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.
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 One of the famous is the chocolate-y Sachertorte, originally made famous by the Sacher Hotel but now found throughout Vienna.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.
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:
Vienna has a museum for everybody, so whether you like photography or Baroque furniture, you’ll find it.
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.
Posted : Thursday, October 21st, 2010 at 12:00
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.