Vienna is renowned for its elegant execution of the finer things in life. The art, architecture and refined musical culture are the hallmarks of this much-loved city that offers just the right blend of historical and contemporary ambience. The world-class museums, stunning Baroque cathedrals and delicious Sachertorte (its iconic chocolate cake) attract tourists from all over the world, but while the city’s high-profile attractions are deserving of their popularity, there’s a whole other side to the city that many visitors don’t get to see.
So, why not slip off the beaten track and discover some of Vienna’s hidden gems?
You might have thought the chances of reclining in a deck chair catching some sun was reserved for a different kind of getaway, but not only is it possible in Vienna, it’s one of the true local pleasures. Head down to the banks of the Danube Canal (also known as “the Little Danube”) and you’ll be able to take in a different side to the city’s considerable charms. At selected sections, the banks have been transformed into lovely beaches, complete with umbrellas, chairs and space for recreational activities. Once you’ve had your fill of sandcastles or beach volleyball, you can settle in at one of the numerous canal-side cafes or restaurants to watch the world go by. It’s one of the authentic Viennese traditions that you can well and truly join in!
Almost every city has an “other side of the river”; Vienna’s other side is well worth escaping the tourist throng to discover. The city’s traditional Jewish quarter is one of the most exciting and interesting neighbourhoods to explore and is where you’ll find the Karmelitermarkt. Offering a truly authentic slice of local life, this bustling market is heaving with fresh local produce, regional delicacies and all the sights, sounds and aromas of the Jewish quarter. Take a stroll through the markets to simply soak up the atmosphere or take a string bag and fill it to the brim with gastronomic goodies.
The Globe Museum
What adventurous traveller doesn’t like to run their hands around a globe and wonder, “where to next”? Even if it’s not exactly as hands-on as that, the enchanting Globe Museum (the only one of its kind) is a wonderful place to get lost in another world for an afternoon. The extensive collection includes everything from tiny specimens that fit in the palm of your hand to inflatable fabric globes and giant-sized globes bigger than a human. The Globe Museum is an ideal place for some quiet reflection and maybe some planning for your next travel escapade…
While it may seem like a mainstream activity, a night at the Viennese opera is one of the most memorable and emotive experiences you’ll have in the city – whether or not you know anything about classical music. With numerous venues from which to choose, an evening of classical musical magic really doesn’t have to cost you the earth. The trick is to turn up around an hour and a half before the show commences and you may be able to get a hugely discounted last-minute ticket for as little as €3. What’s the catch? Well, you’ll have to stand, but when you’re in the throes of a performance by some of the most talented musicians in the world, you won’t even notice. And you’ll be among the first for that well-deserved standing ovation.
Badeschiff and Porgy & Bess Jazz Club
When the time comes to let your hair down, Vienna knows how to party with the best of them. But if you’re looking for something a little less mainstream, Badeschiff will fit your bill to a tee. This converted canal barge could be the most unique club you’ve ever experienced, as you dance to the pumping beats of a resident DJ in the cargo hold, chill out on the sun deck, and even go for a dip in the pool if it takes your fancy!
Take the party down a notch at the mellow Porgy & Bess Jazz Club, which proves in the most delightful way that Vienna doesn’t just do classical music. Tucked away down a back alley of the city centre, it’s well worth the extra effort to find for the cool-as-you-like ambience and the fabulous jazz, swing and cabaret performances.
How to Get to Vienna
With a flight time of around two hours and 15 minutes from the UK, even a weekend getaway to Vienna is no problem. All the budget carriers offer regular scheduled flights to Vienna Airport (VIE), including easyJet, British Airways and Austrian.
The best way to ensure the fastest, most convenient ride to your accommodation is to prebook a transfer from Vienna Airport to the city with Shuttle Direct. You can choose from a budget shared shuttle or a private transfer, and within 20 minutes you’ll be in the centre of the city. Easy!
Where to Stay:
Zum Goldenen Kegel Hostel: Set in the heart of Vienna’s Ottakring district, the Zum Goldenen Kegal Hostel is close to transport, local markets and walking distance from almost everything. With free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and even a pub onsite, you’re within easy access of the city’s most authentic attractions.
Vienna Hostel Ruthensteiner: The facilities of the delightfully sociable Vienna Hostel Ruthensteiner include a shared lounge, its own bar, a tour desk and a lovely garden and terrace. You can walk or take easy public transport to all the attractions of the city and enjoy the warm hospitality of one of the most popular hostels in Vienna.
Arnes Hotel Vienna: The friendly Arnes Hotel Vienna provides clean, comfortable, modern accommodation in a convenient location, with transport on the doorstep. Offering free Wi-Fi, light and spacious rooms and the welcoming surrounds of a renovated Art Nouveau building, you won’t find better in the popular Favoriten district.
About Shuttle Direct:
If you’re looking for the best way to get from the airport at Vienna to the door of your accommodation, Shuttle Direct has the answer to all your questions. Our reputation as the most trusted provider of airport transfers in Europe means that whatever your budget and however you prefer to travel, our range of shared and private services has you covered. All you need to do is make a quick and easy online booking and we’ll be there to get you wherever you need to go.