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Not to forget about the coffee! Vienna is famous for its coffee-culture. Although Starbucks and Italian-style espresso bars start taking over, there are still enough ''Kaffeehäuser'' left, the traditional place to drink your coffee, to read the newspaper, to meet friends or to fall in love. "Let's have a coffee," is a common phrase. If you want a date, to meet your best friend or somebody you haven't seen for years - more often than not you'd say "Let's have a coffee."
Not to forget about the coffee! Vienna is famous for its coffee-culture. Although Starbucks and Italian-style espresso bars start taking over, there are still enough ''Kaffeehäuser'' left, the traditional place to drink your coffee, to read the newspaper, to meet friends or to fall in love. "Let's have a coffee," is a common phrase. If you want a date, to meet your best friend or somebody you haven't seen for years - more often than not you'd say "Let's have a coffee."
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Revision as of 17:29, 5 November 2005
Vienna (German: Wien) is the capital and largest city of Austria.
Vienna has never forgotten it was the capital of a large and influential empire. Its residents act as if it still were - the small doses of courtliness, the extremely polite forms of address long-forgotten in other German-speaking countries, the formal mode of dress. Vienna is a city both modern and extremely old-fashioned all at once. Like Munich, its residents are formal, but Viennese formality is an entirely different animal. Waiters address you with honorifics, a man who bumps into you on the street is half-likely to implore your pardon with a small bow, you are treated as if you were a long-lost prince or princess returning home. If you can handle this kind of luxurious treatment, Vienna is for you.
The Viennese have a particular fascination with death, hence the popularity of the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) as a strolling location and of "Schrammelmusik" - highly sentimental music often performed in wine taverns with lyrics relating to death. Old-fashioned Sterbevereine (funeral insurance societies) provide members with the opportunity to save up for a huge sendoff over the course of their lives. This isn’t just to save their children the bother and expense - it's considered absolutely essential to have a funeral filled with pomp and circumstance, with as many pallbearers and participants as a wedding would have elsewhere. Vienna even has a museum devoted to coffins and mortuary science (the Bestattungsmuseum)! The country’s odd obsession even gives it a higher suicide rate than comparably-sized countries, which is unusual given its widespread, intense Catholicism.
You'd have to visit the city yourself to decide if these stereotypes still apply for today's Vienna. The traditional Vienna is just one of the many faces of this city. Vienna is also a dynamic young city famous for its (electronic) music scene with indie-labels, somewhat occult record stores and a lot of trendy clubs to go. And a bureaucratic nightmare with government that seems obsessed with complicated forms and documents if you live there.
Not to forget about the coffee! Vienna is famous for its coffee-culture. Although Starbucks and Italian-style espresso bars start taking over, there are still enough Kaffeehäuser left, the traditional place to drink your coffee, to read the newspaper, to meet friends or to fall in love. "Let's have a coffee," is a common phrase. If you want a date, to meet your best friend or somebody you haven't seen for years - more often than not you'd say "Let's have a coffee."
The City has a very convenient layout for the traveller:
The 'old town', or city center is the first district, encircled by the 'Ring' road, which is also the location of many famous old buidlings.
Districts 2-9 gather within the 'Gürtel' (='belt') Road; there, you can find the Prater (amusement) park, the hip quartiers of the second district (close to Schwedenplatz), the shopping street of Mariahilferstraße, and so on.
Outside the 'belt', there's the Hundertwasser House, the Hundertwasser Kunsthaus, the Donauturm Tower, and... not much more of interest.
Vienna's airport "Wien Schwechat" is served by several budget airlines like Air Berlin, Fly Niki or Maersk Air.
Nevertheless sometimes it works out cheaper to fly to a nearby city and connect by train or bus. Ryanair flies to Linz (1.5 - 2 hours by train), Graz (2.5 hours by train) and Brno and Sky Europe flies to Bratislava (1.5 hours by bus).
The City airport train (CAT) takes you directly from airport to city centre in 16 minutes. The return ticket costs EUR 15. Do NOT take the CAT unless you are in a great hurry. It's a rip-off. Though not advertised, the normal S-Bahn (regional train) S7 is also direct, just 10 minutes slower and costs just EUR 6 return if bought in advance, stopping at Wien Mitte, Wien Nord and Wien Handelskai among others. Do punch the ticket before getting on the S-Bahn, punching machines are not installed inside the train.
Vienna is a railroad hub, easily accessible from other major European cities. Overnight trains from places like Berlin and Venice.
The train from Prague takes less than 5 hours.
There are several cheap train offers to and from Vienna, mainly to destinations in Germany and Italy, but also Paris and some other destinations. These all cost 29 EUR one-way seater, 39 EUR couchette, and 59 EUR Sleeper. You have to book quite a while in advance, but it's definitely worth the effort, as it takes you right to the center of a city, and right in the morning (unlike taking the plane)
Most Austrian highways ("Autobahn") terminate/originate in Vienna.
Unlike in Germany, there is a strictly enforced speed limit of 130 km/h on highways. Within towns it is 50 km/h and on major roads, it is 100 km/h.
Parking is restricted to 90 minutes and subject to a fee of 0,80€ per hour everywhere in the inner districts unless you
are a resident. Payment is made by marking the time of arrival on a ticket ("Parkschein") which can be bought at tobacco shops. If you wish to leave your car in Vienna for the period of your stay you must therefore either book a hotel that offers parking or leave it at a commercial car park (Parkhaus, Parkgarage). They can be very expensive.
A cheaper option is park and ride, which are normally located on U Bahn stations in the city periphery.
Avoid the A23 Südosttangente at rush hour. Traffic jams are almost guaranteed there.
Eurolines is a relatively cheap way to reach Vienna from big european cities. Buses usually stop at subway station Erdberg.
Riverboats on the Danube include connections with Budapest and Bratislava, but it's of little use unless you just love going on (slow and relatively expensive) riverboats
By train and bus
Vienna has an excellent public transport system, which includes commuter rail, underground, trams (trolleys), and buses. Within Vienna itself, you can get a single trip ticket for any of these for EUR 1.50, or a 24-hour ticket for EUR 5.
Tickets can be bought at machines in or near stations and major stops. They can also be bought from a bus driver, or on a commuter train, for an additional charge.
Stamp your ticket at the start of its first use (there are stamping machines on the buses and trams or near the entrances to the stations). You can use one ticket to go in one direction on as many lines as you like as long as it takes you to get there. You have to buy another ticket if you stop and get out or if you want to go back in the opposite direction. Payment is by the honor system; normally you don't have to show the ticket or stamp it again when you board, but occasionally (very rarely) inspectors check for valid tickets. If you don't have one, it's an instant EUR 60 fine (plus the fare you were supposed to have paid).
