One of the most elegant of Vienna's many imperial palaces, set in acres of beautiful parkland.
Demel is a world-famous patisserie that's been in business for over 200 years. Serving the finest in baked pastries and chocolate, a visit is a must for anyone who travels to Vienna.
The Naschmarkt is absolutely one of the things you have to experience during your stay in Vienna! Locals call Vienna’s largest inner-city market the “city’s stomach." The market is a unique place for strolling, admiring, discovering, and sampling. You can buy everything to do with food: fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, bread and cheese. There are a great number of Austrian delicacies on offer, such as flavored vinegar, champagne sauerkraut, and much more. And if you are hungry there is a great choice of restaurants. If you happen to be here on a Saturday, don't forget to stroll through the flea market, which is right next door.
In the heart of Vienna sits St. Stephen's Cathedral. Built in the late 12th century, it's a grand piece of beauty borrowing both from the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture. Unlike St. Vitus in Prague, St. Stephen's shimmers with light and beauty, giving a spiritual joy to whoever shall enter. It makes God and Jesus into grand figures, but yet doesn't make the worshipper feel inferior.
One of the delights of Vienna is the annual Christmas market in front of the Town Hall, the Rathaus Christkindlmarkt.
Entering the Austrian National Library is a momentous moment in one's life. This place looks like something out of Harry Potter. I wasn't allowed to use my tripod inside for this triple exposure 4 shot panorama but it obviously didn't matter. A Wagner exhibit on at the time showed some of his original music. The pages looked almost fresh, they were preserved so well. Some of the books in the Palais Mollard-Clary date back to the 14th century. You can see feel and breath the history in here.
I was in Austria for 8 hours between Bangkok and Tirana and there was only one thing I wanted to eat - the famous Torte. Despite me looking like a drowned rat when I ran out of the rain, I was treated with as much courtesy and respect as the delicacy on the plate in front of me. With creme, simply brilliant. You can even order online!
The whole city of Vienna moves in three-four time it seems. If you want to learn how to get into step and waltz along, you should consider a lesson at Austria’s most reputable dancing school. Elmayer dance school was established in Austria’s imperial days and has since made it its mission to preserve some of the era’s etiquette and style. A class here will thus not only show you how to elegantly swoop across the dance floor, but also how to be that graceful in day-to-day life. This really is the best way to get a feeling for Viennese culture and society, as most locals complete a ballroom class at 16, preparing them for the many glamorous balls of the capital.
Rounding out your visit to Hofburg Palace is the last of the great expansions to the palace by the Habsurgs. The building was done in true neoclassical style, obviously to make the royal family appear as mighty as Greek gods. A statue of Archduke Charles II stands outside.
On an exciting city trip to Vienna, you will want nothing more than a comfortable, peaceful place to retreat to after a day of exploring. The Luxury Boutique Hotel Sans Souci is a perfect choice, as it pairs prime location with the kind of simple elegance modern travelers yearn for. It is just minutes from Vienna’s largest museum complexes and the main shopping mile Mariahilferstrasse. The rooms are spacious and offer all the amenities you expect from contemporary luxury accommodation. It really is the perfect hideaway for savvy visitors who are looking to combine the new and unique with a long tradition of excellence.
“I came to the Kunsthistorisches in my teens, but it wasn’t until five years ago that I rediscovered the museum. Generally, I’m more of a modern art guy, but the KM has increased my appreciation for historical works by artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder.” - Hatmaker Klaus Mühlbauer on Leopoldstadt, Vienna. Read more about his local's take on Vienna here. Maria-Theresien-Platz, 43/(0) 1-525-24 This appeared in the October 2014 issue.
This place is almost too cool for Vienna, but based on the reviews it's a much needed breath of fresh air in this fairly stuffy imperial capital that is finally channeling its "inner Berlin." I like it.
The identity of a Viennese intellectual was ultimately defined by the coffeehouse they would frequent. Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schnitzler and Hugo von Hoffmannsthal would all brood over their work and agitatedly exchange ideas with fellow thinkers at the Café Central or Café Sperl. Soak up the atmosphere of history and deep contemplation over a delicious Café Mélange, a Viennese specialty. Maybe treat yourself to a slice of cake or Strudl and watch the day go by. It is perfectly common for guests to sit and read for hours, maybe ordering only a cup of coffee and enjoying the dulled sound of stimulating conversation. Austria doesn’t actively try to continue its tradition of coffeehouses, young and old will always seek out these unique institutions, and so should you.
As soon as we touch down at the airport in Vienna my husbands asks when he'll have his "small Gulasch and small beer". This is his way of being part of a city that has been titled the most liveable city worldwide three years in a row. His choice of restaurant is way off the beaten path: The Cafe Alt Wien. The cafe seems to be a relict from former times, with yellowed, postercovered walls and makeshift tables. Once you enter you immediately feel transformed into a different era, time seems to be at an almost stillstand. And off course the Gulasch is excellent and for my husband the only thinkable way to arrive in Vienna.
The most important religious building in Austria's capital, St. Stephen's Cathedral has hosted many important events in the nation's history and has, with its multi-colored tile roof, become one of the city's most recognizable symbols. Take an elevator up the bell tower or climb the 246 feet (75 meters) and you'll get an up close look at the glazed roof tiles. Pictures just don't do it justice.
