Vienna: small tips for newcomers
January 1, 1970
My seasonal highlights in Vienna
Would you like to see Vienna imperial, noble, proud, luxurious, old-fashioned … or perhaps better chic, fresh, unusual, contemporary? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to enjoy both sides of its world. Vienna is the city of grand past, sparkling present and for sure overwhelming future.
It will catch your attention from the first sight, and will not leave you go… part of your heart will stay here forever.
Vienna is charming all year long
From November till the 24th of December the city sparkles with decorations, air is filled with punch and mulled wine aromas; numerous big and small hidden secret Christmas markets with food and souvenir stands can be found everywhere- almost on every square, near palaces and also in some unexpected places- for example, on a rooftop of Ritz-Carlton hotel, with a breathtaking view over Vienna. It’s the time of pure fairy tale.
Ball season in Vienna
From the end of December till February- fragrances and sounds of tradition are in the air, ladies and gentlemenwearing elegant apparels… the city invites you to become a part of this festive celebration of life and joy (the most important- the Vienna Opera ball– mind the dress code).
Ice dream in Vienna / 25.01-12.03.2017 the square near Rathaus transforms into a huge ice skating park, with numerous places to eat and drink- pancakes, burgers, Viennese specialties, sweets … and of course “Glühwein” (mulled wine) and punch.
Charming markets and festivals with small concerts, delicious food and nice cute stands with souvenirs- spring is in the air.
Summer in Vienna
Numerous open-air bars and restaurants, pools, music festivals, annual Film festival on the Rathaus square (with food&drink stands)– these events make Vienna so hot =) so don’t forget about refreshment drinks- Beer, coctails (the most popular in Vienna- Hugo and Aperol) and numerous drinking water fountains (Vienna is famous for its high quality tap water mainly from mountain springs).
Vienna Oktoberfest- annual festival in Prater amusement park to enjoy great atmosphere, beer, sausages and music.Allmost everyone wears ustrian traditional costumes here: “Dirndl” for ladies (dress) and “Lederhosen” for gentlemen (leathershorts).
While planning trip to Vienna don’t forget to check calendars for top- concerts, sporting events and exhibitions.
Some practical information
How to get to Vienna
Offers flights to more than 160 destinations, so it will not be a problem to find a proper variant- nonstop or direct.
If you travel around Europe it could be a good option to take a bus to go to Vienna- there are a lot of transport companies, that offer international bus connections- so you should check for prices at several different operators- my favorite are- Flixbus , Hellö and VIB.
Car for rent
It’s another popular way to reach Vienna while travelling around Europe- my best experience was with Sixt .
To get to the city from the airport
Very comfortable connection, just choose the line with the closest bustop to your hotel/hostel/apartment (one way- 8 EUR, return – 13 EUR).
It’s not a problem to catch a taxi at the airport, there are always a lot of free cars waiting at the exit, but if you want to order a taxi from Vienna to the airport it’s better to ask for a fixed price at taxi call center– I prefer + 43160160 – the fixed price here is 36 EUR.
Vienna is a queen of rings=) These “Rings” and “Gürtels” (streets, so called “belts”) embrace the whole territory of the city; its core is the old city (the 1st district, officially 1010) – where most tourist attractions are situated, and it’s the most comfortable but also expensive district to live. I would also recommend the neighboring districts, in particular the 6th(1060), 2nd (1020) and 9th (1090) – nice districts and if you like walking, it will be a pleasant experience to walk from your hotel/apartment/hostel to the city center (check for distances on maps!). But the whole city has a wonderful Public transport network (maps) , and if you decide to live in further districts- you will easily find the way to your dream places in Vienna (by the way its very easy to plan your route online or with app qando .
In Vienna hotels are classified on the basis of star system- from 1 – very simple hotels/hostels, to 5 –luxurious hotels. I usually check rankings and prices on booking.com , sorting by district, price, score etc.
Where to eat
Vienna is a hospitable hostess that offers something special to all types of gourmets – so just several advices in the inner city.
Located in the beautiful Ferstel Palais not far from the Spanish Riding School, with vaulted ceilings, piano, fast and attentive waiters, even though you can at first think they are a little bit arrogant- they aren’t, its just the part of the image. You should certainly try here famous “Wiener Apfelstrudel” (rolled apple pie) with delicious sauce + “Wiener Melange” (Viennese cappuccino). In the evening the atmosphere of this place is even more pleasant- the pianist plays for the clients.
Famous café (opened in 1786) within 2 min.walk from Graben on the way to Spanish Riding School. It fascinates the visitors with its rococo interior and of course delicious cakes.
Situated in the vicinity of Wiener Rathaus, this traditional Viennese café is popular both with locals and tourists
If you are walking from the inner city to Belvedere, it’s the perfect place to stop for a moment and try the traditional Viennese coffee with a cake; if you’ll sit outside , you could enjoy busy city vibes + view on the Ringstrasse and Schwarzenbergplatz.
Famous for its Sachertorte (Sacher cake) which became a symbol of Vienna. Located on the Kärntnerstraße( one of the main streets of Vienna leading from the Opera house to the St. Peters cathedral).
Vienna boasts about its coffee culture, that’s why it’s not an easy thing to write about all good cafes of the city (there are a lot of other great places to enjoy traditional Austrian coffee and sweets during brunch or lunch; Café Mozart in front of Albertina museum or Oberlaa – in the first district, as there are 9 Oberlaa cafes inVienna-also worth mentioning), so you should just come and find your favorite.
Best for beer/ Viennese specialties
For these restaurants don’t forget to make reservation in advance!
The perfect place with its own brewery to have lunch or dinner at after the long walk through the city, but please, be very , very hungry, you need to enjoy that food and beer—my favorites— Stelze/ (Haunch of ham) and spare ribs . The place is full of hustle and bustle =) but you will like it!!! It’s situated near Belvedere – just in case you get hungry, visiting the museums of Belvedere.
For famous Austrian Schnitzel (impressive size and taste). Figlmüller family operates 4 location in Vienna, 3 in the inner city- not far from Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral)- Figlmüller Wollzeile (I prefer this one) , Figlmüller Bäckerstraße and Lugeck and the fourth one- in the nice place with comfortable terrace in the 19th district (it’s far from center, but a pleasant place).
For good quality Viennese cuisine (but prices can bite a little bit, check the menu online). Plachutta Wollzeile situated near Stadtpark (City Park), Gasthaus zur Oper- as you can guess- near the Opera house. Nice interior design.
For good beer, cuisine is simple, but location is charming- it’s a little bit off the tourist tracks but still the inner city, so you can just have a rest sitting outside, drinking beer and enjoying the small cosy square- Judenplatz (Jewish Square), it is a great variant for beer-brake in summer.
I’d recommend to check info about restaurants, cafes, bars and delicatessen in Falstaff guide – info is in German, but you should just choose the category “Gourmet” /or “Cafes” /or “Feincost” (delicatessen) + sort the results by land and city : Österreich (Austria)-> Wien(Vienna) and “Kategorie” (category) -and you can look through ratings of restaurants with contact information.
On Sundays almost all stores and many restaurants are closed, better check the working hours of restaurants before planning something.
So these are my introductory notes about Vienna, just book your flight/bus/train and get prepared for the trip- Vienna has everything you need to enjoy an adventurous holiday.
Liebe Grüße aus Wien! =)