If you're staying for a few days, and hope to do some sight-seeing or shopping, the Vienna Card (Wien Karte) is a good deal. It costs EUR 16.90 and is good for 72 hours of unlimited public transit within Vienna. The card also gets you discounts to many attractions and shops. You can buy it at the airport or at many hotels and underground stops. Other options for longer stays or for multiple people include 8 person-day passes (i.e. good for 1 person for 8 days or 2 people for 4 days or 4 people for 2 days), and weekly and monthly passes.
Rail trips to the outskirts of Vienna may require additional fare. For example, a trip to or from the airport on the S7 line is a two-zone ride, requiring either a EUR 3 advance purchase, or a single zone (1.50) ticket supplement to one of the timed-use Vienna tickets.
Taking into consideration that Vienna is one of those cities that never sleep, a dense network of night buses is available for those who have a rather nocturnal approach on tourism. Since 2002, regular tickets may be used on these buses. Most terminate at "Kärntner Ring, Oper", which allows for easy interchange. Intervals are usually no less than 30 minutes, with some busier lines going every ten minutes.
It is also very pleasant just to walk. The inner Ring is quite compact, with lots of pleasant cobblestoned and paved streets, and can be crossed in about 20 minutes.
Bicycling is another popular option, as there are many bike paths and lanes along major streets, in parks, and by the rivers. Vienna's compact size makes cycling attractive. On a bike you can reach most places of interest within half an hour. If your destination is located
in the outer suburbs you may consider taking your bike on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn. A company called PedalPower offers guided bike tours, or bike rental deliveries to your hotel (or you can pick them up at the Prater for a discount). The city also offers free or low-cost short-term "CityBike" rentals at various fixed locations near the central city. (Use requires a deposit, though, and a fee past the first hour. There's a touch-screen system for getting a bike; the instructions are only in German, however.) Please be aware that a break in your bike trip that is less than 15 minutes will not result in a "new" first hour so it will be counted as one continuous trip.
http://www.citybikewien.at/ (only in German)
Don't try to drive a car within the central Ring if you can help it. While cars are allowed on many of the streets there, the streets are narrow and mostly one-way, and can be confusing for a visitor, and parking is extremely limited (and restricted during the day). Because of the comprehensiveness of the transit system, you're unlikely to need a car within Vienna, except for excursions elsewhere.
Furthermore, it might be a good idea to leave your car at home during rush hours. Vienna's streets can become a little clogged in the morning and in the early evening and the drivers are not really known as the most polite and friendly.
- Belvedere - Austrian Gallery. Military leader Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), known as one of the best military strategists of his time, commissioned this palace from architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt. It was meant to function as a summer residence, and was located outside the city walls. Art historians know the Belvedere as on of the finest Baroque structures in the world. Its two palace segments, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, later became the permanent home of the Austrian Gallery. The Oberes Belvedere (Upper) contains recent Austrian and international art from the past two centuries. Viennese art from the early twentieth century is well-represented in the permanent collection “Vienna around 1900 and the Art of the Classical Modern.‿ Gustav Klimt, master of a particularly Viennese form of Art Nouveau called Jugendstil, or sometimes Viennese Secession, has several world-renowned paintings in the Belvedere. Judith and The Kiss are his best-known. Covered in gilt, broken up into hundreds of small color panels (almost Impressionistic, in a way), the tall, thin figures in Klimt’s paintings are uniquely his own. Egon Schiele, another Viennese artist working at the same time as Klimt, would utilize such singularly thin and ultimately recognizable figures in his own work. The days of strict realism were over, and fantasy was afoot. Schiele is well-represented in the Belvedere as well. http://www.belvedere.at/en/index.htm
- The New Palace (Neue Burg). The New Palace is the newest and largest section of the Imperial Palace. It contains the Ethnological Museum and three branches of the Museum of Fine Arts. The Ephesus Museum contains classical art from Asia Minor, the Collection of Historical Musical Instruments is self-explanatory, but the jewel of the New Palace is the Collection of Arms. This collection, second largest in the world, houses an immense and exhaustive representation of weaponry from past centuries.
- Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury). Located in the Neue Burg, the Schatzkammer (also known as the Secular and Ecclesiastical Treasures) is the best part of the Hofburg, and an absolute must on any tour of Vienna. Second only to a tour of the Kunsthistorisches Museum itself, of which the Schatzkammer is officially a part, there are 20 rooms of priceless treasures that give a fairly accurate feel for Habsburg court life over the centuries.
- Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts), Picture Gallery daily except Monday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thu 10 a.m.- 9 p.m., U2: Babenbergerstrasse, U3: Volkstheater, tram D, J, 1, 2, bus 57A: Burgring Maria-Theresien-Platz (entrance), phone 525 24 0. One of the world's great art museums, in a palace that's a work of art itself. Like the Louvre, serious art fans may wish to devote more than a day to its treasures. The mother of all Austrian museums. There is no other word to describe the Kunsthistorisches other than mind boggling. It’s at the very least a full day’s worth of sightseeing if you intend to go through it thoroughly and attempt ponder the importance of each major work. The better approach here is to break up sections of the museum and visit them over a series of days, or if that’s not an option, pick one section and concentrate on it alone. The Picture Gallery is kept open until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Beginning with another section of the museum, it’s possible to have a lunch or light dinner in the café and then continue through the Picture Gallery until closing time. The Museum has an excellent collection of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art. The coin & medals collection is also exhaustive in its scope. The Museum cafe is a bit pricy but good and in a beautiful setting.
