Tag Archives: Vienna

List of articles with tips on what to do in Vienna and what to see in Vienna.

10 Must-See Vienna Museums

I’ve wanted to explore Vienna ever since I saw the movie Before Sunrise where two strangers meet on the train to Vienna and decide to explore the city together. They have only one day, so they make the most of this beautiful city by walking around. But of course they are a little broke, so they mostly choose places where there is no entrance fee. You on the other hand can add to the experience by visiting some of its most important museums. And keep in mind that holders of the Vienna card get discounts.

Sigmund Freud Museum

Vienna museums

Photo from Francisco Antunes via Creative Commons

Vienna wouldn’t have been complete without a museum dedicated to the famous Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud Museum is where Freud started his first practice and it is a tribute to his life, and of course, psycho analysis.

If you are in Vienna at the end of November, you might want to combine a visit to the museum with a visit to the movies, as A Dangerous Method will be coming to the theaters. The movie depicts the relationship between Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (who’s played by Viggo Mortensen). The museum is open every day from 9am to 5 pm and admission costs 7€ (5.50€, if you own a Vienna card).

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A Walking Tour of Vienna with Travelwriticus

When I was in Vienna in May 2011,  Andreas Susana, editor of Notes of a Traveler and tweeting as @Travelwriticus very kindly came up from his home town of Graz to give me a guided walking tour of Vienna.  Here are the best of  my Vienna photos.

Vienna photos

St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna

Vienna is renowned for its rich architectural heritage and our Vienna walking tour kicked off with a look at some examples of this.  The 1987 Vienna University of Technology library has sculptures of owls along the side of the roof and one large, rather elongated, owl on a corner. The curved shape of the windows reminded me of Rennie Mackintosh’s Scotland Street School in Glasgow.

Vienna photos

Owl Adorned Library of Vienna University of Technology

Karlsplatz Station was a stop on the Vienna Stadtbahn, constructed in 1899 in the Jugendstil style, the local version of Art Nouveau. The station was almost destroyed during modernisation of the railway to the U-Bahn in the 1980s but a public protest saved it.

Karlsplatz Station, Vienna

The Secession Building is another example of Jugendstil architecture. It opened in the late 1890s to house the works of the the artists, including Klimt and Olbrich, who’d formed the breakaway Union of Austrian Artists. The building has a beautiful ornate gold sphere on the roof but I couldn’t get a decent photo of it.

Vienna photos

Entrance to the Secession Building, Vienna

At the side of the Secession Building, there’s a sculpture of the Roman general Mark Anthony by Arthur Strasser.

Vienna photos

Sculpture of Mark Anthony, Vienna

I’d read about the Palmenhaus in Kimberley’s Europe a la Carte post, but it was even more impressive than I imagined, probably party due to it being such a sunny day.

Vienna photos

The Palm House, Vienna

Around the corner was the baroque style Austrian National Library, formerly the library of the Hapsburg royal family.

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The National Library, Vienna

Andreas reckoned that, being a Scot, I’d appreciate seeing the Scottish Church.

Vienna photos

The Scottish Church, Vienna

There are many fountains in Vienna but I liked the backdrop of the Gothic City Hall at this one.

Vienna photos

Fountain near Vienna’s City Hall

I thought I couldn’t visit Vienna and not go to one of its famous cafes.  We had a snack at the Cafe Central, previously frequented by the likes of Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Lenin. I have to say that although the interior was beautiful, I didn’t think that the coffee was that good.

Vienna photos

Andreas in Cafe Central, Vienna

There’s been a church on the site of St Stephen’s Cathedral since the 12th century. The current building dates from the 14th century. However the diamond shaped pattern on the roof was added in the 1950s.

Vienna photos

St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna

A big thank you to Andreas for this personal guided tour of Vienna.  I’m just sorry that I had so little time in Vienna, I feel I barely scratched the surface.

You can see all my Vienna photos on Flickr.

Best of Vienna Tips

Our “Best of Vienna Travel Tips” collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets. You can also read about 10 must-see Vienna museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels

Review of the Ring Hotel, Vienna

I stayed for two nights at the 5 star Ring Hotel in Vienna in May 2011, on a complimentary basis. The hotel is in a central location on the ring road that encircles the old town, so very handy for sightseeing on foot.

Ring Hotel Vienna

Exterior of Ring Hotel Vienna

I thought that the lobby of the hotel was quite small for a five star hotel. The decor didn’t appeal to me with features like mini rhino sculptures illuminated in green in a recessed case in the wall.

Ring Hotel Vienna

Lobby at Ring Hotel

My room was spacious and comfortable, decorated in a traditional, classic style. It was very quiet in the room despite the proximity of a major road. There was a coffee machine in the room. The fresh flowers in the room and bathroom were a nice touch.

