Philharmonic, Opera, Boys Choir Tickets often play in both cities but cost less in Prague. Some of the performances are also available in Bratislava. Usually when I visit a country I try to take in performances by composers of that country or regions, so both Mozart and Smentana would be good choices. For example, Mozart's Magic Flute is playing in March in Vienna for 40-50 EUR and Bratislava for 10-30 EUR, and in April in Prague for 20 EUR. I am willing to bet that at least Vienna and Prague are the same performance, and quite possibly Bratislava as well. You do want to decide quickly and get tickets as they do sell out. The concierge can usually get you tickets even after sold out but at higher prices than listed by the Opera Houses here.
Thank you very much for all of these recommendations. They're most helpful. During our Skype meeting last night, we decided to just stay in Vienna for all four days, 5/26 - 5/30. I'm happy with just focusing on Vienna and Austria sights this trip since there's so much to see, and then save Bratislava for another holiday (perhaps along with Budapest), especially with all of the medieval Austrian towns that newhiltonmembr mentions. So many great options, not enough time!
I had looked previously for Vienna Boys Choir performances, and I can't find one during our stay. There is one the morning of 5/26, but we won't arrive in Vienna until later in the day. That would have been just the icing on the cake. I would really enjoy a concert however, and will do some searching. There are no performances scheduled at the SRS during our stay, but they do have some practice sessions available. Since there is so much to do and see and since there will be 4 of us with varied interests (my brother in law informed me that he is not interested in watching "horses dancing." Yes, I had to suppress a gasp! I may be doing that on my own...) What website did you use for Vienna concert tickets?
Thanks again for so much great stuff!
Did you see this link with a performance of the Vienna Boy Choir on Fri afternoon on the 31st?
Are you still in town?
|with the Vienna Boys Choir 2013|
Gala concerts with the Vienna Boys Choir, and the orchestra "Camerata Schulz" the are held on Friday afternoon, 5:30PM, at the Musikzentrum Augarten, Obere Augartenstraße 1, 1020 Wien, on following dates in the year 2013. The concert lasts approximately an hour and 15 minutes.
Don't know if you'll get a response from GemPrincess, but I can tell you that it's an easy, scenic drive from Prague to Vienna, maybe 4 hours if I correctly recall. We made a stop in Brno to dine at an amazing restaurant called Koishi at the recommendation of our sommelier at an AVPN restaurant (also excellent) in Prague. You have to buy a license to drive in the CR, if not you could be stopped and cited (like we were.)
Message was edited by: pluto77 To clarify, it's not a driving license, more like a road license.
I highly recommend a day trip to Melk from Vienna. The abbey is stunning. You can buy a combo ticket which includes the train to Melk from Vienna and a boat from Melk to Krems and the train from Krems back to Vienna.
Or you could get off the boat at Durnstein to explore a charming, medieval town before returning to Vienna!
I saw the Vienna Boys Choir at mass on Sunday morning before going to the Lipizzaner performance at the Spanish Riding School.
I also went to the Piber Stud Farm on my way from Graz to Hallstatt. If you're anywhere near Graz, do go to Stift Rein! Gorgeous! And, very moving when I walked into the abbey church while the monks where chanting. WOW!!!
Every time I click on one of your links, I inhale sharply! Never a disappointment. Taking a river boat to these places sounds so charming. How do you find out about all of these hidden gems and how much time has it taken you to visit all of the places in Austria (and also Cesky Krumlov and others)?
Hearing monks sing in a medieval abbey could make up for missing the Vienna Boys Choir...
Fantastic, and as always - Thank You!!!!!!!!!
I have yet to do the River Cruises though I would like to.
One of my colleagues at work has done the Viking River Cruises and really liked them, taking the trip from St. Pete to Moscow which I have always wanted to do, and is longer than the normal 7d river cruise.
They have 2 for 1 sales, which is the thing to do as their rates are higher than most of the ocean going cruises.
They do include house wine, which is their own bottled wine. My friend says its nice, and he was happy with it.
and they also include the cost of exercursions as well. I believe the cabins are all outside and suites as well.