- KunstHausWien, Untere Weißgerberstrasse 13, open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Every Monday the regular admission fee in all exhibitions is reduced 50%), Tel: 43-1-712 04 91. To get there, take the street tram O from Landstrasse and get down at Radetzkypl. Even an avowed hater of modern art can appreciate the KunstHausWien, Hundertwasser’s (born Friedrich Stowasser in 1928) major contribution to the Viennese art world. In a time when artists often try to shock the public or merely impress other members of the rarefied gallery subculture, Hundertwasser’s manifesto rings out as an utterly reasonable plea: The architecture of KunstHausWien would be a bastion against the dictatorship of the straight line, the ruler and T-square, a bridgehead against the grid system and the chaos of the absurd. Starting with the façade of the building, adapted from its prior life as a furniture factory, there is a Gaudi-in-Barcelona feel to the place. Windows peek out like eyes from curvy, rounded plaster and colorful paint. It’s a Disneyland for grownups! Do not miss the Hundertwasserhaus and the shopping village situated about 300m from KunstHausWien. http://www.kunsthauswien.com/english/mainindex.htm
- MuseumsQuartier. The MuseumsQuartier (MQ) is the new cultural district of vienna since the year 2001. A lot of museums and cultural institutions are situated there, but it's not only a place for art, it's a urban living space and people go there to spend some nice time, sitting in one of the cafés or perhaps playing boccia. The Leopold Museum and the MUMOK are situated there. If you are interested in visiting couple of these museums, combination tickets available at the MQ entrance will be cheaper than buying them individually at the museum entrance. Note that MUMOK and Leopold has strict policy of not allowing big bags inside the museum. Even your camera (unless they can be tucked inside a small carry bag) will have to be deposited outside. MUMOK has a self service locker, which you might want to use when visiting Leopold since Leopold charge Euro 1 per person for the "cloak room" service. Within MQ you can use the free Wireless LAN provided by Quintessenz. http://www.mqw.at
- Pathologisch-anatomisches Bundesmuseum Wien, W 3PM-6PM, Th 8AM-11AM. Housed in a squat tower which once housed an insane asylum (the “Narrenturm‿ or “Idiots’ Tower‿), this museum houses some dustier corners of the annals of medicine. You'll find preserved hydrocephalic infants, wax castings of tertiary syphilis, antique medical devices and even a laryngeal tuberculous ulcer. The gift shop sells postcards depicting the best of these. Note: on top of restricted hours, the Narrenturm can be hard to find. Use the web site’s handy map. http://www.pathomus.or.at/
- Augustinian Friars’ Church (Augustinerkirche), Josefsplatz 1. Facing the sculpture in the center of the square, the entrance is small and easy to miss – it’s on the left hand wall of the square. Yet another example of the gruesome divide-and-conquer burial strategy of the Habsburg dynasty. It’s said that other dynasties waged countless wars to acquire new lands, but “you, happy Austria, marry." Even in death the Habsburgs placated three different churches with the honor of caring for their remains. The best known, the Kapuzinergruft, contain their actual bodies. St Stephens holds their innards (intestines and other parts taken out during the preservation process). But the Augustinerkirche holds, in the Herzgruft (Heart Crypt), all the Habsburgs’ hearts. Tours of the Herzgruft are available Monday through Friday at 11 and 3:00. It was renovated 1996-99 and just reopened. The tradition began in 1627 with Emperor Ferdinand IV, who wanted to “lay his heart at the feet of the Mother of God." Literally. His hearts, and those of his descendants, are preserved in silver jars which are carefully cared for by the Augustinian friars who run the church. When the renovation was underway it was found that the preservative in some of the caskets had evaporated over the years, leaving nothing but a dried-out, mummified heart.
- Austrian National Library - Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Josefsplatz 1, 01/53410-348. Card catalogs may be an anachronism in today’s digitized world, but the Austrian National Library had the first one in existence, invented by the Habsburg court librarian. Unlike the printed library catalogs of the past, bound into book form, the card catalog could be rapidly updated and the library kept up-to-date. This well-ordered reader’s paradise has a collection that outshines many museums, thanks to its long association with the Habsburg imperial family. It gained an impressive collection when Emperor Josef II dissolved all the empire's monasteries – 300 manuscripts, 3000 printed books and 5000 diplomata. Today, the main collections consist of the Department of Broadsheets, Posters and Exlibris (including a giant collection of Austrian and international film posters), the Department of Manuscripts, Autographs and Closed Collections, the International Esperanto Museum and Department of Artificial Languages, the Department of Maps and Globe Museum, the Austrian Literary Archives, the Department of Papyri and Papyrus Museum, the Department of Incunabula, Old and Rare Books and the Austrian Folk Song Institute, among other sections and rotating exhibits. The library’s collection is approximately six million items strong and is the largest in Austria. It is a pioneer in digitalizing and placing its collection online. The oldest book in the collection is a fifteenth century Holy Gospels manuscript with scenes representing the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) containing the coats of arms of the House of Austria, Styria, Tirol and Carinthia, then ruled by Albrecht III, the book’s owner. Emperor Frederick III (1415-1493) made an effort to gather all the various Habsburg manuscript collections into one place. After the 1848 revolutions, during which the library was placed immediately in the line of fire (some faithful librarians remained behind and managed to save the books as the imperial palace caught fire), Emperor Franz Josef I agreed to open the library to the public and even keep the library open into the evening hours. Ernst Ritter von Birk, head of the Court Library and one of the library’s saviors during the uprising, may have been forced to accept these liberal business hours to appease the Emperor, but he still had the right to restrict the public’s access to the holdings. Renamed the National Library in 1920 (much to the objection of some library committee members, who argued that an Austrian “nation," as such, did not exist), the Library has since served the public in a much less strict fashion than in the good old days under von Birk. http://www.onb.ac.at
- Hofburg Palace. This immense palace complex grew into a large, unwieldy series of buildings over the years, and was the imperial residence of the Habsburg emperors until 1918. What began as a medieval castle (whose chapel is the only original element of that building to survive) was expanded, redecorated and redone as the Habsburgs’ power increased correspondingly. The Palace Stables and Amalia’s Wing were added in the sixteenth century, the Imperial Chancery Wing, Court Library and Spanish Riding School in the eighteenth. In the last century St Michael’s Wing was tacked on, and then around 1900 the New Palace was completed. Such a conglomeration of buildings cannot help but have stylistic differences, but the exterior is of no concern. The contents of each separate building contain so many treasures that the time spent moving from one to another is like opening box after box of fabulous jewels – it’s difficult to know when to stop, and tempting to rush through them all at once. The Imperial Palace itself now houses the offices of the Austrian President, a convention center, the home of the Vienna Boys’ Choir and infamous Lipizzaner stallions, and of course several museums which are open to the public. Walking towards the Hofburg in spring, the allee is resplendent with pale purple lilacs which draw one’s eye towards the immense equestrian statues centered there. Exiting the D tram at the Burgring stop, with the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Maria Theresa statue to the left, enter Heldenplatz (Heroe’s Square) under the large white gate. Alternatively, go one stop further on the tram and get off at Parliament. The giant white Grecian style parliament building faces the Volksgarten, a pleasant park one can walk through that also leads to the palace.
- Chapel of the Imperial Palace (Burgkapelle). The original chapel of the Palace, built in Gothic style 1447-1449, was made over in Baroque style. On Sundays and Catholic holidays (of which the Austrians celebrate many), the Court Musicians perform here. This group is made up of members from the Vienna Boys’ Choir, as well as performers from the orchestra and choir of the Vienna State Opera.
- Hotel Sacher. Situated next to the Opera House, this hotel is best known as the place where Sachertorte (cake) was invented. The dry, slightly bitter chocolate cake with apricot jam between multiple thin layers is best consumed with a rich, milky cup of Viennese coffee – perhaps a Melange or Sacher Kaffee, the most popular variants. The elegant drawing room is a popular place to gather after a performance at the Opera. The food is definitely pricy, but still definitely worth the money.
