Visiting the Familypark in St. Margarethen (outside Vienna)

Thomas read an article about a park named Familypark as he relaxed on his sofa. He looked at the pictures and thought “I’ve got to visit that place”.

Thomas borrowed a car and headed in the direction of the Familypark, located outside the city of St. Margarethen. This is very close to Hungary, so Thomas considered paying Sopron, and the beautiful quarry located in Fertorakos. He eventually visited both places, but more about those in another article.

The car-ride from Vienna to the Familypark took about 1 hour, without much traffic to see. But, Thomas was greatly surprised upon arrival at the park. He had read that it opened at 9.00 every day and that the rides only started from 10.00. So, he expected the park to be quite empty upon arrival at 9.30. But, he was completely wrong. Before he found a place to park the car, he had to pass by hundreds of cars that had arrived even earlier than him.

One of the attractions in the Family Park - Source.
One of the attractions in the Family Park – Source.

Entering the park – entrance fees

To enter the park, Thomas had to pay 24 Euro. This fee is for all the attractions inside, meaning that he could enjoy everything on the inside after that without paying any extras. But, he had to stand in line for 10 minutes to get his ticket (even though there were 6 cashiers open). This place was much more popular than he would have imagined beforehand.

As he looked through the price-list, Thomas said to himself, that if he lived close to this park, he would have bought the annual ticket (costing only 69 euro). In other words, if you visit the park more than twice a year, the annual ticket gives you the best value.

Once inside, Thomas empties his tank (in one of the many toilets in the park) and looks for something cool to do.

Thomas spots a carousel in the park
Thomas spots a carousel in the park

At first, Thomas spots a carousel in the Familypark. It looks nice, but for people in their 30’s, this isn’t exactly the kind of program you are looking for in an amusement park.

Walking a bit further, he can see one of those rides he fears a lot. You have to sit in a chair together with others, they take you to the top, and then suddenly let you fall downwards. Luckily, this is a small one, so Thomas decides to take a seat and enjoy it.

Luckily, this ride wasn't to scary for Thomas
Luckily, this ride wasn’t too scary for Thomas

This was a nice start on the stay in the park for Thomas. Now he walks on to see what else to do. In the background, he spots a roller-coaster and hurries up to give it a try. He isn’t really so tough, but he likes to think of himself as a guy not fearing anything. As Thomas gets into the line, he is happy that it is only 25 Celsius outside, because this line would be a disaster if it would have been warmer. After 20 minutes in line, Thomas is ready to take a seat and try the rollercoaster.

Thomas enjoys the rollercoaster in the Familypark
Thomas enjoys the rollercoaster in the Familypark

It isn’t often that 60 seconds passes by this fast. There were no loops in the rollercoaster, but it still felt scary, and Thomas’ legs are shaking a bit as he leaves the car. He would like to try it once more, but he doesn’t want to spend 20 more minutes in line in order to do so. He walks on to find more cool stuff worth trying.

As he walks around in the park, he spots a very delightful little train driving people around inside parts of the park. It looks nice, and Thomas can easily imagine visiting this place with kids sometime in the future. There are loads of rides suitable for kids, and there are even fairy tale houses where you can listen to fairy tales and see famous fairy tale figures.

Lots of delightful rides for kids in the Familypark
Lots of delightful rides for kids in the Familypark
One of the fairy-tale houses in the park.
One of the fairy-tale houses in the park.

Thomas is getting hungry, and around lunch-time, he can see that there are more and more people coming into the park. He eats something quickly and is surprised that the prices aren’t higher. Since everyone visiting the park stays for the entire day, they will all have to eat something, and thus they could “push” the prices higher in the park. Luckily, they haven’t done so, and Thomas could enjoy a wiener schnitzel with fries costing him around 6 Euro.

Ready for some more action in the Familypark

As Thomas walks to the other part of the park, he can see some attractions looking more like something for adults. The first attraction catching the attention of his eye was another rollercoaster. This one is called the Götterblitz, and it looks to be a bit scarier than the first.

Rollercoaster in the Familypark
Another rollercoaster in the Familypark – Source

There is only a slight problem. By now, on a late August day, the park is so packed that you have to wait around 30 minutes (at least) to enjoy the popular rides. Thomas keeps wondering if he should have visited the park in September instead (when the local kids are attending school instead of the park), but he cannot change that at the moment.

One of the popular rides in the Familypark, ideal for kids, not so fun for adults!
One of the popular rides in the Familypark, ideal for kids, not so fun for adults!

The coolest attraction in the entire park is, without a doubt, the new flying machines, ala Leonardo da Vinci. Unfortunately, it was a terribly long line for this attraction as well, but Thomas felt as if he had to give it a try at least.

