Welcome to Vienna!
It is an incredibly beautiful and safe city, which is continuously rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world. It is divided into 23 districts, each with its own individual flair. I like Vienna best in spring and autumn, as the temperatures are mild. Winter can get cold as it usually sees some snow, but it does come with extraordinarily scenic Christmas markets. Summer is often warm, which leads to balmy summer nights where you can sit outside till late without the need of a jacket. No matter when you visit Vienna, you will have a great time!
Getting around Vienna
The Viennese public transport system is just amazing. It is very reliable, easy to navigate, and cheap (day ticket for €5.80 and 7 day ticket for €17.10). Get the “Wien Mobil” App to plan trips and buy your tickets. While the underground is fast and simple, I recommend taking the trams whenever you can as you get to see so much more of the city (especially along the Ring). The undergrounds only run through the night on weekends, but night transportation is available every day of the week, just check the app.
Vienna Top Tips
Here are five tips to make your holiday in Vienna even better!
- Order Austrian Wine
While Austrian wine is not world renowned, it is a high quality product at a reasonable price. I particularly like the Gruner Veltliner, a white grape you cannot find anywhere else. Zweigelt and Blaufränkischer are great reds. Sometimes you even find wines from within the city limits of Vienna, which always go down a treat! If you are looking for a drink in the afternoon, order a Spritzer (wine and soda) to take it easy.
- Go to Bakeries
Baked goods are just amazing in this city. Try a Kipferl (yeast-y croissant) or a simple roll with some filling as a lunch on the go.
- Drink Tap Water
Viennese tap water comes directly from the alps so make sure you fill up your water bottles and order it in restaurants alongside the wine.
- Have coffee and cake
There are so many great coffee houses in Vienna! Try some of them to indulge in an afternoon sweet treat, such as Studels and Kaiserschmarrn (sweet torn up pancake).
- Visit Museums
Vienna is bursting with stunning art museums you should not miss!
Areas to Explore
Vienna is divided into 23 districts. While you likely won’t visit all of them, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- 1st district
Take a walk through the historic centre of Vienna, including the St. Stephen’s church and the surrounding area, the Rathaus (Town Hall), and admire the beautiful buildings on the Ring, the street which encloses the first district.
- 6th and 7th district
The Mariahilfer shopping street runs through these districts. While the main street mainly hosts chain stores, its side streets burst with small, independent shops. In particular, check out Neubaugasse and Stiftgasse. Some shops to visit: Kauf Dich Glücklich, dariadeh, Sellerie.
- MQ (Museum Quarter)
An array of museums, including the mumok and the Leopold museum, are situated in this lovely museum campus. It also hosts a variety of cafes and restaurants (including the rooftop at Libelle), as well as loads of lounge areas, making it a prime spot to hang out with a can of beer from the supermarket in summer.
- Schönbrunn and Gloriette
Schönbrunn is the imperial palace and stunning to look at. While visiting the inside might be interesting, the real beauty lies in the park surrounding the palace. If you have an hour to spare, walk up to the Gloriette behind it and enjoy a breathtaking view over the city. There are also Easter and Christmas markets hosted in front of the palace.
Museums & Art
Vienna is full of art from all ages, so it is hard to choose where to go. These are my four favourite museums:
- Albertina (classic and modern art)
Situated in an incredible building in the city centre the Albertina hosts both temporary and permanent exhibitions that are worth a visit. Its roof terrace (open for all to visit, just take the elevator from street level) gives you a stunning view over the Opera and the Burggarten.
- mumok (contemporary art)
This museum is located in the MQ (museum’s quarter) and hosts a range of exhibitions. Make sure to check out the permanent collection, as it is very well curated.
- Albertina Modern (temporary exhibitions)
This new art space hosts new exhibitions every couple of months, so check their schedule!
- KHM (classic art history museum)
This is the grand art museum you expect from Vienna! The building itself with its marble staircases and Klimt wall frescos is already a work of art. It houses classics as the “Tower of Babel” and boasts an impressive collection with artworks from all corners of the world.
If you are interested in purchasing art, check out the Kunstsupermarkt (lots of moderately priced art under €100), Kunst ab Hinterhof (more expensive), and a few galleries in Burggasse.
Food and Drink
There are many great places to eat and drink in Vienna, so this is just a small selection of the things the city has to offer. For everything marked with an * asterisk I recommend making a booking. The star ⭐ indicates my favourites in each section.
Classic continental breakfast, eggs, pancakes, what is not to like! Breakfast here will definitely fill you up!
- ⭐ Cafe Motto am Fluss*
Overhanging the Danube canal, this place is on the fancier side, but the taste of the almond croissants and breakfast burgers definitely make up for the slightly higher price point.
If you want an instagrammable location with good food, Adlerhof is the place to be. Stunningly decorated, yet cosy, it is a lovely spot to enjoy truffled eggs on proper bread.
- All bakeries listed below are also fantastic options for breakfast!!
- ⭐ Oefferl
Overpriced, yes. Worth it, oh so much! The taste of a humble roll or Kipferl is just outstanding. Grab a treat to take away (for example, Topfengolatsche) or sit in at their Wollzeile location. How can bread products taste so good?
Similar vibe to Oefferl, but more on the savoury side. Try their cheese stick (Käsestangerl) or grab a filled roll for lunch.
Similar to Oefferl and Joseph, but more focused on bread. They also have a small space to sit in for excellent breakfast at their Schottentor location.
Some of the best croissants in the city.
- Motto Brot
A new addition to the city for a quick pick me up while you are shopping in Mariahilfer Strasse.
- Anker, Stroeck, Der Mann
These “chain” bakeries still have outstanding products and I can highly recommend stopping by for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. They are often cheaper than their fancy alternatives and still provide a great product.
Coffee (modern, mostly to go)
- ⭐ Hornig
A traditional coffee roaster has reinvented itself and now serves some of the best coffee in town. Nice to sit in as well for a break close to Mariahilfer Strasse.
Just off Mariahilfer Straße, they make a mean flat white. Only four seats, so mostly takeaway.
Take away located in the first district serving coffee outside a window. It is surprisingly difficult to find excellent coffee in the first district, but this one steals the show!
Located in the souterrain tram stop of Schottentor they make great coffee and in the morning offer croissants and brioche freshly filled with apricot jam.
Vegan “kebab” and other filled pitas and pides that are a treat for anyone. Located close to Karlsplatz.
- The Lala
The Neubaugasse Location is takeaway only, so I recommend the Neustiftgasse for vegan bowls and salads to sit in. The vegan cesar salad and the cinnamon roll are my favourites. Bonus: they now have a location inside Vienna airport (past security) so you can treat yourself there as well!
- ⭐ Trzesniewski
All they offer are small open face sandwiches with 25 different flavours of spread. Sounds interesting, but definitely worth it, and very traditional. Pick a few sandwiches for a light lunch, alongside lemonade, mini beer, or sekt (Austrian prosecco). When it’s warmer you can also eat them outside in one of the many parks.
- Cafe Engländer
This is one of the traditional Viennese cafes with a surprisingly amazing, daily changing lunch menu. The dishes are inspired by classic Austrian cuisine. Just check their website to see what they serve that day.
- All bakeries listed above are also fantastic options for lunch!!
Coffee houses (sit in, with cake)
- Cafe Central*
This is THE classic Viennese coffee house with stunning interior and massive queues in front (so book ahead!). Somehow, it remains authentic and is not a tourist trap. Their cake selection is outstanding, as well as their Kaiserschmarrn (sweet shredded pancake).
- ⭐ Prueckel
A more down-to-earth cafe with mid-century decor serves great cakes, strudel, and pastries, as well as a mean melange (Viennese take on a cappuccino). The waiters are unfriendly, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
- ⭐ Schwarzes Kamel
Located in the first district amidst luxury stores this is known for being a hang out spot for fancy people – but don’t let that fool you! The waiters are friendly and the cakes are delightful. Grab a seat outside, drink a Spritzer (wine and soda), and watch the world go by.
- ⭐ Veganista
This vegan ice cream parlour took the city by storm! With a handful of locations across town and changing, experimental flavours, they definitely upped the ice cream game of the city.
- Gelateria La Romana
If you want rich, italian ice cream, this is the place to go!
- If Dogs Run Free
The minimalist space boasts ceiling design features, an interesting toilet, and outstanding cocktails. Great atmosphere every day of the week.
- Das Loft*
The bar on top of the Sofitel hotel offers some of the best views of the city. While the cocktails are all on the sweeter side the wine is excellent. Visit before/during sunset for the best views.
Another rooftop bar, this time open air right next to St Stephen’s church. Excellent Spritz!
- Dachboden 25h Hotel
Yet another rooftop bar, this time on top of the 25h hotel. Very good vibes until late in the night, big outdoor space for summer.
- ⭐ Kleinod Prunkstück*
Opulent and fancy, Kleinod is the place to treat yourself to an extravagant cocktail. The waiters are friendly and knowledgeable. You cannot not have a good time here.
Sometimes all you want is a Spritz and a place that feels like your friend’s living room.
Asian fusion perfected. One of the best meals I had in Vienna. Bookings are hard to get, so check on the first of the month when new slots open up.
If you want Mochi food without the hassle of booking (and at a lower price point), then check out their fast casual/takeaway option at OMK.
- ⭐Neni am Markt*
Hummus, Falafel, what is there not to like. Incredibly authentic Israeli food that makes the soul happy. There are a few locations across the city, I would recommend the one inside the Naschmarkt (try to get a table upstairs).
If you are looking for authentic Austrian cuisine, I would recommend Amerlingbeisl above the classic touristy restaurants (like Figlmueller). You get great Schnitzel and chicken strips on potato salad (Backhendlsalat), as well as lovely veggie options. They also have a covered courtyard, which is such a scenic place to hang out in summer.
- Sausages at a Würstelstand
Sometimes all you need is greasy sausage with cheese inside (Käsekrainer). Luckily, the city is home to many Würstelstands in Vienna, but they are not all created equally. If you are looking for a sausage hit during the day (with many veggie options), check out “Alles Wurscht”. Later in the night go to U-Box at Schwedenplatz (cash only) or the Bitzinger Sausage Stand at the Albertina.
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