Author Archives: Gemma

Where is the Best Area to Stay in Vienna?

Where to Stay in Vienna, Vienna hotels

Where to stay in Vienna? A challenging question for the ‘city of dreams’ with so much choice! Austria’s capital is divided into districts and each area comes with its own price point and appeal.

Whether you are visiting Vienna to muse over the many museums or during winter to check out the twenty Christmas markets, our guide to the best places to stay in Vienna will help you choose the right accommodation for your trip.

You may also like our popular 3-day Vienna itinerary. Prefer to stay in Airbnb? Here’s our guide. On a budget? Check out Vienna’s hostels.

Why Trust Us?

We love Vienna. I have now visited Vienna (Wein) three times. Once for a romantic city break with my husband, Craig.

The second time in December to drink glühwein at the Christmas markets with my mum!

The third to attend my friend’s wedding.

» Short on time? Click to see our preferred hotel: Hotel am Konzerthaus

Opera in Vienna

Vienna Districts

There are 23 districts (bezirk) in Vienna and you won’t be surprised to hear that each has its own attractions, lifestyle and affordability calculator.

However, as a first or second-time visitor to Vienna, you don’t have to contend with all 23 districts as this guide to the best places to stay in Vienna will highlight the most popular areas for visitors.

During our first stay we opted for being close to the heart of Vienna (District 3, Landstraße), During sightseeing, I stumbled across, what I thought was, my spirit hotel at the  MuseumsQuartier (7th District) so that is where I stayed during my winter trip to Vienna.

When you are out and about you can identify which district you are in by looking at the street sign and working at the two numbers in the middle of the four numbers on the sign (cryptic!)

Spittelberg Vienna Austria

The Best Area to Stay in Vienna

When looking for the best place to stay in Vienna, consider the reason for your trip.

  • Close to top attractions: 1st District (Innere Stadt)
  • Less touristy and cheaper alternative: 2nd District (Leopoldstadt), 3rd District (Landstraße)
  • Hip area with lots of bars: 6th (Mariahilf), 7th (Neubau), 8th (Josefstadt)
  • Hotels near the airport: See below options
St. Peter Church from street Vienna Austria

Getting Around Vienna

You can get around Vienna very easily on foot.

We found we were no more than 40 minutes away from any attraction, excluding Schönbrunn Palace which is quite far out.

Prefer to save time and your poor feet?

Vienna has an awesome transport system compromising of buses, trams, trains and a metro.

Taxis and Uber also operate throughout the city.

For the more adventurous, there are now e-scooters dotted around the streets which you can ride via an app set up. Nifty!

Now that we’ve got our bearings, let’s take a look at the affordable Vienna hotels most popular districts for visitors.

Vienna Parliament Building and tram

Best Places to Stay in Vienna

Unless I mention it is not available, WiFi is a free amenity offered by all hotels in this guide.

Regardless of its beautiful historic architecture, Vienna is a pretty modern city.

1st District: Innere Stadt (1010)

The Innere Stadt (Inner City) is the heart of Vienna and the other 22 districts wrap around it.

The Ringstrasse is a large ring road which is located at Innere Stadt.

Due to its architectural beauty and historic significance, the Ringstrasse (and the rest of the area) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lots of the top Vienna attractions can be found in the 1st District such as the Vienna State Opera, Rathaus (town hall), St Stephen’s Cathedral and the Austrian Parliament Building.

As to be expected, hotels in the First District come at a premium price!

Hotels in Vienna City Center

  • Best Seller $$ Appartement-Hotel an der Riemergasse is one of the most popular affordable hotels in Vienna, so you may have to book fast. Visitors love the suite/studio feel, the size of the comfortable rooms and its proximity to St Stephen’s Cathedral and Kärntner Straße shopping street. Check availability here. Read TripAdvisor reviews.
  • Boutique $$ Boutique Hotel Das Tigra is a modern, family-run hotel on a quiet street ten minutes walk from St Stephen’s Cathedral. Rooms have air conditioning, TVs and safes. A very special guest used to live in this building! Mozart and his family resided in the historic part of the building in 1773. Breakfast on site is available each morning. Check availability here. Read TripAdvisor reviews.
  • Luxury $$$ Grand Hotel Wien is a traditional hotel and perfect for those celebrating something special in Vienna. Guests enjoy the very central location, five restaurants, two bars, spa and a rooftop terrace which offer panoramic views of the city. Check availability here. Read TripAdvisor reviews.

√ Pros: Smack bang in the middle of attractions, lots of restaurants around.

× Cons: Touristy and can be expensive.

2nd District: Leopoldstadt (1020)

Leopoldstadt is still a central option for Vienna accommodation with the added bonus that you can avoid the busloads of tourists in the 1st District.

The most famous landmark in Leopoldstadt is the vintage, Wiener Prater fairground, Ferris wheel included! Some of the hotels in Leopoldstadt overlook the Danube Canal, a winning choice at sunset.

So if you are looking for cheap hotels in Vienna that are conveniently located near public transport, the 2nd District may be for you.

2nd District Hotels

  • Wow Factor $$$ Love, love, love the SO/Vienna super modern hotel overlooking the Danube Canal. We spent an evening enjoying sundown drinks in the extraordinary (and I don’t use that word often) Bar Das LOFT on the 18th floor. The aesthetics, the music, the drinks, the staff, just perfection. Guests also love the air-conditioned rooms, bathtub and rain shower. St Stephen’s Cathedral is only a 10-minute walk from SO/Vienna. Book here. Read TripAdvisor reviews
  • Budget $ Motel One Wien-Prater is great value for money for visitors who don’t mind a bit of travel. We’ve stayed with the Motel One before and always find their rooms super modern in decor and the breakfast extensive. Reviews at Wien-Prater state the same. Messe-Prater Underground Station (line U2) is only 200 yards away. Book here. Read TripAdvisor reviews.

√ Pros: Cheap hotels in Vienna, close to Prater, Messe-Prater Underground Station (line U2).

× Cons: Large area so can be further away from central attractions.

Das LOFT Hotel Sofitel Vienna

3rd District: Landstraße (1030)

This is where we stayed in Vienna during our first trip and I would have never known that we weren’t in the 1st District location wise.

Landstraße (Country Road) does have a more local feel which is down to the fact that locals do reside and work in this district.

This area is home to the outrageously grand, Belvedere which houses the famous Klimt’s The Kiss and my personal love, Judith (a bit cheekier!)

3rd District Hotels

  • Recommended $ Hotel am Konzerthaus is a comfortable hotel close to the action but not in the action. Each room is elegantly decorated with a nod to Austria’s Gustav Klimt. All rooms have air conditioning, a safe and a TV. A breakfast fit for a king is served each morning on the bottom floor. Check availability here. Read TripAdvisor reviews.

√ Pros: Very close to the heart of Vienna and Belvedere.

× Cons: Fewer hotel choices.

Hotel am Konzerthaus Vienna Hotel Room Klimt Image Bed

7th District: Neubau (1070)

Hipster bars, independent shops, art galleries and traffic lights with same-sex couples.

Welcome to the hip 7th District.

Home to the MuseumsQuartier, 7th attracts a younger crowd with disposable income and a conscious.

7th District Hotels

  • Edgy and Trendy $$ 25hours Hotel MuseumsQuartier is worth a visit even if you don’t stay here. The decor and people watching at 25hours Hotel will keep you occupied for some time and the views from
    • The Dachboden rooftop bar is worth noting. Warning, it gets insanely busy at the weekends here so don’t expect speedy service.
    • Rooms are kitted out in quirky decor with a circus theme. There is also a spa on site but annoyingly it doesn’t open until later which they don’t tell you at checkout.
    • In all honesty, I thought it was a cool looking hotel but the staff just vibe off its success and don’t really try to be hospitable.
    • Some may say that’s just the Vienna way when it comes to customer service but our experience at Hotel am Konzerthaus was stellar so I’d argue against that sentiment. Check availability here. Read TripAdvisor reviews.
  • Budget $ Pension Primavera is a modern affordable option in 7th close to Neubaugasse Underground Station. Situated on the third floor of a historic building, guests love the local feel close to a market, cafes and public transport. Rooms are clean and the staff are super friendly. Pension Primavera. Read TripAdvisor reviews.

7th District is also very close to 6th (Mariahilf) where you will find the famous Naschmarkt and street art murals and 8th (Josefstadt) where many students from the University of Vienna live.

√ Pros: Very cool area, nightlife, close to museums, walking distance to 1st District.

× Cons: Some hotels can be pricey.

25Hours Hotel Vienna room, circus print, bed

Airbnb in Vienna

Airbnb is available in Vienna for those on a budget or visitors looking for a kitchen.

Many are located in the coolest districts too, sandwiched between bars and restaurants but still in walking distance to the city’s main attractions.

Looking for something more affordable? Check out our guide to Vienna hostels.

Traffic light Vienna in Austria

Hotels Near Vienna Airport

Vienna International Airport is located in Schwechat.

The CAT train journey takes under 20 minutes for under 15 euro one way, book here before you go.

  • MOXY Vienna Airport ($$) is one of two airport hotels only 200 yards from the terminals. The modern and charismatic chain offers air-conditioned rooms with TVs and soundproof windows. There is a 24/7 bar on site. Check availability here. Read TripAdvisor reviews.
  • NH Vienna Airport Conference Center ($$) is the second hotel at the Vienna Airport and it is situated across from arrivals so ideal for early flights or late arrivals. Air-conditioned rooms are clean, modern and guests enjoy the coffee machine. Breakfast is available, this includes an ‘early riser’ option, and guests are offered a free welcome drink at the hotel restaurant. Check availability here.  Read TripAdvisor reviews.
The Papyrus Museum Neue Burg at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna Austria on a blue sky day

Final Words

Vienna is big and many of the top things to do are located in the heart of the city. However, not all of the best hotels in Vienna are found there too.

Don’t be afraid to consider some of the other districts, letting your style of travel dictate! The best area to stay in Vienna may be the 7th District if you love to party or the 3rd if you want to be central without paying tourist prices. Tell us in the comments below where you book to stay.

 » Can’t find what you are looking for? Click to see all of the hotels in Vienna  «

Figlmüller at Wollzeile schnitzel Vienna Austria

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28 Unmissable Things to do in Vienna (3 Day Itinerary)

What to do in Vienna in 3 days

Vienna – the city of music, dreams and really impressive buildings. This laid-back and bizarrely quiet Austrian city is one which I (Gemma) thought would be vanilla for activities but oh how I was wrong. I would argue that a weekend in Vienna is just not enough if you love eating, people watching, museums, music, drinking, dancing, markets, sunsets, street art, and architecture. Here’s your dazzling guide on what to do with 3 days in Vienna (the opera is optional, eating cake is not) as well as some of our fave tours.

And yes, you will have that song in your head for the duration of the trip. I’ve now been to Vienna twice, that’s a testament to how much I enjoyed these things to do in Vienna.

If you’re planning more than a few days, you might want to consider these Vienna day trips.

 Enjoy entry to 60 attractions and hop on/off bus with the official Vienna PASS 

What To Do in 3 Days in Vienna

Day 1 – Innere Stadt (First District)

Vienna is a city packed full of history (even its cakes have a story) and much of the history is free to look at on the streets.

