Are you considering a break in Vienna but want to avoid the typical tourist traps? We asked a local, who has grown up in the Austrian capital, to let us in on the places you may not find in your tourist guidebook. These are the venues the locals would rather you didn’t know about, should they then become too mainstream. We couldn’t wait to start grilling our anonymous tipper, who lets us into some of Vienna’s secrets.
Where’s your favourite spot in the city?
It might be a bit of a cliché, but you can’t beat a stroll in the Prater. This is our Public Park and home to several of our tourist attractions, including the Viennese Giant Wheel. 2016 is the Prater’s 250th birthday and there are some great events planned for the year. I’m especially excited about the largest mobile rollercoaster in the world, which arrives into the park at the end of August.
Are there any great restaurants that I should know about?
There are so many! One of my favourites is Hawelka which hasn’t replaced any of its interior in the last hundred years. You’ll see these pictures hanging on the walls that were drawn by the artists who couldn’t afford to pay their restaurant bills.
If you want something that’s a little more modern, I’m also a huge fan of KussMaul. Their signature dish is the pig’s trotter, which chef Mario Bernatovic turns into this incredible taste sensation.
Besides the pig’s trotter, what should I eat in Vienna?
It isn’t just the restaurants and cafes that serve up great food. Head to a Wurstelstand Sausage Stall, and in your best German ask for ‘ein sechzehner Blech, mit an Eitrige, an Buggl, und a Krokodü’: that’s Otterkringer beer from the 16th district, with sausage, cheese and a gherkin. It’s a real taste of Vienna and I can’t do justice as to how good it is.
After that, you’ll want dessert. There’s a constant battle between us locals as to which ice cream place is the best, Eissalon Tuchlauben or Eissalon am Schwedenplatz. I’m a Tuchlauben girl, but you’ll probably want to try both.
Where should I go for a drink?
We Viennese love to walk. Strolling the Danube Canal and drinking in the bars that surround it is probably our version of your pub crawl! If you’re visiting before October, check out Tel Aviv Beach which has its own area of sand.
For something more traditional, Unger and Klein is a great wine bar with unique Viennese flair. If you can’t choose from the vast array of wines on offer, I would recommend ordering one of the classics, Grüner Velrliner or Zweigelt.
Where’s your favourite place to shop?
I love a good rummage at the flea market which comes to Naschmarkt every Saturday morning. The beauty is that you never know what you’re going to find and there are stalls that stock everything from antique weapons to vintage clothes.
I want to do something different, what would you recommend?
If you want something unique, take the Dritte Mann tour. It’s a tour through Vienna’s underground canal system, and yes it’s a lot more fascinating than it sounds. The Third Man was a cult movie that was shot in the city and lots of film buffs take this tour to follow in Orson Welles’ footsteps. Even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ll still enjoy the subterranean view of Wien River, all lit up with installations.
Finally, where do you head if you want to escape the city?
Stift Melk is a great day trip from Vienna. It’s a really impressive Benedictine abbey that contains several lavish frescoes. There’s also a great abbey restaurant on site where you can sample the monastery wine.
Feeling inspired? Book a break in Vienna now!