Travelbanner
home calendar writing travel eats archives links about
bar

Vienna

One of Europe's most urbane and elegant cities, Vienna is home to many of the finer things in life -- great coffee, fabulous pastries and beautiful art. Here are a few of the places we enjoyed visiting on our last trip...


Other Places


From my blog:

Hotels

  • Hotel Konig von Ungarn, Schulerstraße 10, Tel.: +43/1/515 84-0.  A delightful old-world hotel that turned out to be a terrific bargain, especially given its incredibly central location (literally a couple of steps from the Stefansdom)  Rooms are well appointed, and run you about 145 Euros, but if you're traveling with family, as we were, you can also get an apartment, which saves you from having to pay for two rooms.

Know of the perfect room in Vienna? Feel free to email me with your favorites!

Restaurants

  • Do & Co, Stephansplatz 12, Phone: +43 (1) 535 39 69. Sitting exactly opposite the Stefansdom is one of the city's best restaurants with a view.  The food here was spectacularly prepared, and if you can get a reservation out on the balcony overlooking Stefansplatz and the Graben, you'll think you're in heaven.

  • Trzesniewski, Dorotheergasse 1, just off the Graben. Don't even try to say it.  Just go there when you're in need of a snack.  Tiny sandwiches made with egg salad, liptauer, cream cheese, and countless other goodies line the counter and you can order using the good old point and nod method. It's the perfect cheap lunch if you don't mind standing.

  • Cafe Hawelka, Dorotheergasse 6, just off the Graben, and opposite Trzesniewski. For that Viennese intellectual atmosphere, students arguing social policy and writers lurking in corners hard at work on philosophical treatises, Hawelka is a must.  Darkly musty inside, it is a perfect spot for a cool Eiskaffee mit Schlag and a quiet read of the newspapers on a hot day.

  • Cafe Central, Herrengasse 14, Tel: 43 1 3153120, on the corner of Strauchgasse. A throwback to the elegant belle epoque days, Cafe Central is one of the city's more glittering cafes.  Stop in here for a quick drink after a day of museum trodding.

  • Grimm Bakery, Kurrentgasse 10, Tel: 533 1384, U-Bahn: Stephansplatz.  Perhaps the greatest of the master bakers to be found in a city riddled with good bakers, this little place, tucked away in the Jewish quarter looks deceptively small, but don't let its size fool you.  Line up and get dense moist loaves of pumpernickel, of the absolute best chocolate croissant you will ever have in your life.
     

Sights

  • Stefansdom. The main church in Vienna is overwhelming and darkly looming, but the best views are to be had by climbing its tower (from which you can see the tiled roof decorations) and ascending to the ridiculous "top of the spire" gift shop, for a vista of all of Vienna.

  • Heurige gardens. The many  wine gardens that lie just outside of the city are justly famous as a place to test out the region's excellent white wines.  A trip on  U-Bahn #4 (to Heiligenstadt) and then bus #38 will get you to a large number of them in Grinzing.  Try to bypass the largest and most touristy looking ones and instead visit the smaller family owned places.

  • The Natural History Museum, Burgring 7.  A vast collection of important artifacts, including the famous 25,000 year old Venus of Willendorf, although be warned that the Venus on exhibit is actually a replica.

  • The Riesenrad (Ferris Wheel) in the Prater. For that "Third Man" kind of experience,  take the UBahn #1 (Praterstern) out to the Prater fairgrounds and ride the 19th century Riesenrad ferris wheel.  Creaking capsules and all, it afford one of the best nighttime views of the city and surrounding countryside.

  • Schonbrunn Palace, Ubahn #4 to Schonbrunn or Heitzing.  A perfect day's outing might include a picnic out at the Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna version of the Louvre.  You can wander through room after opulent room, lose yourself in the garden mazes and then settle on a shady bench for a snack.

Arts

Vienna is nothing if not an artistic city.  Keep your eyes peeled for the multitude of posters that list the city's concerts, especially in the churches. 

  • Sundays particularly are good days to hear a concert at the Stefansdom, for instance.

  • Avoid wherever you can, the ubiquitous and utterly touristy "Mozart concerts," whose tickets are sold by tired-looking schlubs dressed up in frock coats and breeches all over the city.

  • Also not-to-be missed is a concert in the city's famous Musikverein, Bösendorferstr. 12, home to Beethoven and Mahler and "the Golden Sound." With some of the best acoustics in the world, concerts at this elegant hall are often sold out far in advance, so book ahead if you can on their website.

 

All material on this site is copyrighted to Mary Ellen Hunt unless otherwise noted.
For permission to reprint, please contact info@maryellenhunt.com.