Thu, October 21st, 2010 - By

Spotlight Vienna


Vienna has some a long way from when the Romans founded the city in the 1st century. Today, Vienna makes for the perfect citybreak. It’s Austria’s capital and cultural centre. It is one of the best shopping strips I’ve seen in Europe, and in between visits to world-class museums and buildings, you can top up on sugary sweets and oversized lattes.

Here are some of highlights, but with a city this size, you’ll not doubt find yourself with more than enough options to occupy yourself.

Food & Drink

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/2311220728/

It is next to impossible to go hungry or thirsty while in Vienna. You’re more at risk for becoming a diabetic after overdosing on sugary cafes, sweet sticky buns, and syrupy drinks. One of the famous is the chocolate-y Sachertorte, originally made famous by the Sacher Hotel but now found throughout Vienna. It wasn’t my favourite, but judging by the amount sold, I’m the minority. I did enjoy some of the pink fairycakes from Aida, a chain café with venues all across town. It’s a bit like the Starbucks of Vienna for cakes.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can load up on another popular Viennese treat:  hot dogs (or, more accurately, a frank furter). That’s street food – but if you want something to sit down, how about the classic schnitzel?  Schnitzelwirt Schmidt is a well-known tourist joint for cheap-but-filling tasty treats.

Museum Quarter

Vienna, Museum of Revolution

I think Vienna’s Museum Quarter has anywhere between 25 and 50 museums. It borders on the ridiculous – but as I’ve already alluded to before, you can go from museum to museum with a coffee break in between.  Many restaurants can be found here, so you can spend the entire day here (and well into the evening as well). Some noteworthy hotspots:

  • Kuntshistorisches:  this is Vienna’s answer to the Louvre.  It contains exhibits with furnishings from the Hapsburg family’s personal belongings. Like the Louvre, it is so big you need a map, and even then you might get lost.
  • Austrian Museum of Applied Arts & Contemporary Arts: this is the city’s biggest modern art venue, and has several exhibits where artists have created works exclusively for the museum.
  • KunstHausWien: this is one of many Hundertwasser exhibits around the world, but as this was the man’s home country, he’s went all out. His phantasmagorical house and shopping village, complete with multi-colour toilets, including outrageous and over-the-top furnishings. His style is very Gaudi-like, with a touch of Disneyesque flair on top.

Vienna has a museum for everybody, so whether you like photography or Baroque furniture, you’ll find it.

Palaces

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

Vienna has two main palaces, and both are breathtaking inside and out. In town there’s the Hofburg Palace, originally meant to be a defensive castle for Vienna, but as the Hapsburgs wealth grew and grew so did this complex. Today this place is so sprawling there’s even a convention centre inside, as well as the office of the Austrian President.

If you only have time for one palace, it is the Schönbrunn that gets my vote. A UNSECO World Heritage site, the palace reminds me of the Palace of Versailles out in Paris, as both are grandiose and sit just on the edge of the city.  The Schönbrunn is noteworthy for several reasons – for example, the zoo in the gardens is the world’s oldest, and one of only a few that house giant pandas. Be sure to spend some time wandering the grounds, especially the Gloriette, a wonderful piece of architecture set on a hill in the gardens, complete with a great view and a nice café.

Image credits: [email protected], nagesh_kamath, zuerichsee, pahudson

Spotlight Vienna

Vienna has some a long way from when the Romans founded the city in the 1st century.   Now, Vienna makes for the perfect citybreak.  It’s Austria’s capital and cultural centre.  It is one of the best shopping strips I’ve seen in Europe, and in between visits to world-class museums and buildings, you can top up on sugary sweets and oversized lattes.  Here are some of highlights, but with a city this size, you’ll not doubt find yourself with more than enough options to occupy yourself.

Food & Drink

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/2311220728/

It is next to impossible to go hungry or thirsty while in Vienna.  You’re more at risk for becoming a diabetic after overdosing on sugary cafes, sweet sticky buns, and syrupy drinks.  One of the famous is the chocolate-y Sachertorte, originally made famous by the Sacher Hotel but no found throughout Vienna.  It wasn’t my favourite, but judging by the amount sold, I’m the minority. I did enjoy some of the pink fairycakes from Aida, a chain café with venues all across town.  It’s a bit like the Starbucks of Vienna for cakes.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can load up on another popular Viennese treat:  hot dogs (or, more accurately, a frank furter).  That’s street food – but if you want something to sit down, how about the classic schnitzel?   Schnitzelwirt Schmidt is a well-known tourist joint for cheap-but-filling tasty treats.