Stephansdom is the most beautiful leftover of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire of the Hapsburg family that I've ever seen. It stands in the middle of the luxurious Viennese historic district. An architectural marvel, the church also holds the remains of thousands beneath it. We were in awe of the classic, yet trippy, style of the huge building and the power of its long-gone ruling elite. We toured the awe-inspiring church, and ventured into the crypt below, viewing tombs and caskets, the urns holding ancient organs of the nobility (!), and the dark and cavernous rooms (and skeletons within) that were used to bury plague victims en-masse. It was an eerie combination of morbidity and beauty---sort of the story of the past, itself.
AFAR Ambassadors are in-the-know bloggers who have a passion for experiential travel.
Before Starbucks, there was the Coffee House. This isn't a cafe or a chain of stores, instead it is the more general coffee culture that exists in Vienna Austria. This coffee house culture has survived through the changing times of Starbucks, cup sleeves, and ‘to-go’ coffee cups. I decided to go on a coffee house tasting tour around Vienna to attempt to try all of the various coffee drinks the coffee houses serve. Each cup was brought out on a silver tray, with glass of water, a spoon (normally placed on top of the glass), and a little chocolate. The coffees were small and strong, and there were no American style refills. But even more exciting than the coffee itself were the coffee houses that oozed sophistication and high brow culture. From the elegant surroundings from days gone by to the proper way each coffee is delivered to your table, the coffee houses suspended me and held me in this caffeinated world of a time that seems to be disappearing. From the moment I opened the door, I felt like all of the hectic noise in my head slowed down to ‘waltz time’ and I could relax. This was the perfect kind of slow travel. Sit, relax, drink coffee, eat some sausage, listen to music, read, and repeat the next day – that’s how to visit Vienna. Coffee Houses to try: Café Pruckel – I stopped here twice…definitely my favorite! Café Central Café Demel Café Drechsler Café Ritter – amazing strudel! Café Frauenhuber
The calm of winter may be the best time to visit some of Austria's most treasured castles and palaces, such as Belvedere Palace in Vienna. With fewer tourists you can enjoy the royal splendor with a little more space and a lot less noise. Photo: Flickr/Franz Jachim
Located at the Schönbrun Palace before you head up the hill to the Gloriette for the view, the cake, and the coffee – you turn right and enter into one of the best zoos in Europe. The pandas, wolves, penguins and elephants and tigers are sure to please the children. For those who don’t get squeamish, be sure to check out the snakes, spiders, and insects. And even if you don’t want to spend the whole day at the zoo, take the family up the hill and turn right down the pathway to the Tyrolean farmhouse. The kids will love a look at authentic farm life and the restaurant there offers a welcome pause to the day, which you by now, no doubt need.
Founded in 1873, this elegant Viennese café/coffeehouse has hosted the likes of Sigmund Freud (supposedly it was his favorite coffeehouse) and Marlene Dietrich—and it’s still considered a good place for people watching. When I located it near my hotel on the map the first night I was in Vienna for the Christmas markets, I thought it’d be a perfect place for an early dinner. The snow was falling, the lights just starting to twinkle outside when I arrived there—a perfect in-between time that landed me a table inside and under the sparkling chandeliers without a reservation. (I don’t think it hurt to be somewhat dressed up either-- wool skirt, boots, turtleneck.) I started to point to a bowl of soup on the menu but then saw the apple strudel with crème anglaise—and decided to make that my meal. When it arrived, along with my “mélange”, the waiter never blinked an eye as he set the Thanksgiving- sized -platter in front of me. After he left, I took a deep breath, then sunk my fork into the huge square of strudel –through layers of flaky pastry and thinly sliced apples—and then into the pool of the most delicious vanilla-scented sauce I’ve ever tasted. This is the “original wiener apfelstrudel” and if you’re looking to sample some incredible and authentic strudel in Vienna, Café Landtmann is where it’s at.
Traveling on a student budget makes you appreciate finding a good deal even if it takes a little bit of work; going to the opera is an amazing experience but going cheaply is even better! If you go to the Vienna opera house 80min before the start of the performance you can get a standing room ticket for only 4€ !! (I suggest the 4€ over 3€, better spot). Once you claim a spot at the cushy-bar (bring an item to claim it with, like a scarf), you are free to leave. Go grab a bite to eat in the area, you'll have plenty of time to spare! Additionally, don't worry about understanding the opera, there are numerous translators attached to the bars so you can read along in English.
No matter if you are looking for a memorable experience for your family or if you are an enthusiast yourself, the House of Music in Vienna will not disappoint. The museum, which explores all things connected to music and sound, is very interactive and allows its visitors to engage with the subject on many levels. Whether it is to follow Vienna’s rich history of classical music, or to play around with some of the many multi-media installations, you will get your fill somewhere on the six floors of the museum. Make the trip and you might get the chance to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra…
Everything about taking the Twin City Liner is an experience. Being able to go from the centre of Vienna directly to the centre of Slovakia's capital Bratislava in just over an hour would be impreessive enough, but being able to do so on the water gives this experience an extra edge. Cruising down the Danube on a speedboard is certainly unconventional, and so the trip stands as its own little adventure. Thanks to a buffet and lounge, your time on board will be more than comfortable and give you the chance to see Austria from a different perspective.
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