I must admit: this Austrian pearl had not made it on my city trip wish list yet. But fortune put it there for me :) As a member of my band of brothers decided to move to Vienna for a year, a visit to both the brother and this city he had come to love so much was obviously called for. And hurray for that! Beside it being pretty much an open-air museum (those buildings!), voluptuous (granted: sometimes a bit stately) Vienna has so much to offer! Of course, having an almost-local as a guide did help to discover some of the best things to see and do around town. (Thanks bro ;) ). So I thought I’d pay it forward, and share some of his tips plus our own discoveries, for your own trip to Sissi’s city:
Things to see
- Where do I begin! As said: the whole city is like an open-air museum, so just wandering through the historic center is a cultural experience. My brother’s tip for that first taste of Vienna: get off at the Volkstheater metro stop and stroll back to Stephansplatz. Tourist highlights guaranteed!
- Good to know: all places of interest or historical relevance are marked by a red notice board with two little flags. So follow the flags!
- Schloss Schonnbrun: if you have some time to spare, definitely go visit Sissi’s summer house! This royal palace with its beautiful garden is perfect for a relaxed stroll. On a sunny day, you can lounge on the hill enjoying the stunning view of the palace.
- Belvedere palace: got a taste for that royal greenery? Then the Belvedere palace and is stately gardens are a close second to Schonnbrun.
Things to do
- Go check out the Rathausplatz: no matter what time of year you travel over, in front of the city hall there is pretty much always something going on (festivals, Christmas market, skating rank, carnival,..). You can check the program here.
- Wander through Neubau & Mariahilf: these hipster neighborhoods are a little less stately than the rest of Vienna, and house plenty of little streets, cute shops, cozy cafes and original art galleries. If I lived in Vienna, this would be my home :)
- Museum hopping: there so many great museums in Vienna! Our favorites were the Albertina (the lilies <3) and the Museum of Natural History (Dinosaurs. Don’t think I need more arguments than that).
- Haus des Meeres: inside this tall concrete tower you will discover an indoor zoo with impressive sea life aquariums and a mini jungle which is home to dozens of cute little monkeys and beautiful birds. Bonus: when you reach the top floor, you will be rewarded with a great view over the city!
- Indulge at Café central: for an old skool Vienna experience: head over to Café Central to munch on Sachertorte in a classic decor while listening to a live pianist. Bliss! You’ll probably have to queue for a bit but I think it’s worth it!
Places to eat and drink
- Palmehaus: for all you plantladies out there, this is where you will feel right at home in Vienna! And I guess the rest of you might enjoy it as well ;) Coffee in this tropical greenhouse was one of my favorite Vienna experiences.
- Sky bars: if you want to feel a bit fancy, a drink at one of Vienna’s sky bars is a perfect plan. The one at the Sofitel, 25 hours hotel or hotel Melia are good options. Music lover bonus: Dachboden (25 hours) organizes jazz nights. Good music, a luscious cocktail and a stunning view. Sounds like a great night to me.
- Naschmarkt: a place of foodie dreams! This all-year food market offers yummy foods from all around the world. Bonus: on Saturday there’s a farmer’s market and a flea market as well. By the way: after you’ve eaten your belly full, walk it off towards the linke Wienzeile and feast your eyes on the beautiful facades.
- Schnitzelwirt: nope, this is not a hipster spot. By any means. But after two trips to Vienna this has become a bit of a staple for us, so it would be wrong not to share. The name says it all. As does the line in front of the door. Great schnitzels. Giant schnitzels. Baby prices.
- Brunch: Vienna is all about brunch! Two of our favorite spots (both in the Neubau area), were Pure living bakery (try the pancakes!) with its colorful happy décor and equally personnel and wirr (try everything!), which is apparently a bar by night so has an interesting grungy vibe by day.
- Café espresso: loved the 50ties vintage vibe of this bar! Perfect place for either a coffee during the day or a pre-dinner drink. Personal anecdote: this will forever be the place of the first drink I shared with my new love and my brother. The big introduction. So I guess I’m a bit sentimental in recommending this spot :)
- Konditoreis: Forget what I claimed above. Vienna is all about coffee! For an authentic local experience, there are plenty of old skool “Konditoreis” where you can enjoy a nice Austrian cuppa with a piece of cake. Worth a mention: the retro Aida chain, which is about as pink as a coffee bar can get, and the cozy “Kleines café”.
A place to stay: We were thrilled by our charming vintage Airbnb, located in the heart of Neubau, so would definitely recommend it! Lots of character, a dash of hipster.