The architecture of the city’s most important buildings is an incredible and massive throwback to times past.

The First District is linked by the Ringstraße (Ring Road), which is not quite a full ring.

Coffee Culture in Vienna

If your hotel does not provide breakfast, consider kicking off day one in Vienna with breakfast and/or coffee at a traditional coffee house like Cafe Hawelka (Dorotheergasse).

We had the funniest of experiences at Cafe Hawelka.

Stereotypically the waiting staff in Vienna are a little grumpy so we were half expecting this kind of response from the server…

We asked for a menu and he replied ‘I am the menu’ while raising one eyebrow in a comedic way.

He then offered us apple strudel, cheese strudel, vegetable strudel or sausages.

We chose the sausages and he rolled his eyes.

Order a ‘Schwarzer’ for a black coffee, ‘Brauner’ for a black coffee with milk or a ‘Melange’ for coffee with cream.

Sit back and enjoy the coffee shop environment which consists of wooden seating arrangements and interesting people to watch.

  • Address: Dorotheergasse 6, 1010
  • Note: Sausages come with a dollop of mustard (not to my taste)
Cafe Hawelka Vienna

Rathaus Vienna/City Hall

This neo-gothic building could be confused for a cathedral at first glance.

During the festive season, visitors will find one of the many festive Christmas markets in Austria built up in front of the City Hall as well as an ice rink.

Considering a trip to Vienna at Christmas? It’s a truly magical time to visit with holiday markets around every corner.

You can’t miss it but the address is Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria.

Vienna Rathaus Blue Skies

Parliament in Vienna

This Greek-inspired building was created between 1874 and 1883.

Remember to always look up in Vienna; can you see the Greek scholars that line the roof?

Vienna Rathaus Building

Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Imperial Palace buildings at Michaelerkuppel make up one of the largest palace complexes in the world and the size of it is daunting.

Up until 1945 the palace was home to the Habsburgs monarchy but now houses the office of the Austrian president and cabinet.

Fans of the ‘most beautiful queen in Europe’ Empress Elisabeth Sisi, can view over 300 of her personal objects, including those dresses, at the Sisi Museum within the Hofburg grounds.

Reserve your preferred entry time and ticket here.

The oldest area is the 13th century Swiss Wing, previously known as the Old Fortress.

The Papyrus Museum Neue Burg at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna Austria on a blue sky day

Wiener Staatsoper/State Opera House

This is a place of worship for those who want to experience a famously intense Viennese opera show.

Originally built in 1869, the Opera House was damaged during WWII then reopened in the 50s.

Every year the prestigious Vienna Opera Ball takes place and for a mere 2K euros you can hire a circle box.

There are a variety of options for seeing the Opera House such as a concert, dinner and even a Christmas show.

If you’d like to listen to a live Mozart Show it is possible at The Sala Terrena at Mozarthaus Vienna.

  • Address: Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
  • Cheap seats sell out fast but standing tickets are available for under 10 euros
  • Fun fact: Ball season takes place every winter where dancers waltz in over 450 venues
Opera in Vienna

Burggarten (+ Lunch Stop)

Located at Josefsplatz, The Palmenhaus at Burggarten is a hotbed, literally as it is a glass house, for casual diners looking to enjoy a glass of Riesling and is a potential lunch stop.

This oasis in the city is also home to the Schmetterlinghaus, butterfly house, full of tropical plants and you guessed it, butterflies.

Palmenhaus Burggarten Things to do in Vienna

Otto Wagner–Pavillon (Karlsplatz)

This underground station turned museum is an absolute darling of a building and my favourite in Vienna.

Located at Karlsplatz, the art nouveau building covered in marble and gold was erected in 1898 and now houses the work of the architect Otto Wagner.

Enjoy free entry first Sunday of every month.

Otto Wagner–Pavillon | What to do with Vienna in 3 days

Food On The Go

A trip to Vienna would not be complete without trying a sausage at one (or two or three) of the city’s Wurstelstand AKA sausage kiosks.

Weiner Wurstelstand

These stands serve a variety of sausages chopped up or popped into a hollowed out bread roll and accompanied with condiments.

Alternatively, sausage can be served in a bread roll.

Wurstel in bread Vienna Austria

The sausages range from Käsekrainer (cheese-filled), Scharfe (spicy) to Waldviertler (smoked).

The Viennese take their sausages very seriously so don’t be surprised to see some of these food retailers queued out.

These stands also sell alcoholic beverages and you are allowed to drink in the street.

One of the busiest Wurstelstands is located across from Cafe Mozart and has a hare sitting on top of it!

Wurstel Stand Albrecht Duerer hare rooftop Albertinaplatz Vienna Austria

Vienna Restaurants

If you prefer a sit down meal consider a traditional meal at one of the Figlmüller locations (schnitzel), cute heated outdoor space at Griechenbeisl or an upmarket experience at Opus at Hotel Imperial.

Other options include Turkish food at Lokanta Oase, sushi at Mochi and burgers at Rinderwahn.

This is just a selection of the sights that Vienna’s 1st District has to offer.

Each can be reached by foot (approximately one hour with no stops) or via the efficient tram system or underground.

Figlmüller at Wollzeile schnitzel on plate in Vienna Austria

At the end point at Karlsplatz you are close to the hip and trendy MuseumsQuartier.

Here, you can pack even more in at the Leopold Museum (don’t miss the rooftop at MQ Libelle) or mumok, modern art museum.

MuseumsQuartier historic and modern building and red chairs in Vienna Austria

You could then have a sundown drink at the boutique and never boring 25hours Hotel rooftop bar.

If I only had 1 day in Vienna, I would waltz around District 1, eat sausage from a stall and catch a sunset drink at one of the rooftop bars (below).

Polaroid Tour in Vienna

Additional Option – Belvedere Museum

If you whizzed around the above route and wanted to leave the MuseumsQuartier for day two (below) you could squeeze in a visit to the 18th-century Belvedere Museums.

The complex is split into two Baroque palaces, Lower Belvedere (Rennweg 6) and Upper Belvedere (Prinz Eugen-Straße 27) divided by a beautiful garden.

Belvedere Klimt The Kiss

You can enter via the Lower palace and walk through the gardens to the upper to purchase tickets.

Expect very long lines, even in December.

Save time and preorder your ticket here.

The Upper Belvedere is home to the largest Gustav Klimt’s collection including the famous print The Kiss.

Up close my personal choice is Judith I.

Karl Platz to Belvedere takes around twenty minutes by foot.

Belvedere Klimt Judith I

Day 2 – Cake, History, Art and Views

If your accommodation does not offer breakfast, you definitely want to brunch out at one of Vienna’s cafes or why not taste one of Vienna’s famous cakes?

Cakes To Try in Vienna

In 1832, a teenager called Franz Sacher created the Sachertorte cake that fast became the hallmark of the celebrity sought after Sacher Hotel and a symbol of Vienna.

Today the recipe for chocolate sponge, apricot jam and a thick crust of hard dark chocolate casing continues and is sold in most of Vienna’s coffee houses.

Coffee culture is a big deal to the people of Vienna, and a morning cake at Cafe Sacher was an absolute delight.

  • Tip: The most popular place to try Sachertorte is Café Sacher
  • Address: Philharmoniker Str. 4, 1010
  • Café Demel: Kohlmarkt 14, 1010
Cafe Sacher Sachertorte table Vienna Austria

The cake advice does not stop here!

There was an actual cake war between Café Sacher and Demel over who owned the original Sachertorte.

The whisks were put down when Café Sacher was awarded the rights.

However, many still flock to Demel, the once bakery of the Royal Family and loved by the gorgeous Empress Sissi.

Café Central’s twist on the Sachertorte is also hugely popular and favoured by the intellects of the city such as Leon Trotsky and Sigmund Freud, the thinking man’s haunt.

Food for thought…

  • Café Central: Herrengasse 14, 1010
  • Warning: These cafes have large lines out of the door, even in the quiet seasons, reserve a table if possible
Cafe Central roof menu Vienna Austria

Strudel Tasting at Schönbrunn Palace

Double up on all things Wein but taking part in a traditional strudel tasting session at the striking Schönbrunn Palace.

Every hour at the court bakery of the Café Residenz, an entertaining guide talks you through how to make original Viennese apple strudel and then you taste test!

Sachertorte, hot chocolate, Vienna

4D History Tour

If you are keen to discover Austrian history but on a lighter note check out the Time Travel Vienna interactive museum.

Travel back in time and walk amongst the rats and the plague doctors, observe a beautiful Viennese ball before meeting Vienna’s famous composers and some royalty too.

Time Travel Tour sign in Vienna Austria

This interactive experience is more than just the answer to what to do in Vienna on a Sunday.

  • Address: Habsburgergasse 10A
  • Note: Tour in German with English translation speakers
Time Travel Vienna

St. Peter’s Cathedral/Peterskirche

While St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the most popular church for its exterior, visitors shouldn’t miss St. Peter’s for its interior.

St. Peter Church from street Vienna Austria

The Baroque Roman Catholic parish church’s construction started around 1701, and is inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Inside you can expect lots of gold stucco, and an oval turret dome with painted frescoes.

Absolutely mesmerising.

St. Peter Church ceiling turret dome with frescoes in Vienna Austria

Photo Detour

Not far from St. Peter’s Cathedral is a cute street that photographers love to capture at Hafnersteig.

Hafnersteig historic street in Vienna Austria

As well as the oldest restaurant in Vienna, Griechenbeisl at leafy Griechengasse.

Leafy Griechenbeisl restaurant Griechengasse in Vienna Austria

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

St Stephen’s Cathedral should be visited twice, once during the day and once at night to see it lit up.

The multi-coloured tiles are unique, making it a landmark of Vienna.

This romanesque and gothic building at Stephansplatz can be viewed, with a drink, from the 6th-floor bar at the Do & Co Hotel or Lamée Rooftop.

St. Stephen's Cathedral close up Vienna Austria


If you are not planning on taking a food tour which passes through Naschmarkt you should dedicate a lunch stop to taste the fresh, seasonal produce on offer at the market.

  • Address: 1060 Vienna, Austria
  • Public Transport: U4 Kettenbrückengasse or thirty-minute walk from MuseumsQuartier
  • Note: Closed on Sundays, take note if spending a weekend in Vienna
Naschmarkt dates on vendor stand in Vienna Austria

A Vienna Food Tour

One of our recommendations for every city guide is to take some kind of tour on day one to get your bearings and to steal tips from someone who actually lives and breathes the city.

Although one of the pricier types of city tours, Vienna food tours come packaged with enough edibles and drinkables to stuff you full for the three days and what better way to get to know a city’s past and present than through its produce.

Kicking off with a visit to Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt to sample seasonal Austrian produce and find out what goes on behind the scenes.

Burek from Naschmarkt Vienna Austria


Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier is a neat collection of museums such as Architecture Center Vienna, The Kunsthalle Wien (contemporary art), mumok (modern art) and the beautiful Leopold Museum collection.

MuseumsQuarter is a cool place to hang out, people watch and grab some Schnitzel for dinner.

