Four days in Vienna with kids (by Robert)

posted in: Europe | 35
View of the Stephansdom, Vienna
View of the Stephansdom, which was two minutes from our hotel!

Mum, Grandpa and I went on a four night trip to Austria. Grandpa was born in Vienna, but had to leave in 1939 when he was very young, and he was taking me there to show me some of our family history.

The plane journey was comfortable and short leaving us plenty of time to check in to our hotel and check out the local area. We stayed in the Hotel Royal, a lovely building that had everything we needed (except for an English TV). It’s situated right in the middle of Vienna meaning we didn’t have many long journeys. It was really easy to walk every where and we were just a few minutes from the Stefansdom (St Stephen’s Cathedral) which is a real Viennese landmark.

Traditional dumplings at Huth Gastwirtschaft
Traditional dumplings at Huth Gastwirtschaft

We went to Huth Gastwirtshacft , which is a traditional Viennese restaurant, for dinner, and a few drinks as well, and sampled some of the biggest pasta (or dumplings) I have ever seen. They only gave us three pieces but it was more than enough. All the staff were really friendly and the food was very nice. It all seemed very Austrian too.

Day one:

After a filling breakfast of croissants and yoghurt we set out on a tour of Vienna. Our tour guide was Brigitte Timmermann who showed us loads of cool and interesting things. I personally liked the Monument Against War and Fascism, which was made up of four monuments, dedicated to different types of people who suffered from the Second World War.  It is behind Vienna’s opera house, on the Albertinaplatz.

Memorial against Fascism, Vienna
Part of the memorial against Fascism

I also found the archives at the DOW (Documentation of Austrian Resistance) really interesting and it is definitely worth going there and looking at the small exhibition about what happened around the war years. We saw one of the voting cards for the referendum for whether Austria should join Germany under Hitler and it was amazing to see how the “Ja” (yes) was a really big circle and the “nein” very small.  I also loved the view of the city from up high.

Cakes and hot chocolate
We had lots of delicious cake and hot chocolate in Vienna!

You may or may not know that Mozart spent many years in Vienna, so there were plenty of shops and buildings dedicated to the composer. After a long time walking we went to have lunch, at Café Mozart. The food served there was great. I had a large portion of crispy fish and chips, heated lemonade (which was really nice) and for dessert a small creamy cake… and half a portion of pancakes! This was probably my favourite restaurant that we went to, so I would recommend going.

Next, we went to the Clock Museum, three whole floors of clocks, watches and sundials. Each room explained how time-telling machines had evolved over time. Although there were some very cool clocks I personally found the museum quite boring but my sister liked it when she went a few years ago.

After we went to synagogue, we had Friday-night dinner at Alef Alef, which is a kosher restaurant. To be honest it was more of a feast. Our table was already covered in bowls and dishes when we sat down and that was only the first course. We were then provided with chicken soup, salmon and vegetables before we even got onto the main course. We had the option of schnitzel or chicken, I picked the schnitzel which turned out to be a very good choice. Dessert was a pudding smothered in sauce but I was too full up to eat any of it!


Outside Time-Travel in Vienna
Outside Time-Travel

This was my favourite day of the holiday as it was jam-packed with loads of cool things. First we went to Time Travel which was a bit like the London dungeons (but without being as scary). We were given audio guides that played exactly in time with the tour guide speaking in German –  this was really clever. The experience included a 5D ride where you travel through time, a show about the Habsburg family and a music-off between Mozart and Strauss. There was also a ride that took you on a Viennese waltz, a section where you find out what it was like to be in an air raid shelter during the war and a tour of Vienna on a flying horse. I loved Time-Travel and would definitely recommend it if you go to Vienna with kids. Our hotel also had vouchers for 20 per cent off, so you should look for these in yours!

On a horse and carriage in Vienna
Robert loved the horse and carriage

We then went on a 20 minute horse and carriage ride. It was really fun, cosy and exciting and was a really cool thing to do even if it only took a short amount of time.

My great grandparents lived and ran a cinema in Vienna before World War II came along and mucked everything up. It felt really special going into the cinema called the Admiral Kino. I particularly liked the cinema’s old fashioned style which made me think that it hadn’t changed that much since my family had run it. The cinema was beautiful and I loved visiting it. You should definitely go if you are in Vienna.

The Admiral Kino
The Admiral Kino – the cinema once run by our family

The final thing we did was going to the operetta, a light opera, at the Volksoper. We saw the Circus Princess, a lively performance telling the story of love, betrayal and a horse rider called Mr X. The theatre provided the audience with English subtitles on a screen which was very helpful. I really enjoyed going to the operetta as the show was funny and clever at the same time.

Outside the Volksoper
Outside the Volksoper

Day three

We visited two different Jewish museums, one explaining the history of the Jews in Austria from Medieval times, and the other displaying people’s stories and objects. I personally liked the latter more become there was a more personal feel. For more on these museums read mum’s post as she explains it in more detail.

Next on the agenda was taking a trip to the Prater which is a large theme park. The Prater is most famous for the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel, which we obviously went on. Like the London Eye it slowly takes you on a vertical circuit giving you plenty of time to take pictures and look at the views. I really enjoyed going on the wheel and couldn’t resist going on some of the other rides too.

By the Ferris Wheel at the Prater
By the Ferris Wheel at the Prater

Finally we visited Schönbrunn Palace, a beautiful building where the previous leaders of Austria had lived. We had the option of a longer, more detailed tour or a quicker one so we picked the latter as the palace was to close in half an hour. The audio guide was really interesting and I learnt a lot. The gardens were also very beautiful.

