48 hours in Vienna

This great city on the Danube boasts a dazzling artistic heritage, world-beating museums and to-diet-for cakes


WHY GO NOW ?The oppressive summer heat is cooling, although fine, warm days should continue through September. The tourist hordes are thinning out, too, meaning a general reduction in hotel prices and leaving elbow room in the galleries and exhibitions. Plus, a new exhibition of Gustav Klimt's portraits of women opens on 20 September in the Belvedere Palace.

WHY GO NOW ?The oppressive summer heat is cooling, although fine, warm days should continue through September. The tourist hordes are thinning out, too, meaning a general reduction in hotel prices and leaving elbow room in the galleries and exhibitions. Plus, a new exhibition of Gustav Klimt's portraits of women opens on 20 September in the Belvedere Palace.

BEAM DOWNAustrian Airlines (0845 601 0948, www.aua.com) and BA (0845 77 333 77, www.britishairways.com) each offer up to four flights a day from London Heathrow. There's also a daily BA service from Birmingham. Lauda Air (0845 601 0934) has a daily flight from Manchester, and Tyrolean Airways (0845 601 0948) flies three times a week from Edinburgh. Fares tend to be upwards of £200, but the no-frills airline Buzz (0870 240 7070, www.buzzaway.com) offers return tickets from Stansted for £95 return (£2 less on the web). From the airport, S-bahn line S7 goes to the centre.

GET YOUR BEARINGSHead for the city centre and test your physical fitness with a climb to the top of St Stephen's Cathedral (1), a Gothic masterpiece with a dazzling roof of zig-zagged tiles. The winding staircase (admission £1.30; 9am-5pm) rewards you with a fine view of the Ringstrasse, the inner circle of imposing buildings laid out in the 19th century by Emperor Franz Joseph. Most attractions can be explored on foot but, if you are planning a lot of museum visits, then you should invest £11 in a Vienna Card (sold at hotels and tourist info centres), for discounts at most sites and free travel. For more information, contact Vienna's Tourist Board (00 43 121 11 40; www.info.wien.at). Its main office is at Am Albertinaplatz (2), behind the Opera House.

CHECK INCity centre hotels are plentiful, though pricey. The elegant four-star Konig von Ungarn (3) at Schulerstrasse, 10 (00 43 151 58 40) has double rooms for around £110, which are arranged along galleries overlooking a glass-roofed courtyard. Pensions are more affordable: the Pension Domizil (4) at Schulerstrasse, 14 (00 431 513 3199) is stylish and costs £70 per double. If your budget runs towards £200 a night, look no further than the palatial Hotel Bristol (5), at Kärntner Ring 1 (00 43 151 516 536; www.westin.com/bristol), opposite the Opera.

ICING ON THE CAKECafé Sacher (27) (Philharmonikastrasse, 4, 00 43 151 45 60) has a "Sacher-Torte" chocolate cake to swoon for. Other sweeteries are the Café Museum (28) (Friedrichstrasse, 6, 00 43 158 652 902), hang-out of Klimt and Schiele; the mirrored Savoy (29) (Linke Wienzeile 36, 00 43 158 673 48); and Café Landtmann (30) (Dr Karl-Lueger-Ring, 4, 00 43 153 206 21), meeting place of Freud and friends.

A WALK IN THE PARKThe Prater (25) is Vienna's largest park and its 200ft-high Ferris Wheel has become the city's best-known landmark. There are miles of paths and cycleways to explore here, and bikes and skates can be hired from near the park's north entrance. For a more leisurely afternoon, you can try the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace (26), the Habsburgs' summer residence.

BRACING BRUNCHTake on sustenance for the day ahead and have your design preconceptions challenged, at Im KunstHaus, (24) (Weissgerberlande, 14, 00 43 171 204 97), which was built by visionary local architect Freidensreich Hundertwasse (there's a permanent exhibition of his work nearby). The restaurant's food reflects the artist's tastes: colourful, creative and filled with fantasy.

SUNDAY MORNING: GO TO CHURCHThe world-famous Vienna Boys Choir perform at Sunday morning mass (9.15am) at the Hofburgkapelle (21). Admission costs about £1 and tickets are available from the chapel office (00 43 153 399 27). Glorious chamber music, mainly by Haydn and Mozart, is played at the Augustiner Church (22) every Sunday at 11am. For non-musical worship, St Peter's (23) has a deceptively plain exterior but contains ornate carvings of wood, plaster and gold inside.

CULTURAL AFTERNOONThe Museum of Fine Arts (10) at Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1 (00 43 152 524, open 10am-4pm) houses Bruegels galore; while MAK (11), at Stubenring, 5 (00 43 171 136, 10am-6pm) blends Arts Nouveau and Deco. The Belvedere Palace (12), Prinz-Eugen-Strasse, 3 (00 43 179 557 134, 10am-5pm) is the place for Klimt. Or else there's the House of Music museum (13) at Seilerstatte, 30 (00 43 151 648).

DEMURE DINNERZwolf Apostelkeller (18) at Sonnenfelsgasse, 3 (00 43 151 267 77) is a well-priced Old City eaterie with a warren of rooms dating back 900 years. Ofenloch (19) at Kurrentgasse, 8 (00 43 153 388 44) is the oldest bierkeller in the city with a veal-and-dumpling-style menu. Or, mingle with the in-crowd at Livingstones (20) (Zelinkagasse, 4, 00 43 153 333 93).

TAKE A RIDEAn hour from the city centre, by underground (U4) to Heiligenstadt and then bus (38A), is Kahlenburg (6), the hill-top monastery where the Turks were beaten off in 1683. Here you can walk through forested hills, with spectacular views over the city and Danube basin. Quench your thirst with wine from the local vineyard.

LUNCH ON THE RUNMeat is the staple of most Viennese dishes: now's your chance to sample an authentic Wiener Schnitzel. Pizza Bizi (7) at Wollzeile, 5 is a fine self-service pizzeria with as much salad as you can eat. If there's no time to linger, try Trzesniewski (8) at Dorotheergasse, 1, for sumptuous sandwiches or Naschmarkt (9) for fresh fruit, cheeses and salads.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Product Development

    £26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory