Geoff Moore stays awake to discover all
Flying or river cruising brings most visitors to Vienna. From the airport you could be strolling in the city easily within 20 minutes. The centre can be accessed in 16 minutes by the ‘CAT’ non-stop train direct from the terminal to Landstrasse or Wein Mitte station. Get your tickets in the main exit concourse, where the machines are hard to miss.
Once in the city what helps is the superb public transport system. Getting seamlessly around, stepping from a tram, to a bus, to an underground train to an S Bahn (Schnellbahn) is so easy.
Once you have your daily or week-long ticket from Wein Linien validated at any station, tram or bus. Jump on, jump off all day. As many times as you like, it is easy, efficient and effortless.
What to see and do
Vienna’s New Year Day concert kicks off the year with its internationally broadcast music performances. Following that, it’s the season of glamorous balls. Spring, Summer and Autumn all offer plenty of experiences in and around the city. The arts, culture, architecture plus sight-seeing in a city that is more than just coffee and music.
You can enjoy great views over the city from the Kalthenburg in the Vienna Woods, where you are surrounded by vineyards. Take the 38a bus to get you there from Heiligenstadt.
Perhaps also take time to track down five world class Museum treasures in Vienna. The Weltmuseum (World Museum) where the Feather Crown of Aztec ruler Moctezuma is displayed. At the Albertina Museum take a look at ‘Young Hare’ by Albrecht Durer. Visit the Leopold Museum to see Egon Schile and his self portrait. The Kunsthistorisches Museum is home to Pieter Bruegel’s renown ‘Tower of Babel’. Next door is the Naturhistorisches Museum where the nearly 30,000 year old Venus of Willendorf figure was found in 1908 in Lower Austria, it is a tiny 11cm high figure thought to be a fertility symbol.
There are numerous palaces that are museums too. This year the magnificent Baroque Belvedere celebrates 300 years since the construction of the Upper Belvedere, with its outstanding art exhibition featuring Gustav Klimt’s remarkable work.
The heart of the city has to be The Hofburg palace. The former Imperial residence with luxurious apartments is open to visitors. There is a vast silver collection and the Imperial Treasury, as well as an arms and armour exhibition. The Spanish Riding school is part of the complex with equine displays on stunning white Lipizzaner horses that are internationally famous.
A short UBahn ride will have you at the Schoenbrunn. This summer palace sports a zoo and vast gardens. It also hosts many outside events during the summer and in winter is home to the famous Christmas markets. Several tours take you through state rooms and apartments that Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth occupied.
Another place that really does need to be seen is the famous Riesenrad or big wheel to be found in Prater Park.
One rather different day out might be a trip to the massive graveyard or Central Friedhof, the largest cemetery in Europe. As well as the graves of famous musicians with strong connections to the city like Beethoven, Strauss and Brahms, there are politicians and actors like Hedy Lamarr, who amazingly helped to invent Wi-fi back in the 1940’.
Also at the cemetery is the Funeral Museum which is located underground of course! Another museum worth checking out is The Third Man Film Museum.
Where to stay
The best hotel in the five star category has to be Hotel Imperial. It celebrates its 150th birthday this year and is classic Vienna, providing sumptuous surroundings originally created for the Prince of Wuerttemberg.
On the quirky side, I would recommend The Ruby Marie on the main shopping street of Marihilferstrasse. They call it ‘Lean Luxury’. It’s contemporary, quiet and trendy though works well even for the older visitor!
Find out more
For information and bookings please call Silver Travel Advisor on 0800 412 5678. Prices vary according to several factors and our advisors will be happy to discuss all the options.
Visit the city’s website: www.wien.info/en