Ring Hotel Vienna

My room at the Ring Hotel, Vienna

The toiletries in the bathroom were lovely. There was a wired internet connection and wifi (variable quality), both free of charge, in the room. The hotel has a spa on the top floor with a gym, a steam room and a sauna. I had the steam room and sauna to myself one evening.

I only ate breakfast at the hotel’s  “At Eight” restaurant.

Ring Hotel Vienna

“At Eight” restaurant in the Ring Hotel Vienna

The selection at the “Quick Breakfast” buffet was quite limited for a 5 star hotel with cereal, fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, two fruit juices and a selection of rolls and pastries.  Tea or coffee was brought to your table on request. It was possible to order various egg dishes, different fruit juices and a wider range of hot drinks as extras.

Ring Hotel Vienna

Quick breakfast at the Ring Hotel Vienna

As I spend the majority of my time at a hotel in my room, it’s the room that matters most to me. I rated my room at the Ring Hotel as excellent for comfort and spaciousness, having free wired internet connection and being so quiet for a city centre.  The lobby decor is a matter of taste and I was only there for a few minutes but I do think that the breakfast selection could be extended.

Keep It Real Travel Reviews - No FluffKeep It Real Travel Reviews – No Fluff

Best of Vienna Tips

Our Best of Vienna Travel Tips collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets.

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels

Fingers Crossed I Make It to Vienna This Time

Update 15 May 2011 – I’m happy to report that I did make it to Vienna. I’ve reviewed The Ring Hotel and Austrian blogger Travelwritcus gave me a guided walking tour of Vienna.

I’ll be spending two nights in Vienna in early May 2011, immediately after my stay in the Burgenland region of eastern Austria.  I was due to visit the Austrian capital in late November 2010 on a bmi press trip which I’d to cancel at the last minute, due to severe Winter weather.  Let’s hope I do make it to Vienna this time, saying that I have seen snow in June in Scotland!

The Ring Hotel Vienna

I certainly have plenty of ideas for things to do from the “Best of Vienna Tips” on Europe a la Carte. I’ll be meeting up with Andreas Susana, editor of Notes of a Traveler, tweeting as  @Travelwriticus.

Fountain in Vienna

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels

Best places to slow down and experience Vienna’s café culture

Vienna is surely one of the best European destinations. To truly enjoy the city, a visitor shouldn’t rush, but should instead slow down and enjoy age-old Viennese traditions. Few of these traditions are as enjoyable as taking time to relax, warm up,  people watch, and read in the venerable institution of the Viennese café.

Outside these lovely cafés, the hectic and distracting pace of 21st century life may go on as usual, but inside, be sure to pack away your laptops and hide your iphones in order to fully enjoy the splendours of turn of the 20th century Vienna. The cafés are all well stocked with international newspapers. The coffee is served Viennese-style, on a  platter, accompanied by a glass of water with an overturned spoon. Desserts are, of course, sinfully rich. Be sure to incorporate one (or many) visits to some of these cafés into your next visit to Vienna.


The grande dame of Viennese café culture, Demel was established in 1786. The “K.u.K” proudly displayed on its portal and on its confectionary boxes, indicate that it was the official imperial bakery (Kaiser und Kaiserin). Emperess Sissi was said to have been extremely fond of the sweets produced by Demel.

Firmly wedded to tradition, Demel refused to remove the “K.u.K” even after the collapse of the Empire rendered it irrelevant and unpopular. Almost one hundred years after the Empire’s collapse, it still remains proudly on the door – as you can see in this photo – and a visitor to this lovely café may indeed feel he’s been transported back to 19th century Vienna.

The beautiful window displays change frequently. Even if you don’t manage to go inside to sit down, be sure to see what’s on display in this most famous of Viennese cafés. Demel is located on Kohlmarkt, just a few steps away from the Hofburg.

Café Schwarzenberg

Café Schwarzenberg is on the Ringstrasse, midway between the Opera house and the Stadtpark. It was established in 1861 when the Ringstrasse was first built by tearing down Vienna’s defensive walls.

Café Schwarzenberg  is famous for having been occupied by the Russian army after liberating the city in 1945. Today, the café upholds Viennese traditions and is a pleasant place to stop on your walk around the Ringstrasse. On warm days, there is outdoor seating on the adjoining sidewalk.

Café Central

This is my favourite Vienna café. Opened in 1861, the Café Central is housed in the Palais Ferstel on Herrengasse. Over its long history, the Café Central has seen many famous – and infamous – patrons sipping coffee within its lovely vaulted spaces.

Adolf Loos, Tito, Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler and Leon Trotsky have all spent time here. At a time when many Viennese flats were unheated, many young intellectuals and revolutionaries spent hours nursing their coffees – and staying warm – at the Café Central.

This was the case with Leon Trotsky, who became such a fixture at the Viennese coffee house that when the Russian Revolution began, the Viennese laughed it off, assured that “Herr Trotsky of the Café Central” could never succeed in such an endeavour.

