Vienna you are simply irresistible!
Similar to Saxon and Bavarian I must admit I’m not a real fan of the Viennese accent. However, it is possible to cope with it for an extended weekend. The city is completely different to what I had imagined. A bit like Munich, but not that polished and had a quite young and up to date feel. There was a lot of art to be discovered without it appearing to be antiquated. It is quite a romantic experience to pass through the narrow misty streets with a horse carriage at dusk and experience the history up close.
That is something Vienna can do very well - and in this order it can be quite a lot of fun ;)
At least once a year we spend a girl’s weekend together and the destination is always uncertain. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a village, sometimes it can be a proper city trip. One thing worth mentioning from the outset. Vienna lures with its shopping offer and unfortunately is not cheapest place to enjoy activities. But there is so much to do outside that you are not forced to spend money. We were particularly attracted to the small pink Sachertorten and the pretty cafés that you will surely pick up on when looking at the photos.
In regards to tips for overnight stays airbnb once again proved valuable. However, we were very happy with our hostel/hotel option. We opted for a four bed room in the Meininger Sissi Motel. It sounds plush and romantic which though was not the case but we only paid 20 € per person and night. Breakfast cost 7.50 € and is really plentiful offering everything the heart desires (water, tea, juice, coffee, rolls, eggs, cornflakes and various cold cuts as well as fresh fruit). That is available every day until 11 a.m. During our research we also liked 25 Hours Hotel and Hotel Daniel as possible alternatives. Next to the Sissihotel there is also the Downtown Franzhotel with a similar price range though our hotel was in a better location.
We flew with Austrian Airlines and were extremely satisfied. In a short space of time we were supplied with lots of wine which would normally be enough for an entire evening. Very friendly and excess luggage was taken without surcharge at least for our return flight. I did just see some flights via Ryanair for 1€ but that was unfortunately too late for us. But there are a number of flight options available here for under 100 €. Our route was Hamburg-Vienna and back, from Thursday until Sunday evening. A timeframe of three full days can certainly be recommended and we would have at least added another day.
We started our tour with a stroll through the city so we could get an overview. The city centre of Vienna has a clear layout and many highlights can be explored by foot. The tram network and underground are spread out well across the city and are very clear even for those who generally struggle to find their way around.
Of course on top of the Vienna agenda will surely be the cuisine. It’s a bit like a second Christmas. There are temptations all over the place and that is an understatement. Everywhere these delicious cakes, hearty home cooking and after the party a cheese kransky. I’m very happy these are not readily available around each corner in Hamburg. When going to a restaurant you should not miss out on a typical Wiener Schnitzel. Figlmüller offers this in its most classic manner. A rustic restaurant in a small alley with a really good schnitzel. Make sure you make a reservation. Of course you will find a lot of tourists here.
Beyond this you can enjoy some real classic tasty Viennese cuisine in the Metzgerei which we would recommend for lunch. Further great restaurant tips that will make the Viennese heart beat faster are the Neubauschenke and those who fancy a proper snack should head to the zum Heurigen situated on Krahlberg.
A particular feature that impressed all of us was the small lovingly decorated cafés. In each of them you felt like being at home and surely you were sitting where once a famous writer had sat. From the ambience the Süssi Salon de The was especially enticing. As we are three girls and need to have an uninterrupted natter we need a little more background noise. We found this in several cafés. Here our tips: Café Central, Café Prückel, Café Landtmann, Café Sperl and Frauenhuber where Beethoven and Mozart once dined.
If you like to browse around markets you should definitely plan to include the Naschmarkt on your itinerary. Here you are able to find many Turkish and Russian specialities as well as a number of Viennese delights. In close proximity there a lots of nice small streets with great cafés which are all well visited. The Süssi de The is also not far away. Right next to the Naschmarkt you will come across a large flea market which didn’t impress us that much.
The Viennese are outgoing people who relish indulgence. In fluid form you can particularly find this in numerous bars and clubs. The hottest places for debauchery were for us the Topkino that is a charming cinema with a café and a bar. The best DJ´s of the city play their music in Grellen Forelle and make sure you won’t leave the club until dawn. If you like rock then Flex will be to your liking and here you won’t meet many tourists but instead many locals who by no means look like Franz. But we fell in love with Clash, a packed student premises with a lounge look and good beer, great people and a homely feeling. Marina is a massive beer fan and recommends the beer app, where you take photos of all beers one has tried, uploads them and comments on their taste and where they are available. Is perfect for beer drinkers and has great potential for addiction! A further highlight with mixed guests is the 1516 Brewing Company. You can get great beers, some really good food and nice music. Downstairs there is a nice bar and a floor up there is a tasty and very cosy restaurant. We stayed until it was time to leave, so it is very much a top recommendation.
Vienna also has a number of oases of peace and lovely places where you can unwind. We don’t want to withhold some of the nicest spots. The Pratersauna is a good electronic club with a pool on the roof which is also a fantastic place to laze about during the day whilst enjoying a delicious drink.
On the Danube Island you will find much lush green and it’s a great place to sunbathe and barbecue. Keep an eye on the event calendar as there are also a number of good concerts which can be seen for free. Situated on the outskirts the Kahlenberg offers a stunning view of the Vienna skyline. There is also a good connection with the train.
In Vienna you can find great second-hand shops and antiquities around every corner which will entice your lure to buy. Should you love old furniture then you should not miss out on the antique shops in the Glassfactory. For vintage fans of clothes then Humana or Bootik 54 are worth a visit.
If you have got more time to spare then you should plan in a day trip to Bratislava. Vienna and Bratislava are two capital cities in Europe which have the shortest distance to each other. For this reason there is also the option of booking a cheap flight there and taking the bus for 8,-€ in 90 minutes from Vienna.
We were also very impressed by the Butterfly House. In a huge greenhouse you will find in a tropical environment an array of these wonderful large species. They seemed to be following us. Or we are just susceptible to them. At the time when Ben and I got to know each other at work I went with a butterfly in my hand in to his office and held out my hand and said that he should whisper as wish inside. He didn’t know what I had in my hand and initially was not keen on doing so as he thought I had a screw loose. In the end though he did speak in to my hand and then I released the butterfly out of the window so that the wish would come true. As we have glass walls in the office it didn’t go unnoticed and the next day a butterfly was hanging over his desk.
Like is possible in many other cities you can purchase combined tickets for numerous museums. You should definitely buy a Vienna Ticket in case you would like to see all sights. Should you be aiming to see more than four then it’s very much worth its money. For the underground the weekend ticket turned out to be the best option as every journey cost at least 2.50 €. What you should not miss out on is Sissi’s Schönbrunn Palace and the adjacent treasury. It is located towards the city centre.
Our suitcases on the return voyage were considerably heavier than on the outbound flight as there are so many great places to shop. As souvenirs we can recommend the small sweet Sachertorte from aida as well as the incredibly tasty macaroons. Seldom have we brought back so many small gifts but they were just too tasty and a joy to look at. There are so many Viennese items that one can bring back and it’s a great pleasure to give away presents.
Finally we would like to recommend the incredibly expensive carriage tour through Vienna. At the St. Stephen's Cathedral the carriages are lined up and are at all times ready to go. That is just a key part of any trip to Vienna and the bigger tour for 80 € is a really nice route where you also find out something about Vienna’s culture. We went on a tour during a gentle mist at dusk with open top and it was really very romantic.
Oh well. Vienna we will be back. Pfiat di and baba.
Madeleine, Svenja & Marina