The locals’ guide to Vienna

With culture bursting from every nook of its cobblestone streets, it’s easy to fall in love with Austria’s charming capital

 

WORKS OF ART 
Travel blogger Una Stefanovic, of Vienna Insider (viennainsider.com), highlights the city’s creative gems

Best architecture to view?

If, like me, you’re a fan of art nouveau, be sure to explore the buildings designed by Otto Wagner, one of Austria’s greatest architects. You’ll find many of his designs, such as the Secession Building and the painted Majolica House at Linke Wienzeile facing the colourful Naschmarkt market, where you can chill and enjoy local delicacies. 

Favourite arts spots?

I love the Art History Museum the most. The palace itself is impressive and holds gorgeous works of art, as well as many precious artefacts from the Habsburgs’ period. There’s also Belvedere Palace, which holds Klimt’s best works and is an unforgettable space to explore. 

Must-see creative spaces?

If you’re into contemporary art and Austrian artists, Leopold Museum and Mumok cannot be overlooked. 

Where can we uncover hidden gems?

Wander around to discover hidden streets, little restaurants and charming shops in the 1st district and those surrounding them. I also recommend a visit to the Palace of Justice; it’s an impressive building with a stunning view to enjoy from the top floor. Entry is free and open to the public, although few people know it. 

Best way to meet locals?

Visit the restaurants, cafés, markets and events organised by Vienna City, such as the festive markets. For hipster vibes, be sure to check out the concept shops of the 7th district. And to feel like a true Austrian, spend an afternoon enjoying cake and coffee in one of the traditional cafés such as Schwarze Kameel.

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The view from Kahlenberg hill

SCENIC SETTINGS
Photographer Silia Eleftheriadou highlights Vienna’s most picturesque places to feast your eyes on

  1.  Photograph this: 
    My favourite subjects to photograph are side streets, doors and the imposing architecture in general while I roam the city. I believe that the most photogenic spots in the city centre are the views from the Albertina Museum and Franziskanerplatz.
  2. Scenic sight
    Beauty is omnipresent in this city, but a classic is, of course, the city centre and the gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace that will take your breath away. Other than that, the hills surrounding Vienna, such as Cobenzl or Kahlenberg, offer amazing views of the whole capital.
  3. Hidden gems
    Again, one of my favourites is Franziskanerplatz. Cinema lovers will recognise Kleines Café from the Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise – a cute little coffee shop that offers the perfect Viennese atmosphere. Other hidden gems would be the Strudlhofstiege (the art nouveau staircase), or the rooftop bar at SO/ Vienna, with its view of the city centre.
  4. Top tip
    I recommend you get wonderfully lost in the cute little streets of the city centre, and if you feel the need for some nature, escape to the Donauinsel, the island on the Danube.
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Kleines Cafe. Photo by Una Stefanovic

CULINARY TALES
A foodie at heart, Patricia Vincent rounds up the city’s must-try gourmet experiences

Viennese cuisine today is the result of Vienna having been at the centre of a multicultural empire for hundreds of years. Local recipes mixed with the influences of people moving to the city, each bringing their own local cuisines with them, have made Vienna a culinary melting pot.

As a vegetarian, dishes I love are: Steirische Kürbiscremesuppe  (pumpkin cream soup served with a few drops of cold pumpkin seed oil); Käferbohnensalat (scarlet runner bean salad); Steinpilz Ragoût (porcini or boletus mushrooms ragoût); and Kärntner Kasnudeln (Carinthian dumplings filled with fresh cheese and mint). When it comes to dessert, I will never refuse a Punschkrapferl, a delicious sweet pastry, or the famous Sachertorte.

An interesting Viennese culinary tradition is Das Wiener Gabelfrühstück, a type of in-between meal that’s a bit like brunch, and is dedicated to the hard-working people who have early working hours. If you’re dining in company, it’s polite to start eating only once everybody has been served.

At the festive markets you can taste little bites, such as roasted nuts, potatoes, and sweet chestnuts. The Heuriger (taverns) in the former rural regions, such as Grinzing and Nußdorf, offer traditional dishes that you can enjoy to the sounds of Schrammelmusik, a Viennese folk music that originated in the late 19th century.

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Austria’s famous Sachertorte

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