Enjoy Vienna Beyond the Usual LandmarksWhat better way to start summer than to enjoy a short vacation in the Europe’s City of Music, Vienna?
Vienna was the capital of a great empire and home to a dashing number of geniuses, many of them musicians - Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt. But all I had in mind when I arrived here was schnitzel, strudel, Sachertorte.
The historic center still has its old-time grandeur and many of the surrounding restaurants and bars keep in line with the elegant scenery. However, this city has a laid-back culture and visitors can notice that many Vienneses turn the traditional coffee houses into an extension of their living room sofa, spending hours sipping drinks while reading a book. Because of that, it can be a good destination to try alone and not feel lonely.
I started my Vienna exploration at Café Demel and had a slice of austria.info/uk/things-to-do/food-and-drink/favourite-austrian-recipes/sacher-torte">sachertorte, one of the traditional Austrian sweets- a chocolate cake layered with apricot jam. With a coffee shop upstairs and a bakery where you can watch the stuff making sweets, this place kept me around for more than a couple of hours. I visited Schonnbrun, the Opera House, and St Stephan Cathedral: they left impressed and also laying half a day on the hotel mattress with hurting feet and beautiful memories. However, other visits found their place in my heart.
On my first day, I headed for the tropical oasis in the heart of the city: The Butterfly House. Though it took me a while to get used to the humid environment inside, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the flying exotic butterflies surrounding me. The small paradise is situated in an amazing Art Noveau palm house, which is very close to the Opera House.
I had a pleasant lively evening in the Museums Quartier and grabbed some noodles on my way. There is a great display of street corner food in Wien, with a lot of Chinese, Taiwanese and Turkish menus on display. Museums Quartier is a square between the modern and contemporary art museums of Vienna, the main gathering place for students and youth. It also filled with quirky bars and restaurants, as well as many artsy shops. Here you can encounter everything from exhibitions and literary readings to dance performances and film screenings or concerts, it just depends on your luck. I just had some weissbier and people watching in this cheerful socializing area, but the atmosphere charmed me.
The giant retro amusement park Prater kept me interested for more than half a day and I had a breathtaking sunset view over Wien from the Giant Ferris Wheel, which is lifting people up in the sky since 1897.
Further on, I was happy to get to see colorful Hundertwasser House and Kunst Haus, some of the architectural highlights of Austria and I enjoyed a coffee at the bohemian Kunst und Café. I also lazily strolled along the Danube canal and had a picnic on the scenic Danube Island.
In the final day, I took a yellow water taxi to Nussdorf, a picturesque wine tavern town where I had tastings of fine Austrian wine in the company of locals and tourists alike, feeling sad that I soon had to return home.