I had never really considered Vienna before, however upon reading an article by Andrew McCarthy in National Geographic last fall, it came onto my radar.
He wrote, “I have arrived in Vienna with a simple plan: to live as local a life as possible. Instead of discovering this famously imperial city from the comforts and security of a hotel, with an attentive staff to stand behind me, I’ve decided to plunge in on my own terms and rent an apartment—and not in the city center I know to be the heart of tourism, but in one of the outer, more “local” districts. I have always found that the less insulated I am from my surroundings, the richer are my experiences.”
The article was a perfect description of why I like to stay in apartments when I travel, and all of a sudden I found myself wanting to experience this Vienna apartment lifestyle that Andrew wrote about.
Luckily Go with Oh had apartments in Vienna, so immediately it became one of my four destinations on the European Spring Tour.
This was my first trip to Austria let alone Vienna, but instead of getting a guide book, I relied upon social media to bring me my tips! The Go with Oh crew was busy gathering Vienna tips from their readers for me to follow. And as usual I ran out of time to do them all, but I was able to follow many of them.
Winning Tip – @cambridgecook Demel cafe on Kohlmarkt has better cake than Sacher Hotel #Vienna
The person who provided the tip about Café Demel knew exactly how to get my attention…chocolate. I loved the fact that the tip went against the norm of eating sachertorte at the typical tourist spot, Hotel Sacher, and instead directed me to a much better option! The scent of chocolate enveloped me as I walked into Café Demel. There’s a retail store there selling sweets, a bar for a quick stop, a traditional coffee shop upstairs, and a bakery where you can view them making the sweet creations in back. This place will entertain you for hours!
View video of my sacher torte tasting at Cafe Demel.
@SophieR In Vienna, check out the fabulous houses designed by eccentric architect Hundertwasser.
This was a super easy tip to do since my apartment was only 2 blocks from the Hundertwasser House! There’s lots of great architecture to ooh and ahh about in Vienna, but this one sort of makes you go “huh?” Of course I made a quick stop at the colorful and very Un-Austrian looking building!
@IreneHaidner Wiener Schnitzel types ummm good .. a must try if you haven’t
Not only did I try Wiener Schnitzel, I tried sausages, potato salads, and plenty of beer!
@cambridgecook Trzesniewski on Dorotheergasse off Graben for tiny open faced sandwiches and tiny beer “Pfiff” #Vienna
I didn’t exactly get to Trzesniewski, but I did get to try the tiny open faced sandwiches called Brötchen that they make when I was visiting a friend who was holding a cocktail party! Yum!
@aerofede Another great idea may be going to an Opera,or visiting the opera theater,depending in what’s available
I had multiple tips telling me to get the cheap standing room tickets for the opera; however, even though I like a good bargain, I opted to see a string quartet instead of a standing ticket at the opera. Instead I took a great tour of the opera house! For a mere 5 Euros you can go on an English tour of the famed Opera house. Not only do you get to see the magnificent seating and balconies, but you even get to step on stage and see just how massive it is for yourself.
Since I love string instruments, I utilized the great ViennaUnwrapped.com event listings to determining if there were any classical concerts happening during my stay. I found a quartet performance in a smaller theatre which I splurged on. I really enjoyed this as I felt a bit more local this way and was able to see yet another gorgeous Viennese theater. Plus, what’s better than hearing Mozart being played live while in Vienna?
@STACEYLCRONIN Schoenbrunn Palace is an amazing must see!
@IreneHaidner My first suggestion in #Vienna, #Austria is #Castle #Schönbrunn @ottsworld @GowithOh #travel
A short metro ride out of the city center transported you back into imperial Austria. I suggest you pack a picnic lunch and go wander around the woods and gardens (it’s free!) and find a little secluded spot to relax. It’s not hard as the gardens are huge. I also took the indoor tour while I was there and loved getting a first-hand look at the opulence of the imperial Habsburg Family.
Get to the outlaying towns
@cambridgecook Outskirts Wine Tavern (Heuriger), not in Grinzing! Wieninger & Mayer am Pfarrplatz have great food & wines.
I actually had a friend take me out to a wine tavern on the outskirts of Vienna. It was a completely different feel from the rest of Vienna!
Ask the Locals in Social Media!
In addition to the Go with Oh tips, I reached out to a few Austria based bloggers to get some advice. No only did I get some excellent local tips on what non-touristy coffee houses to go to, Andreas offered to show me around! I had been following Andreas on twitter (@travelwriticus) for quite some time, and it was a treat to get to meet him in person and have a few days with him showing me the city and answering all of my silly questions about Austrian culture. He was my lifeline in Vienna.