These galleries are surrounded by the edgy Street Art Passage for fans of graffiti.

Street Art Passage Vienna

Hip District 7th

My hipster radar gravitates towards the area of each city that offers alternative bars, music, and people, and for Vienna, this is the 7th District.

You will find bars with cool artwork, disco balls and vintage photos dotted along the main drag.

A nightcap at my spirit hotel, 25Hours Hotel rooftop bar, The Dachboden Loft is a must for things to do in Vienna at night if you can elbow your way in amongst the locals admiring the city views.

  • Website
  • Address: Lerchenfelder Strasse 1-3
Traffic light Vienna in Austria

Sunset Drinks at the “Beach”

Another way to end day two in Vienna is by sipping a daiquiri on a sun chair with views over the Donaukanal.

Strandbar Herrmann (Herrmannpark) is a beach bar with sand and live DJs.

Strandbar Herrmann bar Vienna Austria

Day 3 – More Museums, Walks and the Wheel

The Vienna attractions on the following itinerary are a little more spaced out and may require public transport to get to each.

City of Dreams

Head to Sigmund Freud’s house (Berggasse 19, 1090) to see why Vienna is known as the ‘city of dreams’.

This self-guided museum takes you through the rooms of Freud’s home, which was also his office, with an audio guide and numbered artefacts.

You really don’t need to set aside much time for this item on your Vienna itinerary and discount is included with the Vienna City Card.

Freud Museum Vienna

The Whacky Museum Hundertwasser

Jump on the tram to Vienna’s first green, Museum Hundertwasser.

A shrine to one of Austria’s most important artists,  Friedensreich Hundertwasser, this three-story museum displays Hundertwasser’s work (including his Teletubby style dream housing project) and the changing exhibition on the third floor.

Again, this is a quick stop for Vienna’s places to visit.

  • Address: Kegelgasse 37-39, 1030 (forty-minute walk from Sigmund Freud’s house)
Hundertwasserhaus museum Vienna_


A few streets (about five minutes apart) away you can visit ‘a house in harmony with nature’, Hundertwasserhaus – home to the unique artist.

  • Address: Untere Weißgerberstraße 13, 1030 (short walking distance from above)
  • For lunch grab a kebab or dine at one of the local cafes
Hundertwasserhaus Vienna_

Get High at this Vienna Rooftop Bar!

Our second rooftop recommendation is sleek and stylish.

Take the elevator to Das LOFT at Hotel Sofitel Vienna (Praterstrassse 1, 1020) to watch the sunset through the 360 (well, nearly) glass windows of the rooftop bar.

Absolute bliss. You can see the striking St Stephens in the skyline from here.

Prater Fairground

Our final stop on our Vienna three-day itinerary is the fairground!

As night falls, ride the 64.75-metre-high Wiener Riesenrad, eat Langos (without the sour cream, sadly) or win a teddy at this throwback fairground. A true step back in history.

If you want to avoid the crowds you can purchase this line skip for the Ferris wheel.

Prater Fairground Vienna

Prater has food vendors and a restaurant, as well a traditional beer garden called Schweizerhaus.

  • Address: Riesenradplatz 1, 1020 Wien, Austria
  • Opening times: 9am-11:45pm
Schweizerhaus beer garden Vienna Austria

Danube Bars

If visiting Vienna in summer, you might want to make time for the Danube riverfront bars and restaurants such as Sansibar and CopaBeach that line either side of the canal and are connected by bridge.

The Donauinsel underground station is located on the island, so that you don’t have to attempt to walk there from the city center.

Be sure to try a Radler beer with lemonade (shandy) before your trip ends.

Tall buildings at CopaBeach at the Danube Vienna Austria


For two days in Vienna itinerary, I would select to suit your own travel needs and consider the hop on/off tour if you are pressed for time.

Definitely eat cake, visit a museum and see the fairground for some nostalgia.

Day 3 Alternative

There really is so much to pack into your perfect trip to Vienna that you could extend it by another day or two.

Schönbrunn Palace

This impressive Baroque palace was the summer home of Emperor Franz Joseph and Sisi. The palace has over 1400 rooms spanning over three centuries of differing decor!

Schonbrunn Palace Vienna Statue Dusk

Quick Q+A

How many days in Vienna?

I would argue that even three days in Vienna is a tough gig. I felt I missed out on so many of the museums during our stay and that was even without dancing at a ball. Use the above itinerary as a pick and mix of activities to help build your own to suit your holiday needs.

Is Vienna expensive?

To drink and dine in Vienna is certainly not Hungarian prices. Over three days we spent the following.

Approximate Totals for 2:

  • Accommodation: £260 (apartment) £450 (hotel) – check out our guide on where to stay for more
  • Food and Drink: £440
  • Transport: £85 (mostly Uber, can be done much cheaper)
  • Activities: £334
  • Disclaimer: Vienna’s tourist board gave us two City Cards, thank you

Is Vienna worth visiting?

Yes! I had my reservations about visiting Vienna.

It has never been top of my bucket list or even on my radar if I am honest but I was mighty impressed with the architecture the cool 7th and the helpfulness of the locals.

It’s a city that I keep revisiting during all seasons.

What to See in Vienna Bucket List

  • First District Architecture
  • Austrian waiter stereotype at a cafe coffee
  • Hofburg Palace
  • Wiener Staatsoper Opera House
  • Burggarten Garden Cafe
  • Otto-Wagner Pavillon
  • Wiener Wurstelstand
  • Belvedere Museum – give Judith a wave for me
  • Naschmarkt
  • Cafe Sacher
  • Schönbrunn Palace
  • Time Travel Vienna
  • St. Peter’s Cathedral interior
  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral exterior
  • Strandbar
  • MuseumsQuartier
  • Cool bars at 7th District
  • Freud’s Home Museum
  • Hundertwasserhaus Museum
  • LOFT at Sofitel Rooftop
  • Prater Fairground

Vienna Card

The Vienna PASS offers visitors free entry to over sixty of Vienna’s top attractions as well as line skipping and free passes to the Vienna hop on/off tour.

Spittelberg buildings Vienna Austria

Where We Stayed in Vienna

The 4-star Am Konzerthaus Vienna MGallery by Sofitel (Am Heumarkt 35-37 1030) offers quiet rooms close to Karlsplatz and other city centre attractions.

Rooms are equipped with TV, hairdryer, toiletries and an in keeping image by Gustav Klimt above the bed.

I always judge a hotel by its breakfast and the Konzerthaus offers a Frühstück of kings.

Staff are friendly and can point you in the right direction of the closest Wurstelstand for a midnight snack.

Hotel am Konzerthaus Vienna Hotel Room Klimt Image Bed

We’ve also stayed at 25Hours Hotel Vienna but I wasn’t as impressed with the experience as I was with Sofitel, which is a shame because I was really excited about staying there.

Another hotel worth noting is the Hilton Waterfront, it is a little out of the way but it has an outdoor pool with sun loungers and Danube facing bar.

Finally, we have also stayed in an apartment in the 7th District.

Hilton Waterfront Danube Vienna Austria

Getting to Vienna

Flights leave with from Edinburgh, London Stanstead and Manchester airport in under three hours.

  • Check the flight prices: website
St Francis of Assis Vienna Austria

Vienna Airport to Vienna city

The airport and city are very well connected by train.

The CAT journey takes under 20 minutes for €14 one way.

There is also the cheaper, ÖBB Railjet, or Express train S7, public trains – thank you to the lovely reader for advising us.

Heading to Budapest next? Check out our Hungary guide.

Ferstel Passage Danube Mermaid Fountain at Vienna Austria

Getting Around Vienna

You are never more than 40 minutes away by foot in between Vienna’s biggest city attractions, however, the city can boast of great transport links served by trams (remember to time stamp the card), buses, underground, taxis and Über.

There are a number of tours which will take you to the main attractions by foot or bike.

There’s even a private motorised cart tour which you can read more about here.

Vienna Parliament Building and tram

Vienna Tours

In my opinion, the best way to get to know a city is by taking a tour with a local. It’s always one of the first things I do for three reasons.

Firstly, you get to see the city’s top attractions and learn more about them.

Secondly, tours help you get your bearings.

Finally, I like to bombard the local with lots of questions about their lives and local tips!

Check out these Vienna tours as you build your itinerary.

Naschmarkt area street art on side of building in Vienna Austria

Vienna Packing List

  • Cute dresses that can be layered with tops.
  • 1 x jeans/pants.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Leave the umbrella at home, invest in a decent but stylish waterproof like my brilliant Mountain Equipment Rupal US / UK.
  • 1 x comfortable waterproof boots (I love Salomon US / UK.).
  • 1 x eco water bottle such as TreeTribe which keeps hot drinks hot and cool drinks cold (international shipping).
  • Electrolytes US / UK. for the schnapps hangovers.
  • Phone battery pack like our US / UK.
  • Camera, charger and SD card.
  • If you find a missing yellow scarf, it’s mine!

Final words

Whether you are waltzing through Vienna in a day or visiting for a long weekend, since it is home to over 100 museums and events change seasonally, there will be a reason to return to tick off more of these places to see in Vienna.


Jam-Packed 4 Days In New York Itinerary + Map

4 days in New York Itinerary

Looking for a jam-packed 4 days in New York itinerary with heaps of variations to suit every travel style? Look no further. Are you ready to join the ranks of those who fall in love with NYC just like Holly Golightly, Carrie Bradshaw, Godzilla and King Kong? Walk the streets of the Upper East Side like Blair and Serena, meet at the top of the Empire State Building like Tom and Meg (Sleepless in Seattle) and be prepared to have the song New York, New York in your head all day!

Let’s take a look at the top New York attractions, offbeat suggestions and how to fill four days in the city that does not sleep. We’ll focus on the best things to do in Manhattan, The Bronx and Brooklyn and detail everything you need to know before you go.

We have to apologize in advance, there is actually too much packed into this itinerary for four days but we wanted to cater for everyone’s NY bucket lists!

As always with Two Scots Abroad itineraries, you will see ‘alternative options’ which you can pick and choose from.

Have any questions? Just leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you. We’ve outlined the best photo and Instagram spots in New York throughout and there’s a map with everything we talk about pinned to it too.

Yellow Cabs NYC

Famous yellow cabs at Central Park

Four Days in New York Itinerary

One Day in NYC

Morning – Get Your Bearings + Times Square + Bryant Park

Your first day in New York will be the wildest because of all the adrenaline and excitement you will feel from the moment you land in John F. Kennedy (Queens) or Newark Airports (New Jersey).

Before we dive into the itinerary, we need to mention that there are five boroughs in New York titled The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

Although it is unlikely you will spend time in each one during your four days in New York, it is still worth getting to know where each is and what they offer to help with your itinerary planning.

Five Boroughs New York Map

Manhattan is where most of the popular things to see in New York are such as Times Square, Central Park and the Empire State Building.

The Bronx is where you will go to see a Yankees game if you are a fan of baseball.

Brooklyn is where you will find the vintage theme park Coney Island and the hip Williamsburg. DUMBO appears in many Instagram feeds. Brooklyn and Manhattan are connected by the Brooklyn Bridge.

