Think of Vienna and images of museums, grand palaces and world-class opera performances may spring to mind.
But look beyond the Austrian capital’s obvious attractions and you will find it is teeming with hip bars, cosy coffee houses and easy-going neighbourhoods.
Best of all, the city of spies and Sigmund Freud is very compact, making it a wonder to wander around on a frosty weekend break.
Look beyond Vienna’s obvious attractions and you will find it is teeming with hip bars, cosy coffee houses and easy-going neighbourhoods
Where to stay
This cosy hotel sits on the edge of the Prater park and the city’s famous Ferris wheel.
Run by a team of former refugees and hospitality staff, Magdas Hotel has a warm atmosphere, colourful bedrooms and a delicious buffet breakfast. Doubles from £52 (magdas-hotel.at).
Vienna’s Magdas Hotel sits on the edge of the Prater park and the city’s famous Ferris wheel (pictured)
Ruby Marie Hotel
In the heart of the city’s trendy district, Neubau, this modern hotel has slick rooms with comfortable beds and impressive music systems.
Go for a room on the eighth floor for private balconies with sweeping city views. Don’t leave without having a drink on the roof terrace. Doubles from £62 (ruby-hotels.com).
Hotel Daniel, pictured above, is complete with ‘a bizarre boat sculpture on its roof’. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons
This hotel can be spotted thanks to a bizarre boat sculpture on its roof. Located in the Landstrasse district, it grows its own vegetables, and produces honey from beehives on the seventh-floor balcony.
Make sure you’re comfortable around whoever you check in with — showers with glass doors are in the centre of the 116 quirky, comfortable rooms. Doubles from £83 (hoteldaniel.com/en/vienna).
Surrounded by coffee shops and cafes, Max Brown is a bright, cheerful hotel in Neubau. The 143 rooms offer stunning views. Don’t leave without visiting chef Eyal Shani’s new restaurant Seven North. Doubles from £81 (maxbrownhotels.com).
Where to eat
There is a reason this modern restaurant (ulrichwien.at) has held on to its reputation as one of the best in Vienna. Its diverse menu is ideal for sharing. Tear into one of its chorizo and Manchego flatbreads (£7.50) and try the king prawn skewers with aioli for £5.35.
Good for grazing: The Naschmarkt in Vienna. Susie recommends scouring the deli stalls for ‘dates stuffed with prosciutto and goat’s cheese’
With 120 food stands and restaurants, there is something for everyone at Vienna’s largest food market (naschmarkt-vienna.com) Graze the deli stalls for dates stuffed with prosciutto and goat’s cheese or grab a falafel wrap (£2.70).
If you would prefer to sit down, try trendy Israeli restaurant Neni. You will have to queue, but its soft pitta bread and burnt aubergine with tomato salsa (£6.70) makes the wait worthwhile.
Palmenhaus looks out over the Burggarten, a garden built for the emperor in 1818. Pictured above is the garden’s statue of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
An exotic array of plants climb the walls of this bright, atmospheric restaurant (palmenhaus.at), which was once a greenhouse. Enjoy fresh grilled sardines (£16) and a glass of Riesling (£4) while looking over at the Burggarten, a garden built for the emperor in 1818.
The perfect spot for a quick, cheap bite to eat, the venue (trzesniewski.at) serves delicious open sandwiches on moist rye bread (£1.25 each). Toppings include crab, sardines with onions, and truffled egg with ham.
According to Susie, there is no better place to experience Viennese coffee-house culture than at Cafe Diglas, pictured
Cafe Diglas is situated just 150 metres from the city’s historic Stephansplatz square, pictured above
There is no better place to experience Viennese coffee-house culture than here (diglas.at). Just 150 metres from the historic Stephansplatz square, you can tuck into a gooey apple strudel (£4) with an earthy espresso (£2.80).
What to see and do
Gawp at the galleries
Pictured is the Belvedere gallery, which is housed in a Baroque palace and displays Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss
Vienna has many excellent galleries. Head to the Leopold Museum (entry £12.55, leopoldmuseum.org). It houses the world’s largest Egon Schiele collection.
Or take a look at the Upper Belvedere gallery, which displays Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (entry £13.30, belvedere.at). The price includes entry to the Baroque palace’s gardens.
Captain a boat
Hire an electric boat and drift along the tranquil Old Danube lake. Boats cost £18 per hour. Or try a pedalo (£14.30 per hour, marina-hofbauer.at).
Marvel at street art
Some of Vienna’s best street artists treat the concrete walls by the Danube Canal, pictured, as a blank canvas
Amble along the Danube Canal where some of the city’s best urban artists treat the concrete walls as a blank canvas.
Best by bike
Head to Prater park’s main thoroughfare, Hauptallee, which is lined by 2,500 trees and stretches for three miles. Citybikes are free for the first hour, 85p for the second.
How to get there
Ryanair offers return flights from £7.50 (ryanair.com). Jump on the City Airport Train and be in central Vienna in 16 minutes (£10.50).
The Vienna City Card gives unlimited travel on public transport and discounts for museums, tourist attractions and restaurants (£21 for 48 hours, viennacitycard.at).
You must be triple vaccinated to enter Austria as a tourist, and also have proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before the time of entry. See ‘entry requirements’ at gov.uk.