My favorite ‘Andreas tips’ were food based!
Go to Café Pruckel for the best Wiener Schnitzel…seriously was the best I’ve ever had.
Go to the Naschmarkt to see a variety of outdoor stalls and shop for your apartment.
I’ll be writing much more about some of these tips in detail over the next week, but be sure to check out all of the Vienna travel tips I received in the Go with Oh competition!
View Venice Travel Tips
View Rome Travel Tips
Disclosure: Go with Oh hosted my apartment lodging in Vienna. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own – as you know how I love to speak my mind!
By Walter May 10, 2012 - 10:45 am
Hi Sherry, Glad to hear that you had a good time in Vienna which I still consider my hometown despite hardly spending much time there.
The traditional coffee house culture is still thriving and the Naschmarkt is quite a paradise for foodies.
I shall keep your Wiener Schnitzel tip at the Cafe Prückel in mind for my next visit myself!
The city’s cultural offer is really very diverse and one of the things I miss the most.
You might also enjoy going to places like Baden (very close to Vienna) and Graz in the south if you ever go back to that small country called Austria 😉 Others will come up with more worthwhile suggestions.
By Sherry May 10, 2012 - 12:47 pm
Thanks for stopping by Walter! Stay tuned as I have much more to come on the coffee houses and Cafe Pruckel! Thanks for the suggestions for my next visit!
By Emily May 10, 2012 - 1:26 pm
I did the standing room at the Vienna State Opera for 3.5 Euro and saw The Magic Flute, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! It was a long show though, so I can definitely understand opting for a string quartet. That was probably awesome, too!
By Martin Pietrzak May 12, 2012 - 11:34 am
Perfect timing, we are about to head to Vienna in the next few weeks. Any particular tips for families?
By Lucy May 14, 2012 - 4:05 pm
I went to Vienna last year and loved it. Did you go to the retro amusement park? I wish I’d known about Hundertwasser House – it looks wicked!
By Sherry May 14, 2012 - 6:27 pm
No, I didn’t go to any amusement park there – but I left plenty of things to do next time as my week went too fast!
By Miruna May 15, 2012 - 2:18 pm
I’ve never considered Vienna, either, but reading your article…:)I might start packing. Very nice!
By Sofia @ As We Travel May 19, 2012 - 9:24 pm
I really liked Vienna, there is something romantic about the city.
Never got to see the Hundertwasser house though, looks pretty crazy!
By Sherry May 21, 2012 - 9:51 am
I know a great little apartment in the Hundertwasser neighborhood! It was rather weird – sort of like Gaudi in Barcelona – a bit out of place but interesting.
By chiangmai excursions May 30, 2012 - 5:50 am
Vienna looks clean and be a city of unique where I’ve met.
By Travel Agency July 30, 2012 - 7:07 am
Nice Information.I have never visited Vienna Reading your blog makes me want to try
everything according to your experience by visiting there. I’m glad Google brought me
here. Thank you
By Mike February 17, 2013 - 10:56 pm
We are headed there for our first visit this spring. Great post! Gotta love the travel blogging community!
By SimplyVienna November 22, 2013 - 7:31 am
Vienna has something that you dont know but really feels romantic, and thats what i love about Vienna. this is a great information you shared. thanks!
By Hostel Ruthensteiner May 14, 2014 - 6:38 pm
Such a lovely guide to our beautiful city! We read a lot of travel blogs but I have to say so far I enjoyed this one most of them all. Beautiful pictures as well. If you ever need to stay on a budget in Vienna, we recommend that you check out it’s “best” Hostel 🙂
By Chanel | Cultural Xplorer July 2, 2014 - 11:52 pm
Awesome list Sherry! I cannot wait to try some of these places out during my upcoming trip to Vienna 😀
By Julius May 9, 2015 - 10:23 am
Thanks for the post. My group will be in vienne for 3 nights this october. Your tips will be helpfull.
By Milena Yordanova January 20, 2017 - 6:40 am
Great tips! Vienna is one of my favourite cities. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss to try the gelato. There are ice cream shops on every corner. 🙂
By Kriti April 12, 2021 - 6:51 am
The accommodation you chose to have out of the city made you pay a visit to Hundertwasser House. Your guide is really awesome. I think I should start packing my bags for the vacation right from this moment itself!