Imperial, classical, elegant, cultural, the cradle of the waltz and, at the same time, modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan. Adjectives that describe the many facets of Vienna, a city that makes its visitors fall deeply in love with.
This city deserves a leisurely visit that allows you to savour all the “Viennas” that it has hidden. In 2018 the Modern Viennese Era was commemorated and, with it, four of its main protagonists, the painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, the architect Otto Wagner and the universal artist Koloman Moser, who decisively marked the Vienna of 1900 and who all died in 1918.
Impressive exhibitions were scheduled for this reason, notably The Vienna of 1900. Klimt – Moser – Gerstl – Kokoschka and also Egon Schiele. But every 3 or 4 months, the city embraces exhibitions about the Secession’s main figures. Moreover, there are museums that permanently show their amazing work, as do the Leopold Museum or the collection at the Velvedere, where you can see all the details of “The kiss”, by Klimt. There are also other amazing museums, like the Wien Museum Karlsplatz and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. All the information about these and the other planned cultural shows can be found on the Vienna tourism website. In addition, there are guided tours to learn about the Viennese Modern Era, Modernism, and turn-of-the-century architecture, such as the “White City” built in the 14th district by Otto Wagner, which includes a hospital, a Modernist-style theater, and the church of Saint Leopold.
Apart from these special cultural activities, for those who make their debut in the discovery of this wonderful city there are a number of places that are almost a must. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Stephansdom in Austrian, with its roof made up of more than 250,000 tiles, rebuilt after the Second World War, and its 137-meter-high spire tower. Those who dare to overcome the arduous climb up a spiral staircase are rewarded with the most beautiful views of the city center.
Music is intrinsically linked to Vienna, whether at the State Opera or at the Musikverein concerts, the wonderful stage of the New Year’s Concert. You can also enjoy the waltz and polka concerts that the Vienna Walzer Concerts usually offer at the Palffy Palace. Truly, a visit to Vienna is not complete without attending an opera or concert.
There are also events with music at iconic places like the Hofburg Palace, residence of the Habsburg family for over 600 years, and the Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the imperial family with its magnificent gardens.
The neighbourhood of Stubentor, around the station of the same name and next to the Stadtpark, has become Vienna’s new gourmet destination with various Michelin star proposals. The Kitch Grill & Bar by Juan Amador (Falkestraße 5) offers fusion dishes with a Spanish touch. Amador, with two stars for his first German restaurant, pays special attention to meat and fish prepared on a grill. Nearby, at 17 Dominikanerbastei Street, we find the restaurant named after the Viennese chef Konstantin Filippou, who has achieved a Michelin star with its cuisine characterized by a passion for natural ingredients and the essence of flavor.
In the Stadtpark itself, Am Heumarkt 2ª, there is what is currently considered the best restaurant in Austria, the Steirereck im Stadtpark, with two Michelin stars and in tenth place on the list ”World’s 50 Best Restaurants “. Without leaving the neighborhood, inside the Coburg palace there’s another gem, the Silvio Nickol Gourmetrestaurant Palais Coburg with two Michelin stars and a motto that says everything: “ A culture of enjoyment at the highest level for culinary adventurers. ”
Another very good option, without stars but with one of the best 360º views over the city thanks to its glass walls, is the restaurant Le Loft, on the 18th floor of the Sofitel Vienna Stepahnsdom hotel, Praterstraße 1, with a French-inspired menu and ceiling decorated with an installation by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist.
The Ruby Lissi Hotel & Bar, in the old Post Office on 19 Fleischmarkt Street, offers a very special feature: its design is inspired by the theme “Traveling by train like yesteryear”, with grab bars like those of old wagons and railway waiting room sofas.
The Hotel Bristol, next to the Vienna Opera, at Kärntner Ring, 1, has been, since its opening in 1892, the quintessential luxury hotel in the city, a meeting point for Viennese social life. Another great option is the Grand Ferdinand, Schubertring 10-12, timeless Viennese tradition and gastronomy.
No one can resist the legendary Viennese cafes, such as the Café Landtmann (Universitätsring 4). Sigmund Freud, Marlene Dietrich or Romy Schneider sat at their tables. Founded in 1873, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the best Apple Strudel in town, surrounded by jade velvet curtains and imperial-style pendant lights. More easy-going is the Café Phil (Gumpendorfer Straße 10-12), with splendid art deco atmosphere and where all furniture and moving objects in public view are for sale.
Lovers of dancing until the morning have an appointment in Volksgarten (Burgring 1), an elegant park that was the favourite place of the Viennese aristocracy and where the capital’s fashionable nightclub is housed: a glass pavilion with furniture from the 50s, palm trees and chandeliers. The best international DJ’s plays house and dance music. It’s truly the best offer in the night cultural scene. For original purchases, at Flö we find what is possibly the best vintage clothing in the world. Second-hand clothes in perfect condition and at reasonable prices, from the best designers in history, such as Chanel, Dior, Prada or twenties and sixties designers.
Text by Anna Tomàs