48 HOURS IN...

Vienna, Austria

Click here for 48 Hours In... Vienna map

WHY GO NOW?

Because other tourists are scarce and, with any luck, the cityscape will be blanketed in snow. Plus Fasching, Vienna's version of the carnival, peaks on Ash Wednesday, 21 February - expect colourful costumes and drunken revelry.

TOUCH DOWN

Fly to Vienna's Schwechat airport from Heathrow on Austrian Airlines or British Airways or from Birmingham or Manchester on BA. Fares for non-stop flights from Heathrow start at £110 through www.opodo.co.uk. The low-cost operator is FlyNiki from Stansted. From Vienna's airport, 17km east of the city centre, the quick way in is aboard the CAT (City Airport Train) which leaves every half-hour to Wien Mitte/Landstrasse station (1), taking just 16 minutes; €15 return (£11). A taxi to the city centre will cost about €45 (£32).

Other no-frills airlines use Bratislava airport, about 60km east across the border in Slovakia. Ryanair and SkyEurope fly from Stansted; easyJet flies from Luton. Buses from Bratislava airport to Vienna take around 90 minutes. Fare €11 (£8).

GET YOUR BEARINGS

Austria's easterly capital is split into two unequal halves by the Danube. Most attractions lie to the west, and most visitors will focus on the city's heart, the 1st district - hemmed in by the Danube Canal to the east and by the Ringstrasse (Ring Road) on the other sides. Vienna's 22 remaining districts spiral out from the 1st. The main tourist office (2) is on Albertinaplatz (00 43 1 211 14; www.wien.info; open 9am-7pm daily).

CHECK IN

Hollmann Beletage (3), near the canal at Köllnerhofgasse 6 (00 43 1 961 19 60; www.hollmann-beletage.at), is central and stylish. This boutique B&B has a handful of rooms featuring clean lines, natural wood floors, simple, classic furniture, and designer touches. The reception doubles as a guest lounge, with an open fireplace, sofas, library, and CD collection. Rooms start at €140 (£100), including breakfast. Cheaper, but equally central, is Pension am Operneck (4) at Kärntner Strasse 47 (00 43 1 512 93 10). Its location is almost unbeatable: opposite the legendary Sacher Hotel and State Opera on Kärntner Strasse, Vienna's most celebrated street. Rooms are, like the owner, fading after years of service, but both still provide comfort and warmth to guests. Pre-book one of those six doubles for €125 (£89), with breakfast an additional €10 (£7) per person. If you don't mind being slightly away from the centre, the 10-year-old Golden Tulip Art Hotel (5) at Brandmayergasse 7-9 (00 43 1 544 5108; www.goldentulip.com) offers four-star comfort at a very low price: as little as €66 (£47) for a double room, without breakfast.

TAKE A HIKE

Stroll around the medieval quarter of the 1st district. Begin at Stephansdom (6), open 6am-10pm (Sundays from 7am), admission free. At Domgasse 5 you find the renovated Mozarthaus Vienna (7); open 10am-8pm daily, €9 (£6.50). Head north on Essiggasse to narrow, winding Schönlaterngasse and its tall baroque façades. Turn left onto Fleischmarkt, the city's former meat market, and, after passing the sublime Greek Orthodox Church (8) at number 13 (open daily except Saturday, free admission), cross Rotenturmstrasse into one of Vienna's several Jewish quarters. Its cobbled streets contain many delights, including the city's oldest church, St Rupert's (9), reputedly built in 740.

LUNCH ON THE RUN

Nip into Trzesniewski Café (10) at Dorotheergasse 1 for a quick - and we mean quick - lunch. This divine sandwich shop serves two bite-size breads (€3/£2.20) with a choice of 21 spreads. Or wander along to Hoher Markt (11) and order a kaüsekrainer (a hearty sausage infused with cheese) and beer at the Würstelstand am Hoher Markt. For a full meal, head to Hotel Riviera (12) at Schönlaterngasse 13 (00 43 1 907 61 49;). Its midday menu, featuring creative Italian and Austrian cuisine, is a bargain.

