Less than 2 hours flight from Stockholm, Vienna is definitely a must-see for a short weekend or longer !
This guide is written for travelers, solo or as a couple, who like to experience the city as a local would and avoid any tourist traps. There is a lot of tourism in Vienna, and therefore your experience can depend on how you feel towards crowds and tourists!
Public transport is convenient and inexpensive, so I would suggest you get a 48 or 72-hour travel pass and use the tram lines or the metro. Vienna is small, but there are still things to see on opposite sides of the city, so it is better to hop on and off the tram sometimes.
Where to stay
The 2nd district is a great place to stay, near everything you want to see and experience, but far enough from the crowds. Leopolstad area is wonderful, with the canals and the Austrian hipster crowd… My personal favorite place to live would definitely be around the Karmelitta Market which is awesome: beautiful buildings, nice independent cafés and restaurants, relaxed people.
Neubau: another cool place where you can find nice boutique hotels and very nice Airbnb places.
Where to eat
Just so you know, the service in Vienna is rather special: waiters and waitresses are not the nicest, rather rude and not so keen on speaking English. So one can feel offended at first, but then we get used to it, I suppose.
Healthy: gluten free/ dairy free / alcohol free alternatives:
If you are looking for healthy options and rather good service , I can recommend the healthy food store and café chain: SuperFood Deli , my favorite is the one in Neubau – I like their outdoor area and the options of Açai bowls and Kombucha are great.
–Café Englander: good to try the Viennese sausages in a nice environment with the view on a nice private square.
–Café Prückel : very nice terrace, good to try a ‘café viennois’ and sit at the terrace.
–Café Einfahrt: very nice outdoor area, on the edge of Karmeliter market , laid-back atmosphere.
Best Art Nouveau café
Café Goldegg: to experience the charm of Viennese café with Art Nouveau design and yummy ( but not so healthy) desserts!
Café Ansari : offers a combination of Mediterranean, Georgian and international cuisine: It is one of the locals’ favorites . I found the food was fresh, but nothing special – I think it is worth going if you can get a table outside, as it is located in a wonderful little square surrounded by other nice restaurants like Mochi (an Asian fusion very popular with the locals too).
–Skopik & Lohn make sure to have lunch or dinner at Skopik & Lohn, which seems to be an institution in Vienna.
– Schone Perle: this was my favorite restaurant, which offers fresh honest rustic food, typical Viennese dishes at reasonable prices, a lovely outdoor area and good service.
This restaurant was recommended to me as it is the bistro, which is part of the sister 2 Michelin Stars restaurant Konstantin Filippou. We had a nice dinner outside, but nothing extraordinary – the beef cheeks were delicious, very well cooked and presented, the rest was just OK. I tend to judge a natural wine bar from its Terrine, and here they serve a “decomposed” terrine which to me, from a rustic culinary standpoint, does not make sense. Good selection of natural wines and cider (which we couldn’t find anywhere else in Vienna) and this one was even from Skåne!
– Salonplafond: the very stylish restaurant offers beautiful settings and an super nice outdoor area – ideal after a tour of the Mak!
What to see
- Karmelita District: have a nice healthy breakfast at Zimmer 37 where the service is super nice and they do delicious fresh smoothies, see how local do their shopping in this nice outdoor market, the equivalent of Portobello Road market in London!
- Have a stroll in the Old Town and see the beautiful fiacres by the Spanish Riding School:
- Get lost in the old Jewish quarter:
- Create yourself an Art Nouveau tour by visiting all the Art Nouveau buildings of Vienna
- Sundays in Vienna: Important note: the town is completely shut down on Sundays so my advice is to keep the museum visit for Sundays as most restaurants, bars and stores are closed
-The Museum of Modern Art Mumok: A work of Art in itself
–Leopold Museum: the favorite
In this museum you can see the evolution of Klimt’s work, the birth of graphic design with the fascinating Koloman Moser (his paintings but also the furniture he designed), Rodin sculptures, Egon Schiele, the London inspired ‘Time Gentleman Please’ by Oskar Kokoschka.
–Mak Design Museum: beautiful piece of architecture inside and out , with a few important artworks from Klimt and a beautiful library.
- Augarten: The oldest porcelain factory of Vienna where you can see the work of old porcelain masters and learn more about Vienna’s traditions, but also new designers . It is surrounded by a beautiful park where one can see the local people jogging.
- Vienna for architecture lovers: Art Nouveau and the birth of Modernism