Not that long ago, Vienna was proclaimed to be the best city in the world to live in. And indeed, there are many reasons why the Austrian capital is now carrying the label of “the world’s best”. Let’s take coffee, for instance. Or many other good things, like Apfelstrudel. Or Sigmund Freud (his favourite sweets, by the way, was Gugelhupf).
Vienna is a city of cultural pleasures, gastronomic indulgences and architectural discoveries, and, let’s be honest, a city where one visit isn’t enough at all. Which means that you should squeeze the best out of your time there and try to get the taste of everything — figuratively and literally!
So here’s my list of the best treats to experience on your first visit to Vienna!
10. Lean in for a kiss!
If you’re in for some art, pay a visit to Belvedere, a beautiful Baroque palace that is home to an even more beautiful art gallery. The main gem to marvel at is, of course, “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt — you sure know the famous painting. It’s golden and sparkly and depicts a couple embracing each other with a sensual kiss. The highlight of the Art Nouveau era!
9. Travel back to la Belle Époque
And since we mentioned Art Nouveau, you should also know that Vienna is one of Europe’s most prominent examples of this architectural style. One of its most famous Art Nouveau buildings is located on 38 Linke Wienzeile Street and is called “Majolica House”. But the beautiful truth, however, is that nearly every single building in Vienna is gorgeous. So look up and feel inspired!
8. Count all the palaces or die trying
The number of palaces in Vienna reaches 70. This means that there’s literally one on every corner, which, in turn, means that your neck will be getting cramps by the end of your stay. The must-see of all Viennese palaces is the Schönbrunn Palace, of course — a former imperial residence of the famous Princess Sisi (now a museum).
7. The road to Vienna is paved with sugar
If this is not a fixed expression, it really should be. Austria’s capital is (in)famous for its sugary treats. The delicious Wiener Apfelstrudel is probably the most popular dessert in the country, even though, of course, it’s hard to compete with Sachertorte, Yet Another Delicious Cake. Sachertorte was specifically invented for Prince Wenzel von Metternich, an important Austrian politician of the 19th century. Since then, the cake has been accessible for each and every one of us. But let’s face the obvious truth here: every cake in Vienna is better than the other one. The Viennese pastry is all fantastic, and just the thought of it makes me drool like a puppy!
My favourite cafe in Vienna: Café Hofburg (claims to be serving the original Wiener Apfelstrudel)
My favourite dessert: Kaiserschmarrn
6. Go food sampling at the Viennese market
“If there’s food, I’ll be there.” While I’m doing my best to live up to this motto, this often requires a physical body split in order to be at several food markets at the same time — something that I, unfortunately, cannot perform (yet). Therefore, I had to pick wisely when I was in Vienna, so I chose Naschmarkt — the most popular market in the city. It is also one of the oldest ones, too, dating back to the 16th century. The verdict? Truly hamazing and absolutely cheesenomenal!
5. Enjoy the ridiculous Austrian accent
The Swiss German isn’t the only German that sounds funny… In Vienna, people speak as if they’re always surprised — with high-pitched intonations that sound very cute, kind of towny and make it difficult to understand the needs and wants of a true Austrian citizen. But maybe it’s for the best, who knows.
4. Trade money for romance
This is one of the few cities in Europe where you can still take a cab that is not a taxi. They are called ‘fiacres’ and they feature two beautiful horses that will carry you through the city for half an hour for just “some” 70-80 EUR or so. Who needs money anyway, right? Taking a fiacre ride in Vienna is just so romantic — like taking a gondola ride in Venice. Cliche, yes, but romantic nevertheless.
3. And trade life for books
For any true bookworm, a visit to the Austrian National Library is a must. It has over 7 million items, including rare manuscripts, a beautiful collection of maps, and a small globe museum. And, as if you need any more persuasion, it is also listed as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
Image source: here
2. Music, music to my ears!
Why is Viennese opera so famous? Two reasons: firstly, the building of the Vienna State Opera is really freaking gorgeous — it is a purely aesthetically experience to be there. And secondly, the historical framework. Every prominent composer of the last centuries — Mozart, Wagner, Strauss, the list can go on and on — had to make it in Vienna first to be considered successful. Back in those days, if you could make it in Vienna, you could make it anywhere. The stakes have been raised high, the quality standards were unbeatable — and it has remained that way ever since.
FIY: Leipzig is another true city of music — do you know why?
1. Embrace the positive vibes!
The famous Austrian artist Hundertwasser gave Vienna a gift of an architectural landmark that has crazy, dancing colours and, generally, a very positive vibe. I have no idea how it feels to live in Hundertwasserhaus, but I believe it must be fun. Everything is just so random and weird about it: the colours, the lines, the London telephone booth standing next to it, and the terrace bar on the second floor… What a positive life!
Over to you! Have you visited the world’s best city?
PS. If you liked this article, check out this read: City Guide for Cheap Business Class Flights Vienna