Visiting Elegant Royal Vienna

I hope all of my friends are enjoying pleasant weather on your side of the Cloud!

I am always thrilled to return to the elegant city of Vienna, the capital of Austria! It is a beautiful location all year round and always has a magical quality!

Vienna was a Celtic settlement founded around 500 BCE but was formally organized as a city in 15 BCE by the Romans who created a fort on the southern banks of the Danube called Vindobona. From 1440, however, the city became one of the great capitals of the world as the seat of the mighty Hapsburg Dynasty that ruled the Holy Roman Empire from its base in Vienna for over four centuries. Because it was a seat of royal power for so long, it gained an elegance that is second to none throughout the world!

Since the time of the Hapsburgs, Vienna has developed into an important commercial centre but because of its parks, architecture, museums and high-culture, the capital of Austria is very comfortable. In fact, the Economist selected it as the “Most Liveable City in the World” in 2018 and 2019 – a title that it has held more than any other since 2000.

Although it has only 1.9 Million residents (2.6 Million in the metropolitan area), it has varied attractions like a city that is much larger! Here is a small collection of my most favourites:

Vienna - Staatsoper

Visit the Staatsoper – it’s beautiful!

Vienna - Klimt the Kiss

Klimt’s “The Kiss” is incredibly romantic!

  • Kunsthistoriches Museum – the art museum of Vienna that features the fabulous Hapsburg collection is housed in a beautiful palace. The Gustav Klimt collection is one of my favourites!
  • Staatsoper Wien – this is the elegant and acoustically profound States Opera house. Seeing any performance in this beautiful venue is memorable.

Here’s a pro-tip: Vienna is known as the “City of Music” because it was a magnet in the 17th and 18th Centuries for the greatest musical composers of all time. Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler and Strauss all composed music for the Hapsburg Emperors and their descendants. For sure, you must see a concert in one of the historic venues to truly appreciate these fabulous artists!

  • Saint Stephen’s Cathedral – this is the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna and a Gothic masterpiece with substantial Romanesque architecture linked harmoniously together. This is the most important religious building.
  • Hofburg Palace – this historical palace is not just the current office of the President of Austria, it also houses a fabulous museum that contains the crown jewels of the Hapsburg Dynasty.
Vienna - St Stephens

Saint Stephen’s is perfect for a concert!

Vienna - Lippizaner Stallion

The Lipizzaners are powerful and exciting!

  • Lainzer Tiergarten – this 24.5 square kilometre (9.5 square mile) wildlife preserve used to be the private hunting park of the Hapsburgs. Now, it is a fabulous place to explore the mystery of the forest while still in town!
  • Belvedere Palace – this is another fabulous property of the Hapsburgs that has been turned into a museum. This also has an important collection of Gustav Klimt’s works amongst many other Masters!
  • Lipizzaner Stallions – this royal breed of horses are kept partially wild in order to give them incredible spirit and energy. Seeing a performance of these powerful beats is a real treat!

A girl can never tire of seeing palaces and imagining what it would be like to be a princess!

Reaching Vienna is easy because of its convenient international airport. It is served from a wide variety of airports throughout Europe and beyond. Because the city is the unofficial gateway into Eastern Europe, the facility is modern and efficient. Public transport is excellent, with four main types: the U-Bahn (underground), the S-Bahn (local train), the Strassen Bahn (tram) and the Autobus. All are timely, clean and easy to navigate!

Hotels in Vienna offer a wide range of high-quality properties to meet any budget constraint. If you want the quintessential experience, I recommend the Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz which is one of the very best hotels in the world! An excellent hotel that is more affordable is the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna with its Art Deco interior. A favourite of mine is the moderately priced but iconic Grand Hotel Wien. All of these properties offer exquisite service in an elegant atmosphere.

Here’s another pro-tip: Chain properties are present in the city, but many of these lack the atmosphere of the traditional grand architecture that has been converted into hotels. I recommend that you experience the locally-owned and managed properties for the ultimate Vienna experience.

Vienna has fantastic restaurants to meet any taste, budget and dietary constraint. However, I highly recommend the archetypical Wiener Schnitzel washed down with copious amounts of high-quality Austrian wines. The reds are very good, but the white wines of Austria are excellent; particularly the Gruner Vetliner variety which is ubiquitous in the City. You can also sample the stronger Slivovitz, a plum brandy made in the region. Sampling the wines or Slivovitz while walking around the city will warm your stomach and your soul!

Vienna - Weiner Schnitzel

Typical Wiener Schnitzel: have the potato salad, not chips!

Here’s a final pro-tip: Vienna still has elegant Balls which are all-night formal attire parties. They normally start late and last until about 5:00 AM when the party can follow-on in daylight venues. If you have the opportunity to attend a Vienna Ball, I highly recommend it as a fun way to experience Vienna culture up close!

I hope you experience the excitement and elegance of Vienna. It is a place where you can feel like royalty!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

 

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Kunsthistoriches Museum, Belvedere Palace, Lainzer Tiergarten (https://www.wien.info/en, https://www.khm.at/en/, https://www.belvedere.at/en, https://www.lainzer-tiergarten.at)

Where to stay: Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, Grand Hotel Wien
(https://www.kempinski.com/en/vienna/palais-hansen, https://www.grandhotelwien.com/en/ )

Where to party: A Vienna Ball (https://www.austria.info/us/where-to-go/provinces/vienna/vienna-glorious-ball-season)

Where to eat: Any Heurigen – a wine pub
(https://www.wien.info/en/shopping-wining-dining/wine/heurige-2 )

What to buy: Austrian Wines, Slivovitz, Christmas ornaments and souvenirs at the Christmas Market

Vienna offers affordable elegance!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Kunsthistoriches Museum, Belvedere Palace, Lainzer Tiergarten (https://www.wien.info/en, https://www.khm.at/en/, https://www.belvedere.at/en, https://www.lainzer-tiergarten.at)

Where to stay: Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, Grand Hotel Wien
(https://www.kempinski.com/en/vienna/palais-hansen, https://www.grandhotelwien.com/en/ )

Where to party: A Vienna Ball (https://www.austria.info/us/where-to-go/provinces/vienna/vienna-glorious-ball-season)

Where to eat: Any Heurigen – a wine pub
(https://www.wien.info/en/shopping-wining-dining/wine/heurige-2 )

What to buy: Austrian Wines, Slivovitz, Christmas ornaments and souvenirs at the Christmas Market

Vienna offers affordable elegance!

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