Vienna

Overview

From Andrew Harper

Vienna offers an inexhaustible wealth of architectural grandeur, a rich artistic legacy and some of the finest museums in the world. Today, it has just 1.7 million inhabitants, but the immense Hofburg Palace, seat of the Habsburg imperial dynasty, recalls the city’s past as capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Most places are within easy reach, and if your legs become weary, there are always the spotless red-and-white trams that constantly trundle around the Ringstrasse, the great circular boulevard that defines the Innere Stadt, or old city. And perhaps only Paris can boast as many delightful cafés.

Hotels

All recommended hotels in Vienna

Vienna, Austria
Hotel Bristol
Hotel Bristol

Beautifully appointed Old World hotel opposite the Opera House and next to Vienna’s main pedestrian-only shopping zone, as well as near many of the city’s attractions.

Hotel Imperial
Hotel Imperial, Vienna

Stately and elegantly refurbished Italian neo-Renaissance palace-hotel adjacent to the Musikverein Concert Hall, in a fashionable downtown district near the Opera House.

Hotel Sacher Wien
Hotel Sacher Wien

Evocative 149-room hotel (home to the original Sachertorte) facing the Opera House, within easy walking distance of many of Vienna’s attractions.

Palais Coburg Residenz
Palais Coburg Residenz

Luxurious boutique hotel occupying part of a magnificent 19th-century neoclassical palace (formerly owned by the Saxe-Coburg family) built over ancient fortifications in the heart of the city.

Dining

All recommended restaurants in Vienna

GASTHAUS ZU DEN 3 HACKEN

This simple but cozy tavern with vaulted whitewashed dining rooms and bare wood floors is a wonderful choice in the heart of the city for anyone who wants to sample authentic and delicious Viennese comfort food. Try dishes such as rindsuppe (rich beef bouillon garnished with finely sliced pancakes), schnitzel, faschiertes (veal meatballs with mashed potatoes) and apple strudel.

Singerstrasse 28
Vienna 1010
Austria
US$60
MEIEREI

This is the more casual offshoot of the renowned Steirereck (see below). Occupying a pretty glass-walled pavilion, it attracts a stylish crowd for delicious breakfasts and light meals. Dairy goods, including 150 types of cheese, are a specialty. This is an ideal spot for lunch — maybe sour cream soup, a small schnitzel and a slice of the sublime apple strudel that emerges from the oven at 2 p.m. daily.

Am Heumarkt 2A, Stadtpark
Vienna 1030
Austria
US$45
PLACHUTTA

The specialty of this busy white-tablecloth restaurant in the heart of Vienna is tafelspitz, the favorite dish of Emperor Franz Joseph I and a hearty, delicious meal of beef simmered with root vegetables and spices in beef bouillon with side dishes of fried potatoes, applesauce with horseradish, and creamed spinach. Though Plachutta has several addresses in Vienna, we prefer this well-mannered dining room a short walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Wollzeile 38
Vienna 1010
Austria
US$70
STEIRERECK

Innovative New Austrian and Styrian specialties are offered here in stylish surroundings overlooking the Vienna River and the Stadtpark. Expect dishes such as warm artichoke cocktail with caviar; turbot in an avocado crust; and Styrian venison with chanterelles. Superlative wine list. Dinner only. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.

Am Heumarkt 2A/im Stadtpark
Vienna 1030
Austria
US$90