Vienna is the beautiful capital of Austria which lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. It is artistic, historic and contemporary all simultaneously. You can indulge in a whole wealth of different experiences within this fascinating city as it has something for everyone. Foodies, culture lovers, music enthusiasts and history fanatics- Vienna is a vibrant and colourful city which can cater to them all.
One of the best ways to see the delights of this city is to discover on foot during a guided walk. These walks are offered, among others, by the “Walks in Vienna” with a monthly programme of diverse and exciting options. There are a great variety of topics covered on the walks, from “The Musical Capital of the World” to “Art Nouveau and Turn of the Century” to “Paths of Pleasure in Old Vienna” – something to suit everyone!
Places to Visit
- Viennese Cafés
The Viennese coffee house is well known for its friendly atmosphere, an oasis of gemütlichkeit [friendliness]. Traditional cafés entice with a wide variety of coffee drinks, international newspapers and pastry creations. Since 2011, the traditional Viennese coffee house culture has even belonged to the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. A close relative of the café is the pastry shop. Their pies and cakes are the icing on Vienna’s dolce vita with specialities in the form of Bundt cake and Sachertorte. These are fantastic places to stop on sunny afternoons and to get a real taste of Vienna.
- Vienna Music Film Festival
Each year in July and August, when the famous Vienna State Opera is on summer break, Vienna’s City Hall Square is a vibrant meeting place for music-lovers and night owls who enjoy combining culture with food. Delicious dishes and music films from opera to pop guarantee perfect summer evenings – with free admission every day.
The Music Film Festival at City Hall Square is one of the most enticing offers in Vienna during the summer. Something to suit every taste is also offered by the 25 international leading gastronomers on site as well as by the music film program, which covers every genre and is shown on the giant open-air screen.
- Alternative Culinary Hotspots
If you’re looking for somewhere a little different to explore then there is plenty of choice for you in Vienna. Design-oriented restaurants which offer more than just good food, after-dinner drinks invite guests to stay a while longer. Alternatively, you can head to one of the many vivid cocktail bars bursting with personality.
Modern, pioneering ideas have the potential to make people sit up and pay attention, and in many cases have proved to be the inspiration behind some of the capital’s most popular culinary hotspots – of which there are certainly plenty. This keeps the whole city guessing where the next one will pop up.
The Naschmarkt’s famous atmosphere, combined with its attractive mix of Art Nouveau market buildings and contemporary bars and cafés is no longer a secret. And Yppenplatz in Ottakring, originally a much more alternative destination, has become well known to the mainstream eating and drinking public with its many wine bars, restaurants and cafés. Opened in 2001, Museums Quartier is not only one of the ten biggest cultural centers in the world – it’s also a large hub for events and restaurants, and combined with the neighboring Spittelberg area is considered Vienna’s biggest sidewalk café. The Karmelitermarkt in the traditionally Jewish heart of the second district is another great location, especially at the weekend.
But what’s next? One hot favorite is the new business university campus next to the Messe Wien convention center, where eight new designer cafés and restaurants opened in the space of just one week in autumn 2013. The quiet streets of Margareten, Vienna’s fifth district, which until now have lived in the shadow of the Naschmarkt and the established scene surrounding Freihausgasse, are also a possibility. Vorgartenmarkt and Volkertmarkt, both in the second district, are already showing early signs of blossoming, as is the Meidlinger Markt in the twelfth. Mariahilfer Strasse, Vienna’s longest shopping street located directly between the lively sixth and seventh districts, has an extended pedestrian zone that is starting redefining the local bar and restaurant scene – as a barometer of evolving culinary trends. Be prepared to enjoy great food apart from traditional Viennese cuisine!
- Music and stage shows in Vienna
Vienna is the world’s capital of music — The Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna Boys’ Choir set the standard for international, while the State Opera House and the Golden Hall at the Musikverein are among the world’s leading venues. Older, more traditional music still remains a powerful influence with the Vienna sound. Local DJs have enjoyed worldwide popularity by mixing their own unique talents with more traditional Viennese music.
- 125 years of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
The museum on the Ringstrasse was opened with much festivity in 1891. The anniversary exhibition deals with the subject of “Festival cultures” from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Emperor Franz Joseph opened the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) on 17 October 1891 where the extensive collection of the Habsburgs had finally found a place under one roof. To mark this festive occasion, the KHM has put together an exhibition which looks at various aspects of the festival cultures that formed in Europe’s royal courts such as eating, drinking, dancing and playing music.
