“The streets of Vienna are paved with culture, the streets of other cities with asphalt” – Karl Kraus
This is how Karl Kraus described Vienna in one sentence and it is probably the most appropriate statement to describe this ancient city, rich in history… Vienna is considered the gateway to Eastern Europe, the centre of the birth of modernism for music, architecture, psychology, medicine and many more… A relatively small city it may be but to see and experience everything within 24 hours is impossible. I can only suggest some unmissable addresses for those who have limited time to spend in Vienna, so get ready for an intense day of exercise for your legs!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
First thing first, an army marches on its stomach, so to prepare for an intense day touring Vienna, here are some unmissable local delicacies for all occasions from breakfast/brunch to dinner…
1. Demel Cafe
One of the oldest and world renown bakery and confectioner in the world since 1857, the best traditional Viennese breakfast can be found here. Demel serves the best viennoiserie in town, freshly baked on the premise every morning, and one of the best Viennese coffees in town. Traditionally, the coffee comes with a glass of water. I was starving when I arrived here for breakfast, so I ordered the traditional full Viennese breakfast, consists of a basket of assorted viennoiserie, scrambled eggs with slices of Viennese sausages (tasted like frankfurter but better) and roasted tomatoes. Viennese cafes have an extremely long and distinguished history that dates back centuries, and the caffeine addictions of some famous historical patrons of the oldest are something of a local legend. These coffee houses are unique to Vienna and many cities have unsuccessfully sought to copy them. Demel is one of the best places to enjoy this experience. Some people consider cafés as their extended living room where nobody will be bothered if they spend hours reading a newspaper while enjoying their coffee.
If you have limited time to see everything the city has to offer like me, skip lunch after a big breakfast, then head straight to Café Sacher for its legendary and original Sachertorte and Wiener Schnitzel for afternoon tea/ early dinner instead. Sachertorte is a delicate moist chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam in the centre, served with fresh whipped cream. Although many other establishments try to replicate their recipe, the original Sachertorte is still the best in my opinion, and I have tried at least 5 other versions from world famous establishments across the world. None of them even comes close to the original Sachertorte. The café has a shop which opens until midnight, so one can come back to buy more to take away or as gifts. The torte is packed in a beautiful wooden box, so very easy to take abroad. For those who do not wish to carry food on to the plane, they can also be ordered online for shipping worldwide.
For cocktails and architecture lovers, this little gem of a bar is absolutely unmissable because not only is it designed by Adolf Loos back in 1908, it is also the first ever cocktail bar in Europe, hence the oldest cocktail bar on this continent! Prepared to be time transported back to the Roaring Twenties, sipping Manhattans, smoking cigars with jazz music played in the background as soon as you step into the front door. More on this in my previous blog post, Vienna Journal 01.
For late night snacks, do not miss this Austrian delicacy which can be found in any street stalls dotted across city centre of Vienna. Käsekrainer is a sausage made with small chunks of cheese, usually emmental. As recommended by my local guide, eat this sausage with rye bread and mustard… then wash it down with a pint of cold beer!
WHERE TO STAY
For those who love history like me, Hotel Sacher is probably this only choice. Situated in city centre opposite Staadtoper, near the former residence of Antonio Vivaldi this hotel was founded in 1876. Hotel Sacher became one of the finest hotels in the world during 189-1930 under the management of Anna Sacher, where the aristocracy and diplomats would meet. Today the ambience of Vienna old world can still be experienced as soon as one steps into the entrance.
WHAT TO DO & WHAT TO SEE
What to eat and where to stay are well taken care of, now it is time to explore the city. I am a cultural tourist, so most of the things in my list will be based on that interest…
1.Travel by Tram
Fast and fun way to hop on and hop off. The tram routes circles the Old Town centre of Vienna, so it is almost impossible to get lost. Tram ride is an enjoyable way to sightsee the city, and stop by all the museums and old palaces.
Klimt’s “The Kiss” and other paintings as well as artwork by other Austrian masters are displayed here. The Belvedere is also the lavish home of Prince Eugene of Savoy, patron of the arts during the Habsburg dynasty and a decorated war hero. The historic building complex consists of two Baroque palaces, the lower and upper Belvedere, the Orangery and the Palace Stable. It takes at least three hours to see everything properly here. The Winter Palace is in the city centre, so take a tram to get there after finishing at the Belvedere. More information on the history of The Belvedere and Winter Palace can be found in my previous blog post, Vienna Journal 02.
The largest collection of masterpieces by Egon Schiele is housed here.
For those interested in psychoanalysis, this museum used to be the home and clinic of Sigmund Freud.
This house was the residence of Mozart from 1784 to 1787. The building is in Vienna’s Old Town close to St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
6.St. Stephen’s Cathedral & Vienna Old Town
Walking around Vienna Old Town to experience Baroque architecture and little antique shops dotted across the area. At the centre is St. Stephen’s Cathedral or Stephansdom, a Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Panoramic view of Vienna Old Town can be viewed from the spires of this cathedral.
The opera house is Baroque architecture and is dated back to mid 19th century and is located in the centre of Vienna opposite Hotel Sacher. Tickets can be bought online or at the entrance lobby.
Photographer: May Naruemannalinee
Photo Editing: Julia Jevzikova