Maja Köberl provides us with an in-depth guide to the frequently voted best city in the world to live - Vienna in Austria. Maja is one of the co-founders of the awesome Smart Glasses start-up Voxos. Check them out @voxossmartglasses and @maja.stefanie on the gram ;)
USEFUL VIENNA FACTS:
You will need to book tickets to performances of the opera, Vienna Boys Choir, Spanish Riding School in advance.
They use 230 V electrical outlets, so be sure to bring a standard EU adapter/converter.
Free WiFi is plentiful in cafes, restaurants and museums. Occasionally, there will be time limits but it is usually more than enough to do the necessary stuff (calls, bookings, etc.)
English is widely spoken, even if not proficiently at least enough to get by in most restaurants. It never hurts to learn a bit of German before you go.
Almost all shops are closed on Sundays.
GETTING AROUND VIENNA:
If you are arriving at the airport, the Vienna City Airport Train leaves the airport every 30 minutes. However, with a family of three or more, it is going to be cheaper and easier to take a cab or Uber, both of which should cost 30-50 euro with standard pricing, and take about 30 minutes.
Getting around Vienna is easy. If you stay within the inner ring of the city center in the First District, you can easily walk just about everywhere.
If you do not fancy walking, there are other options:
Underground – the U-Bahn (underground) is easy to use. You can purchase tickets in the station at machines or ticket windows. Simply VALIDATE your ticket at the entrances before boarding the train.
Trams – these operate the same as the underground, but they are above ground and offer a better view, although they are a bit slower.
Uber – Uber drivers are available anywhere, it is cheap.
WHAT TO DO IN VIENNA?
The U4 underground line takes you to the Schönbrunn Palace. It was built as an imperial summer palace more than 300 years ago. Located in Southwest Vienna and built in 1743, the Schönbrunn Palace is more than 26,000 square meters in size and has 1441 rooms inside. 45 of these rooms are open to visitors. Most of the rooms are decorated with Baroque features, but there are also Chinese-style rooms composed of rosewood and ivory. Additionally, the Palace contains collections of fine china inset on the walls and ceilings, showing an appreciation and affection for mysterious Eastern culture from a European perspective.
Tickets to the Schönbrunn Palace can be booked on the website in advance, in order to avoid the crowd. Photos are not allowed inside, in order to preserve the artwork.
You don’t want to miss the chance for an unparalleled auditory feast in the Goldener Saal Wiener Musikverein. Here, you will be surrounded by a beautiful symphony, which is the perfect end to a long day of exploration in the city center. The Musikverein is a representation of the most archaic but also the most modern odium in Vienna. Built in 1869 during the Renaissance period, the Musikverein is comprised of an outer wall of yellow and red colours and sculptures of several music Goddesses on the roof. There are nearly 2,000 seats inside the hall, and you can book the tickets for any concert online prior to your trip.
The Seventh District
Check out Vienna’s seventh district, also known as Neubau, and explore this very fun neighbourhood. The district is a fashionable and unique part of town where students, artists and others come to hang out.
FOOD IN VIENNA:
Located beside the Schönbrunn Palace and serving a traditional Austrian breakfast is Cafe Residenz.
Note: If you are a big fan of dessert, try the apple strudel, another traditional Viennese dessert served in a hot dish with vanilla ice cream.
The name refers to a cut of meat, generally from young ox. At Tafelspitz, guests will be provided a labeled map, showing each muscle of the ox. To order, guests choose the cut they would like from the map. Though not as famous as Schnitzel, Tafelspitz is certainly a unique dish among Austrian cuisine, due to its absorption of Eastern and Western styles of cooking. Tafelspitz is usually boiled in soup and taken out to be served with minced apple, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables, along with horseradish or sour cream. The soup can also be served as an appetiser, with umami of meat, before having the beef.
RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS FOR TAFELSPITZ:
This place is famous for serving Tafelspitz and other classic Viennese cuisine. Plachutta is located in the town center, just a short walk from Musikverein.
This place is known as the home of the Schnitzel. Here you can get your hands on the most famous Austrian dish, Wiener Schnitzel. Other than most people expect it, Schnitzel is a thin, fried meat of the cow and it is always as big as your plate.
When in Vienna, make sure to always leave room for dessert! Don’t miss out on Sachertorte, an Austrian chocolate cake or torte. Sachertorte was invented in Vienna in 1842 and even has its own national day on December 5th! The chocolate cake is composed of a layer of apricot jam, dark chocolate icing, and finished with a decadent unsweetened whipped cream.
RECOMMENDED RESTAURANT FOR SACHERTORTE:
Café Central Wien
The most famous place for dessert in Vienna, Café Central opened in 1876. Standing as both a tourist spot and cafe, Cafe Central is a significant addition to Viennese history.
Note: Be prepared for a potential wait!
Address: Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien, Austria
WHEN TO VISIT VIENNA?