5 unmissable experiences in Vienna
A sumptuous and perfectly preserved historical center, a multitude of museums and contemporary art galleries rich of Klimt, Monet and Picasso’s art pieces, just to name a few, flea markets of all kinds, countless shows and concerts of classical music make Vienna, the Austrian capital, one of the most visited cities in the world. The list of good reasons to go to Vienna could be really long and in this post I limit myself to suggest 5 experiences that I consider unmissable because they will make your stay in the most elegant city of Europe even more special, as they have made it to me recently.
UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited tourist attraction in the country, the Schönbrunn Palace, with its 1.400 rooms, is considered the most impressive baroque complex in the whole of Europe. For centuries the palace was the summer residence of the Hapsburgs and it is here that Marie Antoinette, queen of France, took its first steps. Among fragrant rose gardens, swirling labyrinths and fountains, lots of locals come to enjoy the sunny days: the entrance into the wonderful gardens is free as is the view of the Schönbrunn Palace with the whole city behind it enjoyed by the Gloriette.
In my opinion, the best time to see Vienna is in the evening, when all the buildings in the center are illuminated. After sunset, emerging from the underground the Wiener Staatsoper or the State Opera, will leave you speechless, even more if it is a concert night and the square is a swarming of elegant couples, as well as the Albertina and the majority part of the main historic buildings. A walk in the Innere Stadt in the evening is therefore essential, when the city’s noises are muffled and a halo of mystery convers the heart of Vienna.
Honestly I’m not a fanatic of Christmas markets but the atmosphere in the Austrian capital already in November is something magical. The old town is dotted with traditional wooden kiosks and decorated with sparkling lights, the scent of sugar and cinnamon permeates the air and the eyes are filled with sweets and crafts that you would like to buy all. But the atmosphere is special not only for the colored lights and the Christmas songs that echo in the alleys: a feeling of community and conviviality hovers all around, covering so many brave people who defy the cold holding in their hands a cup of Glühwein just for the pleasure to be there all together.
Vienna is eclectic and this is the aspect that surprised me and liked it more. I took absolutely for granted to arrive in an elegant and refined city, but in knowing it I also discovered an alternative and contemporary face. In fact, scattered throughout the city are huge murals and graffiti, bizarre constructions and alternative works of art, far from the baroque splendor of the Hapsburg Empire and expressing all the underground culture of an apparently austere and conservative city.
In the Austrian capital, just like in Italy, coffee is part of popular culture and manages the daily rhythms of everyone. But in Vienna you forget the espresso taken quickly at the counter: the taste may not be that of your home coffee but the Viennese kaffeehaus still retain all the poetry of the past, when philosophers and writers spent whole days talking about politics and writing. If the discussion, even the most boring, and the cappuccino, are accompanied by a nice slice of sachertorte, the coffee break can be obviously perfect.
Where to Stay
The Hotel Altstadt is a wonderful place, a refreshing source of Viennese joy of life, a refuge in which we can all relax among the beauties of the Austrian capital. It combines elegance, arts, design and lively atmosphere, all just in one place. Polished parquet floors, Belle Epoque antique furniture and en suite doors blend with the quirky creations of Annie Liebovits and Andy Warhol. In every room there is always a new concept and vision to discover. In short, a hotel that is captivating, artisanal, familiar and always so private.
Hotel Altstadt provides 61 rooms and suites and they are all different to each other: some lively and colorful, some calm and relaxing, others stylish and discreet. Each room is individually furnished and has its own design, ranging from a classic Viennese style to a contemporary modern touch.
Although the Hotel Altstadt does not have a restaurant, breakfast is exceptional as well. Enjoy it in the lounge with an array of buffet and menu items to choose from, including daily treats. During the afternoon tea, delicious cakes and baked pastries are offered to each guest. Hotel Altstadt is situated in a quiet area in the district of Spittelberg, in the 7th district of Vienna, definitely in the city centre, just 5-minute walk from the Museums Quartier and the famous Ringstraße.