Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Vienna in spring

Vienna is the perfect city to visit in springtime, the sun is bright but not strong and the air is crisp and fresh; perfect for walking around and admiring the magnificence of the city.

We got to Vienna from Cyprus using Blueair. We had a lot of problems booking online with Blueair but eventually we managed to do it. It cost us about 190 euros return each but it would have probably been cheaper if we had left it to closer to the time or if we hadn't gone at easter. Unfortunately, if you have a cat and a full time job, flexibility isn't always easy!

The flight was about 3 hours long. Blueair's flight staff are very pleasant for a budget airline. We arrived in the airport and asked tourist information for help on getting into the city centre. The transfer was incredibly easy, there are regular buses into the city centre and the journey takes about 35 minutes. It costs 11.50 euros return for the transfer. There is also a high speed train connection which takes 15 minutes but is slightly more expensive.

We stayed at the Arcotel Wimberger which is right next to West Banhoff station which is where the bus drops you and seems to be the main train station in Vienna. We got a great deal on the Arcotel Wimberger through Lastminute; it averaged at about 53 GBP per night which is a good price for a luxury hotel. The Arcotel Wimberger is not the most beautiful hotel but it is well located and very peaceful once you are inside. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The hotel has a full fitness and leisure suite with a gym, indoor pool and sauna. Unfortunately, we forgot our swimwear!
When you live in a country like Cyprus, Vienna seems wonderfully elegant and peaceful. The people are very quiet and polite - always quick to offer help if you seem lost. None of the endless chattering of the Mediterraneans! The city centre is a UNESCO world heritage site and is incredibly beautiful and well-maintained.

Getting around Vienna is easy. There are trams and an easy to use underground train system. A ticket on the underground is 1.80 euros - although no one ever seems to check your ticket and there are no barriers. If found without a ticket you will get fined 70 euros so be careful. However, most of the time you can just walk everywhere. I would recommend getting the underground to Graben street on your first day and then walking from there. Graben is the main shopping street and is right in the very centre of the city. All around you there are beautiful buildings and most of the shops themselves are housed in gorgeous buildings. It's worth taking a look at the H&M on Graben street as it's housed in a beautiful old wood-panelled building.

It's also worth looking at the butterfly house as it's located in an exquisite glass building - it's next to the Mozart memorial. There is a tram that circles through most of the main sites, I think it's the number 1 tram.

In Vienna each district is called a bezirk and most of the main sites are in the 1st bezirk (the centre), if you have time, it's also worth looking at Joseph Stadt as it has a few vintage stores and some less touristy bars and cafes.

Definitely the best thing about Vienna is the Naschmarkt. Get the U4 line to Kettenbrueckengasse. When you come out of the station you will be in the section of the market for antiques and basically tat. Head to your right, towards the Secession building, and you will hit the food section of the market. It is incredible. There are stalls selling all manner of delicacies, fruits, chocolates and wines. There are lots of stalls where you can take a seat and order a plate of nibbles with prosecco. At the edge of the market, there are a number of mini-restaurants serving Austrian, Asian and Mediterranean food. The prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is really good.

When you are in Vienna, you must visit one of the traditional coffee houses. I would recommend going to Cafe Sperl on Gummpendorf strabe. All the cafes are wonderful and make you feel like you have stepped onto the set of an Agatha Christie novel. Waiters wear black tie and most of the cafes have chandeliers and lovely high ceilings. The coffees are wonderful - I recommend trying the Marie Therese which has orange liquer in it. Most cafes have a selection of cakes available - try the sachertorte or strudel with vanilla sauce.
We were in Vienna for two days and we found that that was just enough time as, unless you love museums, there is not that much to do there. However, it's a perfect destination for a relaxing weekend of beautiful scenery and tasty food!


  1. Thanks for an interesting article about Vienna. i rather like 'the endless chattering of the Meditteranean' but I get your point about a sober break in a quiet place. I am now off to check out your jewellery site; as I am rather taken with your Norwegain Pianist ear-rings!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post about Vienna! I lived there for 14 years and I am still impressed by its beauty!