TAKE A RIDE

Trams 1 and 2 circle the 1st district in opposite directions along the Ringstrasse. This is a wide boulevard lined with exceptional examples of neo-classical architecture. It replaced the medieval city walls in the mid-1800s to make way for Emperor Franz Josef's showmanship of Imperial power.

WINDOW SHOPPING

Mariahilfer Strasse is Vienna's Oxford Street - good for high street brands but often an exhausting shopping experience. Instead, wander through the Naschmarkt (13), the city's most colourful market. It mostly touts fruit and vegetables, but on Saturdays it expands westward to include a motley - and fascinating - flea market.

AN APERITIF

Do as the Viennese do and stop off at a coffee house. Café Bräunerhof (14), at Stallburggasse 2, is among the most authentic. It has changed little since Thomas Bernhard frequented the place, and the waiters are charmingly grumpy.

DINING WITH THE LOCALS

Gasthaus Wild (15) at Radetzkyplatz 1 (00 43 1 920 94 77) is a beautifully revamped neo-beisl (new pub) featuring a dark-wood interior and classic and modern Viennese cuisine. Mains, such as schnitzel mit erdaüpfelsalat (schnitzel with potato salad), range from €7 (£5) to €19 (£13) and the Austrian wine list is well above average.

SUNDAY MORNING: GO TO CHURCH

The obvious choices are gothic Stephansdom (4), which has mass at 9am and 10.15am, and the Burgkappelle (16), at Schweizerhof, where you can hear the illustrious Vienna Boys' Choir sing their young hearts out at 9.15am.

A WALK IN THE PARK

On a cold winter's day, take a brisk stroll in the gardens of Schloss Schönbrunn (17), open 6.30am-dusk. Laid out in French style between 1750 and 1755 for the pleasure of Maria Theresa, the gardens were first opened to the public in 1779. Wander immaculately groomed tree-lined paths, stumble across a classical statue here or fake Roman ruins there. When it gets too cold, Café Gloriette, the garden's neo-classical coffee house, can provide warming drinks and vistas of the palace and gardens.

OUT TO BRUNCH

Europa (18), a short way west along Mariahilfer Strasse at Zollergasse 8, is hard to pigeonhole -a café, a bar, a restaurant, a club? The fact that it's a bit of everything takes nothing away from its legendary breakfasts, served till 3pm on weekends. Café Sperl (19) at Gumpendorfer Strasse 11 is the darling of Jugendstil aficionados for its original fittings. It opens its doors at 11am, just in time for brunchers.

CULTURAL AFTERNOON

Spend an afternoon, or the entire weekend, at the Museumsquartier (20). The former Habsburg stables on the edge of the 1st district houses a cultural bonanza, including the Leopold Museum (00 43 1 525 700; www.leopoldmuseum.org) and Mumok (00 43 1 525 00-0; www.mumok.at). The former holds the largest collection of paintings by Austrian expressionists, with memorable works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, while the latter the city's premiere collection of 20th-century art, including controversial pieces by Vienna's Actionists. Leopold opens 10am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays until 1 April); Mumok 10am-6pm daily except Monday, both extend until 9pm on Thursdays; admission €9 (£6.50) to each.

WRITE A POSTCARD

Head for the Palmenhaus (21) in Burggarten, a bar-restaurant occupying the Ha bsburg's former Victorian palm house. Once cocooned in the building's whitewashed steel pillars and glass panels, it should be easy to wax lyrical about the Habsburgs and the architectural legacy they left the city.

ICING ON THE CAKE

From late January to early March the Rathausplatz (22) is transformed into the Wiener Eistraum, a large ice rink with a connecting ice path that winds its way through an adjacent park. Hire some skates (€6/£4.40), grab a ticket (€5/£3.30), and make an evening of it; open till 11pm.

News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own