Vienna: One day three ways


Pick up rye or apricot rolls and a coffee at Gragger & Cie (; $10). The best cheap treat is a tram ride around the Ringstrasse ($3): hop off at the imperial monuments and statue-strewn parks. In the old town, venerable Figlmuller (; $20) has famously enormous schnitzels. Then head to Schonbrunn Palace (; $16), the Hapsburg summer residence. The baroque state apartments display imperial style, but the glorious gardens dissolve into more informal parkland with views over Vienna. An evening's walk through the old town costs nothing. Fabulous buildings glow under floodlights. It is quintessentially Viennese to have a sausage meal at Wurstelstand bei der Albertina (; $10). Sleep at the centrally located Drei Kronen (; from $120) in a lovely art nouveau building with cheerful, reasonably sized rooms.

TOTAL: $179


Hire a bicycle for the day at one of the 100-odd public bike stations around town (; $34). Pedal about the city's main sights and into the bohemian 4th District, full of art galleries and coffeehouses, and adjacent to the colourful fresh-food Naschmarkt. Lunch at Cafe Drechsler (; from $15), a trendy diner that serves traditional dumplings and schnitzel. Investigate the Museum of Applied Arts (; $11), which displays a fascinating collection of porcelain, textiles and furniture. As a bonus, you can dine at attached Osterreicher im MAK restaurant (; $35), noted for its contemporary take on Viennese cuisine. Enjoy a rooftop nightcap at Bar Bloom (; $10), before retiring to Hotel Topazz (; from $189), near the cathedral. The hotel features chic, compact guestrooms with a whimsical design edge.

TOTAL: $294


Head to the Kunsthistorisches Museum (; $20), where the reopened Kunstkammer (Cabinet of Curiosities) presents a treasure-trove of jewelled objects, exotica and curious Hapsburg collectables. Then explore the trendy nearby 7th District, where eclectic fashion boutiques sell leather bags, jewellery, and hip clothing by young Austrian designers. For a light lunch, the 1884 Cafe Sperl (; $20) has a charming old-world vibe. In the afternoon, admire the old town on a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride ($115 for 40 minutes). Dine early at elegant Plachuttas Gasthaus zur Oper (; $57) on Austrian dishes such as Tafelspitz, before an evening at the State Opera (; about $115). Challenge yourself with a stay at Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom (; from $317), an avant-garde hotel with a marvellous top-floor restaurant offering splendid city views.

TOTAL: $644