So why should you go to Vienna? Here’s some good reasons:
- One of your best friends lives out there and you are dying for non-stop gossip
- It is two hours by from London (Easyjet, BA and Austrian Airlines)
- It’s an intriguing mix of East meets West – settled in the bosom of central Europe with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia as neighbours and a hint of elegant Prague about it; and also the Eastern front of Western Europe with Parisien-looking streets and cafes
- Lots of nearby mountains for skiing and trekking and mountain biking; and drinking wine or hot chocolate in hill-top cafes (or Jaeger bombs at the Crazy Kangaroo – good for picking up prospective husbands apparently)
- Beer cellars, kegs and jugs
- Amazingly grand Austro-Hungarian buildings hinting at a very opulent past
- Home to Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus, Heeeeey He-ey Baby (Ooh Aah), soft rock, 80s hits and brass bands
- Cool nightlife at the Museum Quartier and the Naschmarkt
- Grand old coffee houses with high ceilings, chandeliers, women in fur and pearls, and CAKE (sachertorte and strudel and a million other varieties)
- Fabulous wine (most of which is not exported) at incredible prices – think EUR 2,50 for a lovely glass of Riesling.
- You can still smoke in bars! And restaurants! Although the HPL does not condone this for medical reasons!
- It’s compact enough that you can walk all round the centre, and drive from one side to the other in only 20 minutes
It’s a lovely weekend away – romantic and impressive and easy to get round, with great food and wine. If you had longer you could head West to the Alps or to visit the incredible Salzburg with it’s Mozart and Sound of Music tours (guess which one I did). Anyway, here’s some ideas of things to do if you fancy a weekend away there:
1. Wander round the centre to take in the Natural History Museum, the Vienna Opera House (I’m sure going to the opera here would be an amazing experience), the Hofburg castle and the unusual St Stephen’s Cathedral.
2. See a show or take a tour at the Spanish horse riding school, housed in a stunning building.
3. Visit a grand old coffee house – I went to the Cafe Central with its marvellous ceilings and old-fashioned waitresses – and eat one of the stunning cakes. Sehr typical is the sachertorte (chocolate and orange cake) or eat lunch too and try the soup and schnitzel.
4. Wander or cycle along the banks of the Danube.
5. Visit the stunning Natural History Museum (see below) and climb onto it’s roof for a better view of the City.
6. Drink champagne or cocktails at the Onyx bar (see below), with a fantastic view of St Stephen’s Cathedral behind you – beautiful people, babies, dogs in handbags, cigarettes and sunsets.
7. Head to Grinzing, where all the vineyards are (see below), and climb the hill behind Vienna (in amongst the wald) to take in a gorgeous view of the City, have a coffee at Au Himmel (see bottom photo below) and finish up with some lovely wine or home-brewed beer at a local heurige (wine tavern). We had some nice wine at Figls.
8. Try some street food and on Saturdays rummage around for antiques from a stall at the cool Naschmarkt.
9. Visit the museums and galleries (especially the Leopold Museum) in the Museums Quartier and stay for the great nightlife afterwards. We had a lovely meal at Glacis Beisl which was a cool little place with a lovely garden and great Austrian food.
A big thank you to the gorgeous Lady B for being my guide – I’ll be back in Summer missus! xxx