- Christmas Time in Vienna
Baubles, beeswax candles, punch, cookies and plenty of inspirational gift ideas – there’s no better way to get in the festive spirit than with a stroll around Vienna’s Advent markets and through city streets glittering with festive lights. And with so much to choose from, there is something to suit every taste. The city’s Food Inspection and Market Authority recorded 25 large, permanent Advent markets with around 1,100 stalls in 2015, most of which are open from mid-November until Christmas. The figure does not include the countless small temporary markets, charity stalls, and punch stands. It isn’t only tourists that are attracted by the profusion of Advent markets and pretty Christmas lights – locals enjoy visiting the markets for a mug of punch with colleagues after work, or to do some gift shopping with friends.
With such a wide variety of markets to choose from, there is something for everyone. Traditionalists make a beeline for the large Advent markets in the city center, such as the Christmas Market on Rathausplatz set against the imposing backdrop of City Hall, or the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung. The Culture and Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace and the Christmas Village in front of the Belvedere Palace have a distinctly imperial feel, as does the Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, located between the Natural History Museum and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. For anyone looking for beautiful handcrafted artworks, the Art Advent Arts & Crafts Market on Karlsplatz, Spittelberg Christmas Market and Am Hof Advent Market are the places to go. The WeihnachtsQuartier in the MuseumsQuartier are magnets for fans of designer goods, while foodies will be in their element at the Advent markets on Mahlerstrasse and in the courtyard of specialist tea store Haas & Haas.
- Art & Culture – 25 years of Kunst Haus Wien
The museum designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser houses the world’s only permanent exhibition of the visionary artist and is dedicated to the discipline of contemporary photography.
The museum designed by the artist and “green visionary” Friedensreich Hundertwasser is located in the 3rd district and was opened in 1991. Not far away is the Hundertwasserhaus, a residential house with a colourfully decorated façade, which has become a real crowd-puller. The Kunst Haus Wien presents an extensive permanent exhibition on the life and work of the artist and architect, as well as regular special exhibitions of contemporary photography.
- Festivals & art throughout the year
Each year in May and June, the Vienna festival shows six weeks of contemporary stage art, from drama to dance and opera, accompanied by a series of concerts in different venues all over Vienna.
In July, Europe’s biggest dance festival ImpulsTanz turns Vienna into a dance hotspot for four weeks with international highlights, innovations from the young scene and notable new productions on numerous Viennese stages. World-class dancers support beginners and professionals, children, teens and golden agers with their knowledge at 250 workshops of every dance style. And if that’s not enough, there are DJ nights and concerts in the ImPulsTanz Festival Lounge in the Burgtheater foyer each evening, or parties in the casino on Schwarzenbergplatz at which to dance the night away.
Expect art as far as the eye can see in fall. The major art fair “viennacontemporary” is dedicated to contemporary art from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Around 100 galleries participate in the event, which also features performances, special exhibitions and discussions with the artists themselves. In addition a week-long art festival, various exhibition projects, the Long Night of Museums and Vienna Photography Month will make the city a magnet for art fans and experts from all over the world.
Ice skating in the city centre? Why not! Each January City Hall Square and City Hall Park transform into a giant ice rink and become a paradise for skating fans of every age. The idyllically illuminated façade of City Hall forms the fairytale backdrop for Vienna Ice World. An 8,000 m² ice landscape delivers entertaining winter enjoyment, fantastically wild or sweepingly elegant loops can be turned to popular music hits and to some sounds of the waltz. Restaurateurs pamper guests with warm drinks and delicacies made from regional and organic ingredients at various outdoor booths and in the popular Almhütte with terrace. 2,000 pair of skating boots pre-heated with warm air can be rented on site and lockers for your valuables are available.
- Learn German in Vienna
Get to know the city and its inhabitants, observe their daily life. Immerse yourself in the culture by learning a few of the German basics!
- Thank you = Danke
- Thank you very much = Vielen Dank
- You’re welcome = Bitteschön
- Please = Bitte
- Yes = Ja
- No = Nein
- Excuse me = Entschuldigen Sie bitte
- Pardon me = Entschuldigung
To find out more about Vienna and crafting your perfect itinerary, contact your Travel Counsellor today!