Austro-Hungarian Tour, Part One – VIENNA
If I had to choose one European city to live in, I may very well choose Vienna, Austria.
It’s clean, grand and exceeding well maintained. (The above shot is taken at the Hofburg, the imperial residence of the Habsburgs.) Full of history, but not lacking any modern conveniences, it’s no wonder Vienna has been voted Europe’s most livable city.
There is so much to see and do here (see Museum section below) but my all time favourite thing to do in any city is simply wander and take in the sights, parks, people, and architecture.
St. Stephens Cathedral
Naschmarkt, outdoor food market
I loved the Altstadt hotel, near the museum quarter and a bit away from the tourist zone. The hotel houses many works of art, including a Warhol, and features a variety of room styles. The rooms I saw were relatively spacious for Europe. The neighborhood is in a quiet area while still full of cute restaurants, shops and art galleries and only a 10 minute walk to the Hofburg. The hotel staff was exceedingly friendly and helpful. Two thumbs up.
One of the breakfast rooms at the hotel Altstadt
Vienna has no shortage of restaurants at all price ranges and all types of cuisines. For local fare, try Rrestaurant Weiner, a tavern style restaurant. We had chicken wrapped in prosciutto and the obligatory Weinerschnitzel (which you can get almost anywhere) served with a potato salad in a sweet mustard dressing. Stay clear of the Mexican restaurant Kulin. The worst meal I had in recent memory! (Why Mexican? The restaurant we wanted to go to was closed, it was raining and Kulin was right next door.)
Dinner at Restaurant Weiner
Prada, Louis Vuitton, Zara and H&M, it’s all here in the pedestrian-only area near the Hofburg. I liked Steffl, a small multi-level department store featuring European and international designers. Good sales here too.
Taking a stand at the main shopping area, a lot busier right around the corner
The most beautiful grocery stores here. Check out the chocolate section!
This is a museum city, and you could probably spend a week touring them without making a dent. My must-see was the Belvedere, a palace turned art gallery, which houses Austrian painter Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss and a number of other pieces. The grounds are, well, palatial!
The Kiss. Not the real deal, just a copy for pics!
My next blog post, Budapest. Stay tuned!