Staten Island has a free commuter ferry to Manhattan which offers (free) views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Also home to a discount shopping outlet called Empire Outlet.

Queens is home to JFK Airport and the New York Mets baseball stadium.

New York Yankees Advert

Yankees Baseball Team

The first stop on your New York itinerary is Times Square. With all the naked cowboys, raucous noise, and selfie-stick loving tourists, this is where you will finally realize that you are in the Big Apple, where over 50 million people visit every year.

If that does not impress you enough, for every dollar that tourists spend in New York, nearly 25 cents out of that is spent on Times Square alone.

Times Square is primarily for shopping (Swatch, M+Ms World, MAC), dining, (so grab breakfast or burgers, sushi, snacks at TSQMKT) and entertainment.

You will be surrounded by a lot of buildings showcasing neon signs, giant billboards and television screens full of corporate ads. If you have not started singing Alicia Keys’ signature phrase “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” now is the time.

The reason why this is one of the top New York tourist attractions is its accessibility and buzzing energy, no matter what time of day or night you visit.

Time Square Crowds NYC

Some people love the bustle of Times Square, others hates it! Where do you sit? Tell us in the comments below.

The best time to visit Times Square is early morning if you want to try and beat the crowds.

However, everybody goes there, and you will have to walk among a sea of people because that is just how busy New York always is.

The city never sleeps, remember? There will be many people dressed in Disney or Marvel characters, but you should avoid taking photos with them unless you enjoy getting fleeced for cash.

At times it is fun to take a picture with Wonder Woman.

But just before the camera flash goes off, a bunch of her friends suddenly join at the last minute, and then the experience sourly turns into an unwanted group photo where every single person demands money.

Take a break by sitting on top of the famous giant red staircase in the middle and grab some hot dogs.

This is where you should bring out that selfie-stick and take a photo from on top of the stairs with the entire backdrop of Times Square right behind you.

New York is also a foodie heaven, and you will find many places to eat everywhere you look. Some restaurants have also turned into gift shops and museums, such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Seafood Restaurant, inspired by the movie “Forrest Gump” with Tom Hanks.

They even sell boxes of chocolates that say the famous line, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

There are several souvenir shops on nearly every street you walk on. This is where you can buy the I Love NY t-shirts and wear them around Times Square.

However, if you can wait, we have budget-saving advice for souvenirs on day two.

Some of the iconic shops to visit in the area as Disney Store, Hershey’s Chocolate World, M&M’s World, Yankees Clubhouse Shop, MTV Store, and Grand Slam New York.

Try the free samples at Hershey’s! Visiting during winter? This is where the ball drops every New Year’s Eve. Read more about the best places to spend NYE here.

Times Square New York_

Hate crowds? Head to Hell’s Kitchen for a sit-down meal.

On your way, you might see extremely long lines of people. This is because they are all trying to get tickets for The Late Show or The Daily Show.

You can try lining up to participate if you are a huge fan, but there is no point in spending several hours in a line when there is so much else to see Prefer a takeout meal?

Head to Bryant Park, which is a short walk from Times Square. Bryant Park is 9.6-acres of green space in the madness of Manhattan.

During the warmer months, locals and visitors catch rays among the blades of grass or sit on the metal seats to people watch.

Visiting NYC in fall? Head to Bryant Park to see the foliage.

It doesn’t close when the snow hits either. Igloos and ice skating takes over.

The park also puts on a series of events throughout the year such as yoga classes, movie screenings and free concerts. Perfect if your New York vacation means relaxing with some American beers and burgers.

NYC is awesome for free gigs and concerts during the summer months.

Bryant Park has a hidden gem too, check out the toilets when nature calls to see more nature at the loos.

Head to Bryant Park, which is a short walk from Times Square.

Bryant Park is 9.6-acres of green space in the madness of Manhattan.

During the warmer months, locals and visitors catch rays among the blades of grass or sit on the metal seats to people watch.

It doesn’t close when the snow hits either. Igloos and ice skating takes over.

The park also puts on a series of events throughout the year such as yoga classes, movie screenings and free concerts.

Perfect if your New York vacation means relaxing with some American beers and burgers. NYC is awesome for free gigs and concerts during the summer months.

→ Get your bearings: Central Park is only a ten-minute walk from here, and you can just walk down towards the west and suddenly be amid an entire stretch of restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen where you will find every single cuisine.

You can also walk to the New York Public Library and Grand Central Station in just twenty minutes.

Don’t miss our New York State bucket list challenge!

Lush trees at Byrant Park. NYC

Alternative Lunch Option

Food halls should also be on your NYC itinerary because they are beneficial if you cannot decide what to eat and want to try a little bit of everything.

The Urbanspace Vanderbilt food hall (Vanderbilt Ave, New York) is a short stroll from Bryant Park and Grand Central Station.

There are over 21 vendors, and you can also try a typical New York pizza slice called “The Axl Rosenberg.”

This is a delicious mouthful of mushrooms, garlic, jalapenos, and hot soppressata.

For some healthier pizzas and salads, you can eat at the Whole Foods food hall that also has a lot of delicious sushi, fish, and wine.

Evening – Top of the Rock + Hell’s Kitchen Dining

Now that you have seen a couple of New York attractions on foot, it is time to see the concrete jungle from above during peak sunset hour so you can watch all the city lights come alive.

There are no shortage of observatories in the city but The Rockefeller Center has the best observation deck for night viewings called “Top of the Rock.”

Unlike other observation decks in the city, this is an outdoor area where you can feel every bit of wind in your hair.

This is one of the best things to do in New York and gets crowded, which is why you should always book tickets in advance.

With the Top of the Rock Observation Deck Flexible Date Ticket, you can always pick the dates which suit your trip and can skip the hectic line.

Enjoy the pink sunset glow from the deck and take a million photos.

It is also one of the best views because you see the Empire State Building that should always be the center of attention in all your panoramic sunset or night pictures.

You can see the view from the observation in the image.

Set aside one hour for your visit or stay until night to get this shot.

Top of the Rock has wheelchair access and is collapsible stroller friendly.

Professional photography and tripods are not allowed.

Next, treat yourself to dinner at any of the ethnic restaurants in the once-gritty, Hell’s Kitchen. This is where Marvel’s Daredevil was brought up!

Still raring to go for a night full of sin?

Check out a comedy at Hell’s Kitchen or a theater show on Broadway and have a nightcap at Hotel Ink 48’s rooftop (653 11th Ave) for unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River.

Midtown Manhattan from Rockefeller NYC

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience

Probably the most popular thing to do for photography fans and young social media users is SUMMit One Vanderbilt but it is pricey so you are going to want to choose this over one of the other observation decks.

Located at One Vanderbilt, you can access the observatory line from inside Grand Central Station.

SUMMIT is 1401 feet high, 77 stories up and promises an immersive experience over a couple of floors.

The elevators flies up to the 91st floor to Transcendence I, in just 43 seconds.

The next room is Affinity, the one with the shiny balls you’ve seen on social media.

Views include Top of the Rock!

The next floor, 92nd, is Transcendence II which looks down on Transcendence I.

There is also a typical outside observation deck with views over to the Empire State Building.

For an additional fee, a glass elevator takes you to floor 93, Ascent.

If this sounds like the observatory for you, you can reserve a timed ticket here.

2 Days in New York

One of the best things about New York is that even if you do not have breakfast at the hotel, there are many carts on every street that serve hot bagels and pretzels.

Grab one of these to eat while walking to fuel up for day 2 in NYC.

Morning – Ellis Island + Statue of Liberty

Today we’re going to venture out to Liberty Island to see the glorious Statue of Liberty.

Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular things to do in New York and the lines reflect it.

Gemma (Two Scots Abroad) walked down to The Battery (Park) without pre-booking a ticket and turned on her heels back to the city when she saw the lines.

You can choose your designated trip date, time (morning) and type of ticket (standard or priority pedestal access) at GetYourGuide.

The Statue of Liberty tour includes a ferry ride and access to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island.

It also includes a multilingual audio guide.

If you want to visit the stone pedestal where Lady Liberty proudly perches you need to purchase the priority pedestal access option.

Note: Backpacks and tripods are not allowed on the pedestal access but there are lockers onsite.

Avoid the scams, go with a trusted cruise tour. You don’t have time to waste as it is a four-hour trip.

You might encounter some random ticket sellers who offer competitive prices that make pizza seem more expensive.

These tickets are usually not genuine, and you might never see the seller again right after paying.

Not bothered about seeing the exhibitions or visiting the pedestal?

Anyone with a ferry ticket can get access to the island and walk around, but you need a separate ticket to visit the Statue of Liberty.

The ferries run regularly on a continuous loop to the statue and back.

If you want to climb up to the crown, you will have to buy an additional pass several months in advance.

The crown tickets sell out super-fast.

Visiting the crown is not for the faint-hearted because you need to climb up to 340 steps, which is about 20 floors!

There are no elevators, so you must be in great shape.

It also gets sweltering and stuffy inside with temperatures 11 degrees higher than outside.

This, coupled with all the exercise during the intense stair climb, should inspire you to remove as many layers as legally possible.

The top of the crown is a minimal space with lots of little windows to see the view from.

If you look closely at the outside of Lady Liberty’s crown, you can see the windows to picture yourself on the other side of them after climbing a ton of stairs.

Set aside 3-4 hours for this New York point of interest.

Be ready for ferry security screening.

Statue of Liberty with NUC skyline

Alternative Option – United Nations

If this is your second time visiting New York, you don’t want to wait in line for Ellis Island or you have a particular interest in international issues and politics you may want to visit the United Nations.

This complex is the official headquarters of the United Nations (46th St & 1st Ave).

It features a museum with guided tours and exhibitions such as aid packages and tents for international relief.

A really cool feature of the tour is that you get to stand in the very same room where Malala Yousafzai delivered her speech on Global Education and Greta Thunberg asked the world leaders ‘how dare you’.

Yes, during the tour, providing it is available, you get access to the General Assembly Hall and Security Council Chamber.

United Nations NYC twisted gun monument

Afternoon Option 1

Canal Street Shopping + Chinatown

For the best bargains and genuine fakes, you should go to Canal Street, where several vendors have inexpensive souvenirs along Chinatown, especially the I <3 NY tees.

Canal Street is cash-only and haggling is welcomed. Be cautious of where your purse is at all times.

If you want more than the stereotypical items to bring back home, you should visit the Artists & Fleas market for hand-printed shirts, punk jewelry, and other arts and crafts related souvenirs.

The market is usually open until 9pm, which should give you plenty of time to shop around and explore all the different vendors.

From Canal Street, you are only two minutes walk from Cortlandt Alley.

At first, Cortlandt Alley might just look like a dingy street with no redeeming qualities but never judge a book by its cover!

This street is famous. It has brought alive many pages of scripts from the likes of Gotham, Law and Order and the film, Annie.

Just picture a man in a trench coat and hat solving a crime or even better, you might just catch a movie being made!

One of the best things about NYC is food from all over the world.

Since you are in Chinatown it would be rude not to sample some dim sum.

Chinatown buildings in NYC

Afternoon Option 2

One World Trade Center + 9/11 Memorial and Museum

A visit to the One WTC (Freedom Tower) and the 9/11 Museum combines an observatory deck and memorial museum.

The One WTC elevator takes only 47 seconds to get you to the top of the observatory viewing deck.

With advance One World Observatory skip-the-line tickets, you can skip all the lines.

The lifts also have a dynamic display that shows you how New York City transformed through history to become the world’s most loved concrete jungle.

There is also a thrilling Sky Portal with a glass floor that you can look down from! Hopefully, you are not afraid of heights or suffer from vertigo because this is the best part.

After the observatory, you can stop by at the cocktail bar for a gourmet experience while taking more shots of the iconic skyline.

If you visit One World Trade Center during Christmas, they set up a massive snow globe with incredible snowy displays.

The restaurant also serves Christmas themed food and drinks.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is open until 8pm daily, and it is located on the site of the original Twin Towers to pay homage to the nearly 3000 victims of the 2001 attacks.

The museum takes you through an in-depth experience with testimonies, artifacts, and stories from survivors of the attack.

The surrounding reflecting pools provide a tranquil backdrop to the memorial, and all the interactive exhibits take you on a historical journey of the tragic event.

There are over 10,000 artifacts and more than 2,000 interviews, photos, and interviews from survivors.

The most notable is the permanent collection where the items are donated by a survivor named John Stiastny.

The largest room in the museum is called Foundation Hall.

This is 15,000 square foot space with a 60-foot-tall ceiling that is made from some of the original wall that wasn’t destroyed on 9/11.

This museum gets very crowded with tourists no matter what time you visit because this is an emotional experience for tons of people from around the world.

With the New York 9/11 Memorial & Museum Skip-The-Line tickets, you can bypass the queue to explore all the exhibits and interactive displays.

You can reserve your skip-the-line ticket here.

Photographers will want to swing by the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (Oculus) to see the vast white futuristic building. Pack your shades.

One World Trade Center Tower (AKA Freedom Tower) over Hudson River viewed from New Jersey NYC

Afternoon Option 3


Ride a city bike or walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to get to Brooklyn.

You can pick up a Citibike, rent it for an hour and drop it off at a different location.

While you might not want to pedal around the fierce traffic of Manhattan, Brooklyn brings a slower pace to city life.

Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular places to take photos in the city. Capture the tangled webs of the bridge structure during the golden hour for best light but expect crowds.

Brooklyn Bridge at sunset NYC


Dumb name, incredible spot.

Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) has started popping up in lots of Instagram feeds and too right, this cobbled corner of Brooklyn is cool without shouting about it.

Street art murals, vintage finds, photogenic coffees, DUMBO is a Millennial dream.

Not your style? Don’t let that put you off the area, Brooklyn Park is one of the best spots to capture the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges as well as the Manhattan skyline, day and night.

The park takes in Pier 1 to Pier 6 and has a dedicated bikeway if you want to pedal between the piers.

Need a refresher? Time Out Market New York is located in DUMBO and offers 2-4-1 happy hour drinks with a skyline view.

DUMBO Manhattan Bridge NYC


Even back in 2011 when Gemma stayed in Williamsburg, bars were serving cocktails in jam jars. Welcome to Williamsburg!

Art galleries, craft beer breweries and sustainable clothes shopping on Bedford Avenue.

Around on a Saturday? Check out the Brooklyn Flea market.

Food! This gentrified pocket of Brooklyn has no end to its offerings from tacos to tempeh. It’s not cheap though!

Sopranos fans should dine at Bamonte’s (32 Withers St) which has been serving Italian food to the public, not just acting mafia gang members, since the 1900s.

Coney Island

Let’s go back, way back into time and visit the vintage fairground.

Luna Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn is an old school theme park with rides such as the Cyclon Rollercoaster and cool photobooths which print off four frames, cue cute couple/pals pics like Gemma took.

Coney Island is also home to a beach and firework display every Friday during summer.

You’ve probably seen it before as it has been featured in many movies including the appropriately named, Brooklyn.

It takes around 45-60 minutes from Manhattan to get here using the D, Q, N or F train to Stillwell Avenue.

As you can see, you can easily spend a day in Brooklyn. It’s a great borough for accommodation too, especially if you are a foodie and/or like bars. We’ve provided some ideas for accommodation below.

Aerial view on Coney Island and Brighton Beach  NYC

Evening – Broadway

If you have time, grab a disco (afternoon) nap at the hotel and get ready to head out to watch a play at one of the famous Broadway theaters as part of your NYC itinerary for 2 days in New York so far.

The most popular Broadway shows are Hamilton, Moulin Rouge, Beetlejuice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Aladdin, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Book of Mormon.

Since you only have 4 days in NYC, you should carefully choose one performance because there isn’t enough time for more.

These performances get booked out several months (if not a year) in advance, especially if you want to see Hamilton.

You can either buy tickets online or try your luck by visiting the theatre box office.

If there are any last-minute seats available, the box office usually starts a standby list and offers them on the day of the performance.

This is a first-come-first-serve policy, so you might want to check for tickets first thing in the morning to add your name in the line before sightseeing.

Websites like Ticketmaster might have cheaper tickets that get sold out in a jiffy.

The box office ones are priced a bit higher because they know that your willingness to pay is higher since you are dying to see Hamilton (who wouldn’t?!)

A lot of famous celebrities do Broadway shows in New York.

In 2019, Tom Hiddleston and Jake Gyllenhaal were fan favorites with massive lines of people waiting every night just to catch a glimpse of them.

If you do manage to catch a show, there are plenty of restaurants in the area where you can grab dinner before heading back to the hotel for a nightcap.

New York has the best pizzas in the world (after Italy, I suppose).

The slices are often bigger than a person’s head, so you can always fill up on that if you do not want an entire meal at a restaurant.

In case you are hungry very late at night, there is an incredible retro-style diner called “City Diner” (2441 Broadway) that is open 24/7!

It is never too late or too early to enjoy a traditional fried chicken and waffle dish with a side of mac n cheese and unlimited coffee.

Broadway Show Ads New York

3 Days in New York

Morning – Empire State Building Deck

This is the best time to visit the Empire State Building because it will not be as crowded as later in the day.

The quietest hours are at 8am or 3pm.

Even if you wake up slightly later than 8am, you can buy tickets in advance that will help you speed past all the lines such as the NYC: Empire State Building General & Skip-The-Line Tickets.

This is an all-inclusive pass that guarantees fast entrance into the lifts and up to the observation deck.

The 86th-floor deck is also open-air just like Top of the Rock.

You will get to go up over a thousand feet to enjoy a complete 360-degree view of the whole city.

You can also head to the second floor and visit the multimedia exhibit to learn about the building’s construction and all the movies and TV shows it has ever been featured in.

If that isn’t enough, the recently restored lobby has incredible ceiling murals made from 24-carat gold leaves that form a gorgeous selfie background.

The observation deck will bring back all the memories of watching Kevin McAllister from Home Alone 2, or Chuck Bass holding a bouquet of flowers waiting to declare his love for Blair Waldorf.

This building is every bit as historical and romantic as you have ever imagined.

This is the best way to see every part of the city to marvel at how big it is.

The only downside is that when it gets crowded later in the day, you might have to be quick at finding a good spot or wait for others to finish taking photos.

That is why buying tickets in advance with a line-skipping option becomes a game-changer to enhance the experience.

A new observation deck on level 102 is also open to the public.

This will cost a little extra which you can upgrade to during your visit (availability permitting), but it is worth going for a visit when there are not that many people since it is a smaller deck.

If you do not want to spend the extra money, you will not miss out because both floors offer the same views of NYC.

The only difference is that the new one is slightly higher up with large floor-to-ceiling windows rather than an open space.

The Empire State has a variety of eateries if you skipped breakfast, need a pick me up or are ready for lunch.

Sucker for old romantic movies? You’ll find the flagship Tiffany’s closeby on Fifth Avenue. Remember your big shades and beehive, cue Moon River…

Shoppers, Macy’s is less than a five-minute walk away from the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building at night

Afternoon – Central Park, Fifth Avenue + Museums

Before entering the park, take a quick sidestep to the corner of W 59th, where you can see The Plaza Hotel that was featured in Home Alone 2 and Gemma’s favorite, The Sopranos.

Just ten minutes from the hotel is the famous shop, Bloomingdale’s (1000 Third Avenue 59th Street and, Lexington Ave).

Not here to shop? Spending 3 days in NYC without a relaxing visit to the magnificent Central Park would be sacrilegious.

Wollman Rink rain Central Park NYC New York

Do not underestimate how big Central Park is at 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in length and remember to throw in temperatures of 85°F/29 °C in July!

The park runs from the south at 59th Street to the north at 110th Street (and Harlem, tonight’s focus).

It also takes in the west at Eighth Avenue and east at Fifth Avenue.

The great thing about its size is that you can step into nature at many points throughout Midtown and Upper Manhattan or exit to catch an attraction and we’ll suggest the best ones below.

It is spectacular seeing the skyline behind all the fresh greenery and colorful flowers while relaxing in a quiet zone.

Some of the best activities in the park are Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields – a tribute to John Lennon from The Beatles, Alice in Wonderland statue and the famous Carousel.

Strawberry Fields Central Park New York_

If you enjoy taking photos, you should go to the famous North Woods and catch the scenic waterfall.

During summer or spring, you can row a boat (from Loeb Boathouse ) to see the ducks and swans.

During winter there are two ice rinks in Central Park.

The park also hosts a lot of live music concerts and theater performances.

You might even stumble upon a great musician busking on the sidewalk or get interviewed by Humans of New York if you sit on one of the benches looking like you have a great story to tell.

There are over 25,000 trees to give you plenty of natural beauty in the heart of the city.

There are pedicabs for short trips, but you might need to practice some price haggling tricks before approaching the drivers.

Or you can rent a bike on the outskirts of the park and cycle around it as Gemma did during her first trip back in 2011.

Book fans will want to exit on Fifth Avenue to check out the selection of books at Albertine (972) and that glorious hand-painted ceiling.

Shoppers, sidestep to the glamorous Upper East Side and strut the streets like Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen.

Don’t forget to rub it in everyone’s faces when you sign off all your gorgeous Instagram photos with killer captions ending with the iconic “XOXO.”

The Upper Eastside isn’t just about shopping though, in or close to the park is The Metropolitan Museum of Art* (1000 5th Ave, nice rooftop) and the Guggenheim (1071 5th Ave) which looks like a collapsible cup on Fifth Ave.

*Realistically you could spend over a day in the Met so if this is a priority, plan for it.

Beautiful skyline of Central Park and New York city from Rockefeller Observatory - Top of the Rock - New York, USA

Alternative Afternoon – Catch a Yankees Game, The Bronx

Did you really go to New York if you didn’t catch a ballgame?

Leaving Manhatten, take the train to the next borough, The Bronx, to see professional baseball in action at the Yankees Stadium.

You’ll need some snacks to keep you going during the 3.5 hours game, pick up overpriced burgers and fries at the stadium.

New York Yankees Advert

The game is broken up into innings and the best part is when the crowd sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

It’s really easy to get to the stadium, just hop on the number 4 train and watch for the 161st Street/Yankee Stadium subway station.

