Demel is a world-famous pastry shop and chocolatier founded in 1786. A visit for coffee and dessert is a must for anyone traveling 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 also the “city’s stomach”. The market is an 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 is a great number of Austrian delicatessen on sale, 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 there on a Saturday, don't forget to stroll through the fleamarket, which is right next to it.
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 worshiper feel inferior.
Entering the Austrian National Library is a jaw dropping moment in ones life. After buying my ticket, then having it scanned, then looking up I was drooling with delight. This place looks like something out of Harry Potter but its here and in front of me! I wasn't allowed to use my tripod inside for this triple exposure 4 shot panorama but it obviously didn't matter. What pushed me over the edge is that there was a Wagner exhibit as well. Some of his original music written by him was on display. The pages looked almost fresh they were preserved so well. I have a few different shots from in here that will be seeping into your feed eventually but I had to share this one as soon as I could! Some of these book located in the Baroque surrounding of the Palais Mollard-Clary date back between 1349–1395. You can see feel and breath the history in here. I will be editing this post with more history soon as I have to run to the theater now but please view full frame and feel free to share! Prost!
I saved the best for last. On my final day in Vienna, I at last made my way to the Kunsthistorisches Museum. My favorite artist is Caravaggio, and here is housed a fine selection of his work, as well as an extensive collection of caravaggesque paintings by his followers and contemporaries. As I wandered the seemingly endless number of rooms, I was enthralled by all the incredible masterpieces that surrounded me. Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Ruben, I was fully immersed in a collection of the greatest humans to ever wield a brush. As I paused for a moment, I looked down into a cafe housed within the museum, and snapped a photo to capture the scene. Suddenly it hit me, here I was, surrounded by great art, and literally right under my nose was some of the most unlikely art of all: all of us individually enjoying not only what was on the walls, but also the environment and the moment together. www.khm.at/en/collections/picture-gallery
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
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.
Café Sacher is an obvious highlight on anyone’s travel itinerary in Vienna. But don’t be fooled, despite its international fame and success, your experience at Sacher will be one-of-a-kind. The Café and Hotel were founded over a century ago and have since made their name as Austria’s finest. The Original Sachertorte has of course contributed to their great acclaim, and there is no better place to enjoy a piece than at the Café Sacher itself. The coffeehouse is simply stunning with its ornately decorated walls and ceiling and shimmering chandeliers. Just sit down in one of the comfortable booths and order your own slice of heaven. After having a taste of the Sachertorte, you won’t doubt that it was first created for a prince.
Rounding out your visit to Hofburg Palace you'll find the last of the great expansions to the palace by the Habsurgs. The building is a true neo-classical style, obviously to make the royal family appear as mighty as Greek gods. A statue of Archduke Charles II stands outside.
Located across from the Vienna State Opera, Hotel Sacher hosts many operagoers among its guests. You may even spot a performer in the Anna Sacher restaurant before or after the show. —Laurie Kahle Hotel Sacher, Vienna. 43/(0) 1-51-456-0. From $410. Photo courtesy of Hotel Sacher. This appeared in the March/April 2011 issue. See more opera hotels.
Graben Street is one of the most popular pathways for tourists in Vienna. Lined with cafes and shopping, the visitor is occasionally greeted with relics of the past, like this sculpture known to the Germans as a "plague column". It's more or less a "tribute to God" that rulers commission in the hopes that God would remove a plague from their lands. It started off as a Corinthian column that would contain the Holy Trinity, but with the deaths of several of its architects, this turned into a more grandiose group effort spanning twenty years.
It's not just the fountain, but the whole area. While it is known as a square, it's more like an open street with the beautiful Hochstrahlbrunnen fountain as the centerpiece.