Some of the more upscale lines, like my cousins use (more expensive than Viking River Cruises), buy the food and wine at every stop and make dishes based on what is locally available. I do forget the name of the cruiseline, but they have primarily done the French River Cruises.
Below is the link to the article my cousin's wife referred me to in choosing river cruises, as this is what she uses, and she is a very demanding traveler.
When I am too old to walk all over a big city, I shall look into river boat cruises. As long as I can walk 4 or 5 miles each day and I shall continue to do my vacationing on land. I'm not criticizing these cruises, we just love to walk on our own. Vienna is a great city for walking.
Thanks very much! Glad you like the pics of these places that I enjoyed so much!
I visited Austria as part of two trips. My vacations are typically a total of 19 nights or so including the flight. One trip was Prague, C. Krumlov, Vienna with a day trip to Melk, and Budapest with a day trip to Szentendre (spelling on that is probably wrong!)
2nd trip was Graz, visit at Piber Stud Farm on way to Hallstatt, St. Wolfgang stopping in Bad Ischl for lunch, a walk-around and tour of the hunting lodge, day trip across the lake to St. Gilgen, Salzburg, and Innsbruck with stop at a castle along the way.
Here is what I wrote on Fodors about Stift Rein:
"Here is the website for Stift Rein: http://www.stift-rein.at/content/view/full/809
If you click on the Service link, you see the times for Chorgebet (choir prayer). Mittagshore is at noon.
I think the tours are in German but even so would be worth it. I luckily hooked up with a private tour guide who spoke English and allowed me to join her tour.
The other church she had me follow her to is the Pilgrim's Church of Maria Strassengel.
You can google for photos of both churches."
Here's what I posted on another thread last year about these churches...
"I also found walking into Stift Rein at noon a very moving experience as the monks were singing the noon vespers in a side chapel when I arrived in the amazing baroque basilica. Stunning... and an 'OMG' moment. It is a Cistercian monastery founded in 1129, it is now the oldest Cistercian monestary in the world. This is truly a gorgeous church! Like Weiskirche in Bavaria, Germany but with more grounds...they grow apples for schnapps, etc.
Also, the libray at Stift Rein is a must see. I saw the basilica on my own but was lucky enough to be allowed to join a private tour for the other sites on the property, including the recently discovered medieval chapel.
The tour guide was such a sweet woman that after her tour group left, she offered to show me around to some other sites on the grounds. Afterwards, she recommended another church that I should see in the area, the Pilgrim's Church of Maria Strassengel... which she insisted that I should follow her to so as not to miss it! She was right... another 'do not miss'! And, the site of it, sitting high on a hill above the golden fields! I stopped on my way down for soooooo many photo ops!"
Me back again... I do a lot of research via the Internet, guide books, other travel forums.... and being lucky enough to get great recommendations from other travelers, hotel workers, and in this particular case, a lovely tour guide who allowed me to tag along!
Message was edited by: newhiltonmembr
Here is an interesting river cruise from Nuremberg to Vienna which is rather pricey but would be in lieu of a car, hotels, meals, sightseeing costs, wine, etc.
Some more links to budget options, but they are German. Websites have an English option....wonder if the same is true on board? Pictures are great though. Gives a good feeling for being on the Danube.
List of Excursion operators by country
List of Cruise Ship operators by country
I haven't tried them yet cause of the prices. The ocean going cruise ship lines seem to be more reasonable if you just cruise, and do none of the extras. If you start ordering wine, eating in specialty restaurants, take alot of tours especially in Europe, I think the River Cruises might actually cost less, its just your paying it all out upfront.
For instance the NCL cruise I took from Barcelona to Malta, Naples (Amalfi Coast tour), Rome, Florence and Cannes, was very reasonable. About $600/pp for the 1st & 2nd passenger, and $99 each for my niece and nephew. So for $1400 we were all on a ship, with a cabin (they are small cabins which worked better when the kids were younger, but now they are taller than my sister and I), all meals and entertainment. I bought everyone a soda card for ~$50 for the week so they were all covered for drinks, and a wine pak for my sister and I that is anywhere from $100-200 for enough bottles to last us a week.
Malta was very reasonable as we walked around and did a self guided tour using my research.
