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Nowadays there is a lot of information about visiting Vienna. By browsing the web you’ll find numerous posts titled, “48 Hours in Vienna”, “10 Reasons to like Vienna” and countless travel guides, so I won’t add to the overwhelming list of positive reviews and travel resources. However, I do want to share a bit of my experience during my recent trip through Central Europe and confess that Vienna did not make my list of great cities. Here are 5 reasons why I did not like Vienna:
While spending a few days in Budapest I was pleasantly surprise by how easily one can stretch a Forint. However, during my stay in Vienna the money situation took a different turn. In order to keep within budget we stayed at an “All You Need”, which is a 2 star hotel and even then I think we paid too much for what we got. Not only are the hotels expensive but also eating out. For the most part we ate at a fast food restaurant near the hotel and we still managed to spend about $20 Euros for a schnitzel in a box, a burger and drinks. Eating in coffee houses is not cheap either. Almost $10 euros for a cafe latte and a pastry… that’s just too much! We spent two days in Vienna and money wise it was like spending four days in Hungary or the Czech Republic. In case you didn’t know Vienna ranks at number 24 in the world ranking of expensive cities. The cost of accommodation and food is generally more expensive than any other central/eastern European city.
There’s just so much food and all of it is delicious. This is because Austria has so much international influence in their dishes. From meat dishes to desserts; you will want to try every single one. Wiener Schnitzels, Apfelstrudels, Tortes, they are all extremely high in calories and if you’re not careful, not only will you be spending more but will also put some extra pounds.
Because there’s too much to see it was very difficult for me to decide which castle or museum to visit. If you only have a couple of days in Vienna you’ll be trying to see everything and you won’t be able to. Plus, there are a lot of places to see which means you will also be spending more money, which leads back to reason number one. I only spent two days in Vienna and perhaps only covered about 30% of the attractions. You just need to take a look at TripAdvisor and you’ll see that the list of things to do in Vienna is quite overwhelming.
Vienna in general has bad service and people still expect a tip. We went to a coffee house and the waitress made us and other people wait about 20 minutes just to get the menu, and the place wasn’t even busy. My advice is that when you enter a restaurant or coffee house you order right away. Do not ask them to give you more time because it will be half an hour before you see them again. I encountered more problems with rude waiters and staff in Vienna than in any other city I’ve visited, and from what I’ve read I am not the only one.
Stores close early, between five and seven o’clock. Also, the nightlife in Vienna isn’t always easy to find even though the party week starts on Wednesday and on weekends goes all night long. In the summer near the river there are some things going on but not as much as you’d imagine. I think Vienna is more of a culture trip than anything else.
Don’t get me wrong, I did not hate Vienna, nor did I have a terrible time there. I just did not love it or liked it as much as I liked other cities in Austria. Everything I’ve listed is little more than a nit, but a bunch of them collectively added up to me having a so-so opinion of the city. I don’t regret visiting Vienna; I just don’t think I would ever visit again.
Have you visited a city you did not particularly enjoy as much as others?