What’s the best way to explore a city that you’re visiting for the first time? Should you sign up for a tour and let someone else guide you? Should you hop in a helicopter to get a bird’s eye view of things? There’s a plethora of fun and exciting ways to broaden your horizons in a new city, but backpacking is easily one of our favourite methods.
It’s just you, a backpack full of essential items, and the great outdoors on a backpacking trip. For the most part, that is. Plenty of backpackers travel with their friends and family members. A lot of folks even bring their pets along for the adventure. Backpacking is definitely one of those, “it’s the journey, not the destination” activities. The main goal of a backpacking trip is to see the world from a new perspective.
Vienna, Austria is a city that’s famous for its gorgeous architecture and natural beauty. However, it’s hard to appreciate any of that if one spends all day indoors. In our opinion, the best way to explore “the City of Music” is to go backpacking through Vienna. We’ll share some of our favourite backpacking spots with you, but remember — “journey, not the destination”. Also, remember to leave all your extra gear behind at a Vienna luggage storage locker.
Wanna know the great thing about the great outdoors? That term doesn’t just refer to distant forests or winding mountain trails. Parks, city squares, and palaces also fall into that category as well. Look no further than Belvedere Palace for proof.
This massive complex has been around for centuries and is one of Vienna’s most popular public spaces. The name is a bit deceptive, though. Belvedere Palace actually has two enormous Baroque style structures that guests can explore. Backpackers will probably be more interested in this venue’s lush gardens.
Vienna Woods is probably the sort of place that most people picture when they think about backpacking. This elevated forest is located near the Northern Limestone Alps. It’s full of towering trees, winding roads, and all sorts of flora and fauna. Backpackers can set up camp in certain parts of the woods if they’re so inclined. Because this is a highland forest, visitors will also find a gorgeous sky-high view of Vienna.
“Hausberge” is a German word that essentially means house mountain. Images of a rocky two-story abode might come to mind, but that’s not quite what the word hausberge is referring to. The Vienna Hausberge is actually a collection of steep mountain ranges located one hour from the city.
The Hohe Wand, Schneeberg, and Raxalpe mountains comprise the Vienna Hausberge. Each of these mountains is elevated high in the air, a factor that’ll make hiking all the more challenging. Suffice it to say that a trip to this mountain range isn’t for the faint of heart. However, it’s definitely a rewarding experience for backpackers who are up to the challenge.
It’s kind of difficult to choose just one structure to represent Vienna. After all, the city is full of so many amazing churches, palaces, skyscrapers. But Prater Park features a particular attraction that’s genuinely one of a kind — the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel. Known as the Wiener Riesenrad in German, this Ferris wheel is easily one of the most iconic structures in the city.
There’s a chance that you’ve probably heard about Schönbrunn Palace before you’ve even set foot in Vienna. This building is often touted as one of the most culturally significant structures in Europe. Normally, we’d be tempted to call a statement like that an exaggeration. But Schönbrunn Palace is the real deal.
This place has been around for more than 300 years. That’s 300 years of history that this structure has endured since the late 1700s. Backpackers will find that history reflected in the palace’s courtyard and garden areas.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Vienna’s skyline is easily one of the city’s most striking features. No matter which district you’re in, simply look to the skies and you’ll see a myriad of beautiful buildings. One structure stands out among the others, both literally and figuratively.
It’s a massive spire that stabs the clouds like the tip of the spear. It’s the tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This Roman Catholic church has been around since the early 1100s. It’s truly a marvel of Gothic architecture. Centuries later, St. Stephen’s Cathedral still stands tall.
Vienna State Opera
Powerful vocal performances and moving musicals are par for the course at the Vienna State Opera. Known as the Wiener Staatsoper in German, the Vienna State Opera is the home of the Opernball.
For those who don’t know, the Opernball is Vienna’s premiere Opera Festival. The greatest orchestras and choirs gather at the Vienna State Opera each year to delight the senses and sing to the soul. Backpackers will have a great time trekking around the State Opera’s premises.
Last but not least, we present the Volksgarten. This massive park is famous for several reasons, but its verdant rose garden is a major standout. Visitors come from all around the world just to see these flowers in bloom. That and the amazing array of rose art sprinkled all around the garden.
Guests can also find several monuments at the Volksgarten. Theseus Temple is one of the monuments that come to mind. Peter Nobile designed this Ancient Greek style building in the 1820s. It, along with the Sisi memorial, are some of the Volksgarten’s other big draws. Backpackers can genuinely make a day of exploring the Volksgarten. There are even a few cafes nearby in case you want to eat something besides trail mix and granola bars.