Vienna the Most Accessible city
Vienna was by far one of the most accessible cities I visited. I didn’t really know what to expect from Vienna and it was absolutely beautiful.
Accomodation: I ended up staying at the Wombat City Hostel The Lounge. I was meant to stay at the other Wombat City Hostel The Nashmarkt, which was more in the centre of town to avoid having to catch public transport, however typical me ended up at the wrong hostel. The room had lift access, however the bathroom wasn’t accessible but it was still nice and large. Unfortunately the laundry and bar were not accessible, however the staff were kind enough to do my laundry for me.
Transport: I was worried that by staying at a hostel outside of the city and having to use the train that I would struggle. However I didn’t have to worry because Vienna was the only city I visited where I could use the Trains!!!!!! Pretty much every train station had lift access which was also very well signposted. Each train is also low to the ground so you can get on and off the train even without a ramp. Most of the trams that go around the ring road are also accessible and so are the buses.
Overall Accessibility: Vienna was an accessible dream. With its almost 100% accessible transport, flat terrain, and free entry into all attractions. The only annoying part obviously was the cobblestones. But other than that if you are looking to start your travel adventure and want to start with somewhere that’s relatively easy Vienna would probably be it. This website has really good information regarding accessible venues, public transport, and also accessible accomodation https://www.wien.info/en/travel-info/accessible-vienna.
Day 1 – Walking Tour – Hofburg Palace, Museum Quarter, Stephens Cathedral Jewish Quarter and the Opera!!!
After arriving the night before by train from Budapest and arriving at the wrong hostel I started the day with a walking tour. After a surprisingly seamless and accessible train ride into the city I made my way to the start of the walking tour. I used this company; Good Vienna Tours .
The walking tour covered Stephansdom (Stephens cathedral- you can climb to the top however it is not accessible), ,The Hofburg Palace, Hofmusik Kapelle (the venue for the Vienna Boys Choir), The place of the Spanish Riding School, The Museum Quarter, the Opera House, Mozart’s statue, the place of Mozarts residence in Vienna and the Jewish Quarter.
After the long and very informative walking tour I was absolutely freezing I warmed up with some cheap delicious Austrian food at a place recommended by the tour guide.
I was told that when you go to Vienna you must go to the Opera. If you arrive a couple of hours early you can stand in line for standing seating for as little as 4 euros. I however wouldn’t of been able to get into the standing area so I went to the ticket office (without standing in line) and as a wheelchair was able to get tickets for 4 euros each. The accessible ticket I got was right down the front almost in the orchestra pit it, was incredible. For 4 euro is was such a bargin. The Opera was beautiful, however because I wasn’t in the standing section I didn’t have subtitles and it was in French so I had to guess what was going on. it was in French and I didn’t understand an awful lot.
Day 2 – Schobrunn Palace and the Naschmarkt
Today I started at Schobrunn Palace, which was the imperial summer palace of the royal family. It is located in the outer suburbs from Vienna not far from the hostel. I took a bus out to the palace, and again it was super accessible and seamless.
On the bus I met a girl that was staying at the hostel the was also going to the Schobrun Palace. When we arrived at the palace she got free entry as my carer and I got a discounted entry which we split both ways – another bargin. The palace has accessible entry and the route through the palace was well signposted. On entry to the palace you get an audio guide and get to learn all about the Austrian royal family.
The palace gardens were beautiful even though it was winter and freezing. The gardens are relatively flat, however the paths are made with pressed gravel which can be difficult to push on in places especially with my hands being so cold.
I caught the train (again with well signed lift access), to the Nashmarkt. The Nashmarkt is a huge food and product market. It has heaps of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as a couple of cafes and stalls that sell cheap delicious food. I settled on the very un Austrian meal of Falafel.
The night was finished with drinks with some other people at the hostel at an Australian themed bar that sold Vegemite jaffles – and no it did not make me home sick ( I am not a huge fan of Vegemite)
Day 3 – Ring road -Christmas Markets, Houses of Parliament, Town Hall, Albertina Museum
Today I decided to go all around the ring road. The ring road encircles Vienna and houses the main monumental civic buildings such as the Town Hall, Parliament, The University, and the Museum Quarter. As it was winter all along the ring road were beautiful Christmas Markets selling traditional food (usually sausages), dessert (donuts and cakes) and Christmas ornaments. There were also ice skating rinks and people selling Christmas trees. As it is summer in Australia when we have Christmas this was probably the most amazing, different thing for me.I finished my day at the Albertina Museum which houses a large collection of the impressionists. The main entry is by a set of steps (covered in Van Gough), but there is also a lift. The museum itself has a couple of split levels but there is a security guard on each level to help you with the various lifts. Although it can get a little confusing.
Vienna is a city of museums and has over 50, so by seeing 1 I had not even made a dent.
And that was it for Vienna, one of the most accessible cities I visited. I now had a horrible overnight train and bus to Lake Bled in Slovenia which involves arriving at 5 am in the pouring rain. But that is a story for another day.