- Haus des Meeres Aquarium Zoo, This is a marvellous zoo , with a Rainforest glasshouse, tiny apes, aquariums, even with sharks, and terrariums with reptiles and venomous snakes,( Official Homepage )situated into one of the leftover second world war air raid shelter, a so called "Flakturm" (more information at www.airpower.at, www.bezirksmuseum.at and www.turbo.at). The building carried formerly one of the first radar equipments and is designed to stand a direct bombhit, an earthquake and wind speeds up to an overpressure of ten bar.
- Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Pavillion. This city tram stop, designed by Otto Wagner, is located near the Secession Building and Naschmarkt. It is a good example of functional turn of the century architecture – ornate, yet useful. Wagner was one of the most influential architects in Vienna and his style was widely copied.
- Naschmarkt flea market, Linke Wienzeile (U4 stop Kettenbrückengasse). Only on Saturdays. Need used lederhosen? How about a doner kebab, or an Austrian war bond from the first World War? This is the place to go. The Naschmarkt is primarily a flea market, though some stalls sell new items such as handwoven wicker baskets or food. Pick through the detritus of an imperial society - you never know what you’ll find hidden under that stack of terrible fuzzy sweaters. Couture gowns, Communist medals from all the former Eastern Bloc countries, tobacco pipes, broken pocketwatches: the Naschmarkt is worth at least a full afternoon of your time. Flea markets are the best possible blend of high and low culture, and a way to truly get to know a city. Walk all the way from the flea market end of the Naschmarkt through the food stall end to arrive at the Secession building, located on the left close to the Karlsplatz metro stop.
- Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper). Probably the most-beloved symbol of Viennese arts, and one of the first buildings to be rebuilt in the postwar era, as a show of pride, the Opera has had a fascinating history. It was built 1861-1869 under the direction of architects were Eduard van der Nüll and August von Siccardsburg for then-emperor Franz Josef I. The first performance, 25 May 1869, was Austrian native Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. Though now as well-loved as any member of the family, the architecture of the Opera was barely tolerated by the picky Viennese when it opened. Van der Nüll did not take these criticisms of his work lightly – he committed suicide. A few weeks later, von Siccardsburg died of a heart attack. Doubly cursed, the Opera building succumbed to bombs less than 100 years later, during WWII. After ten years of Allied control after the end of the war, many cultural institutions reopened to celebrate the birth of the new Austrian state. This time the Opera opened with an adopted son of Vienna’s work: Beethoven’s Fidelio. The lush curtains, the elegance of even the nosebleed seats (so steeply pitched and close to the ceiling a nosebleed becomes a distinct possibility) contribute to the overall atmosphere of the Opera. Post-performance, have some torte at the nearby Sacher Hotel (see entry). http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at
- Paternoster elevator at the University of Vienna. If you happen to go to the university mensa (cafeteria) on the top floor, make a point to find this particular elevator! It’s almost as hair-raising as an amusement park ride, and a true rarity (most other paternoster elevators have long since been replaced). Paternoster (Latin for “Our Father," or what’s likely to issue from passengers’ mouths -- although in reality named because one can go around and around like on a rosary) elevators consist of several elevator cars which have two open doors on each floor. The cars travel up on left side and down on the right. Even though it’s forbidden, the daring have been known to ride it up and over the top. There’re no buttons to push – just jump in and out at the appropriate floor. Note that you won't find this in the main university building on Ringstrasse. You are instead looking for the Neues Institutsgebaeude behind the main university, Universitaetsstrasse 7. There is a second Paternoster elevator in Vienna in the building of the Industriellenvereinigung, the powerful lobby of austrian economical and industrial forces, at Schwarzenbergplatz. But this one isn't publically accessible.
- Prater (Park) including the Giant Ferris Wheel, phone 729 54 30, U1, tram O, 5, 21: Praterstern, S1-S3, S7, S15: Wien Nord , May - September: 9 a.m. - midnight. An English engineering firm (Walter Basset) built the Giant Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad) 1896-97. Others of the same era, built for world exhibitions and other parks in Chicago, London, Paris etc. have long since been torn down. The Riesenrad has become a well-known symbol of Vienna, featured in many movies (Before Sunrise, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s tacky teen Eurolove-drama, is the most recent) and picture postcards. It has 15 gondolas, some of which are incredibly ornate and large enough to host an extended family inside, offering a spectacular panorama of the city. The Prater Park began its life, as so many European parks did, as a carriage-riding area for the nobility. It is still a popular place to spend a weekend afternoon with the family.
- Schloss Schönbrunn, U4 stop Schönbrunn. The former summer palace of the Habsburg family, Schönbrunn is the ultimate palace experience in Vienna. Its gardens and zoo (the oldest in the world, built for Maria Theresa’s husband in 1752) alone are worth a lengthy visit, not to mention the palace, which has seen its fair share of excitement over the years, including a meeting between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khruschchev at the height of the Cold War. There are two possible tours available without a guide (though guides are available), one including 22 rooms and one including 40. The price of admission includes an audio guide.
