Vienna: A winter wonderland

By Sergio González | 11:58

Vienna is the capital of modern Austria but it was also the royal seat for the Habsburg dynasty and the several empires they ran, the last being Austria-Hungary. Everywhere you go in Vienna, you feel this almighty touch, as UNESCO did when they awarded Vienna’s Old Town a World Heritage site.

Arts & culture in Vienna are everywhere -it boasts more than 100 museums– and its Old Town is often compared to an open-air museum. If you would like to enter a real one, they’ve got loads of those as well, such as: Albertina and its nearly 1 million art pieces, Belvedere Gallery and Palace and Leopold Museum of Modern Art. 

You can also peek into Sisi’s chambers at the Sisi Museum and become mesmerized by the Habsburgs imperial jewellery at Schatkammer or rejoice your eyes on old masters’ paintings at Kunsthistorisches Museum. Anyway, all of them are absolutely gorgeous buildings on the inside as well as the outside, so doesn’t hesitate to visit even if you only have a little time in Vienna.

Music is Vienna’s legacy to the world, and even though Beethoven was German and not Austrian, it was when he moved to Vienna and met Hayden that his career started. Mozart, Schubert and many other classic composers where either Austrian or moved to Vienna to perform.

The Vienna State Opera (Vienna Staatsoper) is where you should be heading to enjoy the best classical music pieces. A must visit if you stay in Vienna. This season has many shows on display but if it’s your first time attending an opera, go for the classic, like the La Bohème or Madame Butterfly.

The Habsburg dynasty was also the ruling family of the Spanish Empire and there are still many examples of Spanish influence in Vienna, like the prestigious Spanish Riding School. It’s not only a traditional equestrian school but its headquarters are also one of Vienna’s most visited attractions.

Imperial palaces like Hofburg and Schöbrun get all the tourist attention in Vienna and the most recognizable in its skyline, although the Central Cemetery is also very popular. Tourists and locals go to see Beethoven’s tomb and the many other famous people buried there. While in Vienna, you also have the chance to visit the oldest zoo in the world, the Tiergarten (part of Schöbrun palace complex).

Viennese coffee houses and all the fuss around them are essential to understand and enjoy Vienna’s culture at its finest. It’s such a rooted tradition where we can trace back the first coffee house to 1638, when the Austrian army found some sacks with a peculiar seed the Turks had left behind after their defeat during the second Turkish siege of Vienna.

Linked with Austrians’ most beloved traditions and lively life-style, coffee culture is at stake. Italian espresso bars and Starbucks are trying to take over the traditional coffee scene in Vienna (Kaffehauskulture) though Viennese are holding their ground; and they aren’t alone. In 2011, Kaffehauskulture was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO so in 2014 you can still enjoy a delicious cup of Einspaenner coffee.

Vienna is also one of the few European capitals with its own vineyards, and locals enjoy their wines in special pubs called Heuriger. Look for them in the Döbling district and order it with sparkling water, as the locals do.

We want you to enjoy this winter like never before. It’s still going to be the coldest winter in three decades but if you take advantage of great flights deals and our awesome discounts and accommodation packages it can also be tons of fun. We offer you 5 different up-scale hotels in Vienna, 4 in the city centre and one by the airport, with the best facilities and service.To live Austria like Empress Sisi did, you should stay at the astounding NH Belvedere, right in front of the Palace and Botanical Gardens. 

Photo Credit: Franzj

Photo Credit: Stew

Photo Credit: Jorge Royan

 

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