Leonardo da Vinci in Familypark
Flying with Leonardo da Vinci – Source

The picture above doesn’t show Thomas during the ride, but it for sure felt scarier than what the picture shows. If you manage, you can even make your “flight” turn upside down as it goes round and round and up and down, making it an even greater adrenaline kick than if you just take it for a normal flight.

After a long day in the park where Thomas has tried quite some rides, he feels satisfied and is ready to leave the park.

He has some trouble finding the way out of the park (he misses some signs showing where the exit can be found), but he doesn’t really mind that. As he gets back into his car it is extremely hot inside. The car has been in the sun for the entire day, so he rolls down his windows and gets ready for more action somewhere else.

Thomas got soaking wet as he tried this ride...
Thomas got soaking wet as he tried this ride…

Thomas’ short Familypark summary

It was a magnificent park, and he now understands very well why it is called a Familypark. It is not the ideal park for adults wanting to enjoy some action rides (those should rather visit Prater in Vienna), but for those with kids aged between 2 and 20, this park is perfect. And again, if Thomas had to return to Familypark another time, he would for sure try to visit the park on a day when most people are in school and kindergarten, instead of during the summer holidays when all kids are bored and their parents bring them to the Familypark.

For more information about the Familypark, visit their website.

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Six hours in Vienna with Thomas

Thomas is sitting on the train when he hears the sound from the speaker: “Next stop is Wien Hauptbahnhof.” He puts on his backpack and gets ready to see as much as possible of Vienna in six hours.

Thomas is on a quick-stop in Vienna during his intense interrail in Europe. He doesn’t like wasting money, so he lives in hostels, sleeps on trains, and spends almost nothing on transportation, museums, and other expensive activities. Now he has arranged it so that he has six hours in the city, and then he will travel to Munich with a night train from Vienna. But, before he gets on that train Thomas wants to watch as much as possible of Vienna.

Thomas is good with maps, so he has made a plan. He knows that he will miss out on quite a lot of attractions, most importantly Schönbrunn, but he will cover the most important sights in the inner town of Vienna.

Thomas is ready to discover Vienna

Thomas leaves the train at Wien Hauptbahnhof, and he heads directly for the exit. He has already spotted the start of the super-popular shopping street Mariahilferstrasse. It is supposed to be around 2km, but for most ladies (luckily Thomas doesn’t have anyone around him on this trip) that means at least a day. Our hero doesn’t have a day to spend in this street packed with stores of all sorts, so he just walks through the street as soon as possible. He has, however, noticed that there are quite a lot of grocery stores in the street (Billa, Hofer, Merkur, Spar), meaning that he will buy some cheap food there before he gets back to the train again.

Mariahilferstrasse is fantastic if you want to do some shopping
Mariahilferstrasse is fantastic if you want to do some shopping.

As he reaches the end of Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna starts to unfold before his eyes. Looking to the left he can see the majestic Maria-Theresien Platz, and on it, two fantastic museums (Natural History Museum and Art History Museum). These are both museums in world-class, making them must-visit places for those interested in either of the subjects.

The Art History Museum at Maria-Theresien Platz in Vienna
The Art History Museum at Maria-Theresien Platz in Vienna – Source: Pixabay

Thomas already feels sad. He would have loved to enter the Natural History Museum, but he knows that time will not allow it, and since he doesn’t have any leftover money for such action, he walks between the museums and gets to the “Ringstrasse.”

A short visit to Hofburg

He feels tempted to go both left and right as he reaches the ring, but instead, he walks straight forward. He can see some fantastic building in the background, and a quick search makes him understand that he is staring at Hofburg. This is the official residence of the President of Austria, and during the Habsburg reign, this was known as the Winter Palace. There is so much to see in the area, but Thomas knows time is ticking (just like it always did for Jack Bauer in 24), so he forgets about the Imperial Library, the horse school, the museums and all the other interesting places he could have visited in the Hofburg palace.

Hofburg Vienna
The Hofburg Palace in Vienna

Thomas turns around 180 degrees, gets back to the Ring and walks to the right. He immediately discovers a classicist building that looks important. An Austrian flag is raised in front of the building which turns out to be the Austrian Parliament. Again Thomas feels overwhelmed by the beautiful and majestic buildings of Vienna. But, it is far from over…

Thomas keeps on walking along the ring, and soon he can see another giant building. It is the City Hall that was built around 1880 (just like the Austrian Parliament). He likes the neo-gothic style of the building and quickly grabs his smart-phone to make a selfie in front of the building. During some surfing Thomas did online he also read about the beautiful Christmas market that is arranged at the square in front of the City Hall every year, and Thomas has already decided that he wants to return to Vienna for a longer period of time and in order to visit the Christmas markets sometimes soon!