Join the ranks of history and culture with a visit to these beautiful Viennese cafés on your next visit to the Austrian capital. For something more informal Andy recommends Cafe Aida.

Best of Vienna Tips

Our “Best of Vienna Travel Tips” collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets. You can also read about ten must-see Vienna museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels

Eat, drink and relax in Vienna’s Palmenhaus

Right in Vienna’s Burggarten, just between the Opera house and the Hofburg, is the stunning Art Nouveau Palmenhaus, originally a 19th century imperial greenhouse,  which is now an ideal place to sit and relax while sipping a coffee or a glass of wine.

Vienna’s Palmenhaus was originally built in 1882 as a greenhouse for the Hofburg palace gardens. In 1901 it was renovated in Vienna’s famous Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) style.

Having fallen into disrepair, the Palmenhaus  was closed to the public in 1988. After a complete renovation, it was opened once again in 1998. The Palmenhaus today hosts a restaurant , serving lunch and dinner, and a bar.

It’s a wonderful place to sit and relax on a visit to Vienna. Opening times vary by day and by season, so check first on its web site. In general, the Palmenhaus opens between 10-11:30 am and remains open until midnight- 2 am.

The Palmenhaus also houses the Imperial Butterfly House.  We didn’t manage to see the butterflies on our last visit to Vienna, but it’s high on our list for next time. Check seasonal opening hours on the web site.

You can find ideas of other things go do in Vienna in our “Best of Vienna Travel Tips“. If you are planning a trip to the Austrian capital,  we’ve researched the “Best Places to Stay in Vienna for all Budgets“.

Best of Vienna Tips

Our Best of Vienna Travel Tips collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. You can read about ten must-see Vienna museums. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets.

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels

I’m off to Vienna 28 November – 1 December 2010

Update 28 November 2010 – I’ve had to cancel going on the Vienna trip.  Extreme weather warnings of heavy snow made this mornings drive north on the A1 from Berwick upon Tweed to Edinburgh Airport too dangerous.

I’m off to Vienna on 28 November 2010 for 3 nights on a flybmi.com press trip.  I’m so happy as I’ve been dying to visit the Austrian capital for ages.

Schonnbrunn Palace Park by tungi

I’ll be able to visit the famous Vienna Christmas Markets and follow some of the Europe a la Carte blogging team’s Best of Vienna Travel Tips.

Vienna Christmas Market by Charley1965

I’ll be staying at The Ring, Vienna’s casual luxury hotel.

The Ring Hotel Vienna

Arrive hungry to eat Wienerschnitzel at Vienna’s Figlmüller

Vienna has to be one of Europe’s best walking cities – and thank goodness for that, since it allows visitors to work up an appetite before sampling the city’s mouth-watering specialities. For me, no visit to Vienna is complete without eating Wienerschnitzl – breaded veal cutlet-  at Figlmüller.

Figlmüller has been serving up Wienerschnitzel in Vienna since 1905 and, as its sign (not so modestly) points out, it boasts the city’s most famous Schnitzel. It has a great location, on a little passageway behind St Stephen’s cathedral. A second Figlmüller opened a few years ago, just around the corner. It lacks the charm of the original establishment, but when your stomach is growling and the queue seems endless, it’s best to check for availability at the second restaurant. There is actually a third Figlmüller, in the charming Grinzing district that Marcus describes in a  past post.

You are unlikely to leave Figlmüller’s  feeling hungry. Accompany your extra large Schnitzel with potato salad and green salad. There is no beer served, but there is wine. When visiting Austria, I always enjoy my red or white wine gespritzt. Mixing wine with sparkling water would seem sacrilege back home in Italy, but tastes just perfect in Vienna.

If you’re traveling with kids, you’re unlikely to hear any complaints about this meal.

So arrive hungry and enjoy your Wienerschnitzel at Figlmüller’s. Then go and walk off all those calories in order to make room for the Sachertorte you’ll have to try later that day. Yes, thank goodness that Vienna is such a wonderful walking city!

The original restaurant is at Wollzeile 5, open daily 11am – 10pm. The second restaurant is at Bäckerstraße 6, open daily 12pm-11pm.

Best of Vienna Tips

Our Best of Vienna Travel Tips collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets. You can also read about ten must-see Vienna museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels

Enjoying Vienna’s Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School

I love the elegant city of Vienna.  It’s one of my favourite European destinations. Despite having lived there many years ago and having visited frequently over the years, it was only on a recent visit that I finally got to a performance at the Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule).

The Spanish Riding School is housed within Vienna’s Hofburg. The beautiful Lipizzaner horses and their skilful riders perform daily (except Mondays) and  tickets for the performances can be booked in advance on-line.

