Please sign in to post.

Vienna suggestions

We just returned from an extended trip to Europe that included four days in Vienna. Here are a few of my suggestions:
-We stayed at Motel One Staatsoper. The Rick Steves guide has this as a $$ hotel, I would say it's on the more expensive side but worth it. Great location, right around the corner from the opera house and Karlsplaatz, short walk to the subway. Rooms are very nice and well appointed. Best breakfast buffet we had on the entire trip.
-My wife and I are both vegan and found Vienna to be very vegan friendly. Close to our hotel was Vegiezz, excellent food and outdoor seating. We ate there twice in four days.
-Find a small restaurant named Trzesniewski, on a side road off the Karlsplaatz. They serve little open-faced sandwiches that were amazing and a real Vienna experience. They also have a location in the Vienna airport.
-Everyone wants to have the sachertorte at Cafe Sacher. Very long lines all day long! Try Demel, which is close to the Hofsburg. Shorter lines, great pastry (out of this world apple strudel) and a old Europe atmosphere.
-If you are also going to Bratislava (highly recommended), the Twin Cities Liner is a quick and convenient way to get there and it drops you off near the city center. Take a ride on the Danube. More expensive than a train but lots of fun.

We found Vienna to be an amazing city and plan to return!

Posted by
5295 posts

If you do return, then know that there are many vegan/vegan friendly restaurants that are better than Vegiezzz.

Trzesniewski also has multiple locations in the city, not just Karlsplatz and the airport.

Many Viennese prefer to go elsewhere for their Sachertorte now as Sacher and Demel are just a tourist circus. Locals hate and resent those places now, including Central. Much disdain.

Posted by
451 posts

Thanks for the Vienna suggestions! I want to pass along yet another choice for tortes. My most recent visit to Vienna was just a one day stop while on a river cruise. At the end of the local guide's tour I asked for directions to Cafe Demel and another person in the group asked for directions to Cafe Central. Our guide's opinion was that both of those places are for tourists. She suggested that we go to the Gerstner Cafe for a more authentic, local experience. It is in the building across the street from the Opera House. Her "insider tip" was to go to the cafe on the third floor instead of the one on the second floor. The Gerstner Cafe was opened in 1847. The owners were selected to provide their wonderful cakes and candies to royalty and thus their shop was known as the Imperial Court Confectioner. The first floor is the sweetshop. It has a winding staircase that you use to get to the upper two salons. The whole place has such a luxurious ambience, and the cakes are fabulous!

Posted by
6 posts

I appreciate the thoughts and comments. We ended up at Demel as it was a stop on the Rick Steves Vienna City Walk in his guidebook. We were doing the walk, it was there, and decided to check it out. Touristy? Definitely. But we were treated well, and the apple strudel was quite good. We followed many of Steves' recommendations on a three-week trip through Europe and noticed that he is tending to gravitate away from the "back door" places and recommending more mainstream and touristy/expensive hotels, restaurants, and attractions. We knew before we even left home that Sacher was off the list of places we wanted to go.

As far as Vienna locals "hating and resenting" these places, to me that infers that they also hate and resent the tourists who patronize them. I live in a city of less than 100,00 people that is a major tourist destination and gets more than 12 million visitors a year who spend more than $2.6 billion dollars. And that data is from 2021, in the midst of Covid. We have tons of places and activities that are designed for the tourists, and locals don't go there. But we support them since tourism is a major part of our local economy and provides thousands of jobs. We tolerate the tourists and the places that cater to them. We also have a sort of unwritten rule, that there are places for locals that we don't tell the tourists about. Otherwise, they end up overrun with tourists making it difficult for the locals to enjoy them. While I enjoy finding the off-the-path, local places when I travel, because of where I live I am also aware of giving the locals their space.

Posted by
57 posts

And now I want to know where you live!
I used to live close to Santa Fe, NM and now in Tucson. Lots of tourists in both places and agree there are places we locals want to keep private. But many of the touristy places are good--just crowded.

Posted by
6 posts

I live in Asheville, North Carolina. Our busiest tourism season is approaching, with the changing of the leaves in the mountains in fall. It will be insane! I volunteer in the visitor center in the national forest, people come in asking about hikes, waterfalls, etc. and we'll get more than 1,500 people a day. There are some great ones that I don't tell people about so to try to keep them for locals. Our local tourism board emails and posts on social media about places "where the locals go" and it generates quite a backlash from the locals.

Posted by
5295 posts

I’m also from NC. I would share that Vienna is a wealthy city without the tourists. Central, Demel and Sacher used to be nice but no more. Even 10 years ago I would just walk in Central and spend a few hours. These have all been stolen by Instagrammers, unfortunately, and locals are not taking it well. That said, everyone has adapted and I now have new favorites.

Posted by
71 posts

Papazed- Did you think that four days was enough for Vienna? My son is studying abroad there next semester and we plan on visiting and traveling. Our whole family is going and we were thinking about getting an Air BnB for our stay in Vienna. I was thinking four days,my wife says five- Just wondering what your opinion is? And did you travel to any other spots in Austria?
Thanks, Dan

Posted by
6 posts

Dan- For us four days was enough, but we skipped going into a lot of the major attractions like Hofburg Palace and the museums. If that interests you, you may want to add a few days. We just enjoyed walking and seeing the city, took in an evening concert, walked through the parks (lots of nice green space in Vienna), drank coffee and watched people. We did go out to Prater Park one evening which is an amusement park in the city and that was fun. The 210 ft. Ferris wheel was a nice ride with a great view at dusk.

Our son studied in Paris for six months and managed to travel around Europe, Vienna was his favorite city.

We did not travel farther into Austria, but that's on the agenda for the next trip. We took the train from Venice to Vienna, through the Alps and it was an amazing ride. As mentioned in my original post, we did take the Twin Cities Liner boat to Bratislava. It's 75 minutes on the Danube River and drops you off a short walk from the old town. There are also bus lines that connect the two cities. If you can manage a day or two in Bratislava it's worth the trip.

Happy and safe travels!

Posted by
1433 posts

As for Trzesniewski, the central location at Dorotheergasse should be the one where Kafka had his sanwiches :-)
As for cakes, I am partial to Heiner at Wollzeile, that once was a royal provider like Demel but where you are unlikely to find tourists.

Posted by
2081 posts

Thanks for this info, Papazed. I've just started planning for Vienna next year and glad to read that Motel One Staatsoper was good. I enjoyed a Motel One in Edinburgh recently so this chain is turning out to be one I'm probably going to look out for.

Posted by
4077 posts

Rick mentions Trzesniewski quite a bit, there is also one at the Westbahn train station I believe. It was fun to get the little sandwiches and most people got the little beers to go along with them.

Posted by
3561 posts

Our first trip to Vienna was for one week. We liked it so much that we went back for another week the next year. It has wonderful, interesting architecture, especially the many Jugenstihl sites. The collection of the Kunsthisorischemuseum is fabulous, especially the works by Durer and by Brueghel. There is a science museum just across from the KH, but we never made it there.
The Belvedere Palace is another place with a great art collection, especially the Klimts. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Both it and the KHM have cafes which serve tasty food at decent prices.
One day we took a train to Melk and sailed back to Vienna. That gave us a look at some of the smaller towns in the vicinity.
When we visited, there were walking tours available through the TI office. Some, free and others with reasonable prices. Possibly this has changed. Our trips were pre-covid.
My advice is to give Vienna as much time as you can.