Less than ten minutes walk away you can dance down a set of famous steps… The Joker Stairs at 1165 Shakespeare Ave.

Note: some games are played in the afternoon, others are in the evening. Check out the schedule before you finalize your itinerary.

Yankees Stadium New York_

Evening – Dinner in Harlem

It’s time for dinner, let’s head to Harlem for the best soul food in the world.

Sylvia’s restaurant on Malcolm X Boulevard is practically a Harlem landmark that has been serving the most delicious southern comfort food since 1962.

The restaurant has been operating by several generations of Sylvia’s family.

They make the best collard greens, mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, fresh cornbread, fried chicken, candied yams, and so much more.

The restaurant was also featured on MasterChef. Enough said.

If you make it to Sylvia’s before 5 pm, you can also take a quick stroll up the street for a couple of blocks to see the National Jazz Museum (58 W 129th St Ground Floor, 2203).

This is a tiny museum but has a lot of informative exhibits and recordings that bring the history of Jazz in New York to life.

After dinner, enjoy a show at one of Harlem’s jazz joints such as Paris Blue (dive bar) or Showman’s Jazz Club (bigger).

Still up at 23:30?

Go back to Times Square, to see the Midnight Moment, which is the world’s longest and largest digital light show synchronized across all the electronic billboards.

The show starts every night between 23:57 and midnight, and it is a great way to end your perfect 3 days in New York.

Brownstone houses in Harlem New York City.

Four Days in New York

Morning – Greenwich Village

By day four the excitement of being in a new city has probably worn off, your feet will be feeling it and maybe, just maybe, you’ve got a tender head from the night before.

Today is for mooching about some of NYC’s nicest neighborhoods. First up is Greenwich Village.

“The Village” bucket list items include wandering about the brownstone townhouses and leafy streets which you may recognize from the big or small screen!

Does 64 Perry Street, and 66, look familiar?

This is where Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City typed away on her laptop sharing her woes of relationships and shoe theft in this crazy city.

Guys, before you take your designer handbags and Manolo Blahniks for a photoshoot remember this is someone’s property and they paid a whopping $9.85 million for it.

Not a fan of SATC? No stress.

Apparently all the cool kids lived in The Village in the 90s/early 2000s, go find the Friends apartment at 90 Bedford Street/corner of Grove Street.

Once the star stalking is over, it’s time for people-watching and Washington Square Park is the ideal spot to do this.

This is the green space with the famous arch (below) and chess-playing locals.

Gemma witnessed a flashmob dance here, you just never know what is going to happen in NYC!

Music fans will want to hang out at Cafe Wha, like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix did.

Moving away and up above the city, the High Line is New York’s park in the sky.

Utilizing old railroads, the city developers created a pedestrian walkway surrounded by plants, art installations, seating areas and photo spots.

Since it is elevated, you can get between areas of the city without directly breathing in car fumes!

The High Line is well used so visitors will feel safe as you stroll from one neighborhood to another.

The urban park starts at Gansevoort Street (which has an elevator) in the Meatpacking District, taking you through Chelsea and ends 34th Street (ramp entrance).

There are exits throughout the route.

Washington Square New York

Afternoon – Chelsea + Hudson Yards

If you do not have enough time to visit Chelsea Market, then you should call up the airlines to extend your trip to 5 days in New York.

This market is a MUST SEE with all capital letters.

When Vanessa Williams writes about saving the best for last, she must have surely made a quick pitstop to Chelsea Market before penning those heartwarming lyrics.

Chelsea Market is the best urban food court with over 40 businesses and restaurants selling everything under the sun.

You can buy fresh homemade bread from Amy’s Bread Bakery, try a juicy lobster roll from The Lobster Place, and the best gelato from L’Arte del Gelato.

If you love desserts, do not forget to hit Fat Witch Bakery for the best brownies and cupcakes in the city.

This is the largest food hall in NYC, and you can find every type of food here.

It is also open until late, so you can be as gluttonous as your heart desires, and no one would blame you.

Chelsea Market is in the Meatpacking District between 15th and 16th streets so you can walk off the High Line and into Chelsea.

Chelsea Market Clock New York Chelsea Market New York.shutterstock_335697647

The ‘Whitney’ Whitney Museum of American Art can also be found in this district. Book before arriving as tickets have timed slots and they sell out.

The Whitney has a terrace, access is included in the price.

Behind the market, you should visit the Hudson River Park and walkway to enjoy a beautiful skyline view across the river when all the lights in the city sparkle after sunset.

Instagram fans, the famous Flatiron Building, the skinny tall one, is a 20-minute walk away!

There’s just too much to do in New York.

The Edge at Hudson Yards is another viewing platform which you literally can’t miss at over 1000 feet in the city.

The Vessel at Hudson Yards is also a popular Instagram spot. Snap the outside and the inside inspired by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio.

Blue skies at Historic Governors Island NYC

Plan Your Trip to New York

Getting to New York

The two airports used by most international and national flight paths are John F. Kennedy (Queens) or Newark Airport (New Jersey).

JFK to Manhattan can take anything between 45 – 120 mins by private transfer/taxi.

The subway takes around 65-75 mins using the A, E, J or Z lines depending on where in Manhattan your accommodation is.

Newark Airport AirTrain is the most efficient way to get between Newark and Manhattan with a stop at Penn Station and World Trade Center.

You can also take Greyhound buses for short trips to New York from other states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, etc.

The Greyhound buses might not be the most comfortable because of worn-out seats in older vehicles, but they drop you right in the middle of the city at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

This bus terminal is literally in the heart of the city.

After you get off the bus, up the escalator and out on the street, the first thing you will see is the New York Times building.

Then on your right side, you will see the Empire State Building in the distance. Welcome to New York City! Make sure you have your camera ready.

From here you will find a long line of traditional New York yellow cabs parked outside, but if your hotel is close to Times Square, you can walk and do some casual sightseeing, while sweating with your luggage

If you are catching a train into New York, you will probably stop at Grand Central Station, which is one of the three transit hubs in Manhattan.

From here, you can catch the 42nd Street Shuttle or “S” train to Times Square.

Most Amtrak trains stop at Grand Central. The other drop off is Penn Station.

Views Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights Promenade in NYC in New York

Getting Around New York

While most of your Manhattan adventure will be done on foot there will be times that you have to use the NYC public transport system to save time, distance and your poor feet!

The New York Subway may seem daunting at first but it is the quickest way to get around.

Also, be prepared for all walks of life using the subway.

Note: Not all of the trains run underground.

The subway runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year but not every line will run all day and night.

Use the official map, Google Maps (provides exits) and the official MTA app (no 4G required for map) for the best routes.

Focus on the numbers and letters not the colors for line navigation planning.

Look for Uptown (north) or Downtown (south) to ensure you are going in the right direction.

Express trains are great for speed but not if your stop isn’t included!

There’s no loop like many European subway/metros.

To pay for the subway you need a Metrocard which comes in pay per ride or 7 days unlimited for $33.

To work out if this is worth it for your four day trip to New York, 33/4= $8.25 then calculate $2.75 per ride x how many times you think you will use the subway.

The pre-paid card saves time as you don’t have to waste in line for the machines.

Note: Not all machines take card so have cash on you if buying per ride or topping up.

New York’s famous yellow cabs are all around the city and easy enough to hail by putting your hand out.

Gemma struggled to get a cab from Manhattan back to Brooklyn! Luckily her parents were in town so their hotel sorted one out for her.

Brooklyn Subway NYC New York

New York Accommodation

New York Hotels

  • Pod Times Square: Affordable, cool, excellent location on West 42nd Street which is a 9-minute walk to Times Square.
  • Moxy Hotel: Modern yet budget-friendly Moxy chain often.
  • Pod Brooklyn: Want to be where the hip kids are? Pod is also based in Williamsburg.

New York Packing List

  • Comfortable walking shoes and hiking boots – I swear by Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
  • Camera and battery
  • Battery pack for your phone – I vouch for Ankers range US / UK
  • Osprey bag cover US / UK
  • Eco water bottle like Tree Tribe US / UK
  • Filter and purifying water bottle like Water To Go [quote TSA15 at checkout for 15% off]
  • Bamboo cutlery set if dining at the markets or getting takeout US / UK
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK
  • Hydration tablets US / UK if participating in craft beer, wine and cocktails.
  • If visiting in winter, pack layers, tights, waterproof outwear, hats, scarves and gloves. Don’t underestimate how cruel NYC winters can be. Yes, thats Gemma in a Vancouver hat in NYC. Bold.
Prometheus Rockefeller Christmas Tree ice rink NYC New York

New York Instagram Spots

  • Times Square with flashing lights
  • Grand Central
  • Empire State Building
  • Top of the Rock for views of the Empire State Building
  • Flatiron Building with NY yellow cabs
  • Central Park boats, Belvedere Castle or The Lake
  • The Met Rooftop Bar
  • Guggenheim warped levels
  • Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue
  • World Trade Center Transportation Hub (Oculus) for white futuristic white space
  • The Vessel at Hudson Yards for brass robotic platforms
  • The Edge at Hudson Yards space-like viewing platform
  • DUMBO Brooklyn Park for bridge views, Washington Street for building framing
  • Brooklyn Bridge for ‘on the bridge’ shots
  • Domino Park views of bridges
  • Coney Island for throwback vibes
  • 64-66 Perry Street is Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, be respectful of residents
Domino Park views, sunset, night, Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn over the East River path NYC New York

New York Map

Please find our New York attractions map here.

Final Words

A trip to New York is exhausting yet exhilarating. It’s the city that gives you the chance to wear your I Heart NY tee like a tourist one day then blend in with a flat white like a local the next.

Its cultural fusion serves up the best food, its subway zips you quickly between neighborhoods and boroughs and its dramatically changing seasons gives you a reason to visit frequently.

This guide to New York written by Two Scots Abroad and their writer, Shipra. Shipra has fallen madly in love with NYC and cannot wait to go back again because 4 days in New York were not long enough. She is still trying to get tickets to see Hamilton and hopes for the best. See more guides by Shipra on Two Scots Abroad here: Chicago, Boson and Dubai.

Hostel Rules and Regulations – Don’t Be THAT Traveller

The Society Hotel private dorm bed with curtains in a hostel

Looking for tips on how to handle hostel dorm etiquette? While hostels are a cheap form of accommodation, making a budget stretch further, they are not a replacement for home!

Learn how to avoid treating 8-bed dorms like private bedrooms with the following advice from seasoned backpackers.

In this guide, fellow travel fans have put together a list of hotels rules and regulations to help everyone sleep better at night. 

You may also be interested in finding out how we saved £20K to travel – click for our strategy, and how to plan for long-term travel.

What is a Hostel?

Hostels are an economical form of accommodation which comes after camping and couchsurfing in the international hierarchy of budget travel sleeping arrangements.

They usually offer some form of social setting whether that be a bar, garden or rooftop seating area, or even a swimming pool in warmer climates.

Hostels are a great place to meet new travel buddies because there usually is an element of organised fun through quizzes, pub crawls, themed nights and even cultural activities like city walking tours.  