- Secession Building, Friedrichstraße 12 (U-Bahn U1, U2, U4 (Karlsplatz)), Tel. 587 53 07-0, Tu-Fr 10-18, Sat, Sun 10-16. Architect Josef Maria Olbrich built this Jugendstil (German-style Art Nouveau) building 1897-98 as a display space for artists working in the new Secession artistic movement. It is topped by a giant, frothy golden ball, lovingly called “Krauthappel" by the Viennese, but the building was definitely not loved when it first opened. Notice a reactionary Viennese pattern here? The Opera building too was hated at first, but at least it wasn’t called a “temple for bullfrogs" or “a bastard begot of temple and warehouse," as the Secession building was. The entryway features the motto of the Secessionist movement: Der Zeit ihre Kunst, der Kunst ihre Freiheit (To the time, its art, to the art, its freedom). Olbrich’s mentor Otto Wagner, and also Gustav Klimt, whose astounding Beethoven Frieze is partially preserved in the basement, inspired the building’s design. The ceremonial front entrance is separate from the functional glass and steel exhibit hall in back. http://buchverlag.dumont.de/dumont/reise/wien/wien0112.htm
- Spanish Riding School - Spanische Hofreitschule. First mentioned in a document dated 1572, the Spanish Riding School is the only equestrian institute in the world which follows a Renaissance model of classical schooling. Eleves, or students, begin their training immediately after completion of Austrian primary education (age 15 or 16), and are expected to be both sporty and clever. The school takes its name from a Spanish breed of horse first mentioned in Roman writings. In 1562 Emperor Maximilian II brought some of these Spanish horses to Austria to found a royal stud farm in Kladrub (Bohemia), housing them for a time in the “Stallburg" (oldest section of the Imperial Palace). The present school location was built in 1572. In 1580, Maximilian’s brother, Archduke Karl, founded the stud farm in Lipizza near Trieste (now Slovenia). Interest in elegant riding had been growing for about fifty years at that point. During Renaissance times, powerful gentlemen who had already conquered the worlds of finance and politics looked to the writings of antiquity for new learning and an educated lifestyle to which they could aspire. Horsemanship which followed the ancient models described by Socrates and others became the fashion. Xenophon (430 – 354 BC) wrote “Men who understand the art of horsemanship, in truth, look magnificent." Who wouldn’t want that? In the new Winter Riding School (built 1729-35), tournaments, masked balls and other entertainment was held, but this would soon draw to a close – the royal stud farms at Lipizza were threatened by Napoleon several times and twice the precious stud horses were evacuated to Hungary. http://www.spanische-reitschule.com
- St Stephen's Cathedral - Stephansdom, Stephansplatz (U1, U3: Stephansplatz), phone 515 52-3526, High Mass: Sun and public holidays 10:15 a.m., in July and August 9:30 a.m., Guided tours of the Cathedral in English: Mon-Sat 3:45 p.m. Catacombs (only with guided tours): Mon-Sat 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 16:30 p.m., Sun, public holidays 1:30 p.m. - 16:30 p.m. North Tower (great bell): Nov-March 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., April-June, Sept, Oct 9 a.m.-6 p.m., July and August 9 a.m. - 18:30 p.m. South Tower: daily 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Yet another patchwork of architectural styles, but predominantly Gothic, St Stephen’s begins its history in the twelfth century. None of that original construction remains – the oldest extant sections are the thirteenth century Giant Gate (Riesentor) and Towers of the Heathens (Heidentürme), both of which are Romanesque. The main two-aisled Gothic nave was established by Habsburg Duke Rudolf IV in 1359, and then quickly added onto. The 448-ft South Tower (Südturm), often known by its Viennese diminutive Steffl (also a nickname for the entire cathedral), was finished in 1433. This is where the Pummerin, a huge bell cast from melted-down Turkish cannons, hangs. Steffl’s intended twin, the North Tower (Nordturm) was never finished. Gothic architecture was out of fashion, and in 1511 building in that particular style ceased. Almost a century later, in 1579, a Renaissance spire was added to the Nordturm to make it look less like the builders had stormed off the job. Here’s a complete shock for the reader who has been faithfully reading through all the Central European sections of this book – during the eighteenth century the church décor was “Baroquified." The main altar has a Baroque panel showing St Stephen, Christianity’s first martyr. The organized tour is worth it, since some of the finest works of art in the cathedral can only be seen with a guide, such as Emperor Frederick III’s red marble sepulchre (painstakingly carved 1467-1513 by Niclas Gerhaert van Leyden), the pulpit by Anton Pilgram (1514-1515, signed with a carved portrait of the artist) and the immense Gothic carved Altar of Wiener Neustadt. The aborted North Tower has an observation deck with an amazing view of downtown Vienna. Nearby is the entrance to the catacombs, where legions of bishops and Habsburg pieces parts are buried (the intestines, specifically. The Kapuzinergruft across town contains other Habsburg bits in separate burial vaults, including Maria Theresa’s immense pewter sarcophagus). Nearly 45% of the Cathedral was destroyed in a disastrous fire 11-12 April 1945 during the final days of World War II. Fortunately several irreplaceable treasures such as the cathedral pulpit were walled in at the beginning of the war, so they survived. The glass, however, did not. The fanciest glass is situated behind the altar and at the very tops of the windows lining the naves. St Stephen’s gets darker as one walks toward the altar, almost as if one were walking into a cave. But the details make the difference here, and new vistas are always appearing to the viewer as they move in, out and around the cathedral. It is so large it cannot be taken in entirely from any angle, and even numerically it is planned down to the smallest detail. Numbers which represent God, the Trinity, the “earthly number four (since things on earth like the season, elements and directions of the compass come in fours) and other significant figures can be manipulated to determine the dimensions of the cathedral. For more details on how these numbers work out, see page 16 of the English-language Cathedral guide.
- The Ring. The Ringstrasse, or Ring Street, circles the very heart of Vienna. Built on the location of the original city walls, its size is a good indication of how much the city has expanded since medieval times, but more importantly it is the most posh area of downtown. Elegant individuals stroll down the street (there really is no other way to move when walking along the Ring) and play the fashion-do/fashion don’t game under their breath before pausing at one of the innumerable cafes lining the way. A traditional Jause (morning coffee break, around 10:00 a.m.) and then back to the business at hand, seeing and being seen: Vienna’s favorite pastime.
- Vienna Boy’s Choir – Wiener Sängerknaben.The Choir was founded at the pleasure of the Habsburgs. 20 July 1498 Emperor Maximilian I decided to hire six singing boys, the first permanent boy’s choir attached to the court. He also made arrangements for their education – fringe benefits that are difficult to get from a modern employer, let alone a Renaissance one! The choir served the monarchy until its demise at the beginning of the first World War. The last Imperial Chaplain, Monsignor Josef Schnitt reestablished the Boy’s Choir as the “Vienna Boy’s Choir" in 1924 as a private institution. To earn money, the Choir began to perform outside the Imperial Chapel. Even though they are a not-for-profit organization, the rising costs of educating the choristers from a very young age as well as providing music and all the other variables required made establishing the Verein Wiener Sängerknaben necessary
- Gasometer (Subway Station U3 Gasometer, 8 minutes away from town-center and St. Stephens Cathedral). If you are intereste in the combination of new modern with old historic architecture take a trip to the gasometers, that had been revitalised from gas-tanks to new multifunctional buildings. The Gasometers are four former gas tanks, built as part of the Vienna municipal gas works Gaswerk Simmering in 1896-1899. They are located in the 11th district called Simmering. They were used from 1899 to 1984 as gas storage tanks. After the changeover from town gas to natural gas they were no longer used and were shut down. In the time between 1984 and 1997 the Gasometers were used as film location (James Bond: The Living Daylights) and as the location for raves known as Gazometer-Raves. They were revitalised from 1999 to 2001 by the architects Jean Nouvel, Coop Himmelblau, Manfred Wehdorn, and Wilhelm Holzbauer. Each gasometer was divided into several zones for living, shopping and entertainment. The historic outside wall was conserved. Several other facilities including a music hall, cinema, student accommodation, municipal archive, etc. are located inside of the Gasometers. There are special guided tours with experts available for visitors http://www.wiener-gasometer.at
- Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery), Simmeringer Hauptstrasse 234, phone 760 41. Graves of honor of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Schönberg and others. Nov-Feb 8 a.m.-5 p.m., March, April, Sept, Oct 7 a.m.-6 p.m., May-Aug 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tram 71, 72 : Zentralfriedhof (there's even a Viennese expression "taking the #71 tram" as a euphemism for death). Mozart, Beethoven and other luminaries of the musical world (Schubert, Brahms, Strauss) are buried, or at least memorialized here. Mozart’s body is in a mass grave (as required by the law at that time) in another cemetery – but his memorial is located here with the others. The cemetery has served as a giant park for weekend ramblings since its creation. There are immense monuments shaped like 10-ft-tall iron canopy beds (within eyeshot of the musicians’ memorial) and other unique shapes. Though it takes some time to get out to the Zentralfriedhof, it is worth the trip.
