Do you believe in love on the first sight? Yes, no, maybe? Well I do, ever since I have laid my eyes on this magical city. From my first step on the streets of Vienna I have been coming back to it at least once a month. I haven’t published a lot of photos from Vienna and I haven’t told a lot of stories about it, not because there is nothing to say or show to you, on the contraire. It is such a mess of emotions and stories that I couldn’t find the right way to sort out the mess and make you fall in love with this beauty before you even see her. Two days ago I finally found the courage to start sorting out the mess, and voila…
Before I start talking about the places you should visit, I want to let you know that the Vienna Metro system is very easy and safe to use. Before you make an ad hoc decision and buy a ticket I highly recommend that you put on your most comfortable walking shoes and just walk your way through the city.
Day one – architecture, music and art
With a city centre that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. Vienna offers a variety of architectural styles; I like to say something for everyone. The roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into Medieval and Baroque city and than transformed into a modern capital of the powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire. Styles range from classicist buildings to modern architecture with the final touch of architects such as Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos. Just rooming around the city is going to make you feel like you landed in some kind of fairy tale, but we have to start somewhere, right?
My recommendations might not be the most touristic and catchy ones, but they are based on feelings that certain places have awaken in me.
Out of 23 districts that make Vienna, you should start your Vienna story in the first one, well known as the city center. I am a person who believes in energy so as a starting point for your Vienna tour I choose St. Stephan’s Cathedral. It’s not only because of it’s gorgeous Gothic and Romanesque design, nor only the historical importance, but for the spirituality of the place. The moment you enter the grandiose Cathedral you are going to feel peaceful, no matter how agitated you were before. It might be the lights, the temperature, the Icons or the Altar but it brings you inner peace and you realize how small you are compared to the World.
After boosting your spirit, by lighting a candle or just listening to the mesmerizing sound of the bells you are good to go and perceive Vienna in all shades of it.
They say that good food is a foundation of genuine happiness and Vienna has a lot of treats waiting just for you. One of the many benefits that Vienna has is a wide range of gluten free food. Weather you decide to sit in Aida (which is just next to the St. Stephans Cathedral) enjoy the sunshine having a mélange and a sweet breakfast, or you decide to have a healthy breakfast and enjoy the alternative design and hipster interior of the Simply Raw Bakery you are going to be very well fed.
After a short break it’s time to continue exploring, remember that I asked you to wear your most comfortable shoes. With over 60 museums in this neighborhood your door to art is widely opened. If you are an art love Albertina is one of the places that you can’t skip, even if you are not I am sure you are going to be after a visit. Over 65.000 paintings are going to awake all of your senses. One of my personal favorites is the Monet to Picaso. Let us know which one caught your eye.
If you have a feeling that you need to breath in and breath out, relax for a while and settle down all the impressions go to any of the near by parks – my recommendation is to take a walk to the “Volksgarten Wien” sit back and relax enjoying the eye calming green color of the grass and the beautiful flower scents.
For all of you folks who are not into spirituality and think that life is all about hedonism, the first District of Vienna has a lot to offer to you as well. If you are into clicking pictures in fashionable outfits just go to the Town Hall and you are going to find more than perfect backgrounds for your pictures. If you are into shopping on the other side the street of Graben is one of the most famous places to shop at. From Gucci and Hérmes to Zara and Mango everything is there. Tired of all the flashlights and heavy shopping bags? Than sit in one of the numerous restaurants and enjoy the fine dinning experience. Highest recommendations go to District Stake House in Ritz Carlton. If seated here you are going to have the opportunity to enjoy the finest selection of Austrian meat served with delicious sides prepared from local products. Malzeit is the only thing I have to add!
There are numerous ways to finish off your day. Weather you want to enjoy some classical music or you are more into cocktails with modern beats I have a perfect solution for you. Dressed up with make up on the point and hand in hand with your stronger half (or your beautiful half) make your way to the Vienna Opera and enjoy one of the worlds best concerts, balls or operas (just keep in mind that you have to book well in advance if you want to get a decent seat). If your budget is limited on the other side and you would rather use that money to support the rest of your Vienna visit you can just sit in front of the Opera and listen and watch it on the big screen that is available for all those who don’t feel like dressing up and actually going inside. Austrians really do care about culture, art and music that’s way they try to make it affordable to everyone. Even the Museums have free entry very often, you just have to pay attention and follow their pages. Back to night life… I am not a person who actually does mainstream stuff so I will suggest you to go to the 7th District of Vienna (just a few minutes walk from Ringstraße and the city center) and sit in one of the bars, enjoying the light beats and one of the many local drinks like Veilchen Spritzer or Hugo. This district is known as the Seventh Heaven and compared to Berlin’s Friderichschein district. After finishing a couple of drinks you can walk your way to the Museum Quarter which becomes a youth gathering point in the spring and summer nights. Enjoy the rhythm of the city and feel it pulse beating strongly and than good night and sweet dreams.
Day two – architecture again, history and nature
Before I expose my plan for your second day in the city of dreams** I have to inform you that if you don’t like long walks you should probably skip Vienna and just go to some all inclusive resort in some other place on this Planet, you do have a plenty of options to choose.
Have you ever been in a castle? No, then Vienna is the perfect place to get the royal feeling. Schönbrun Palace is a former imperial summer residence which is going to give you an overview of the ever-changing taste, interests and aspirations of the Habsburg monarchs. If you are an adventurer than go to the maze and try finding the quickest way out and than visit the humongous ZOO, enjoy the rest of your morning with the sounds of wild animals. Lions, tigers, bears, birds, monkeys and many more are waiting for you to take a selfie.
After you finish with the walk around the ZOO go all the way to the Gloriet and enjoy the stunning view from there. This place is perfect to make a picture with your special person and put another memory into your album.
With the royal blood streaming trough your body you are going to have enough energy to go to one of my favorite restaurants (not only in Vienna but on Earth) called “Toma tu Tiempo”. It’s not a very typical recommendation because the name sound Spanish and you are in Austria so you would probably expect me to recommend a good place to have a “Schnitzel” but no, let’s to the unexpected. Sit down, order some tapas and a good wine and as the name itself says take your time.
If you have a sweet tooth and you are craving for a fantastic sweet finale simply take a short walk to the Pure Living Bakery where the friendly staff is going to greet you with a huge smile suggesting to take the house special called “Sexy Sissy” with homemade ice-cream and a good cup of coffee. I didn’t mention it but both of the places are adequate for people with gluten intolerance.
For a fantastic finish of your Vienna story I have a view to die for. Just a few minutes of walk from Pure Living Bakery you are going to find the “25 hours’ hotel beim Musem Quartier” with a terrace on the rooftop overlooking the city centre. While the city starts pulsing in the rhythm of the night, you grab another Hugo, go to the terrace and continue dreaming big…**
**I don’t have a picture of this place because I just discovered it on my last visit, with an empty phone and no camera in my hands, but you are going to have to trust me on this one.
** Vienna is called the city of dreams because it was home to the world’s first psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud.