Vienna Austria – The sounds of kindness and warm-heartedness abound

I love Vienna.  (Yes, insert the Ultravox classic, if you must!)  The city is clean, the people are kind and helpful, the public transport is nearly perfect (the CAT train doesn’t quite run early enough for those early am flights out of Vienna), and the food really coming in to its own.  If you haven’t been, you must go.  And if you’ve been, please return: it is nearly Europe’s most perfect city!

Nights

A couple of years ago, the Hotel Daniel (http://www.hoteldaniel.com/en/vienna.html) took over an old office building and converted it in to a cool, funky urban retreat right next to the Beveldere gardens.  This isn’t your Turkish rug covered, “we have Frette sheets,” nor even “breakfast included” sort of place, but rather, a modern, industrial, and funky retreat that is also comfortable.  And if you can swing the hammock room, do it: it has a hammock in the room!

If old-world Vienna is more your style and money no object, I would stay at the Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof (http://www.steigenberger.com/en/Wien?source=USSH0) as you can’t beat the location and the rooms are divine.  And the fact that Café Central is just around the corner, not to mention Café Demel, you truly can’t go wrong!

And if you are looking for something a bit more traditional, yet not in the same price range as the Steigenberger, check out the Hotel Alstadt Vienna (http://www.altstadt.at/en/) a tried and true hotel in the city.   The rooms are comfortable, if not over the top, and the staffs are fantastic and very helpful.

And although I haven’t stayed here, a friend suggested the Levante Laudon (http://www.thelevante.com/laudon/de/superior.html) which looks fantastic and a great place to make your home away from home.

Bites

Tian restaurant (http://www.tian-vienna.com/en) is one of the best restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of dining in, in my entire life.  And the fact that it is vegetarian is gives it double points!   Vegetarian or not, you must go once in your life.  In my opinion, this restaurant deserves at least 1 Michelin Star!  The wait staff are outstanding – and everything dressed in shades of lavender add to the experience – the small but inviting room outstanding, and the food absolutely divine.   It won’t be the cheapest meal you’ll have in Vienna – that’s for the street-corner stands which shouldn’t be avoided either – but it will be one of the best meals you will have.  (Note: a wine bar is planned to open downstairs of Tian and if looks alone are enough to judge, this will be a smashing success!)

Another fantastic vegetarian restaurant, only a short ride on the u-bah is Hollered (http://www.hollerei.at/).   Hollered is in something of a residential neighborhood but when I went, it was filled with locals, and packed, and the food just sublime!   This restaurant is a bit more rustic and casual but makes the food no less delectable.

Near St Stephen’s cathedral, but not so near as to be a tourist haven, if Fabio’s (http://fabios.at/de/fabios-restaurant-bar-wien.html).   As anyone who follows this blog, they know that I can’t go a few days without pasta and this restaurant met my needs to the umpteenth degree!   The burrata was a special, not listed on the menu and the pasta pure perfection: the portions weren’t too large, it was perfectly al dente, and the arrabiata just spicy enough!   And if you want an after-dinner drink: the small bar scene was hoppin’!

Another restaurant in the city center that I adore is the Restaurant Ofenloch (http://www.restaurant-ofenloch.at/en/).  I went here with friends and had fantastic Austrian wines, brilliant food, and a non-rushed service which was perfect for catching up and just enjoying the meal.

For a bit of classic Vienna, I would suggest Pfarrwirt (http://www.pfarrwirt.com/).  You can easily take public transport out  of the city center to this wonderful old house with great, classic Austrian dishes.

And a trip to Vienna wouldn’t be complete without some sweets.  There is the classic Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher but for me, a trip to Vienna isn’t complete without a trip to Café Central (see above) or Café Demel (http://www.demel.at/en/index_en_flash.htm).  Is there anything better than coffee and sweets under chandeliers served by men and women in starched coats?

Sites

Every guidebook will tell you about the major sites to see so I won’t repeat them.  But I will tell you that stroll through the Belvedere gardens should not be missed!  And if you wallet permits, a night at the opera is not to be missed.  The Stadthopper may be a bit smaller than some of the other classic opera houses in the world, but that doesn’t mean the performance is any the less.  And if you can follow the opera by a bit of Sachertorte and a drink, you have then experienced my perfect Vienna evening!

And with that, I hope you enjoy your trip to Vienna.   It really is an amazing city and one that should not be missed, but rather enjoyed often!  Safe travels!

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