Wuk.at is a former squat and offers dance nights, mass accommodation and more.
Wiener Metropol is a beautiful little theatre in the heart of "Hernals", mostly frequented by Viennese themselves.
In summer, quell your anxieties and jump from the Reichsbruecke.
What's going on in Vienna? lists upcoming events in the city.
Visit the Naschmarkt, which is right at the U4 subway station "Kettenbrueckengasse". It is one of Vienna's 22 market places. It is the biggest and you will get a unique blend of typical Vienna contumely and orientalic flair. Strall through the market and be part of the amazing ambiente. If you like to cook, you will find all spices you can possibly imagine at the Naschmarkt. The side of the Secession tends to be more touristy and thus expensive, than the side of the "Kettenbrueckengasse".
In the summer it's just wonderful to hang out in Museumsquartier in the evenings. The big yard is filled with large fiberglass sofas you can use for free. Optionally you can buy drinks at the open air bars there. Just ask for a glass you can take away so you can use the sofas. During the day a visit to Burggarten is highly recommended if you are looking for a more alternative young crowd. Buy something to eat and drink at a supermarket and join the others on the grass.
In July and August there's an opera film festival on the Rathausplatz. Each day - weather permitting - you can watch an opera on a huge open-air screen. On another part of the Square there are plenty of food stalls (maybe a little overpriced). On pleasant summer evenings the atmosphere can be quite relaxing.
Also in the summer there is the ImPulsTanz Festival - for contemporary dance & performance. But if you are interested in dance workshops they also are the right choice for you. http://www.impulstanz.at
There are many parks to visit an enjoy throughout the city. The Wiener Tiergarten (not the Lainzer Tiergarten at Schönbrunn) has several 2-10 km hiking trails, as well as a variety of wildlife. You can see the animals get fed at 2:00 pm every day. Ask any park atendant where the location is.
For most Viennese Christmas Markets are not so much for shopping as for drinking.
From mid day until the late hours of the night people gather at christmas markets to drink mulled wine and chat to strangers.
- Rathaus - Vienna's largest and noisiest Christmas market. More a fairground than a Christmas market
- Spittelberg - Probably the most funky Christmas market in Vienna. It is set in two attractive medieval alleys. Some of the stalls are extensions of shops and the bars of this popular going-out area.
- Schoenbrunn - Not the most lively Christmas market, but set in one of Vienna's most picturesque spots, in front of Schoenbrunn castle. Specialises on food.
- Resselpark - A small, alternative Christmas market in front of Karlskirche.
- Freyung - Very small market in the 1st district frequented by professionals in their lunchbreak and shoppers. Few tourists.
White wine, white beer, marzipan, Wiener schnitzel, Sacher torte (multilayered chocolate cake with apricot jam), Frittatensuppe (a clear chicken or beef broth with chives and thin crepes shredded into noodles), various foods from the area once controlled by the Austrian Empire such as Hungarian goulash and palacsinta (German: Palatschinken) - crepes filled with fruit or jam and sometimes covered with whipped cream.
In Austria (as generally in central europe) even the cheapest supermarkets sell food of exceptionally high quality. Perhaps most remarkable for people visiting from outside of Europe is Austrias strong culture of organically grown food. Not only is everything that claims to be organically produced rigorously controlled by independent organizations, you can also buy these producty almost everywhere - and often they cost exactly the same as regularly grown alternatives. You can even buy lots of organically grown stuff at low end stores like "Hofer". Look out for items labeled "Bio".
Fast Food and Snacks
The traditonal Viennese fast food is sausage. You can buy hot sausages an hot dogs at snack bars called "Würstelstand" all over the town. The famous Wiener Würstel is called Frankfurter in Vienna. But most inhabitants prefere Burenwurst and Käsekrainer (sausage filled with cheese). A relative new addition to the local snack culture is Döner Kebap, sandwiches with rosted meat, salad and yoghurt sauce of turkish origin. Places that sell kebap often sell take away pizza too. Some conservatives are afraid that kebap gains more popularity than saucages, and maybe they are right.
Good kebaps can be bought at the Naschmarkt. The lower end of the Naschmarkt (furtherst away from Karlsplatz or
city centre) is cheaper than the upper end.
By far the cheapest way to get a fast food meal in Austria (and probably the only meal available for under 1 euro) is
buying an austrian sandwich (bread roll + ham/cheese + gherkin) from a supermarket. Most supermarkets will prepare sandwiches to take away at the deli counter (Feinkostabteilung) for no extra charge. You only pay for the bread and the
ham. There is usually a large selection of meat products, cheese and bread rolls available. You
point at the combination you want and then pay at the check out till. Freshness and quality are normally
better than at a sandwich stand on the street.
As everywhere you can find McDonalds in Vienna, the one in Mariahilferstraße (there are three of them in this street) closest to the Westbahnhof stinks and only tourists who don't know that the next one is only a few hundred meters away happen to eat there. The McDonalds close to the subway station Alserstraße is is open nearly all night long.
You can buy excellent ice cream at a number of places, maybe the most popular is the Eissalon am Schwedenplatz where you can choose from a lot of different flavours, but it's always crowded and you have to stand in a row for long minutes to get your ice cream. Another, maybe less crowded but nevertheless excellent address is Perizzolo in Tuchlauben.
Another Famous Place for Ice Cream is Tichy on the Reumannplatz (10th District), which is famous for its Eismarillenknödel, small dumplings of vanilla ice cream with an apricot core.
There is also Zanoni & Zanoni located Am Lugeck, just down Rottenturmstrasse from the Stephansdom.
- Centimeter, http://www.centimeter.at/. Cheap, boring and big portions of meat, fries and other unhealthy food, big variety of beer. The right place if you are really hungry and want to eat something that an Austrian would regard as traditional - not exactly the same stuff that's sold as traditional austrian food to tourists. They also have meals that are for groups (and they really are!) or you can buy stuff (like bread or beer) by the centimeter (hence the name). Centimeter IV, Zieglergasse 42, 526411, M-F 10-2AM, Sa 11-5AM, So 11AM-12PM.
- Cafe Restaurant Kent, Brunnengasse 67, A-1160 Wien. "Eat like the locals - eat Turkish!" At first approach this looks like a greasy kebab joint strictly for Turks . . . . but struggle past the first room and you will find a large garden and huge restaurant serving moderately priced food with an infinite supply of free Turkish bread! Expect to pay under 10 euros. Good for veggies and meat eaters alike.