Hostel bedroom at Taquile Island Homestay in Peru

What is a Hostel Like?

Contrary to belief, hostels are not just for party backpackers.

They come in all shapes and sizes from dives to rooms fit for divas. Sleeping arrangements differ depending on the hostel.

Some offer private rooms with private bathrooms, others have private rooms with shared bathing facilities.

There’s even hostels with outdoor sleeping options (in Budapest).

Most hostels have dorm rooms in common.

Green decorated HI Hostel private room Boston Massachusetts

What is a Dorm Room?

Forget North American sorority dorms and think more Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sleeping arrangements and you are halfway there.

Jokes aside, dorm rooms are rooms with beds which are usually in bunk form (one up/one down) to save space.

You can expect anything from a 2-bed bunk to 16-bed and the price of a hostel stay gets less the more beds in the room.

There should be a locker for you to place your belongings.

They sassier hostels have lockers big enough for your 60l backpacks.

Hostels are cosy, which means making friends is pretty easy.

The more modern dorms have privacy curtains, alternatively, opt for the bottom bunk and hang up a large scarf or flag.

The Society Hotel private dorm bed with curtains

Are Hostels Safe?

Hostels are only as safe as you prepare for them to be.

Just because someone carries a backpack like you it doesn’t mean they are not an opportunist.

This doesn’t mean every traveller is a thief, you just have your wits about you and be wise.

Don’t leave out anything you want to keep from going walkies and be cautious when charging electronics.

Charge a capacitor battery pack like our reliable Anker US / UK and use that to charge on the go.

Consider investing in a PacSafe net US / UK for keeping gear safe.

We travelled with it through the Americas (North, Central, South) and Europe and came home target-free.

To use, pack a day bag full of your expensive kit and passport then close it.

Place the bag in the PacSafe net before closing tight, wrap the wire around something non-moveable like a bed frame and then clip the padlock (TSA approved comes recommended) closed with the bag securely attached to the frame.

Now cover with a scarf.

Most hostel buildings have security call features at their front door to avoid anyone walking in and out.

You can read individual hostel reviews on the likes of Hostelworld which will help you also make a decision about each one.

PacSafe Net Travel Safety

Hostel Rules and Regulations

So now that we’ve covered the basics of backpacker accommodation lets move on with the tips for staying in a hostel.

Whether you are staying in a hostel for the first time or you’ve racked up the party hostel passport stamps, there’s a takeaway for everyone.

Hostel Dorm Security

Staying in a dorm requires a few quick checks.

Take two seconds to memorise the code for the door, or try your key in the lock to make sure it works – even if it’s open when you arrive.

That door is the only security you and your fellow travellers have and it’s really important that you keep it secure.

Even if valuables are in lockers inside the rooms, most locker padlocks can easily be picked.

So, make sure you always, always lock the door when you go out – that’s just good hostel manners.

By Danni Lawson |  Live in 10 countries

Granted, a dorm is never going to be as quiet as a private room.

Yet, a lot can be done to ensure the peaceful coexistence of all guests.

One of the unspoken yet basic rules in hostel dorms should be that of keeping the level of noise to a minimum.

Those checking out in the early hours should always make sure to pack their bags the night before, while nobody is asleep and preferably before 10 or 11 pm.

By doing that, they will keep noise levels at a minimum while everyone in the dorm is asleep.

It’s a simple, yet very nice gesture that doesn’t require that much effort and that goes a long way into making sure that even the most crowded of spaces becomes an oasis of peace.

By Claudia Tavani | My Adventures Across The World

Hammocks | Costeno Beach Surf Camp Ecolodge, Colombia

Do Not Turn On The Lights Between 11pm-8am

One of the most annoying things a traveller who is staying in a dorm room can do is to be inconsiderate when they switch on the light after 11 pm, especially when someone is already asleep.

Be polite, some people have an early flight and want their beauty sleep as much as possible or the ones who come home late from a party will surely not appreciate the bright light too early either.

If you need to do something, you can use the torch of your phone. It’s just a simple but nice act.

By Mary | A Mary Road

Bright bedroom in Cruz de los Andes Bedroom

Put Your Phone On Silent

One of the best things you can do for the people in your hostel dorm room is to silence your phone

. I have shared rooms with too many travellers who believe that everyone around them needs to know when they receive a text message or phone call, but it really just makes the rest of us stir crazy.

It is understood that if you’re waiting on an important call, you turn your phone on loudly so you don’t miss it.

But, if you’re casually texting, it can be done in silence (this includes turning off keyboard sounds on phones).

In addition, it is also rude to have a conversation on your phone late at night or early in the morning inside a dorm room.

Most hostels have a social space or living area where you can take care of these matters – your bed is not the place to do it.

By Megan | Meganstarr

Person on video call. Phone

How To Deal With Snoring in Hostels

We get it, you’ve had a hard night on the sauce and you are prone to a little open mouth, blocked nose snoring action but, it really is not fair on anyone else in the room.

Many of your dorm friends might be getting up a 3 am for a hike so your freight train breathing is going to ruin their paid excursion.

Some tips include, try moving the snorer if you know them.

Reddit recommends throwing M&Ms at the perpetrator.

Pack and use earplugs or consider a headphone headband.

Complain and request a new room.

If you are the guilty party, consider a private room in a hostel.

La Paz Bolivia hostel bar

Invest In Headphones

Listening to music and watching movies are great ways to pass time in the evenings or on a lazy day, but not everyone in a hostel dorm will want to listen at the same time.

Especially at night when others are sleeping, hostel guests should do what they can to avoid disturbing others – including sounds from phones and laptops.

Trying to fall asleep to the sound of gunfire in an action movie or a blend of three different people’s music at the same time is annoying and will surely draw complaints from light sleepers and people who like peace and quiet.

Popping in a pair of headphones is an easy way to keep dormmates from holding a grudge.

They don’t need to be expensive noise-cancelling headphones – cheap earbuds will do the trick so music or movies can be played all night if necessary.

By Kris | Nomad by Trade

Earphones, plant and laptop keyboard on pink background

Sharing Is Not Caring

Hostels can be a bit intimidating for first-timers but they are fun and inexpensive.

One of the downsides of staying in a hostel is the fact that some people can be disrespectful and clueless.

Paying for a shared space doesn’t mean everyone has the right to do what they want.

Asking yourself these questions:

Do I enjoy the aroma of dead-rat smelling shoes wafting around with the aircon-breeze while I’m contemplating life?

Do I want to see a naked lady changing bloody sanitary products while I’m thinking of what food to eat next?

The answer is always no!

Most hostels have shoe racks outside of dorm rooms.

Use it.

Girls, there is a toilet just 5 metres away from your bed, insert there.

It only takes a minute to spare someone from a life of tampon trauma.

Be a hero and do your ladies’ business privately.

By Christine Rogador | The Travelling Pinoys

Walking Boots Review Ragata Boots

Save Your Smells

Dorm bedrooms are usually small, thus any smell inside becomes X times stronger than outside.

Moreover, in AC rooms, all the smells are stuck in the closed space.

Bedrooms are mainly meant for sleeping, so it’s best to keep neutral/fresh scent there.

That means eating spicy food or any types of snacks is not appropriate.

There is a kitchen in any hostel, where you are more than welcomed to eat!

It’s also time to control your favourite perfume. Some people tend to apply more perfume since it becomes lighter outside because of the weather and wind.

The air is still in the room, so all the sprays from all the guests will mix and stay.

If you are a smoker, hang-out outside for a while till the strong smell of cigarettes will reduce to the minimum.

Many non-smokers are susceptible to cigarette scent and, most probably, they would not like it spread in the bedroom.

By Natalia | Mytriphack

Sandwich Rome food Trastevere

Dorm Rooms Are Not Laundromats

Long-term travel can’t be non-stop awesome travel experiences.

At some point, everyone needs to do their laundry.

Many hostels have washing machines that travellers can pay to use. Unfortunately, some travellers decide to save money and hang their wet clothes around the dorm to dry.

Some string a line from one bed to another. Others merely drape their wet clothes and towel over their bed and sometimes over other bunks.

This is not OK; having to navigate around someone else’s laundry is unpleasant.

Rather than hanging or draping their wet laundry around the dorm to dry, people staying in hostels should always use the dryer or hang their clothes outside on a washing line if there is one provided. Hostel staff can always advise what laundry facilities they have available.

By James Ian | Travel Collecting

Bunk beds in Flying Dog, Arequipa

Don’t Leave Your Sh*t In Communal Bathrooms

Hostels are normally associated with youth, freedom and a laid-back life, but that is not to be confused with lack of respect and common sense.

On the contrary, sharing space with others implies, or should imply, respecting one another and following unwritten rules of a certain kind of common sense which, unfortunately, not for everybody is “common”.

One of those rules concerns shared bathroom space.

“Shared bathrooms” means that the bathroom is shared among many people and therefore it’s not wise nor respectful to leave one’s toiletries in the little space available, be it a chair, a shelf or whatever that is available.

That space is temporary for the person using the facilities at that time.

Your toiletry bag is your storage, not the communal bathroom space.

It’s easy to understand, there is simply no room for everybody’s stuff.

By Isabella Biava | Boundless Roads

Eco Friendly Products  lined up on shelf

Don’t Steal My Sh*t

Don’t steal other people’s stuff. You might think that this is obvious, but the amount of times things go missing in hostels it is ridiculous.

From mobile phones and other valuables to dirty clothes, shoes and food from the fridge, why do some people think its ok to take other people’s stuff? It is never OK to take things that don’t belong to you.

Even if you’re drunk, eating someone else’s pizza is not cool.

Backpackers usually have a tight budget, which certainly won’t stretch to providing someone they don’t know with free food or anything else which takes their fancy!

Buy your own stuff, or just go without.

By Claire Sturzaker | Tales of a Backpacker

Scialla The Original Street Food. St.Peter's Basilica Vatican at Rome pizza food

You Can’t Sit With Us, Well Me (Name That Film)

For many travellers, staying at a hostel provides a built-in community on the road and potential new friends, which can be great – if you want that from your travel experience.

However, for travellers who are a bit more introverted or shy (or simply prefer solitude and travelling alone), hostels can quickly become overwhelming environments when others approach them constantly to try and make plans together.

When you’re staying at a hostel, be mindful of people’s personal space and aware of the cues they may be giving you.

If you sense that someone is enjoying being alone and isn’t looking for a new travel companion, respect their wishes.

Don’t insist that you eat together, hang out constantly, or travel together to the next destination. Travelling is an inherently overstimulating and often overwhelming experience, and lots of people are seeking solitude and reflection time (or need to work while travelling), not necessarily looking for a crew of new pals to hang out with on the road.

That being said, there are plenty of hostellers who are happy to make new friends and pick up a travel buddy – look out for them and don’t hesitate to reach out when people seem receptive.

By Sierra Dehmler | Passport Voyager

Backpackers on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua

Get A Room

I get it. You’re on holiday. You’ve found THE ONE.

Or maybe it’s the beer talking.

Anyway. Things get heavy. It’s time to take this somewhere… more intimate.

That towel you’ve put up hanging from the bunk above will act as the perfect sound and light barrier, right?

