What: My favorite tips and things to do, part II…
What: Christmas Season in Vienna
Where: Vienna, Austria
There’s nothing more beautiful than sitting in a Viennese coffee house. And this also applies for breakfast. There are lots of those historical institutions such as the Café Central or the Café Landtmann where you will find lots of tourists queuing up and patiently waiting in front of the doors of those coffee houses, especially now during the winter season. This is the exact reason why you should avoid those cafés and instead rather go to places like the Tirolerhof or to Café Hawelka in the first district where you will find the real Viennese people. You can also have a very nice but rather more modern breakfast at places like Café Francais or Ulrich. But now it’s time for my very well and in advance prepared cultural program! Let’s go visit Sisi and Franz Josef!
A visit to castle Schönbrunn is – even for less romantics – definitely an excursion destination worth seeing. With an audio guide the “Grand Tour” will lead you through 44 staterooms of the palace. Visitors acquire history knowledge as well as small anecdotes about the royal life at the time of the great Empress Maria Theresia and of the legendary Empress Sisi. Wonderful! Worthwhile is a following walk through the castle garden, no matter the weather.
Everyone coming to Vienna in the near future will experience Christmas magic all over the city. In front of castle Schönbrunn you will find one of the many cosy and inviting Christmasmarkets of Vienna. The Christmasmarket in front of the town hall of Vienna fascinates with its thousands and thousands of little lights that are installed where ever you go. My personal favorite under all markets takes place at Spittelberg, which you will find in the seventh district. The market with its little unique, baroque houses coils itself through the parallel resided Kirchberggasse, Gutenberggasse and Spittelberggasse. Whilst strolling through the Burggasse I get inspired by the small, individual shops and I rummage for original clothes in shops like Goldstück-Wiener Kreation and the Conceptstore Burggassse 24.
Did you know that Vienna is also an Eldorado for fans of antiquities? Especially in the seventh district like at Siebensterngasse you will find lots of small merchants with trash and art with affordable prices. However it well get much more expensive in the city centre where you will find lots of antique dealers at Dorotheergasse. A must for every collector is the legendary auction house Dorotheum, a mecca for art where you can find objects of all epochs and, of course, their according price categories. Nevertheless: the inspiration is for free.
Visiting the famous Naschmarkt is always a must when I visit Vienna. Ideally under the week because on Saturdays its usually very crowded. (By the way: the Naschmarkt is closed on Sundays, but the little restaurants next to it are still open). For lunch I choose one of them, called the On Market, where I enjoy its delicious Asian fusion kitchen. Afterwards I walk towards the city centre with its Christmassy light installations, I amble along the dandified streets Kohlmarkt, Graben and Habsburgergasse. And it’s just magically!
How about a little rest? A great tip is the ‘Sky Bar’ on the roof of department store Steffl at Kärtner Straße from where I enjoy the view over the housetops of Vienna. Whilst drinking a cup of tea I enjoy the colourful patterns of the Stephansdom in the light of the sinking sun.
What luck! In the evening I finally get to see the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna philharmonic orchestra), which has always been a dream of mine. I have tickets for a concert with world-class musicians who accompany pianist Rudolf Buchbinder at the Wiener Konzerthaus. What an awesome evening with music by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Grieg and Tschaikowsky! For dinner I recommend one of the most fashionable restaurants you will currently find in town: The Brasserie ‚The Bank‘ at the Park Hyatt Hotel. The name says it all: in a former ticket hall of a bank the guests dine in finest art nouveau ambient. On the menu you will find delicious dishes such as Beef Tatar or Tagliatelle with fresh truffles. Everyone who still doesn’t have enough goes onwards to the panorama bar ‚Das Loft‘ of the Hotel Sofitel which guarantees a spectacular view over the Donau, Prater and the inner city. The service could be better, nevertheless the Cosmopolitan is perfectly mixed. I let the day pass and already know that I will come back to Vienna very soon. BvH
Tip for Vienna:
Book your Tickets for museums and concerts online in advance! Thereby you avoid queues and you can plan your trip more efficient!