- Maschu Maschu http://www.maschu-maschu.at/, Maschu Maschu 1, Rabensteig 8, 1010 Wien (close to the Schwedenplatz undergroundstation), So-Mi 11.30-24.00, Do, Fr + Sa until 04.00, Tel: 01/533 29 04; Maschu Maschu 2, Neubaugasse 20/Ecke Lindengasse 41, 1070 Wien (close to Neubaugasse undergroundstation) 09.30-24.00, Tel.:01/990 47 13. Good for veggies and meat eaters alike. An Israeli healthy fast food joint Maschu maschu truly does serve the best Falafel in the world. Maschu maschu 2 is trendy hang out place in the art student area of the city, and so it has a coolness all of its own. A healthy and gut busting Falafel and beer should cost around 7 euros and leave you set up for the day. (They also serve a wide range of other middle eastern meals)
- Pizzeria Mafioso, 1150 Wien, Reindorfgasse 15. The cheapest (but really good) pizza in town. Pizzas start at about 3.60 Euros and you get a Viennese "Spritzer" (white wine mixed with soda) for around 1 Euro. I don't want to know how they manage to do that.
- Cheap Supermarkets: If you have a very limited budget, watch out for the following supermarkets: Hofer (recommended), Mondo, Lidl, they are the cheapest.
Cheap speciality stores:
- D'Piu (Italian food): 1070 Wien, Stiftgasse 5-9 (Near Mariahilferstraße)
- Manner factory sale (famous Viennese sweets, especially "Schnitten"): 1160 Wien, Wilhelminenstrasse 6
- Brezl-Gwölb, Ledererhof 9, 1010 Wien, (close to Am Hof and Judenplatz, between Färbergasse and Drahtgasse, a bit hidden) +43/1/533 88 11, [email protected], daily 11.30-01.00. A very nice restaurant with a cellar dating back to the 17th century and the furniture consists of parts from three centuries. A place that deserves the label "gemütlich". They play classical music and serve some really unique dishes.
- Figlmüller, Wollzeile 5, 512 61 77, daily 11AM-10:30PM. Famous for Wienerschnitzel Claims to have the biggest Schnitzel in the World. If you are not really hungry one may easily be enough for two persons (Just ask for a second plate) Traditionally you would want a potato salad with that.
- Kuishimbo, im Majolkahaus, U4 Kettenbrückengasse, Linke Wienzeile 40, A-1060 Wien, Mobile: 0699/1194.06.73. The smallest Japanese restaurant in town. All the dishes are home cooked. Owners claim that they pay attention to a proper balance of ingredients. Being full can also be healthy! The place is so small that there is even no bathroom inside. You have to use the one on the Nashmarkt. The Japanese soups "Undo" are excellent. Drink included you will pay around EURO 11.
- Supermarkets: Compared to America, for instance, most supermarkets are just medium-sized. But especially in vienna you can find one at almost every corner. (Except for the first district where there are only a few, most prominently the large Julius Meinl on the Graben, see next section) These markets have regular prices: Billa, Zielpunkt, Spar. If you are looking for a more American-sized store you can try "Merkur", especially the one at Mariahilferstraße/Kirchengasse. Most of these regular priced stores will prepare you sandwiches of your choice solely for the cost of their ingredients.
- Tenmaya, Krugerstrasse 3, 512 73 97, daily Kitchen open time from 11:30 to 14:30 and from 17:00 to 23:00. A Japanese friend recommended this place to me as one of the best traditionel Japanese restaurants in Vienna. http://www.tenmaya.at
- Dukai in the Grand Hotel, Kärntnerring 9. The same Japanese friend als recommended this Sushi bar. On Saturday and Sunday they have a buffet. http://www.jjwhotels.com/en/grandhotelwien/index.shtml
- Daihachi in the Hotel de France, Schottenring 3, 31 368. The last in the series of authentic Japanese recommendations. This is also a Sushi bar. http://www.hoteldefrance.at/ahi/hoteldefrance/restaurant/Sushi_Bar_Daihachi_en.asp
- Plachutta Wollzeile 38 Very nice restaurant specialized on beef. Try the Tafelspitz, it comes in a copper pan and still is in the soup (the soup alone is worth a trip to Vienna) it was cooked. (The chef claims that they prepare more than 100 kg of beef each day). Probably 3 to 5 waiters will be at your disposal. Reservation is recommended. Ther e are two more restaurants in more suburbial parts of the city more information http://www.plachutta.at
- Expensive Markets If you feel the urgent need to buy delicacies, you can visit Meinl am Graben, a legendary store in the first district (1010 Wien, Graben 19) It is still worth a visit even if you don't intend to buy anything, because you will find anything you never probably heard of!
In Vienna (as in almost any part of Austria) tap water is of exceptional quality. In most parts of Vienna there's no need to buy bottled water, tap water comes in long pipelines from the Styrian Alps and is actually better than some brands of bottled water you can buy elsewhere.
If you come to Vienna without having coffee you missed half of the taste. Vienna has a reputation for excellent coffee culture and you should at least visit one of the countless traditional coffee houses where you can sit down, relax and have some coffee. But please! do never just order coffee, for you could deeply offend the Herr Ober, the "senior waiter" of the coffee house. Vienna prides itself of its dozens of Varieties of different coffees like "Kleiner Brauner", "Melange", "Kapuziner" or "Kaffee Verkehrt". More informations on Viennese Coffee Houses you find at the homepage of the Vienna Coffee Houses
New wine is usually enjoyed at a Heurigen (wine bar licensed to sell the new vintage). Austria in general, but especially the area around Vienna, produces quite a large amount of wine each year. It’s not often exported, and white is more common than red. Grüner Veltliner is a common white wine served almost everywhere. Officially the new wine season begins 11 November, St Martin’s Day, but as early as September some partially-fermented new wine (called Sturm which is cloudy because it has not been strained) is available around town in 2-liter green bottles (try the Naschmarkt – sometimes the vendors will have samples). Taverns can call themselves Heurigens whether the wine they serve is their own or not – for genuine in-house product, look for a Buschenschank. This is a particularly Viennese Heuriger which can only be open 300 days per year or until their supply of house-made wine runs out. Heurigen can be found e.g. in Grinzing, Sievering (19th district) and Mauer & Rodaun (23rd district) areas but also in almost every suburban area in Vienna. Even in the center there are some Stadtheurigen. While the Heurigen of Grinzing are bigger and more famous with tourists, they are often a rip of. The Heurigen in the South of Vienna or in Perchtoldsdorf are much cheaper and serve at last the same quality as the Heurigen in Grinzing. If any of the year’s vintage lasts until next year, it officially becomes Alte (old) wine on the next St Martin’s Day.
