Vienna: A Royal Treat

Posted on 17. Aug, 2012 by in Austria, Europe Travel

Vienna is truly a beautiful city fit for princes and princesses: regal architecture, carriage rides, palaces and red carpets, melt-in-your mouth pastries and peaceful parks. I was only there for a very short visit, but would have gladly extended my stay if I could have - to continue pampering myself!

On our first night we ventured down Mariahilfer and treated ourselves to a warm apple strudel and a raspberry soda at the Westend Café, a turn-of-the-century coffee house.

Our 24 hr metro/tram pass allowed us to hop on and off from one sight to another of the inner city (Innere Stadt) and the Ringstrasse (the road circling the centre of the city). For those of you with more time you can rent a bike for a day, and if you are visiting for 72 hours you can get the super-saving Vienna card – unlimited public transport and numerous discounts in the city.

The Hofburg Café: iced coffees and Elderberry mousse cake, and a view of the Hofburg Palace.

We started our first morning in Vienna with a stroll in the Museum Quarter, walking through parks and past horse-drawn carriages with their drivers in 19th century dress, then stopping for some iced Viennese coffee and pastries at one of Vienna’s renowned ‘Concert-Cafés’; the Hofburg Café with live piano music – delightful and delectable!

The café was directly attached to the ticket office for the Empress Sisi Museum and the Imperial apartments in the Hofburg Palace. After our well-deserved indulgence, we were wowed next door by the exhibitions of Austria’s decadence.

The Empress Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments

Beware! Those who like visiting air-conditioned museums on hot afternoons to cool off – the Hofburg palace is not one of them; with only standing fans for the watch guards every couple of rooms… a better bet is to cool off in Bugger Park in the shade of its large trees, where locals and tourists alike enjoy naps on the grass.

Bugger Park and the Vienna Parliament

After a short nap in the park, we visited another castle…

Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens with a view of the Gloriette Café in the distance.

… and ate more cake!

(L to R) Empress Sisi three-chocolate mousse cake and the famous Sachertorte at the Gloriette Café. Note: you can access this beautiful café through the Schönbrunn Palace gardens, for free without having to visit the actual palace.

At Stephenplatz, you will find posh clothing stores, souvenir shops and more coffee houses. There you will admire the gothic St Stephan’s Cathedral (a.k.a Stephansdom) with its ceramic-tiled roof showing off a black eagle; free to go in, but a charge to go up the clock tower. Although imposing, this church was not as colourful and ornate as the Basilica nearby.And what better way to end the evening than with a huge mug of beer and some Schnitzel! The restaurant Figlmüller - famous for its Schnitzel -  was closed, but I think in Vienna, they are all delicious!

Schnitzel – Pan-fried veal in the background

Had we stayed in Wien longer, I would have gone to see the Schiele and Klimt collection at the Leopold Museum (Vienna is celebrating Klimt’s 150th birthday July 14th, 2012!), stayed in a fancy apartment with, listened to a Mozart-based classical concert and gone to the Opera… and who knows, maybe given into my inner princess and had a carriage-ride!

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