If you think of Vienna you probably think of Princess Sissy, the most imposing buildings and Wiener Schnitzel. I couldn’t disagree with you that all these things are part of Vienna but this city has a whole different side to it. I was very surprised by a vibe that almost felt like Berlin; graffiti on the quayside of the Donau that runs right through the city, cool places to hang, nice bars, cute restaurants and a small city centre that makes it easy to explore the city by foot. If you are looking for a fun city trip in Europe, make sure Vienna is on your shortlist! This are the most fun places to stroll:
I am not your typical girl who likes to saunter a busy market place filled with old junk. The Naschmarkt on Saturday however is an allurement on itself. Since the city is located in between different East European countries the market had a gypsy vibe to it. If you are into antiques you could maybe even run into some hidden treasures. For people that are art barbarians, like me, it seems like its only shambles being sold. On the other side of the market, I found something that suited my wished more. It was the food market! Again it was very clear that Vienna is in the middle of different parts of Europe coming together. You could find sweets from Hungary, bread from the Czech-republic, Austrian knödel, schnitzel or homemade goulash. Add a litre of German beer to wash it all down and you have a perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoon. From here it’s only a short walk to the vibrant area of Leopoltstadt..
The best spot along the Donau. If you take a metro up to Schwedenplatz station you can walk right out towards the river. From here you just keep strolling along the waterside and it is only a matter of time until you will find urban art and the nicest bars on both sides of the river. I already made a subtle compassion towards the city of Berlin. If you visit this place you will know why. You can even find exactly the same river pool here as in Berlin. Both carry the name Badenschiff and make it possible to swim in an old sea container. The one in Vienna also has a rooftop terrace to enjoy a refreshing drink in the summer sun. After sunset, the lounge music changes into something with a deeper bass so you can start your night here with a cocktail before hitting the clubs. If you just want to chill along the river side you can also do like the locals do. BYO and find one of the stairways to relax with your feet dangling in the cold water of the Donau.
This is the suburb where you will find mostly locals and hardly any tourists (if must believe our personal local guide of this trip). Right behind the square called Museum Quartier, you walk through an area that looks quite boring on first sight. Don’t let first sights fool you! If you stroll a little further and look into the different side alleys you will find lively terraces and many great places to eat and drink. Have a wander through Lidengasse and go towards Zollergasse (to avoid confusion: these are names of different streets.) I can assure you that you would want to stop more than once to sit down to enjoy the city life or want to look inside one of the many concept stores you will pass. Kauft Dich Gelucklich is one of those stores you wouldn’t want to miss. Boa Bar and Liebling were two other places we had a nice bite. On the other side of this fashionable district, you will find URLICH. It’s the favourite restaurant of the hotel we stayed in and we could totally get why. The Austrian kitchen is quite traditional (which I love by the way) but this restaurant made a modern twist on all the well known typical Austrian dishes. Besides nice food, you can get to know Austria a little better by tasting their wines. Our hotel was located in this area too. Personally, I love it when a hotel is in style of the place you are visiting. This was the main reason for picking Hotel Altstadt as our accommodation. After staying here I can honestly say it is one of the best hotels I’ve ever been to. If you want a place that fits the beautiful AND cool vibes of Vienna, you should have a look at this boutique hotel. It’s located on the Spittelberg in a venerable patrician house. Every room has been designed by different architects and the owner of the hotel uses the building as a space to showcase his art collection. The breakfast buffet (including champagne!) is unbelievable.
If you are not staying in this hotel and you would like to have a good breakfast somewhere in this area, have a look at Figar. Well, I could continue naming all the different places but where would the fun in that be? This area is one that you should explore yourself. Only then you will feel the chilled city vibes of a Vienna that is different from the pretentious one that you may know (or expect).
It must be said, also the more classic views of Vienna are beautiful and if you have never been before it is overwhelming to see all the wealth secured in these impressive monuments. A fun route to take is from the Museum Quartier, via the National museum towards the Spanish riding school. Have a coffee with a traditional tart at Paulmenhaus Schönbrunn before going into the gardens to see the palace where princess Sissi once lived.
Vienna is a lot more interesting than you might think. It has a small city centre and it a perfect weekend getaway. If you ever been, what are the places you would definitely would recommend to other readers? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more things to do in Austria (hikes, beautiful nature and lakes to swim in?) check this story about a roadtrip Alex made through the south of Germany and the centre of Austria.