Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Recommendations for a day spent in Vienna

Two weekends ago we decided to held our Erasmus-meetup with my friend from Spain in Vienna. I have been to Vienna many times before but for her it was the first time. We decided to have a relaxed weekend but still since she has never been there before we also tried to see as much of the city as possible meanwhile.
We realized only afterwards how close the main sights are to each other. Especially by using tram 1 on certain tracks you can see a lot of Vienna in one day.
This realization inspired this article because I think this route could be useful to any of you who just as us wants to have a nice time in the city but also make the most of hi stay and/or is interested in art, history and architecture.
We started our day from Südtiroler Platz (Hauptbahnhof) but you can start it from anywhere since you can get to Stephansdom on various different routes.
Let's start the day:

Stephansdom and Graben
As I wrote before you can get to Stephansdom by metro or other means of transportation. After arriving here you can walk around the dome, take some photos and enjoy the atmosphere of inner city Vienna. There is also a nice flower shop behind Stephansdom. I really like the interior design shop on the way to it which has minimalistic-Asian style black and white teaware in its shopwindows.
The area with nice buildings, shops and sidestreets in front of Stephansdom is called Graben. In Graben you can see high end fashion shops like Escada, Versace, Burberry but also Cos or shops selling "contemporary" fashion like Kendall and Kylie or Austrian designers can be found here.
At the end of the street opposite to Stephansdom is the Julius Meinl cafe and shop.

If you turn left from Julius Meinl you will see already at the end of the street a big white building- it is Hofburg where also the famous Spanish Riding School is located. You can walk around here, have a look at the statues, take photos and go for a guided tour inside the castle or attend a training of a show of the school if you are interested.

Naturhistorisches and Kunsthistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum and  Museum of Art History)
As you cross Hofburg you will get to the square where the two most famous museums of Vienna are located: the Naturhistorisches and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. You can visit one or both or continue walking to Volksgarten park which is just across the road.
All these programs are so far free if you decide to take just the walking tour and not to go inside the buildings or see exhibitions.

City Hall of Vienna
As the final stop of your walking tour you can visit the City Hall of Vienna (Rathaus) and the park in front of it where every year the famous Christmas market is held.

From here you can hop on tram 1 ( at the opposite, not on the side of Rathaus, in the "middle" of the road and visit Hundertwasserhaus.

A good tip: look for the "Einkaufskarte" (shopping ticket) when buying a travel card. This daily ticket enables you the unlimited use of public transportation for one day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and costs only 6,1 euros.
Hundertwassehaus is a bit the Gaudi of Vienna with its colorful details and abstention from straight lines. the building functions nowadays as a living estate and is a property of the city of Vienna who assignes the flats to Vienna inhabitants.

Lunch break in Cafe Ansari

My current favorite restaurant in Vienna is a Georgian restaurant called Cafe Ansari. It was recommended to me in summer and since then I have been recommending it to everyone. It is only two tram stops backwards from Hundertwasserhaus by tram 1.

On weekdays they have great lunch offer with big portions, good variety containing vegetable dishes and reasonable prices (10-13 euros). During the weekend there is no weekend menu and the prices are somewhat higher and the portions smaller.

I can still recommend eating here even on weekends because of the great food experience, unque tastes and the ambience of the restaurant.

Opposite the restaurant there is a Japanese shop- food store selling nice interior items.

Museumquartier and Mariahilferstrasse

After relaxing a bit you can head to Museum Quartier and Mariahilferstrasse. These two are real close to each other and can be approached for instance by metro from Cafe Ansari. During winter weekends Vienna locals gather in the yard of Museum Quartier where glögi tents are set up and nice ambient music is playing in the background. If you want to take part in some local experience this is your place to be.

Mariahilferstrasse is basically just a simple shopping street with lots of shops. It might be that you find clothing or interior designer brands here what you do not have at home so it is worth to take a stroll if you are not too tired yet and feel like shopping.

From Mariahilferstrasse, Neubaugasse metro station, you can take the metro back to Stephansdom or Südtirolerplatz (Hauptbahnhof and Bahnhof City shopping center). And finish the day with a coffee and some good Austrian pastry in one of the traditional Austrian bakeries.

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