The Hotel Daniel has an open kitchen, bakery/cafe and retro boutique in the lobby. Out front by a little garden, there's an Airstream trailer converted into a guest room. In Europe's most classically preserved city, showcasing the glory of the Hapsburg Dynasty, the Daniel is a much needed shot of the 21st century. A short walk from Klimt's masterpieces in the Belvedere Museum, the 155-room hotel occupies an International Style glass building inspired by the iconic Lever House in New York. As soon as you enter, the fresh market vibe is a jarring contradiction to the Modernist exterior. Try the Quirky Turkey sandwich and fresh homemade pastries. Breakfast is a big healthy buffet of fruits, breads, granolas, soft boiled eggs, etc. The cafe and lobby are consumed in natural light, with vines and plants growing everywhere. Stacks of warehouse pallets are used for coffee tables littered with magazines from all over the world. At the little shop, a $900 single speed bike for sale hangs over the front desk. The bulk of rooms are small but brilliantly designed (I paid $122 last fall). The glass shower and small vanity are at the foot of the bed. Industrial pot lamps hang over the bed. I love the unfinished concrete ceiling with old hardware and unpatched holes left over from the renovation. "This is a new category for the lively, urban city hotel," says owner Florian Weitzer. "It’s tasteful with purposeful streamlining because we don’t want to get in the way of our guests.”
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.
Inside of the Votive Church (Votivkirche) in Vienna, Austria. Absolutely stunning gothic church with gorgeous stained glass--a must-see in Vienna.
The Spanish Riding School is one of the most iconic attractions in all of Austria. It is absolutely unique in the world, and preserves an art so refined and courtly that it transports any viewer back into imperial times. The white horses, the Lipizzaner, are carefully bread, reared and selected in Austria to enter into the High School, where they undergo years and years of training. There they learn to transform the movements that are naturally in a horse’s pattern of motion into what can only be described as articulate dancing. Every step must be executed with absolute precision, and the daily Gala performances demand focus from horse as well as rider. Held in the ornate Baroque riding hall, a show by the Lipizzaner is an exclusive experience that should not be missed. The pirouettes, quadrilles and breathtaking jumps can only be perfected by the country’s most promising stallions – horses so rare, they may as well be unicorns.
Vienna's MuseumsQuartier is a great place to soak up the sun on the compound's iconic park benches, and check out extensive art collections housed in an elegant mixture of baroque and modern buildings. Don't miss great works of art by Austrian masters like Klimt and Leopold. Visitors traveling with kids may want to spend some time in the ZOOM kindermuseum.
Held in the heart of the Museums Quarter, Winter at the MQ is a new spin on the traditional Christmas Market. In addition to vendors selling ornaments and other crafts, the market features a curling rink, pop concerts, and six ice pavilions where shoppers can warm up with glühwein (mulled wine). 43/(0) 1-523-5881. Photo by MuseumsQuartier Wien/Flickr.
This beautiful Neo-Renaissance building was opened in 1869 to a mixed public review, but today it's well-loved by the Viennese and tourists alike. I did not get a chance to go inside, but caught a photo as we walked by. I can only imagine what it would be like to hear Mozart's works performed there.
There are sausage stands all over Vienna, this is one of the better ones. Have a kasekrainer (sausage with cheese in it) and a Stiegl or Gruner Veltliner in a real glass. Then, wander over to the Albertina museum.
Viennese coffee culture is world-famous. Try your hand at ordering a coffee in the historic Café Sperl (founded in 1880). Sugar junkies will enjoy an "intermezzo" a concoction combining coffee, chocolate and whipped cream, while traditionalists looking for their daily shot of caffeine will be contented with a double mocha--similar to a double shot of espresso. A classic and a winner across the board is the Melange, a frothy, creamy coffee with milk. Café Sperl also serves snacks and cakes, but I didn't try any. Per local custom, a glass of crystal clear Austrian tap water is served with your coffee and lingering is encouraged.
Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It has a wonderful imperial past and an incredible contemporary art scene. Music is everywhere and it has the best patisseries. I you don't have too much time, you should try to make the most of it! This is a litle guide to a lovely long weekend in Vienna. First day: Kärtner Strasse, Staatsoper, Stephanplatz with Vienna’s famous cathedral, lunch in Figlmüller (http://www.figlmueller.at). Delicious and huge Schnitzel!!!! After lunch Graben, Kohlmarkt and, of course, the wonderful Hofburg to feel like Empress Elisabeth for a while. Townhall, Burgtheater, Parliament and dinner at Rebhuhn (http://www.rebhuhn.at). Second day: Schönbrunn palace. Just beautiful! Rent a Fiaker, that is, a two horse carriage, to make a little tour through the gardens. It could sound a bit cheesy, but it is really nice to crawl under the blankets, enjoy the views and just let the driver decide where to go. Third day: visit the Musikverein, enjoy Belvedere palace with its wonderful Klimt collection and spend the afternoon in the Museumsquatier. Don't forget Vienna's famous cafes: Central, Demmler and Sacher. They all are marvellous, no doubt, but you will eat the best cakes at Gerstner. Try the Dobos Torte! Much better that Sacher, believe me.
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.
When it’s December, cold and raw in Vienna, and you’ve been wandering the streets (perhaps a bit lost in search of say, Hotel Sacher), and you pass by Café Schwarzenberg for the second time—it’s a sign that you should go in and take the chill off. The café is the oldest coffeehouse (opened in 1861) on the Ringstrasse and one of the loveliest and most authentic in every way. As soon as I opened the door, I knew I’d made the right decision. A rush of warm air, and an old-fashioned glass display case full of beautiful pastries greeted me. Beyond, an older man in a suit sat at a little table with the newspaper in front of him; not far away two women were conversing quietly, over what looked like silver pots of tea. When a server motioned for me to sit wherever—I pulled up a chair at one of the marble-topped round tables near the women. As I unpeeled my scarf, removed my gloves and then perused the menu, I knew almost immediately what I was going to order. The Schwarzenberg-Cappuccino: espresso with hot chocolate, whipped cream and chocolate flakes. It arrived in the traditional Austrian way—on a silver tray accompanied with a glass of water and a spoon, served by a proper waiter who barely smiled. But it warmed me all the way through. (And it was real whipped cream.)
Originally constructed in 1873 as a hotel for the World Exhibition trade fair, this grand building never actually opened its doors to guests. It was instead used as a police station and then a government building. A restoration project led by two of Vienna’s top architects has finally brought the building to life as a 152-room hotel. Elegant touches include wooden writing desks and large black-and-white photographs of dancers or pianists in the rooms. The bathrooms exude a modern Viennese aesthetic with art nouveau-style floral mosaics above the tubs and art deco light fixtures around the mirrors. Doubles from $370. 43/(0) 1-236-1000. This appeared in the October 2013 issue. Photo courtesy of Palais Hansen Kempinski
apsburg funerals were ostentatious events. The Viennese have celebrated culture through the arts for centuries which you can find throughout the cities public macabre memento-mori style statues. These statues were designed to inspire religious devotion. The Hapsburgs ruled over most of Europe until their downfall in World War I. Upon the death of these royal elites, a beautifully intricate sarcophagus would be created as well as a silver urn in which they preserved their hearts and a reliquary container for their embalmed entrails. They separated these remains in three separate locations post-funeral. Why, beats the hell out of me. This particular crypt contains 12 emperors, 18 empresses, and 113 other members of the royal Hapsburg family. There is also a herzgruft, or heart room, which contains 54 urns from these crypts a few blocks away. This breathtaking sarcophagi contains Emperor Franz I Stephan and his wife Empress Maria Theresa. They lie on top of the tomb. It was created along with the other by sculptor Balthasar Ferdinand Moll. His work was created with full and hollow metal casting and in my opinion is extraordinary to say the least. Walking through the dark and humid walls of this fantastic museum (yes, I do consider this a museum) is very calming. Silent and with a slight creep factor added I loved it in here.
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