Museum Quarter

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zuerichsee/4838595874/

I think Vienna’s Museum Quarter has anywhere between 25 and 50 museums.  It borders on the ridiculous – but as I’ve already alluded to before, you can go from museum to museum with a coffee break in between.  Many restaurants can be found here, so you can spend the entire day here (and well into the evening as well).  Some noteworthy hotspots:

  • Kuntshistorisches:  this is Vienna’s answer to the Louvre.  It contains exhibits with furnishings from the Hapsburg family’s personal belongings.  Like the Louvre, it is so big you need a map, and even then you might get lost.
  • Austrian Museum of Applied Arts & Contemporary Arts: this is the city’s biggest modern art venue, and has several exhibits where artists have created works exclusively for the museum.
  • KunstHausWien:  this is one of many Hundertwasser exhibits around the world, but as this was the man’s home country, he’s went all out.  His phantasmagorical house and shopping village, complete with multi-colour toilets, including outrageous and over-the-top furnishings.  His style is very Gaudi-like, with a touch of Disneyesque flair on top.

Vienna has a museum for everybody, so whether you like photography or Baroque furniture, you’ll find it.

Palaces

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nagesh_kamath/2894870838/

Vienna has two main palaces, and both are breathtaking inside and out.  In town there’s the Hofburg Palace, originally meant to be a defensive castle for Vienna, but as the Hapsburgs wealth grew and grew so did this complex.  Today this place is so sprawling there’s even a convention centre inside, as well as the office of the Austrian President.

If you only have time for one palace, it is the Schönbrunn that gets my vote.  A UNSECO World Heritage site, the palace reminds me of the Palace of Versailles out in Paris, as both are grandiose and sit just on the edge of the city.  The Schönbrunn is noteworthy for several reasons – for example, the zoo in the gardens is the world’s oldest, and one of only a few that house giant pandas.   Be sure to spend some time wandering the grounds, especially the Gloriette, a wonderful piece of architecture set on a hill in the gardens, complete with a great view and a nice café.Spotlight Vienna

Vienna has some a long way from when the Romans founded the city in the 1st century.   Now, Vienna makes for the perfect citybreak.  It’s Austria’s capital and cultural centre.  It is one of the best shopping strips I’ve seen in Europe, and in between visits to world-class museums and buildings, you can top up on sugary sweets and oversized lattes.  Here are some of highlights, but with a city this size, you’ll not doubt find yourself with more than enough options to occupy yourself.

Food & Drink

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/2311220728/

It is next to impossible to go hungry or thirsty while in Vienna.  You’re more at risk for becoming a diabetic after overdosing on sugary cafes, sweet sticky buns, and syrupy drinks.  One of the famous is the chocolate-y Sachertorte, originally made famous by the Sacher Hotel but no found throughout Vienna.  It wasn’t my favourite, but judging by the amount sold, I’m the minority. I did enjoy some of the pink fairycakes from Aida, a chain café with venues all across town.  It’s a bit like the Starbucks of Vienna for cakes.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can load up on another popular Viennese treat:  hot dogs (or, more accurately, a frank furter).  That’s street food – but if you want something to sit down, how about the classic schnitzel?   Schnitzelwirt Schmidt is a well-known tourist joint for cheap-but-filling tasty treats.

Museum Quarter

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zuerichsee/4838595874/

I think Vienna’s Museum Quarter has anywhere between 25 and 50 museums.  It borders on the ridiculous – but as I’ve already alluded to before, you can go from museum to museum with a coffee break in between.  Many restaurants can be found here, so you can spend the entire day here (and well into the evening as well).  Some noteworthy hotspots:

  • Kuntshistorisches:  this is Vienna’s answer to the Louvre.  It contains exhibits with furnishings from the Hapsburg family’s personal belongings.  Like the Louvre, it is so big you need a map, and even then you might get lost.
  • Austrian Museum of Applied Arts & Contemporary Arts: this is the city’s biggest modern art venue, and has several exhibits where artists have created works exclusively for the museum.
  • KunstHausWien:  this is one of many Hundertwasser exhibits around the world, but as this was the man’s home country, he’s went all out.  His phantasmagorical house and shopping village, complete with multi-colour toilets, including outrageous and over-the-top furnishings.  His style is very Gaudi-like, with a touch of Disneyesque flair on top.

Vienna has a museum for everybody, so whether you like photography or Baroque furniture, you’ll find it.

Palaces

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nagesh_kamath/2894870838/

Vienna has two main palaces, and both are breathtaking inside and out.  In town there’s the Hofburg Palace, originally meant to be a defensive castle for Vienna, but as the Hapsburgs wealth grew and grew so did this complex.  Today this place is so sprawling there’s even a convention centre inside, as well as the office of the Austrian President.

If you only have time for one palace, it is the Schönbrunn that gets my vote.  A UNSECO World Heritage site, the palace reminds me of the Palace of Versailles out in Paris, as both are grandiose and sit just on the edge of the city.  The Schönbrunn is noteworthy for several reasons – for example, the zoo in the gardens is the world’s oldest, and one of only a few that house giant pandas.   Be sure to spend some time wandering the grounds, especially the Gloriette, a wonderful piece of architecture set on a hill in the gardens, complete with a great view and a nice café.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not criss-crossing the world to have his next travel adventures, he is spending time hanging out on his own website, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Thursday, October 21st, 2010 at 12:00
Category : Spotlight
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