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Holidays to Vienna
Vienna - music to your ears.
Vienna is European royalty; a grand, baroque, popular city that makes no secret of its pride in being an alpha city. Millions visit Vienna every year; its popularity for weekends breaks in Europe is huge. You can see an awful lot over a 2-3 day period in this compact, transport-friendly city.
The historic city centre is wonderfully impressive (perfect for romantic weekend breaks) and just simply meandering from highlight to highlight is all you need do. You'll find the Hofburg Palace, Parliament and Town Hall are all within walking distance and when the legs give out there are a dozen cafe choices filled with the most delectable cakes and finest coffee you'll ever taste.
There's a walking tour called the 'Hidden Alleys and Courtyards of Vienna', which is well worth the money - it takes you off the beaten track and shows you some of the hidden delights of Vienna. The Zoo is huge, the Cathedral (also in the city centre) is as impressive as you think it should be! The lights at night that highlight the impressive buildings are also worth an evening stroll.
Vienna may not be on everyone's list of cheap city breaks, but it's a never-ending walk through history; a spectacular example of everybody's postcard view of old Europe and for that reason alone, you must see Vienna at least once in a lifetime.
Eating out in Vienna
Cheap, expensive and everything in between.
The Viennese know how to eat. Rich and heavy can be the order of the day and unless you're careful, a couple of kilos may sneak onto the hips when you're not looking. Cheap eats can be found around the university area, mid price dining is best catered to just outside the main tourist areas and splurging, well, it will find you.
The budget options - casual dining is an all day affair at the myriad cafes that dot Vienna. If you're comfortable with coffee and a pastry for lunch you're well catered too. For a more substantial meal try one of the many sausage stands (or Imbiss) that are on many street corners or close to pedestrian squares. Hearty German sausage on a roll with a spicy relish. Mm mmm.
Mid price options - Vienna is full of great restaurants at a good price, but you do need to move away from the main tourist areas. Hansy is on Praterstrasse 67 close to Vienna North metro station and it serves up traditional Austrian food in a comfortable setting. Nussgartl (Vorgartenstrasse 80) is an authentic Viennese Inn that serves tasty Austrian food.
Splurge - you're spoilt for choice, as you would expect in a prosperous first world city. For an impressive meal try Steirereck (Stadtpark, Kursalon) and you'll experience one of the finest restaurants in Vienna. One of Pellegrino's 50 best restaurants, Steirereck is in a beautiful art deco building close to the central city park. Don't expect some sort of nouvelle cuisine a la El Bulli, this is traditional Austrian cooking using fresh ingredients.
What to wear, when to go
Vienna is close to the alps so experiences cold winters where the temperatures can get down to zero and less. It will snow from December through to March. (A white Christmas in Vienna!) Spring stays cool until summer takes over in May with temps starting to climb to an average of 22 - 26C. Autumn in October starts to get cool, with average temps around the 12C mark.
Vienna - I'll have cream with that
Take a break in Vienna and you're likely to come back with than just cabin baggage... a little excess baggage around the waist to be precise. Those Viennese do love their pastries, their coffee with cream, their rich meals full of sauces and carbs and as for those little sausage huts on every street corner. So when you have the opportunity to walk almost everywhere to see the sights of Vienna, take it with both hands!
Schonbrunn Palace - this stunning building is a short metro ride away from the city centre, and it's worth every moment. Many call it one of the finest in Europe, so it's up there! You'll remember it for a long time; the grandeur, the size, the state apartments that will take your breath away. The grounds are extraordinary as are the gilded internal areas. The best hint we can give is take the audio tour!
Museum Quarter - as the name suggests this is where you'll get your fix of museums, large and small. There are artist studios, exhibition halls, some major institutions and more. Look out for the Leopold Museum, the MUMOK and the Kunsthalle.
The Zoo - one of the finest zoos in Europe awaits! It's out by the Schonbrunn Palace so you can kill two birds with one stone. Quality displays and excellent enclosures ensure a great day out. Especially if you have children with you. If you simply can't handle one more old building, the zoo is your answer.
State Opera House - now here's where it gets a little tricky. Do you go during the day and take in the tour, marvelling at the building, hearing all about the history? Or do you go at night and take in a performance at one of the world's best opera houses? We'll leave that to your musical tastes.
The must see - here's a shout out to all the shoppers out there. Vienna is a wealthy city and if you want to get the drop on your friends, head down to Mariahilfer Strasse, one of the city's hottest shopping precincts. It's particularly good for the fancy stuff like fashion and jewellery. If you like the comforts of a swish department store try Steffl. If something a little more downmarket is your taste, check out the Naschmarkt flee market.