Before or after the performance, you can cross the street and peek in at the stables of the Lipizzaner. These horses have been bred for Vienna since 1580 when Habsburg Archduke Charles II founded the imperial stables, in what is now Slovenia.  In 1920, following the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the imperial stud was established in Piber, just west of the city of Graz. The Lipizzaner you are seeing today can all have their bloodlines traced back more than four hundred years to the original Habsburg stables.

The Winter Riding School performing hall is truly spectacular. It was built in 1735 and it is here that daily performances are held. Ticket prices are fairly steep, but I was in Vienna with my children, who love to ride. I thought it would be a special treat for them to see the performance. In the end, I ended up being just as enthusiastic. It’s wonderful to be seated in this stunning hall,  watching the horses and riders undertaking their elegant “ballet” performance set to classical music. Before the fall of the Habsburg Empire, these performances were only viewed by honoured guests of the Court.

Interesting commentary in German and English follows each segment of the performance. Spectators learn how the carefully selected riders begin their careers  at the Spanish Riding School and how the knowledge of this imperial tradition is passed on orally from more experienced, Master riders to their young pupils. Those students, upon reaching Master rider status, must also be prepared to instruct the younger generation.

Each junior rider is eventually put in charge of a young horse and is responsible for the horse’s care and training.

Photo courtesy equisearch.com

The performance is fascinating to watch – the riders and their horses carrying out precision movements to the music of Mozart and Strauss. The horses’ jumps, pirouettes, courbettes and intricate steps are truly impressive to experience.

Photo courtesy lobelinepr.com

My tip is to take in a performance of the Austrian Lipizzaner on your next visit to Vienna. It’s the only riding school of its kind in the world and it’s a true pleasure to experience a performance of this imperial tradition still going strong after 430 years.

Best of Vienna Tips

Our Best of Vienna Travel Tips collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. You can
read about ten must-see Vienna museums. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets.

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels

The Best Places to Stay in Vienna for All Budgets

I though it would useful for readers planning a trip to the Austrian capital to research some of the best places to stay in Vienna.  These Vienna hotel tips are based on research into accommodation of different grades/types that receive high guest satisfaction ratings.  I’ve also tried to include Vienna hotels which have free wifi or broadband internet connection.

Stadtpark Vienna

Vienna’s Stadtpark

Vienna Budget Accommodation

The Meininger City Centre Vienna is in a great location, close to Schonbrunn Palace and  a pedestrianised shopping centre. It offers a mix of private rooms and dorms.

Pension Mozart is half a mile from the Hofburg Palace and 1 mile from the city centre but with only 14 rooms it fills up quickly in busy periods.

Exterior of chapel where Vienna Boys Choir sing

Entrance to Chapel where Vienna Boys’ Choir perform

Palace Hostel Schlossberge lies in green surroundings on Wilhelminenberg hill  with great views over Vienna and offers free internet and breakfast.  There’s a mix of dorms, twin and double rooms. The only disadvantage is that it’s over 4 miles from the city centre, although the journey into the centre is said to take 20 minutes by public transport.

Vienna Mid-range hotels

The four star Rainers Hotel is a conversion from a factory which maintained the original exterior. It’s a couple of of miles from the city centre.

The Art Hotel is a couple of miles from the city centre in Vienna’s 5th district, close to the Nachsmarkt (which stretches for almost a mile selling all sort of produce and wares).

best places to stay in vienna

Naschmarkt Vienna by yazuzaru

Austria Trend Hotel Vienna Messe lies close to the Wurstel Prater Amusement Park and the Exhibition Centre, around a mile from the city centre.  It offers free internet connection.

best places to stay vienna

Vienna view from Ferris Wheel at Prater Amusement Park by Sarah_Ackerman

The Suitehotel Wien Messe suites are spacious at 30 square metres with free broadband and national phone calls. Free massages are on offer on Thursday evenings.

Villa Kumpf apartments in the city centre have a kitchenette, offer free wifi and are furnished with antiques.

Best Western Premier Hotel Kasierhof is situated less than one mile from the city centre in a quiet cobble stoned side street. The buffet breakfast is said to be excellent.  There’s free wifi in the suites and the public areas.

Vienna Luxury hotels

The five star Sacher Hotel first opened its doors to guests in 1876.  Run by the same family since the 1930s the hotel takes great pride in offering traditional service.

best places to stay in vienna

Sacher Hotel Vienna by thisisbossi

The five star Imperial Hotel started life as a royal residence in 1863 but was transformed into a hotel for the 1873 World Exhibition.  If you’d like to stay in palatial surroundings, adorned with marble and chandeliers, this is the place to book.

best places to stay in vienna

Hotel Imperial Vienna by Iquo E

Best of Vienna Tips

Our Best of Vienna Travel Tips collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. You can also read about ten must-see Vienna museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Vienna hotels