Back in June, I spent three wonderful days in Vienna. I centered them around Before Sunrise filming locations but I made sure to visit some magical places in Vienna. I already know that a summary of those three days will take a while to write so I wanted to start off with a more specific blog post. Most of my travels consist of looking for unique spots and hidden gems. Vienna is a rather popular destination with many beautiful places. While I visited some of those, I also focused on finding something different. I hope some of these places inspire you to discover them for yourself!

Shakespeare & Company Bookstore

Sterngasse 2, 1010 Wien, Austria

Everyone has heard of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris but not the one in Vienna, hidden in the center of the city. To be clear though, the two bookstores are completely unrelated to one another. The selection of English books at Shakespeare & Company is amazing. If we’re talking about magical places in Vienna, a bookstore filled with books from floor to ceiling is my idea of a dream. And there’s something for everyone’s literary taste. It’s where I found my souvenir from Vienna, a book of short stories by Stefan Zweig, one of my favorite Austrian writers.

Vienna University Library

Universitätsring 1/Stiege 2, 1010 Wien, Austria

One of the most magical places in Vienna is definitely the University Library. Honestly, it took me a while to find the big reading room, mostly because I kept being distracted by other pretty corners of the university building. Make sure to ask the librarians for permission to take a few photos. They’re likely to say yes, especially in that case. With long wooden tables and green bankers’ lamps under a glass roof, this is a stunning place. First opened back in 1884, it has been an enchanting studying area for many students. Personally, I’m not sure I would be able to study in such a beautiful room. I can already see myself drifting off into daydreams while there!

magical vienna university library

Prater at sunset

1020 Vienna, Austria

One of Vienna’s most famous landmarks is the Prater, a large park with many old-time amusements. In fact, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel dates back all the way to 1897! While it’s probably nice to visit at any time, I find that visiting the Prater at sunset turns into an enchanting experience. The sun slowly setting over the park attractions is a memory that will stay with me forever. Definitely one of the most magical places in Vienna!

Statue of Archduke Albrecht

The Albertina Museum, 1010 Wien, Austria

The perfect location for watching dusk fall over the magnificent Vienna State Opera. I myself spent two such evenings while in Vienna. After grabbing a quick dinner, I settled in under the statue of Archduke Albrecht, right next to the Albertina Museum. The lights of the Opera House slowly lit up and Vienna looked magical! On my last night here, a crescent moon made the evening even more enchanting. This location was featured in the movie Before Sunrise, both at night and right before the sun rises. There was a certain magic to this place as twilight enveloped Vienna. Maybe that’s why I was drawn to it twice during my stay!

magical vienna at dusk

Café Sperl

Gumpendorfer Str. 11, 1060 Wien, Austria

Another Before Sunrise filming location, Café Sperl is a traditional Viennese café that dates back to 1880. A true historical landmark, it’s actually on the Austrian Register of Historic Places. The second you step in, you’ll feel like you traveled through time. The elegant decor and escapist atmosphere only add to its charm. So let yourself be whisked away into fin-de-siècle Vienna!

magical cafe sperl in vienna

The Third Man Doorway

Schreyvogelgasse 8, 1010 Wien, Austria

I might be biased because The Third Man is one of my favorite noir films but this house is stunning nonetheless. This is the ornate doorway where Orson Welles is hiding from Joseph Cotton in the movie. In Before Sunrise, Jesse and Celine stroll past this same house. Aside from the movie trivia, it’s still a beautiful house. And on my last evening in Vienna, the sunset from this spot was magnificent!

the third man doorway in vienna
magical sunset in vienna

St. Peter’s Catholic Church

Petersplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

While I would recommend visiting St. Stephen’s Cathedral despite the inevitable crowds, there’s another church that you need to see. Only 3 minutes away from the cathedral, it’s hard to miss St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Its impressive Baroque facade dominates the little square. The interior is richly adorned with gold stucco. My favorite aspect was the frescoed dome and its small roof lantern. The church feels equally tiny and compact as well as grand and imposing. Overall, a marvelous example of Baroque architecture!

Buchhandlung ÖBV Bookstore

Schwarzenbergstraße 5, 1010 Wien, Austria

Did I walk into this bookstore that only sells books in German just because of its interior? I had to overcome my shyness to do so but yes, I did exactly that! Overall, it’s a bookstore with a great selection of books and you can even sit down and read. But it’s the wooden interior that won me over. The second you walk in, you’re greeted by this beautiful sight. Definitely worth a visit even if you know you won’t be buying anything!

magical bookstore in vienna

Kleines Café

Franziskanerplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria

I love how Kleines Café is so close to the main square yet somehow feels so removed from it. This tiny square feels calm even on the busiest of days. The café was famously featured in the movie Before Sunrise, which is why I visited it. But it’s a popular location outside of that and I can see why. I visited it twice during my stay in Vienna. First, when hot chocolate and a cheese strudel provided shelter from the morning rain and again on my last night in Vienna. On a warm June evening, I sat on the terrace and watched the world go by.

kleines café vienna

Brasserie Palmenhaus Wien

Burggarten 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

A former royal greenhouse, Brasserie Palmenhaus is an upscale restaurant and a lounge bar. Imagine fine cuisine dining in a gorgeous setting, surrounded by exotic plants. A very popular spot, you should definitely book a table beforehand. And during the summer months, you can sit outside and enjoy the beautiful view of the Burggarten!

magical brasserie palmenhaus in vienna

While I found plenty of magical places during my three days in Vienna, I know the search isn’t over. I didn’t manage to visit a few places so I know I’ll be back. I always love finding places that make me feel like I’ve traveled in time and there are many such places in Vienna. It’s a city that will always be dear to me because of its connection with Before Sunrise. But also because I created a lot of lovely memories on my own in this city!

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