Inexpensive Destinations Within Two Hours of the Austrian Capital
When spending a semester or year abroad in Vienna, consider getting out of the city and exploring the surrounding area. Here is a list of suggestions for day trips.
The magnificent city of Vienna is home to hundreds of cultural and student-oriented attractions. While studying abroad there for a semester or year, see as much as possible, particularly areas off the tourist radar. But be sure to venture outside the city lines once in a while, maybe even to one of these suggested destinations. All are within a couple of hours via train or bus, give student travelers the opportunity to see a bit more of Austria and border countries, and are even home to attractions that may suit specific academic interests.
Just over Austria’s eastern border is Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. The city has a population of about 430,000, and is located on the Danube River. Bratislava is a university city with several cultural attractions, such as castles. Like Vienna, the city is influenced by the cultures of both Eastern and Western Europe.
Krems and the Waldviertel
For an escape to the country, consider visiting the small town of Krems, in the area of Austria known as the Waldviertel (Forest Quarter). One of the main attractions here is Melk Abbey, a massive yellow baroque structure that rests on a hill overlooking the area, and resembles a palace more than an abbey.
South of Vienna is the small city of Wiener Neustadt, just a very short train ride away. Depending on whether the trip is made with one of the slower regional trains or the speedier Inter City train, it can take anywhere from a half hour to forty-five minutes to get to Wiener Neustadt. Though the city has a population of just 40,000, it is the site of several museums, particularly ones that are science-oriented, such as an aviation museum and an industrial museum.
This hunting lodge (called the Altes Jagdschloss in Austria) was the site of the mysterious deaths of crown prince Rudolf and his mistress in 1889. The gruesome theories range from a murder-suicide to a planned assassination, though a murder-suicide is the most commonly believed theory. The unsolved crime involving Austria’s Habsburg dynasty has since become a macabre tourist attraction. The trip out to Mayerling ranges from an hour to an hour and a half, and is accessible by taking a train, followed by a bus.
Just about two hours from Vienna is Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. The site of brutal treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, it is now a museum that reminds all visitors of the horrors that occurred during the Nazis’ reign of terror. It is possible to get there by train from Vienna, with a change in the small town of St. Valentin.
For students studying abroad in Vienna looking to spend more than just a day away, there are also many great weekend trip possibilities. All are within a reasonable distance (or via direct, express train ride) from Vienna. But for a day trip, consider destinations within Austria such as Mauthausen, Mayerling, Wiener Neustadt, or the Waldviertel, or even crossing the border into the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. These are all inexpensive trips that may be of interest to students spending a semester or year studying in the Austrian capital.