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.


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, Vienna
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 hotel (home to the original Sachertorte) facing the opera house, within easy walking distance of many of Vienna’s attractions.

Sans Souci Wien © Gregor Titze
Sans Souci Wien

Stylish, opulent hotel in a central but secluded location behind the Kunsthistorisches Museum and a just short walk from the MuseumsQuartier art complex.


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 Wien
Vienna 1010

This is the more casual offshoot of the renowned Steirereck. 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 Wien
Vienna 1030

The specialty of this friendly and popular white-tablecloth restaurant in the
heart of Vienna is tafelspitz, the favorite dish of Emperor Franz Joseph I. It’s a hearty meal of
beef simmered with root vegetables and spices in beef bouillon accompanied by side dishes
of fried potatoes, applesauce with horseradish, and creamed spinach. In warmer months,
request a table on the bright covered patio.

Wollzeile 38
Vienna 1010
Silvio Nickol

The Palais Coburg’s gourmet restaurant serves exquisitely presented and memorably delicious cuisine, but what really stood out on a recent visit was the audacious wine pairings. The sommelier exploited the breadth of the restaurant’s cellars, matching, for example, an acidic and smoky Zierfandler (a grape found only in Austria’s Thermenregion) with a rich dish of tête de veau and liquid quail yolk topped with artichoke and shiitake mousse. Equally unforgettable was the Swiss Pinot Noir paired with a dish of dove breast, cranberry, beetroot and Savoy cabbage cream. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Coburgbastei 4
Wien 1010
Menus, US$190 - US$240

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 salad with fresh herbs; Lake Attersee pike with preserved lemon, cauliflower and macadamia nuts; and venison with Jerusalem artichokes, quince and pine. Superlative wine list. Dinner only. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Am Heumarkt 2A/im Stadtpark
Vienna 1030

Fans of Wiener Schnitzel and tafelspitz won’t miss meat for a second at vegetarian Tian. With a stylishly decorated interior, this Michelin-starred restaurant serves creative and satisfying dishes such as white and wild asparagus spears in a savory chanterelle cream with fresh peas, al dente lentils with wild garlic-leaf rolls and puntarelle chicory, and Mimolette cheese shavings atop hazelnuts and white chocolate. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Himmelpfortgasse 23
Vienna 1010
Menus, US$100 - US$145