How I love looking back on those three days in Vienna last June. Inspired by Before Sunrise, I visited its filming locations and let the city dazzle me. At times, it almost felt like I was inside the movie. I was sitting on the terrace of Kleines Café around midnight on a warm summer night in June, just like in the film. Moments like that brought me closer to the movie. The magic of cinema was palpable in modern-day Vienna.

bautiful sunset in vienna

As I stepped off the bus from Bratislava, Vienna greeted me with rain. Trickling down, sometimes pouring down, I saw the city in a different light. Compared to the last two sunny days, that first rainy day seems like it happened at another time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it both in the rain and in the sunshine. The rain made it look so cozy and warmed my heart. But it also completely transformed the city.

michaelerplatz in vienna

I have this tendency to romanticize cities on rainy gray days. Vienna was no exception, especially while sitting in a beautiful fin-de-siècle café. I think I find myself having different kinds of thoughts on rainy days. I wonder about other people’s lives, I look into old buildings and ponder what might be happening inside their walls. Wondering what it would be like to live a completely different kind of life in a foreign country.

Vienna charmed me away, especially with the help of a few notable places. Not just the filming locations of Before Sunrise but other hidden gems. If you want to read about them in more detail, head on over here! One of my favorite spots was the University Library. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to photograph it, considering I wasn’t there to study. Upon arriving, I checked with the librarians and they kindly gave me permission to take a few photos of this magnificent space.

So many corners of Vienna looked like they were frozen in time. But even outside of my obsession with this trilogy, the city doesn’t feel like it’s in the 21st century. With the prevalent Baroque style gracing the many buildings and churches of the city, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. The churches especially are a marvel to look at!

beautiful old building in vienna

After the initial drizzle, I got endless sunshine for the rest of my stay in Vienna. This meant that eager as I always am, I walked way too much in order to see as much as possible. On my last evening in Vienna, I met up with a friend and we spent some time at the famous Prater. The summer sun was slowly setting which made all of Prater glow with a golden light. Honestly, it was magical at the moment and it’s equally magical in my memories today.

One of my favorite memories from Vienna is watching the Opera lights turn on two nights in a row. I would settle down on the Albertina terrace and wait for dusk to fall. In the movie Before Sunrise, they sit under the statue of Archduke Albrecht as the sun slowly rises. I couldn’t brave a 4 AM sunrise so I chose dusk instead. After all, they spend some time in this spot at night as well. Movie aside, it’s still a popular place for hanging out. It was more or less packed with people coming and going on both evenings.

vienna opera house at night

There’s a certain nostalgia you feel in Vienna. There were times when reality felt like looking at a 90s movie set in Vienna. Vintage photo boots, stores that remind me of being a child in the 90s, there’s a unique atmosphere in Vienna. Considering I came here because of Before Sunrise, a 1995 movie, that feeling was even stronger for me. Revisiting certain filming locations felt surreal when I would encounter an unchanged place. I wasn’t ready to see that 37 years after the film’s release!

cute square in vienna

Aside from that one, another one of my favorite movies was filmed in Vienna. The Third Man features many famous spots in the city, most notably the Giant Ferris Wheel at Prater. But also this beautiful blue doorway, still standing after all these years. For a huge film buff like me, I can’t tell you what it meant to see all of these places in person!

By the end of my visit, I felt like I had made a connection with Vienna. Granted, a lot of that has to do with Before Sunrise. Discovering Vienna during the month of June, just like they do in the film felt serendipitous. But I also discovered plenty of astonishing places unrelated to the movie. Consequently, those three days in Vienna left me craving more. I knew that I had barely scratched the surface of this enchanting city!

On my very last evening, after a record 40,000 steps, I returned to Kleines Café for one last drink. I sat on the terrace, watched the world go by, and thought about my favorite movie trilogy. My heart felt so light and overjoyed after the past 72 hours. Most of all, I was glad to have done this trip alone. It felt right to be walking down those streets alone, as I retraced the steps of my two favorite movie characters.

All in all, Vienna was everything I thought it would be. A city I had daydreamed about often due to one movie certainly lived up to the cinema magic. I could’ve made this blog post longer telling you where to go and what to do but I think I’ll leave it as it is, full of my romantic musings and overflowing with dreamy images. Because that’s how I remember this trip. Awash with halcyon moments of one movie inextricably linked with a captivating city.

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