Surely no-one will hear you?

The answer, I’m sad to say, is no. Everyone will hear you.

No-one wants to.

Please, do everyone a favour and don’t have sex in a hostel dorm.

Unless you are: a) The only person in the hostel dorm or b)… to be honest, there is no B.

Just don’t do it.

If sex is something you find yourself doing, get a private room, or find a private place that doesn’t have a bunch of other strangers lying in the dark listening to your magnificent sounds.

However quiet you think you are being, and however fluffy that towel… they can definitely hear you.

And no-one wants that.

This also applies to tents incidentally.

By Laurence Norah | Finding the Universe

Huts in Costeno Beach Surf Camp Ecolodge, Colombia

Final Words

Over 10+ tips later from avid travellers, I think we can all agree on this hostel etiquette advice and move forward in our quest to travel carefree and happily into the sun.

Like it? Pin it!

Tips on how to survive hostels | Hostel dorms | Backpacking | Hostel dorm tips | Budget travel

What really grinds your gears in hostels?

25 London Gift Ideas For UK Fans

Tower of London guide. flags, blue skies

Big attractions, Royal palaces, flagship stores, luxury shopping, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the streets are paved with gold. Everyone wants a piece of this big city whether it be London souvenirs, a quintessentially British gift or an experience in London that you simply can’t get anywhere else in the world.

This British gifts guide will help you make sense of the unique from the twee, ensuring you don’t go ‘Pete Tong’ (wrong!) Unless stated otherwise, all identified London gifts online ship internationally so everyone can enjoy them!

Going to London? You’ll love our budget London hacks guide.

London Themed Gifts For All

London Gifts for Her

1. London Necklace

A sure hit with her, this delicate London skyline necklace is a simple piece.

The iconic backdrop of all the famous spots in London will pop against bright tops.Click here for the UK item // here for USA item.

London skyline necklace gold and silver on grey rock

2. Super-Cute London Print Apron

Something a little more on the ‘twee side’ is this cute London themed apron. A throwback to the 1950s, this apron has a halterneck top and tie for the waist. It fits sizes 4-14, waist 30″, and is 26″ in length, top to bottom.

The attention to detail is impeccable with red phone boxes, double-decker buses, Big Ben, cute city girls, the Tube logo, and bows. Bravo, Brendables.

The top of the apron is red with white polka dots. Click here for US item.

Sorry Brits, the above apron only ships to the US but there is a UK equivalent which you can view here.

Does anyone else think these aprons could be worn as dresses?!

Don’t miss our most romantic places in Europe roundup!

London print apron, red and white. Cute._

For Him

3. London Glasses

For statement pieces of glass, you need these. Create a set of conversation pieces with this glassware. Practical and stylish, your drinks table will look London chic with these.

For US readers, these London Marathon Map Rocks etched glasses are super popular for those who like a little something on the rocks.

For the British equivalent, you can have the exact area of London etched, with these personalized pieces (92mm x 78mm). Click here to view

4. For Difficult to Buy For Guys

If you really can’t decide on an experience gift, give them a hand with accommodation.

Hotels are not cheap in the Big Smoke! Tinngly offer this ‘3-night stay in cities‘ hotel package.

How does it work?

  • You order the gift
  • The certificate is instantly emailed
  • They choose the location, hotel and dates (doesn’t have to be London)
  • It is valid for five years so there is no rush

Gemma and Craig (Two Scots Abroad) have done Tinngly experiences all over the world including volcano boarding in Nicaragua.

Tinngly 3-night stay in cities hotel package. 

For the Home

5. Tea-rific in a Cute Red Bus Tin  

Let’s start you on the right track and ‘whet your whistle with a cup of Rosey Lee’.

Quintessentially British, this gift will soothe your weary bones and delight your friends. 

Serve in china with a scone for an authentic London afternoon tea experience.

The question, cream or jam first on the scone?

Tell us in the comments below.

6. Sweet Tea Set

You’ve picked the tea, you’ve got the box now you just need a tea set.

Sitting with your scones, jelly/jam, and butter this traditional British gift will wow all your afternoon tea guests.

Read next, our Paris lovers gift guide.


7. London Clock

Abbey Road, where music is made and dreams can soar

. Vinyl clocks are just the ticket if your gift recipient is into their vintage looks and the London Skyline. Check them out at Etsy.

You may also like our Scotland gift guide.

London Underground Gifts

Did you know that the famous ‘mind the gap’ announcement is over 40 years old?

The announcement was reintroduced to the original voice as his widow missed hearing her late husband’s words.

She used to visit a station just to hear this, after his death.

Now, London Transport has given her a recording of this iconic announcement.

With these London themed gifts, you’re sure to make everyone happy.

8. Mind the Gap Print

An iconic ‘Mind the Gap’ picture, makes a perfect London Underground gift.

Order from Jack on Etsy (check out his branding, super cool). 

Mind the gap framed image. Black, white, yellow

9. London Tube Bag

Everyone needs a bag to pop their tablet in, maps or just to keep everything safe.

Let’s make it the London look with this London underground map print bag by Hobby Girl Crafts!

This quality black Kona Cotton crossbody bag is perfect for just that at 8 x 10.5 inches.

Inside there are two compartments and the fully adjustable strap extends to 2.5 feet so you can retract it in to make it a shoulder bag, or pull it out for an over-the-body bag.

Great for security while moving through any city. 

London tube map crossover bag_

Best Souvenirs from London

Here are a few of the best England souvenirs.

10. London Crumpled Map

We all know that scene from Friends when Joey has to get in the map?

Well, we now have a solution. See the Crumpled London Map US / UK.

You can squish it up, get it wet, drop it and get in it because it’s already well worn in!

London Crumpled Map in Plastic Packaging_

11. Personalized Umbrella

Nothing is more British than talking about the weather.

To be honest, you can’t get much more British themed gifts than umbrellas.

This great product even lets you pop on your own photo, so you can personalize it with a perfect London scene of your own choosing. Ships internally and offers free delivery to the UK!

Most Popular London Experience Gifts

12. Coca-Cola London Eye

One of the most prominent features in the London skyline is the London Eye.

Also, one of the tallest observation wheels in the world, the forty-minute ride with bird’s eye view, is one of the most popular things to do in London.

This London eye ticket lets you fast track and ‘skip the line’ so visitors can save time and get on with their busy London itinerary.

Plus, from high heights, visitors can capture pictures to take home for their own unique London souvenir.

London gift ideas don’t get more practical than this. 

Big Ben through window of London Eye

13. Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour and Transfers

Did some say, Harry Potter? In a quandary as to what to get from London for the Potterheads in your life?

The obvious answer is to head straight to Diagon Alley.

It’s actually quite difficult to get the Harry Potter Studios in England so this tour with transfer from London to Watford via the Knight Bus will be appreciated.

Read our guide on how to get to Harry Potter Studios for more options.

 14. → Tight itinerary? Check out the Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour (2.5 hours, meeting place Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue).

Harry Potter model with wand

15. Tower of London Ticket with Crown Jewels Exhibition

One of the London bucket lists tasks is to catch the Ravens at the 11th century Tower of London.

Why not get your friends and family on the right foot with this ticket to the Crown Jewels and Tower of London?

The ticket also includes:

  • Access to the Tower grounds
  • Viewing of the Imperial State Crown laced with diamonds, pearls, sapphires, emeralds and gems
  • A tour by a Yeoman Warders (starts every 30 mins)

Never mind the best gifts from London, when you can give even better ones for London.

Read next, everything you need to know about Tower of London.

London Gifts Experience, London Tower, UK flag, tree, blues skies

16. Black History Walks

Guided walking tours in London focusing on African history in England’s capital.

Tours last around 2-3 hours and cover 2000 years of London’s Black history.

Some are tours can be done by foot, others are on the river!

Reserve your spot here.

Private tours available on request.

17. Uncomfortable Art Tours

‘Display it like you stole it’ – Alice Procter takes visitors around London’s popular museums and shares the story they don’t want you to hear.

Many of the UK museums display items looted by Brits which were never returned.

This tour aims to take a look at ownership and identity of these items which Britain has ‘inherited’.

Uncomfortable Art Tours take place at the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Britain and the Queen’s House (National Maritime Museum).

18. London Theatre Gift

No trip to London is complete without a theatre experience. 

Whether it’s a London experience for 2 or that special ticket that your loved one has been dropping massive hints for, you’ll find these next links something to make a song and a dance about.

What will they see?

Foodie Gifts London

19. Cadbury’s Gift Packs

From one shop in England to an international empire, Cadbury’s chocolate is not only a household British name but an instantly recognizable brand around the world.

Pick up this pack of Cadbury’s goodies US / UK including Flake, Crunchy and Caramel.


Alternatively, a throwback to their trip with M&S Percy Pigs – suitable for vegetarians.

20. Harrods Mug

Every shopper’s London itinerary includes a trip to the lux store, Harrods.

Buy your London fanatic the iconic mug in dark green with gold branding is a classic.

21. Eat London

Will your loved one by sniffing out the culinary options from Michelin-starred restaurants and street food in London?

This Eat London food guide US / UK highlight the best food spots over 14 chapters.

It delves into the chefs, makers and the international food community in the city.

Bonus feature: recipes from the likes of A. Wong, Balthazar, Morito and The Palomar.

22. Thames Lunch Cruise

Walking and sightseeing work up an appetite. 

Reward yourself with an afternoon tea aboard a Thames cruise nonetheless. 

A boat ride over the Thames is one of the top-rated experiences in London, according to GetYourGuide customers.

It might not be with the Queen, but it’s sure to give them a rest from all that walking and see London from the Thames.

London Baby Gifts

Thinking about getting a unique baby shower gift?

Then this next section will give you some awesome ideas.

23. Comfy Baby Blanket

This darling mink or cotton baby blanket/toddler security blanket is super London with its Big Ben, double-decker, Guards of London and brolly icons.

Customers can choose between three sizes and four backing colors.

The print uses eco-friendly, water-based inks on natural and synthetic fiber textiles.

No additional chemicals used.

Suitable for snuggly security blankets, tummy time, nursing, cribs, cots and car seats.

It is also popular with wheelchair users.

Mink or cotton London print baby blanket-toddler security blanket

24. London, Baby

Wow, another Joey from Friends reference!

You can’t go wrong with a London baby vest for photos and vomit. Variety of sizes available.

Pregnant and looking to make ‘thee announcement’?

Moxie and King do these sweet ‘world traveler’ baby vests for you to snap at the perfect location.


Baby vest, white with London baby text in black

25. Liberty of London Dresses

For the little Princess in your life, baby gifts from London don’t come more special than a London Liberty dress.

Well known for their fabrics, this will ensure the child wearing it, stands out from the crowd. 

See the USA version here // UK version here.

Final Words

So, whether it’s English gifts, British souvenirs, gifts for him, her or the home, this guide has covered a wide range of ideas for all of your London-loving friends and family. 

Save for later!

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What cool gifts from London did you purchase? Tell us below.

Author – Ruth is a school teacher and a travel fanatic with a bucket list that’s getting smaller. A passion for shopping and deals. Bringing you gifts and trips to make your life easier.