Exploring a Lesser-Traveled European City

You might recall a few months back that travel bloggers Chloe Marchant and Andrew Brown of Creatively Clo explored Liverpool, the home of the Beatles, and now they’re back with another adventure that offers architectural and cultural wonders. During a trip to Central Europe, the couple stopped in Prague, Berlin, and Vienna. Their hearts were immediately captured by Vienna, Austria, in a way they hadn’t anticipated.

What sent you on this adventure?

Chloe and Andrew stop and admire the architecture along this empty alley.

CM: I own a travel blog, Creatively Clo, and we are always looking for new adventures. When I heard that Air Canada launched a new direct flight from Toronto to Vienna, we knew it was our time to visit this gem. 

AB: We figured since we’d already been to Europe earlier this year, why not try a few of the other places they had to offer?

What was most surprising about this adventure?  

Chloe takes in the beauty of the Schönbrunn Palace. Built in the mid 1700s, it was the summer home of the Habsburg royal family.

CM: Since we visited three well-known cities, I honestly thought Berlin or Prague would have been my favorite. However, I was dead wrong. Vienna took my heart, and it was my favorite place among the three. 

AB: It’s remarkably easy to get around and converse. Most people speak English, and the public transportation is very advanced.

If other Eastsiders go, what should they absolutely fit into their itinerary?

The grounds of the Belvedere Museum.

CM: I highly recommended taking time to do the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. It offers a great way to see some of the city’s top attractions and get a unique view of the architecture. I’d say take the tour on your first day and stay on the bus, keeping track of your highlights, and then plan out your schedule to go back and visit the grounds.  

AB: The MuseumsQuartier is a must. It’s an area full of multiple historical buildings and artifacts, all conveniently in the same district. I also recommend the Belvedere and Schönbrunn Palace, both former royal residences that are a delight to wander through.

Where did you stay?

CM: We actually stayed at two hotels that I highly recommend. The first hotel was called Altstad, and is designed so that each room is unique and a work of art. The second hotel, 25hours Hotel at MuseumsQuartier, is a circus-themed hotel targeted more for those young at heart. It includes a rooftop party deck that offers beautiful views of MuseumsQuartier — which is this stretch with museums and theaters to explore. 

What was the best thing about your trip?

A typical Viennese lunch from Bitzinger.

CM: Oh, that’s a tough one. Vienna was so inspirational, it’s hard to think of just one thing that was my favorite. However, if I had to choose, I’d say trying all the unique beer and food offerings. The Viennese most definitely know how to cook up some good sausage and beer! 

AB: It’s hard to express in words, but Europe simply has a different atmosphere than that of life at home. The pace of the day is slower, people are more friendly, and there’s a constant air of extensive history present wherever you go. It’s there every time we’ve been to Europe, and
you don’t get it anywhere else.

What was the coolest thing, or things, you learned on this adventure about the people you met or yourself?

An exhibit in the Belvedere Museum.

CM: One of my favorite things about doing travel for work is all the people I get to meet, and in Vienna, I met quite a lot of wonderful people. One of the days we spent touring Vienna with a lovely tour guide named Ilse Heigerth. She shared a little bit about her family and what it was like growing up in Austria. It’s so interesting to hear how the culture of growing up is so different than being raised in America. 

AB: Well-known destinations are fun to see, but one of the great pleasures in traveling that I discovered is the joy one can have just wandering the streets. Quite a bit about a culture can be absorbed purely through the architecture, the cars, the people around you, and the food for sale. Just taking in our surroundings was a rich experience that I didn’t expect, and something most of us Americans probably take for granted.

What didn’t we ask you that we should have? Feel free to share more.

Just one of the beautiful architectural
pieces in MuseumsQuartier.

CM: I grazed the topic of Viennese food, and how delicious some of the meals were. One of the places I highly recommend checking out is Bitzinger. It’s a small stand located behind the State Opera and in front of the Albertina Museum, and is your traditional wiener schnitzel meal. Be prepared to wait in line, as that location is pretty prime! They also have a stand at The Prater — an amusement park located on the Eastside of the city. 

AB: When most people think of Europe, their first thoughts are usually cities like London, Paris, and Rome. It’s rather unfair that Vienna gets lost in the shuffle of all other Middle and East European cities, since it’s truly one of the most beautiful in the world. If you’re planning on a trip to a more clichéd European city, I strongly recommend thinking twice and instead jaunting to Vienna.

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