Budapest has lots to excite tourists, from great food, to amazing culture and stunning visual scenery – but luck would have it that another amazing capital city – Vienna – is near by and also has much to offer. While the memories are still fresh, I thought I would share with you my recent road trip to Vienna & Budapest. This was a spontaneous road trip with my brother, and also a very short trip overall. However we explored so much and created new memories which I am excited to share.
I hope this inspires you to consider exploring these two amazing cities on your next travel plans around Europe.
Only a 6 hour drive from Belgrade (plus an extra hour waiting at the border) is the beautiful city of Vienna. Vienna is Austria’s capital and lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by many famous individuals such as Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. This city has been on my list of places to visit for a long time and I am very happy to have had the chance to visit and explore.
Oh, Vienna! Built high and mighty, the city itself is absolutely beautiful. With such a rich cultural and historical heritage, the Austrian capital is fun to wander. Other than exploring the main city center with the beautiful architecture, churches, shops and cafes, I really enjoyed visiting the Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn Palace was once the main summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. This palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historic monuments in the country. We also explored outside of the city to a couple of villages where we found a castle and a park with a lake. The village was only a 20 minute drive, so not too far away if you wish to explore outside of the capital.
You can find Schonbrunn Palace about a 15 min drive from the city. When we arrived I was absolutely amazed with the grandeur of this place. I have visited the Versailles Palace in France before, so much of this grand space reminded me of Paris.
We brought the classic pass which gives you access to the inside of the palace and gardens. The gardens were my highlight, they are absolutely beautiful and well maintained. Believe it or not it took us 3 hrs of walking to see just a quarter of the entire palace. To put this in perceptive, the entire palace has about 1,441 rooms, we saw maybe 20. With the garden pass you get to explore the mazes and multiple view points which are not open for everyone. There is also a gorgeous cafe that you will find to the left of the gardens, this is where we sat and enjoyed some Sachertorte. This is a chocolate cake of Austrian origin, It was invented by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Metternich in Vienna. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties.
BURG LIECHTENSTEIN CASTLE
My other favourite spot in Vienna was Mödling village. The Mödlingbach, a brook which rises in the Vienna Woods, flows through this town. Near here is where we found the Burg Liechtenstein Castle. We actually found this by complete accident. We looked up suggestions on Google Maps of attraction sites near by and this came up. Unfortunately by the time we got there, the place was closed. However we got to see the outside of the castle and walked around the area which also has walkways and a park near by.
The next place we found was Schloss Laxenberg. This was once was a summer home for the Habsburg dynasty, but now a park and event complex. This park is much bigger than you would expect it to be. There is a small entrance fee of 2 euros to get into this park. It did take us a while to get to the castle on the water near by, as the park lacks signs in English. The best part was that we discovered a boat hire service. We absolutely had to hire one and spend some time on the water! It was honestly such a nice experience, super relaxing and picturesque. This is a great place for families to visit as well. This should be on everyone’s top list of things to do in Vienna.
BUDAPEST / BUDA CASTLE
A 3 hour drive from Vienna, is Budapest! This is the capital of Hungary and the most populated city in the country. When we arrived in Budapest I was amazed because of the capital’s charm from the many cultural influences that affected the city during its long history. The city is filled with people, hidden cafes and restaurants and seemed culturally diversified. There was so much going on in this city, your eyes will have no time to rest. In Budapest we visited the Buda Castle which is located on a hill, like a fortress with the view of the city across the Danube River. This fortress was once a palace complex of the Hungarian Kings. We also visited the Shoes on the Danube which is a very memorable site to visit.
SHOES ON THE DANUBE
Budapest is great in the fact that you can walk everywhere. If you have time spare, take a stroll down the streets and explore how the locals live. We spent a lot of our time walking around the city. It is filled with many shops, side street cafes and restaurants. We visited the Shoes on the Danube as well. This is a memorial to honor the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. This was my first time visiting a memorial like this and it was very sad to see and ponder what those poor people went through. We didn’t get too have too much time in Budapest overall, less that 2 days, but we did walk everywhere and I absolutely loved exploring. The entire road trip was amazing and it was wonderful to explore new places and different cultures 😁.
I hope I get to go back to Budapest one day to explore all of the other sights that we missed out on this time. Even though it was a short road trip I am so happy to have explored and seen something new. In the future, I look forward to seeing other non-touristy places such as Slovakia, Slovenia and many other wonderful places.
I hope this road trip inspires you to visit Vienna or Budapest in your next travel plans. You can find more photos over on my Instagram highlights. If there is a place you have been to which you have found amazing let me know in the comments below.