Day four

At the Haus der Musik, Vienna
These stairs were musical keys!

On Monday we went to the Haus der Musik which was a brilliant museum, all about sound, starting with a staircase which had steps which played musical notes. While we were there we created our own tunes, conducted the Vienna Philarmonic and more. This is a place which families will really love if they come to Vienna and I am going to write more on it in a later post.

Overall I had a brilliant holiday, there was so much to do, and eat. There were so many chocolate shops and bakeries as well as museums, monuments and theatres. I had a great time and can say that there is something for all ages. I also felt very lucky to find out more about my family’s history.

Robert and Grandpa enjoyed a cake at the famous Demel Cafe
Robert and Grandpa enjoyed a cake at the famous Demel Cafe

We had help from the Vienna Tourist Board while planning our trip, as well as the use of a Vienna Card, which gives you free travel and money off attractions in the city. 

Read the Five Things You Must Do in Vienna, by Jessica (and they are not all the ones mentioned here……)

Wander Mum

35 Responses

  1. Nikki Thomas

    Vienna is one of the places I would love to visit, so I really enjoyed reading this and the photos are wonderful too. You certainly managed to fit a lot into a very short space of time.

  2. Louise Edwards

    The faces on these photos say what an amazing time you had in Vienna. This is on my list of places to visit it looks brilliant and lots to keep you busy. The cakes look delicious I must say and great to find out some of your family history too! x

  3. Ness

    That’s amazing that you could trace your family’s history in Vienna. It must have been quite emotional for your Grandpa to go on such a trip. I remember going to Vienna on a school trip when I was a teenager and I couldn’t believe how fresh and clean the air was for a city compared to London!

  4. Andi

    I think it is very special to visit a place that is tied to your family history. My family visited the Azores Islands with my grandparents. My grandfather was born there and came to the U.S. when he was a child. We even met the priest that baptized him. It was really special and I am glad you were able to experience Vienna in this way!

  5. Tammyonthemove

    I love Vienna. There is so much to do. and it is so pretty. The food is the best and I think most restaurants serve big portions. I remember being served to massive Schnitzel with potato salad on one plate once. It was delicious though.

  6. Bob (The Traveling Fool)

    Sounds like a great time and you got to see where your grandparents lived. I was in Vienna many years ago and would love to go back one day. There is a lot of history and things to do. The Schönbrunn Palace is a pretty cool place to visit and I remember the food being great.

  7. Brenda

    Robert, we’ve always wanted to visit Vienna but after reading your post, it’s even more intriguing. How awesome to find our about your family history during your travels. I’d love to visit Time Travel with my family as well. I’m going to pin this to my board for reference.

    • Robert

      It was a brilliant holiday, one of my favourite trips in ages. I would definitely recommend going.

  8. Jen Walshaw

    Wow, I had never thought of taking the boys to Vienna, but you have convinced me. How wonderful to go with your GrandDad, it must have been quite moving

    • Robert

      It was very moving, especially seeing my ancestors’ names in the archives. Going to the cinema was also really special.

  9. Ting at MTM

    How lovely that you could learn about your family history with your grandparents. You packed so much in – and I’m pretty jealous of those dumplings! They’re huge!

  10. Kirsten

    Looks like a fabulous trip and a great way to learn about your family history. We haven’t been to Vienna in almost 20 years and would love to go back!

  11. Ed aND Jenn Coleman

    The post was so personable. It reminded me of the times my sister and I went with my Mom to Toronto while she was visiting clients in the outlying areas. You really were busy and made a great impression. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Elaine J Masters

    How wonderful to do this visit with your Grandpa. He must’ve been so happy to share this, his childhood home, with you too. Loved that the Cinema is still in business as well. I’d love to visit that clock museum too

  13. Fiona Cambouropoulos

    You have the boy with the biggest smile who clearly appreciated the trip. I love the look of a city break like this that is both educational and fun. #CityTripping

  14. Jo

    I love the way the whole family contribute to the post. I enjoyed reading some of your other posts as well, Kennedy Space Camp looks amazing and your review of Washington DC with kids was fab. Thanks for sharing with #CityTripping

  15. Elizabeth

    We are headed to Vienna in a few weeks so this was a very helpful post. I’ve filled out the itinerary with many of your suggestions (our kids are quite a bit younger!) I’m so glad to have found your blog. #CityTripping

  16. Elizabeth (wander mum)

    How great to be able to trace your family’s history and even go to the cinema they once owned. I love the multi-generational trip and getting a different perspective on Vienna. There are so many places I’ve not heard mentioned in other posts and guides so very refreshing and inspiring. Vienna is high on my list of places to visit this year! The Haus de Musik museum looks like one to visit! Thank for linking #citytripping

  17. Kate Williams

    Oh it looks fab there! My kids great grandparents were from Poland so I’d love for us all to go and have a look round there to find out a bit more family history.

  18. Jenny

    Vienna is on our list of places I hope to visit soon- so this was really useful reading. I think my son would love that time travel Museum too!

  19. The 34 Best European Cities For Kids - 2020 Guide - Travel Blog

    […] Vienna is one of the best cities to visit with kids – at any time of year. In the winter, they (and you) will love the Christmas markets, and in the spring, autumn or summer, it is wonderful to just walk around and enjoy all the delights on offer. Plus, the hot chocolate (a Viennese speciality) and cakes are great at any time! […]

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