I had seen a suggested day trip to Vienna from Bratislava on Tripadvisor but discovered the night before our journey, that the train station it suggested you arrive at, in Vienna, no longer exists!!
From Hpf we took the underground to Schönbrunn to see Schönbrunn Palace. The Palace is opposite the underground station which is great and was easy enough to find, this is not a small palace! There are a number of different ticketing options and we opted for the Imperial Tour €12.90. You are given a time slot for your visit, ours was 2 hours ahead, so we had apple strudel and a hot drink in the garden and then wandered around the Christmas market.
The time soon went by and we didn’t even get as far as looking at the gardens. We paid 50c each to go to the toilet and when we got back to the hotel found we had been given a voucher for a free visit (it must have come with our food!) Ah well! I would recommend you go inside the palace a bit before your time slot so you can drop off any big bags and join the queue.
After the tour we headed to Herrengasse station on the underground and were lucky to book the last 2 slots on the 5pm English language tour at the Spanische Hofreitschule (Spanish Riding School).
This meant we had a few hours to tour the shops and we bought a late lunch at Nordsee which sells nice salmon with wild rice, potatoes or vegetables, among other seafood and fish options. The shopping streets of Vienna are so pretty.
The Spanish horses and riders have Monday’s off, but on the tour you can see the horses in their stables. The other days they have morning practice sessions you can watch but I imagine you need to book well in advance.
After the tour of the Stables we headed to Philharmonikerstrasse (which was quite a challenge to find). Here you will find the Hotel Sacher which has Cafe Mozart attached. Considering it is quite famous we were seated almost immediately, but it was very busy. I did try the Sachertorte (chocolate & apricot jam cake) which to be honest I found a bit dry and heavy (it was also lacking the mirror glaze I thought it was famous for). Their other cakes looked delicious, but felt I should give it a go.
We then walked to Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) and could just make out the spire in the fog. There are lots of people trying to get you to see a concert, but we just didn’t have time. It was then time for is to head back to Hpf station and catch the train to Bratislava.
Our train on the way back was an old fashioned one, with a corridor against one window and lots of little cabins that seated 6. No-one checked our ticket for Austria or Slovakia which was weird.
Considering how much cheaper it is to fly to and stay in Bratislava, this is a much cheaper way of seeing Vienna.