EAT in Vienna:
Maybe even the furnishings are made of sugar? The delicacies in the display cabinets definitely are. They don't only look indescribable, but also taste like that, too. The place has a long tradition, having been chosen to be the k.u.k. Court bakery. The candied violets are a decadent relict from the past, and a unique specialty that you won't get anywhere else. The Anna Demel cake is also notorious, a piece of art made of chocolate and truffles. Tip: The extra charge for the tradition is included in the price. It's worth it for the sweet stuff, but not so much for the savoury snacks on offer.
The Palmenhaus is such a nice place that it easily manages the balancing act between tourist trap and local hot spot. It's existed since the turn of the century, and a look at the glass-steel construction alone is worth the visit. Now parts of the building have been remodelled by the architect duo Eichinger-Knechtl and were modernized in the true sense of the word. The palm trees and the view over the enchanting Burggarten have remained. Try to find a spot on the terrace or at the Brunnenbar (at park level). You can spend wonderful summer nights there, tastefully set to music by Viennese DJs. Plus: Great cuisine, great cocktails.
The legendary Café Landtmann is located directly at the ring road next to the Burgtheater. It's a Viennese tradition to go there after the show. When Franz Landtmann opened his café in 1873, it was the city's most spacious. It still is one of the most elegant, even if the elegance appears a little old-fashioned. Here all the Vienna clichés come true: The waiters condescend to serve with bow tie and verve, the coffee comes in 15 different names and the pastries make you drop on your knees. Three times a week (Monday, Tuesday and Sunday night) even the musical cliché holds true, with live piano music in the background. The wonderfully modern winter garden is new and makes for a nice contrast to the classic and somewhat stuffy part of the café. If you sit for a little bit longer until you get hungry, it doesn't matter so much: The cuisine is typically Viennese and much more than just a coffeehouse snack.
SHOPPING in Vienna:
When cold, rains and storms make for challenging weather, there is nothing nicer than to slip into a piece of knitting art by designer Sibylle Bauer-Schmidt. In the tailor's workshop next to the shop you can buy the exceptional yet wearable. The skirts, jackets, coats and sweaters radiate from colourful elegance and tasteful creativity. The knitted fabrics, from which Sibylle Bauer-Schmidt produces her fashion, are produced exclusively for Sibylle Bauer-Schmidt. If you shop here you purchase a piece of her passion and a potential favourite.
It seems that it got a little tight in Nathalie Perstich's shop in the Schleifmühlgasse, between kitchen and cookbook collection. Thus she opened another one in the middle of the first district. Just as in the original Babette's, there are loads of cookbooks. But the exuberant selection of unusual spices from all over the world is new. There is reason to doubt that the Naschmarkt can compete with that: 70 spices are kept in the mysterious spice chest. They are offered in bulk, plain or mixed by hand into great concoctions. Would you like to have the luxury spice of all? Then you should try the legendary, because extremely rare Kampot Pepper from Cambodia. Hungry? Then wait for lunch. Soups, curries and savoury pastries are prepared with the spices on offer; maybe that will facilitate your choice a bit.
There's no better place for a design centre than the new hotel of a star architect. That happened in December 2010 in Vienna: after a two-year construction phase, the design centre stilwerk Vienna finally opened. With roughly 30 shops, the building becomes a hub for design. On four floors and around 6000 square metres, design enthusiasts find everything that got style: furniture, living accessories, gift articles, fabrics, consumer electronics, lamps and fashion. The new stilwerk Vienna can be found in building of the new Hotel Sofitel St. Stephan's Cathedral which - as one might assume - is not located next to Stephansplatz but the Danube canal. The hotel itself is a piece of design - projected by Pritzker prize winner Jean Nouvel with fantastic lighting installations by artists Pipilotti Rist. stilwerk, known for being a hub for (interior) design and lifestyle accessories with internationally known brands for more than 14 years, has opened its first branch outside Germany in Vienna - following the success in Hamburg, Berlin and Düsseldorf.
STAY in Vienna:
Minimalism and discreet luxury? Not here: In these apartments it's a virtue to show off, be it with nude statues, leopard fabrics and loads of cushioning. If you stay in Vienna for a longer period and don't like the atmosphere in hotels, the exclusive Niky apartments are your best bet. The service is just as perfect as in any hotel, and the catering comes directly from the gourmet restaurant Niky's Kuchelmasterei. Niky's staff are also happy to put together an exquisite wine selection for you. So relax with a good glass of wine in the whirlpool that is waiting in your marble bath. What do you think? A night in the suite costs about 247 euros.
The beautiful Art Nouveau building has apartments that fulfil nearly every demand. You can get apartments starting at at a cosy 25 or up to a spacious 90 sqm, the latter providing enough room for up to seven people. Of course there is everything that you need in the kitchen and bath room, and the big apartments even have a washing machine and dishwasher. The apartments under the attic are particularly great. They are not cheap, but you have a direct view onto St. Stephen's Cathedral. Tip: For 5 euros a person you get breakfast room service. A night in the cute suite starts at 155 euros.
Wine aficionados will feel understood in the Hotel Rathaus: It renders homage to the Austrian vintners, having named every single room after one of the vinous local heroes. Forty rooms and one loft suite, that reflects the diversity of the Austrian wine culture, and of course there are top quality samples in the minibar. Organized tours include wine trips to Vienna's surrounding areas, and if you don't want to leave the hotel you can join the in-house wine tasting events and presentations. The rooms have an individualistic flair and are furnished in a pleasant, modern design. A night in a double starts at 160,- euros.
SIGHTS in Vienna:
When the schedule is tight and you need to get moving, we suggest combining your morning jog with a sightseeing tour: Just run around the ring road and admire the magnificent buildings. Shortly after the start you pass the parliament building: Pallas Athena is turning her back to the parliament, maybe not a wise decision. Then you move on to the Rathausplatz, with City Hall and Burgtheater, then on to the University at the Schottentor, passed the Bourse, the Urania, and the MAK (Museum of Applied Arts). Along the chic Kärnterring you reach the Opera. If you need more action still, you can turn into a park on the way. The Volksgarten, the Stadtpark or the Burggarten are possibilities. Tip: The round also works with the tram (you have to change lines) or a rented City Bike.
The Viennese aren't exactly famous for being fast and lively. Yet once a year half of Vienna is on its feet, in order to show that cosiness toughens you up. The Vienna City Marathon is the greatest running event in Austria and has been taking place since 1984 and on April 14th, 2013 it's time again! The course is particularly beautiful: There is a relatively relaxed start at the Wagramer Straße, from there the runners cross the city centre, along the Mariahilferstraße and finally on the ring road to the Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square). In case you are in a really good shape, you may admire the most beautiful corners of the city before becoming a hero. The spectators are almost as committed as the runners and contribute greatly to the event. Breathe deeply and run!
It is the biggest museum of contemporary art in Central Europe. And Vienna's greatest. The MUMOK is always worth a visit, if only for its architecture. And inside it's just as impressive, since the curators can draw from an extensive collection and present interesting focal points. There are five levels with works by Pablo Picasso, Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol and Günter Brus, ranging from Pop Art to Photorealism and from Fluxus to New Realism. The collection on the Viennese Actionism is a must.