What to see in Vienna?Our Vienna Guide is written by locals to help you get the most out of your time in Austria’s Capital!
Go on a Free Walking Tour
The best way to explore a city is getting into a free walking tour. Vienna is full of hidden gems and what the best way to expore it than with a local guide? You will get around the city and hear about all the stories about Vienna history and culture. Every inch of the city is covered in history. Glauben Sie uns – Es lohnt sich den Spaziergang!
Book now your tour and explore the wonders and secrets of Vienna with local guides!
Austria’s biggest Palace is only a 15 min walk (or a few tram stops) away from Hostel Ruthensteiner. Walking in the vast and beautiful gardens around it or having some coffee in the famous Gloriette on top of the hill with a view over the Palace is simply delightful. And during Christmas time the courtyard is filled with stands selling handicraft, sweets and hot ‘glüh’wine.
The Hundertwasserhaus apartment block looks like it has been taken out of a fairy tale (somewhere in between Alice & Tolkiens Hobbitland). “An uneven floor is a melody to the feet” said Architekt, Painter and general creative weirdo Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 – 2000), but that is just one of many Details. A roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows, colourful areas, irregular forms, many grown over with lush green plants. Besides the well know house there is also a waste-burning facility that was beautified by him. It’s shiny tower can be seen from far and acts as a homing beacon for everybody living in the north of Vienna.
Classical music for cheap
Vienna has one of the world’s most renowned Operas. The acoustics are mind-blowing, the orchestra is amongst the world’s best. Now if that weren’t enough reasons to pay the old lady a visit, the architecture inside and outside is breathtaking as well. And now the best: you can actually grab tickets from only 3 Euros. How, when and where and why the tickets for 4 euros are the better choice – we leave that to Hostel Ruthensteiner’s staff to explain :).
Art & more in the Museumsquartier
While the name stands for its different museums, for instance the “Leopold” that holds the largest collection of Egon Schiele paintings as well as a few Klimts, another side of it is less well known. In the evenings it also doubles up as a place for people to simply hang out and bring their own beverages. No worries if you haven’t brought them, there are funny guys with big backpacks walking around and selling you cans of beer for 2 euros while making you feel like they are dealing you something worse (which might have to do with their unclear license situation :). And if it starts to rain you can always enter the Cafe Leopold just up a flight of stairs, that features a good burger and an actually really nice night club on weekends.)
There are a few unexpected things to do in Vienna – it is after all also its position at the heart of Europe that made it into what it is now. And its “oldstyle but revived for the next millennium” markets are where the influences from all over Europe show. The most famous of them is Naschmarkt (English: something like nibble-market), with its crazy open air flea market on Saturdays. But there are more markets than just the well known No.1. See SOHO Ottakring.
Schnitzel, Coffee & Cake
Living in one of the world’s most liveable cities, the Viennese love nothing more than ranting and food. It is surprising how well these things go together. Sitting in a typical Viennese coffee house and moaning about politics & the weather in general while munching the most delicious Sachertorte. You should try it. And of course, you simply can’t miss the famous Wiener Schnitzel, a piece of thin pork, buttered and egged and breaded with a perfect crust.
While there are many kinds of tourist places to do this, our top secret tip is the Quell very close to the Hostel. With a friendly, young staff they are still totally reluctant to sell salad as a main dish, or proper vegetarian options. BUT that also expands to industrial style cooking. Everything is old style there. Do we have to mention that the interior probably hasn’t changed in a 100 years?
Mingle with the artists of now
Just one street from the Gürtel (English: belt) there are two things that even impressed the City Spy Map makers last time they visited Vienna (which is why it’s on the map now). The Brunnenmarkt is Vienna’s second biggest market right after the Naschmarkt, but lacks the über-fancy attitude that the No. 1 has developed. Don’t forget to buy some of the Austrian cheeses there – the locals want to keep them for themselves – but the Turkish marketeers will let you sample them for free. You will land at Yppenplatz, with its big space and wide selection of all kind of food. Enjoy the scene: Vienna’s social students, organic vegans and modern bourgeois artists come together to eat and drink until 11pm. Of course there is also another reason . Here is where, sometimes hidden in a backyard and sometimes in the open (check out the street Grundsteingasse), all the underground and modern Art & Music in Vienna happens – they don’t call it Vienna’s SOHO for no reason.
White Wine on the hills
Did we mention the Viennese love eating? Well… but not without the proper beer or wine. And while Austrian beer is pretty damn good, the white wine is a treat. The one place where wine is even fresher than anywhere else is the so called Heurigen, a special kind of restaurant where you can get cold platters and this year’s first wine. We definitely recommend strolling the hills of Grinzing (from the top of Kahlenberg you can get the best view of Vienna for free!) and entering the little town in the evening. Go there on Monday for their free Austrian folk music and great atmosphere. If you have some more time why not do the super fun all-day “grape grazing tour”, which takes you further into the beautiful hinterland…? You can book at our reception, with a little discount :).
Relax Vienna Style
Now if there is one thing that puts quality into Viennese life, it is laziness. The difference between German people and Viennese is that Germans might say “The situation is bad but not hopeless” while the Viennese say “The situation is hopeless but not bad”. While that mindset has led the Viennese into all kinds of bad political situations over the last centuries they were willing to stand up for one thing: the right to hang out on every piece of green Vienna has. We suggest that you use those rights the Viennese have fought for and hang out in the beautiful Burggarten next to the Hofburg Imperial Palace or Stadtpark in between the pompous buildings. Do something against global warming as the Viennese like to do it: Nothing :)
Wait! We just talked about lying around. But there’s more. Beaches you might ask? Yes, it’s weird. But that’s part of the attraction. There are several artificial beaches by the Danube canal, which goes right along the inner city. The most famous of them is Hermann’s Strand Bar. But there are more opposite Schwedenplatz down at the canal. However, nobody in their right mind would go for a swim in the canal. There are other options. A noisy holiday resort-like one is the so called Copa Kagrana at the Danube right on the U1-line. If you prefer it more peaceful, two stops further at Alte Donau the scene gets very laid back. One thing Viennese people like even more than lying around is lying around in the nude (winter tip: excellent saunas). If you are into being as God made you, take the metro U6 and then walk up north along the Neue Donau. Sooner or later you will find the sign on the floor that says “FKK Zone”. Time to drop your panties :).
Clubbing until Dawn
Ok, Vienna is not the No.1 party city. That’s got something to do with Vienna’s architectural structure where everything is formed in rings and the typical cheaper quarters where all the partying is happening are hugging the city from all sides. But once you know where things are happening you might find yourself part of the craziest party night ever. Many guidebooks and internet sites drop names like “Volksgarten” und “Flex”. While the first one is Vienna’s hip and rich crowd’s darling, the second is long beyond its most glorious rebellious youth. The new cats on the block are named Fluc and Pratersauna, the first one more dirty and crammed, and maybe more ecstatic, the second with a bit better quality of everything. The same goes for Grelle Forelle and Das Werk which are only a few stations with the U6 from the hostel. While the first one features well known electronic music DJ’s the second one is probably one of Europe’s most underground clubs, and a good bet if you’ve had enough of Grelle Forelle’s not-so-cheap drinks and just want to party your drunken head off.
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Meeting point: Albertinaplatz 1 1010 Wien