Vienna’s not just for Mozart-lovers, you know. We just spent four (really sweltering) days there and were surprised (even SHOCKED) to find that the city is really, really cool (unlike the hot, hot temperature).
Yes, it’s a gorgeous, imperial-looking place, with old-world palaces and grand neoclassical buildings everywhere you look. But it’s become typecast in a rigid and pretty boring role, and it’s about time its young, fun and downright hip side gets some love.
Here’s the five reasons why we love Vienna:
ONE: It’s COOL
Don’t believe me? Head to the Danube Canal which buzzes with pop-up bars and eateries in the summer. Soak up the sun at Badeschiff and swim some laps in its outdoor pool plonked right in the canal, before taking some sundowners on the terrace at Motto am Fluss, a real hotspot which is packed on warm summer evenings. Then hit up It’s All About The Meat Baby for tasty burgers, cocktails and DJs.
TWO: It’s got BEACH BARS (despite being totally land-locked)
If you think it’s odd to find a beach bar in Vienna, you’re not alone. But there’s actually several great beach bars in the city, with Strandbar Herrmann being our favourite. It’s set smack dab next to the Danube Canal in central Vienna and attracts a cool crowd who chill out in deck chairs, sipping cocktails while music spins on the turntable all night long. The only real drawback is that there’s no swimming in the canal – an artificial beach in a landlocked country can only get you so far.
THREE: It’s oh-so CULTURED
The art scene in Vienna is surprisingly exciting, contemporary and vibrant, with many of the best galleries and museums also functioning as hip hotspots for cool locals. The gorgeous Museumsquartier is expansive (it’s actually the 8th largest cultural district in the world) and packed with galleries, museums and performance spaces. Explore the Leopold Museum, before heading on to the much more contemporary MUMOK. A short walk away is Secession, which we loved and hosts all kinds of amazing, and very innovative, visual arts.
FOUR: It’s seriously FOODIE
We love to eat, and eat well we did in Vienna – there’s so many incredible, buzzing restaurants in the city. Highlights include the ambitious and trendy hotspot Labstelle, the gastronomic Steirereck (one of Austria’s finest restaurants) and – best of all – the offbeat Japanese restaurant Mochi, which is ridiculously busy for a reason. Experimental for the sake of it often doesn’t pay off, but at this teeny Japanese-inspired restaurant they pull ‘different’ off with aplomb – innovative takes on sushi, tapas, and kushikatsu result in surprisingly satisfying dishes such as crispy pizza rolls or bone marrow with boniato.
FIVE: It’s has NASCHMARKT
It’s basically a brilliant and stretched out (it’s a mile-long) bazaar, which has been active since the 16th century. Small cafés, food stalls and a number of restaurants are sprinkled about the assorted vendors, offering up a variety of fare at varying quality. Best is to head here for the flea market and then go to NENI for food – dig into moreish Middle Easter dishes and mingle with designers, artists and creative types.
For more great tips, check out GuidePal’s complete Vienna guide.