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Vienna was a little rough for us.

Not the city itself; the city was beautiful and easy to get around and so surprisingly green and clean and friendly.

But by the time we arrived in Vienna, Lo and I both felt like we’d hit a wall.

We were missing friends so so so badly.

And we felt exhausted from going balls to the walls all over Europe for the last 6 months….

So outside of a cool day tour with a guide (Lisa Maria), we used our time in Vienna to rest, recharge, and take some time to ourselves doing solo activities.

I spent most of my time reading and taking long walks through a nearby park. I also learned how to use the metro (took lots of tries going the wrong way), and visited the Sisi museum, which was really beautiful.

Back to our guided tour.

We tried out a website called where you can book private tours with locals.

Private tours using WithLocals are naturally more expensive than group tours, but with a lot of benefits:

  • The guide can customize the tour to what you’re interested in. Lisa Maria took us to a hidden private garden that tourists aren’t usually able to find, dropped a ton of cool knowledge about Sisi and highlighted relevant landmarks, and even showed us some old ruins which Lo is really into. I asked about cafe culture there and she gave us the whole dish and even showed us the secret local entrance to Cafe Central where there’s usually a long line to get in.
  • You can stop for a bathroom break anytime you want (and the guide always knows where the best, nearest restroom is).
  • You can stop to eat/drink whenever you want (while inside of a beautiful garden, we noticed a cafe and I had a hankering for an Aperol Spritz, so we stopped in for a round while learning more about Lisa Maria and her life in Vienna, like how everyone has a cafe that is like their second home and she actually gets mail – literal mail – delivered to hers because she is there so often an the mail people know all the locals and where they hang out.

If I had to pick one favorite stand-out thing about Vienna, it would be how green it is…which is not at all what I expected. Turns out: the government mandates at least 50% of the city remain a public green space at all times, and that there’s a park within an 8 minute walk of every residence.

So there are parks EVERYWHERE. Really, really beautiful parks – some with cafes nested inside, some with the most elaborate playground equipment that your inner child gets jealous that kids there get to grow up like that, and all of which truly feel like an extension of people’s back yards.

Walking around a park in Vienna, you see people greeting each other warmly, stopping to chat, meeting up with friends, and even though I was brand new to the park near our hotel – other morning walkers always smiled and told me hello. They probably had no idea how much it meant to me, but I felt so overwhelmingly grateful for those small acts of kindness that I really desperately needed at that time.

Next Stop: Ljubljana Slovenia