weekend away - Vienna
Written by Andy Mossack
Vienna’s legendary attractions are its architecture, elegance, and music. But a new trend is being experienced by Viennese and visitors alike: culinary and cultural weekends, combining the springtime art and culture scene with great gastronomy.
One of the city’s chic new boutique hotels, Wine & Design, incorporates a wine theme throughout – even the bathroom soap is wine-based! Alternatively, there’s Hollman Beletage, or Vienna’s first zero-energy hotel, The Stadthalle.
?Within the domed hall of the Museum of Fine Arts, an Art and Delight Brunch may be enjoyed. Surrounded by fine art, a buffet of continental and Viennese specialities, a drink, and a guided tour costs only €39. Directly opposite at the Natural History Museum, grab a seafood and asparagus lunch, then a rooftop tour with a breathtaking view of the city.
?At the Haus der Musik explore the lives of Vienna’s famous composers under one roof. Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Mahler, each have dedicated interactive rooms with objects and information on their lives (including Mahler’s death mask). Or pick up a baton and, through virtual technology, conduct the entire Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
?You’re in the heart of the old city, so spend the rest of the day exploring the many museums and galleries; but stop to enjoy apple strudel and the famous Sachertorte. This chocolate cake was created in the Sacher Hotel by Franz Sacher – and it is still served there today.
?Breakfasting in one of Vienna’s traditional coffee houses is a must, a way of life. In this city there are over 800, and they are much more than just places to drink coffee. Franz Landtmann started the trend in 1873, and his eponymous cafè is still the largest traditional coffee house in Vienna. Sigmund Freud, Marlene Dietrich, Paul McCartney, and even Hilary Clinton have visited it. Prukel is another fine example, an old-fashioned living room with piano music, newspapers, and magazines strewn around.
?These cafès are Viennese institutions where the grumpiness of the waiters is considered authentic charm! But you always get a glass of water with your coffee too – very Viennese.
?More modern examples are Cafè Drechsler, designed by Sir Terence Conran, open 23 hours a day; or the chic Cafè Leopold in the Leopold Museum offering ‘new’ Viennese cuisine and DJs in the evenings.
?One of the most interesting eating areas in Vienna is the Naschmarkt. Endless rows of stalls and shops offer all kinds of fresh fruit, vegetables, and a dazzling array of foods from all over the world.
?Cuisine and culture have never been more popular here, and with spring arriving, indulge your visual and taste senses in a special weekend away.
A Vienna Pass is a must. It will give you access to all the city’s transport (except the hop-on bus) for 72 hours, and reduced entry to Vienna’s attractions. €18.50
Getting to Vienna’s heart from the airport is easy; just grab the CAT at the terminal and follow the green CAT signs – €9 per person.