With its long-winded palaces, winding cobbled lanes, elegant Kaffeehäuser (coffee houses) and cozy wood-paneled Beisln (bistro pubs), Vienna is steeped in history. Yet it’s also at the cutting edge of design, architecture, contemporary art, and new directions in both drinking and dining. Here are 5 great things to do in Vienna.
- Experience Vienna’s arty trinity
Austria has a variety of tourist attractions and Vienna sits right in the middle of it. Once the imperial stables, the Museumsquartier is now a lovely spot for lounging and people-watching, or some solemn art appreciation. Before you stand three artistic behemoths: the white limestone cube of the Leopold Museum, the contemporary delights of Kunsthalle Wien, occupying the old winter riding hall, and the black basalt Museum of Modern Art, MUMOK. If you’ve only got the energy for one, make it the Leopold, with the world’s largest collection of Egon Schiele’s work, and its swish, glass-walled café.
- Get your hands on some Almdudler
While not an alcoholic beverage, almdudler is an Austrian soft drink that is made from grape and apple juice. It tastes a bit like ginger ale, but sweeter and with more of a fruit flavor. It kind of looks like ginger ale too. It is often called the “national drink of Austria” and is the second most popular soft drink in Austria after Coke. You can get them carbonated, sugar free or still. There is even a version with beer in it!
- Café Hop
Just like Munich is known for its beer halls, Vienna is famous for its wonderful cafes. With mouth watering deserts, great conversation, flavorful coffee, and unique atmospheres, Vienna’s cafes serve as the cities melting pot. From paupers to kings, everyone was sipped a cup of joe was sampling chocolate cake.
The cafes really saw their place cemented into the culture of Vienna in the mid-1800s through early-1900s when famous psychologists, poets, and revolutionaries met to philosophize and share their thoughts. No list of the top ten things to do in Vienna is complete without a stop a cafe. While the two most famous cafes are Demel and Sacher, there seems to be at least one amazing cafe on every block in Old Town Vienna.
- Visit the Belvedere Palace
Too often overlooked by foreign tourists, Belvedere Palace was built by Prince Eugene Savoy in the 1600s. Belvedere, meaning beautiful views in German, is split into an Upper Palace (Eugene’s party house), and the Lower Palace (his garden villa).
The Upper Palace where the Prince did all of his entertaining is the place to focus most of your time. Before you even go inside you’ll be drawn to the picturesque flower garden and reflecting pool. Inside the Upper Palace is an astoundingly great art museum with some of the best paintings in Vienna.
- Skinny dip in the Danube
There are three “Danube’s” in Vienna: Die alte Donau, Die neue Donau and the actual Donau. Die alte and neue Donau are not part of the huge European river we all know as the Danube, but rather are home to some charming swimming spots.
In alte Donau, there are more official swimming pools (not free), an area for dogs and several small food stops. There are also basketball, volleyball and even ping-pong courts. However, the best part is called The Donauinsel, which is a piece of land in between alte and neue Donau, and is characterized by the FKK [Freikörperkultur = “culture of free bodies”] AKA a nudist beach. Head to this haven, which is surrounded by beautiful parks like the Japanese Garden or an Apple Alley and spend your day tanning yourself to glory.
While Vienna may not incorporate everything that defines Europe, it certainly is a keeper of a place to be visited at least once. Visit Vienna today. Book your trip with Cozmo Travel. For more exciting blogs on travel, visit our blog.