After a long day, the perfect place to relax among Viennese are the Heurigen in the suburbs. Somewhat akin to a beer garden, except with wine, these tiny treasures are the only places authorized to serve new wine. New wine is made from the first pressing of the grape, and can appear a little cloudy. Be careful! It’s stronger than you might think! This is why it’s served in very small glasses, .25 liters and up. Some Heurigen serve food, either elaborate Viennese specialties or very simple bread and cheese platters. No matter which one you choose, you’re guaranteed to enjoy yourself. Just hop on a convenient outbound tramline, take it to the very last stop and look for buildings with large, evergreen foliage hung over the doors. Each one is unique, but all are a good bargain. Locals invariably have a favorite: ask around.
- Chelsea, Lerchenfelderguertel, U-Bahnboegen 29-31 (between the U6 underground stations Thaliastrasse and Josefstaedterstrasse), 407 93 09, [email protected] Daily 6PM-4AM, Su 4PM-3AM. If concerts 9PM, starting at 10PM. A wide range of international beers, often full house and dense. Prices okay, half litre beer 3.1 Euro. http://www.chelsea.co.at
- Siebenstern (7 Stars) Siebensterngasse, no. unknown (look out for the British Council -its next door). An excellent Biergarten a few blocks East of Mariahilferstr. They serve their own brews, which are all excellent. The usual assortment of bar food, friendly staff, and outdoor seating underneath an old Linden tree in the middle of a hidden courtyard. Move indoors well before 23:00, though -- a local noise ordinance requires them to shut down the patio and interior tables fill up quickly (even more so than usual).
- Flex, Donaukanal (U2 or U4 Schottenring, Abgang Augartenbrücke), 533 75 25, [email protected] You haven't been to Vienna if you haven't been at the Flex - particularly if you are younger than thirty. Situated next to the "Donaukanal", a part of the Danube, it's the meeting point of the off-mainstream, bohemian, artsy people or those who belive they are. In summer, at night, when it's warm outside there are always a lot of people sitting on benches outside the club, drinking beer they brought from home because it's cheaper than buying it at the location, talking and sometimes smoking weed. It's easy to get to talk with people. Inside the club you can enjoy bands and DJs. At the bar you can ask for free soda water. http://www.flex.at
- Schweizerhaus, Prater 116, 7280152 13, March 15 - October 31 11AM-11PM. Large beer garden in the Prater, some say they have the best beer in Vienna and beside traditional austrian dishes at moderate prices. http://www.schweizerhaus.at
- Shiraz, Stadtbahnbogen 168, 1090 Vienna. Phone: +43.664.3355555, [email protected] Small and pretty comfortable, rustic-style bar in the "city railway bows". You can smoke waterpipes and listen to "chill out" music. The owner himself of Shiraz, a Persian, is very involved and a "waterpiping crackerjack". Everything is worth its price and you can really feel that this bar is something special. Its a good place to relax. http://www.shiraz.at.
- Stiegl´s Ambulanz, Altes AKH Hof 1 Alserstraße 4, 1090 Vienna. (subway station U6, Alserstraße). +43.1.40211500, [email protected] The Stieglambulanz is a good bar run by the stiegl brewery where you can enjoy Stiegl's beers. Stiegl is one of austria's best common beer sorts. The Ambulanz is visited by many students, modern furnished and another good place to relax. If you ever get there try the "Paracelsus" which you only get in Stiegl breweries and, in my opionion, its the best sort of Stiegl. http://www.stiegl.at/ambulanz/
- Vienna Apartments Rental, http://www.vienna-apartments-rental.info Praterstrasse 76, 1020 Vienna. Budget Apartment near the City Center. Direct Access to U1 (Praterstern) railway S1,S2,S3 & tramways O + N. Sat-TV, CD-Player, full kitchen incl. Microwave, big Bathroom
- Pension Esterhazy, Nelkengasse 3 (close to U3 Neubaugasse), 587 51 49. Clean basic rooms, prices reach from 26€ (singleroom, shower and toilet outside) to 69€ (2bedroom with shower and toilet). http://members.chello.at/pensionesterhazy/
- Vienna's Youth Hostel site http://hostel.at The hostel near Hütteldorf is very nice, locate a 10 minute walk from the Vienna woods, and 10 minutes from the Subway station (Hütteldorf, U4 line).
- Apartments Kastner Vienna http://www.netland.at/wien/kastner Holiday Apartments & Vacation Rentals with full kitchen, bathroom, roomsafe, sat-tv, free parking, free laundry, etc. for 2 - 4 persons at rates of 29.- Euros / person, located next to "Danube Island", just 15-20 minutes by public transports to mayor sights and Vienna`s historic center.
- Tourotel Mariahilf, http://www.tourotel.at. Nice hotel, between down town and palace of Schoenbrunn, often specials.
- Hotel Schoenbrunn. Luxury hotel in Vienna, very expensive, but located uptown near "Schloss Schoenbrunn" and about 20-30 Minutes away from Vienna's uptown.
- Le Méridien Vienna. Luxury hotel in Vienna, very expensive, located right next to the opera house (Staatsoper) on Opernring. The hotel has opened in late 2003 and is done in a very modern, artsy design known as "Art + Tech". All rooms have flat screen TV and nice massage showers. The breakfast buffet and bar are equally nice and offer an opportunity to "see and be seen".
- Hotel Sacher. Luxury hotel in Vienna, very expensive, located next to the Opera and at the end of the pedestrianized Kärtner Strasse shopping area. The ground floor with the café is very touristy, but still the only place for the real, genuine Sacher cake. The rooms offer old style luxury with heavy carpets etc.
See www.helge.at/wlan/ for a list of free WLAN hotspots in Vienna.
Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world, there are no slums or districts you should avoid. In general you can visit any part of the city at any time of the day without taking much risks. Just use your common sense. At night, though, it is wise to avoid parks, as well as the area within and around Karlsplatz station and Schwedenplatz station. The Prater (fair grounds/amusement park area) is said by some locals to be less safe at night, though more in reference to pick-pockets than anything else.
A part of the program of the radio station FM4 (103,8 MHz) is in english, the most part of news is in english, but they even report in french or german. The station is definitely worth listening, it's somewhat different from usual radio stations.
- While in Vienna, why not travel east to lovely Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, which is only 50 kms (50 minutes) from Vienna. You will enjoy it for sure and don't be surprised to find that prices are sometimes five times lower.
- Győr, Hungary, is a gateway city for Vienna, located half way between Budapest and Vienna.
- Sopron is a historic town, in the part of Hungary closest to Vienna.
- Gumpoldskirchen is a picturesque wine growing village half an hour's train ride south of Vienna. At is a good destination for wine tasting and hill walking, especially in autumn.
You can hitchhike to Brno: take the tram to street Brunner Strasse. There is main road from Vienna to Brno, so thumbing there should be very easy. There is also enough space for sleeping.