The City Hall in Vienna
Thomas Ledl, Wien Rathaus hochauflösend, CC BY-SA 4.0

Time to leave the ring and enter the inner-city

Thomas walks on along the ring and smiles as he walks by Cafe Landtmann, a cafe in which celebrities such as Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Peter Altenberg, and Felix Salten have discussed life’s big issues while drinking coffee a long time ago. Thomas would like to stop for a cup of coffee and a wiener schnitzel himself, but that will have to way. There is much more to see in Vienna before he returns to the train.

As Thomas gets to Schottengasse (located by the metro stop Schottengasse) he turns right. He doesn’t feel convinced that he has read his map correctly, but he trusts his instinct and walks in a high tempo. He is getting warm, and his back is soaking wet as he is sweating a lot because of his big backpack. He sees a Starbucks and feels tempted to take a break, but once again his will is stronger and he keeps on walking.

He reaches a Billa on the right side of the street. He walks in and buys a bottle of water and some chocolate. He leaves the store and walks along Freyung (which is a bit to the left). This is another location known for a big and nice Christmas market, but since it is in the middle of the summer, Thomas doesn’t see anything related to Christmas currently.

He walks straight ahead touching Heidenschuss, Am Hof, and Bognergasse, before he discovers that he has entered into the famous Graben (one of the big main shopping streets in Vienna). Before he got there, he passed by some very luxurious stores like Prada, Briono, Saint Laurent and others. Thomas has never understood why people will spend so much money on clothes, but if he gets very rich one day, maybe he will understand.

(Thomas considered walking in Herrengasse instead of Freyung. If he had done so, he would have passed by some beautiful buildings, museums, and ended up Michaelerplatz, from which he could have entered into Hofburg using the opposite entrance compared to where he entered a few hours ago. Had he done so, he would now have walked to the left down Kohlmarkt and ended up at the same spot at which he is currently standing).

Graben, Stephansdom, and Kärtner Strasse

Thomas is impressed by the size Graben. The street is big, with majestic buildings surrounding him on both sides. There are thousands of people walking around drinking coffee, eating ice cream, or just rushing home from work.

As Thomas gets to the end of Graben, he spots the most famous church in Vienna on his left side. He closes up to take a picture of the Stephansdom and also walks in to see what it is like on the inside. He has seen lots of churches before, and he isn’t that impressed with the church itself, but that doesn’t ruin his general impression of the city.

Stephansdom in Vienna – Source: Pixabay

He returns to the end of Graben and continues his walk in the Kärtner Strasse. This is maybe the nicest looking shopping street in all of Vienna, and it is crowded with people. There is a mixture of locals and tourists walking up and down, and Thomas runs into a souvenir shop to buy a Manner (chocolate biscuit kind of thing from Austria). At the end of the street, he discovers the famous Hotel Sacher. Based on his quick math, he could stay about 15 nights at almost any hostel in Vienna for the same price as he could stay one night in this hotel. But, even if he doesn’t want to stay in the hotel, he would have loved to enter the cafe in order to taste an authentic Sacher Cake at the legendary Hotel Sacher. But, that will have to wait for another visit.

Instead, Thomas finds his camera. Beautiful building coming up! It looks majestic as he walks next to it, and as he gets to the face, he simply knows that the Austrian State Opera is another building he wants to take a closer look at some other time. And even if he cannot stand listening to opera, even Thomas feels tempted to buy a ticket for a performance based on the extraordinary look fo the building.

State Opera Vienna
The magnificent State Opera in Vienna – Source: Shutterstock

Thomas is preparing to get back to the train station

Thomas has had a fantastic walk so far. He is now getting ready to return to the train station, but he decides to walk straight ahead in Kärtner Strasse. He is soon at Karls Platz, and he can see the Karlskirche at the end of the square (to the left). He walks in the opposite direction, follows the ring, and soon he can see a big Nordsee sign. This is the start of “Naschmarkt”, a popular place in Vienna for shopping. It is a market where you can buy fresh meat, food, and groceries, and of course, eat a lot. Thomas takes a look at this for a few minutes.

Once finished, Thomas along Getreidemarkt, and after a few hundred meters he has reached a spot he has been on before, the end of the Mariahilferstrasse from which he spotted the Maria-Theresien Platz many hours ago.

Thomas walks into the Mariahilferstrasse once again. He has time to enter the Merkur store where he buys some fresh groceries and drinks that he will enjoy during his train ride. He also buys some more Manner biscuits, a package of “Mozart kugel,” and a bottle of Austrian schnaps for his father.

Thomas wants to visit Schönbrunn during his next trip to Vienna
Thomas wants to visit Schönbrunn during his next trip to Vienna

After 5 hours of intense walking, Thomas has now returned to the train station. He is happy about his stay in Vienna, but he looks very much forward to visit the city again. There is so much he hasn’t had time to see and discover, and highest on the list is Schönbrunn and Belvedere.

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