Naples - all the cruise tours were $100+, so for 4 people its well over $500 - so I hired a car service and we drove the Amalfi Coast. I think the cruise line was charging $300/pp. Didn't want to rent a car and chance missing the ship due to being lost, or stuck in traffic.
Rome - same thing...cheapest tour was bus xport only for $150/pp with naration for the 2 hr drive it was $200/pp, and with tours in Rome it was $300/pp. So I hired the same car service that we used in Naples, as our office uses them and they are reliable.
Florence - same as above.
Cannes - we visited the family in Mougin. They picked us up at the dock and drove ~5-10km to the farm and cooked dinner together like we use to do in the old days, but was a really new experience for my niece and nephew.
So I probably spent another $1500-2000 in transport/tours/meals for Naples, Rome and Florence. If I had to pay for Malta and Cannes, at the same rates, it would have been another $1000 +- $500 depending on the type of tour.
So if its just my sister and I, and we get a 2 for 1 deal on a river cruise, its probably about the same price, or maybe a little less, but you get to spend more time in the cities and towns as you are not driving 1-2 hr each direction for a total of 2-4 hr per port for Rome and Florence. Also, you don't worry about how much your spending in each port for the tours. You don't want to have to miss anything while your there.
I Loved Schonnbrun, jerryl. Walk up to La Glorietta (hope I spelled it right), then up to the rooftop terrace. Wonderful view of the palace grounds and Vienna beyond. I LOVED Vienna.
Hi ! I have stayed at the Marriott twice - excellent location! Planning on going back next year but like you am considering the Renaissance Riding School and still looking into it though it is a little farther afield of everything but a pleasant walk. Definitely visit the Musikverein (where they do the annual New Year's Eve broadcast - best acoustics and also the Vienna Opera (take a tour of the building if you're not going there for a performance). DO NOT MISS taking the Danube tour up to Melk for the day - highlight of your trip!. You can keep yourself very busy for a whole week...mush to see and do. You'll also be there during the monthly Festwocken (arts festival with some free activities too). I envy you. Wish I were going back this year ... check out Festwocken (google search for a calendar of events).
Don't miss the Lippizanner, but avoid the combination Vienna Boys Choir/Lippizanner (I did this last year - it was rather expensive and would rather just have had the Lippizanner experience. Have Fun !
I saw the Vienna Boys Choir at mass on Sunday morning before going to the Lipizzaner performance at the Spanish Riding School/.
You can see the Vienna Choir Boys at mass before the Lipiazanner horse show on Sunday mornings, at no cost unless you want to contribute to the offering basket, at the Palace chapel. Stand in the vestibule to watch the mass and boys on the TV monitor, which is a split screen so you can see them and mass You can't see them in the church until the end of mass when the boys go onto the altar to sing their last song.
Then swing around the palace grounds to get to the Imperial Riding School for the horses, which you do need to pay for entrance.
We stayed at IRS. The location was definitely not a problem. Easy walk to inside the ring, or could take a tram if you really wanted to. IRS was a great stay. Visited the Marriott inside the ring; it is very nice, but more expensive. IRS was nice too though. Belvedere is close by too.
stayed at the Renaissance Riding School--real good CL--a little distant from the inner city but not bad. Took a train down to Bratislava for a day trip--very efficient. Got to hear the philharmonic practice at the Schonbroen Palace while we sipped afternoon tea for free. Nice dinner at Plachutta
We stayed at the IRS about 5 years ago and it was quite nice. It's a long walk or an easy tram ride to the center city. The walk to the city takes you past the church where the Vienna Boys Choir performs so look into their schedule.
The CL was excellent, especially the deserts, but that is what is best in Vienna. Staff at the IRS was most helpful.
Vienna has a few wanderful main attactions : all of downtown and Schönbrunn Caste as wel as the Prater with the famous Ferris wheel. The distance between those is about 5 kms. But don´t worry, Vienna has one of the best public transports worldwide. So walking distance does anyway not work. Big plus for the Imp riding school: Price and wonderful lounge, as well al lower priced restaurants close by. The downtown Marriott is almost double the price. 150 ms away from the IRS is a TRAM which brings you directly to Prater (Ferros wheel) and close to downtown. I would always opt for the IRS, esp. because of the price.