In Vienna

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I spent last weekend in Vienna and let me say that I was really surprised about this city. I found it very international, clean, romantic, nostalgic in one word I really liked it.

My hotel was in Mariahilfestrasse, which is the longest commercial road in Europe. This street is full with single stores, departments stores, bars, restaurants, hotels, monuments, banks and you can reach downtown in 5 minutes with the U-bahn ( subway – the symbol is U on the street).

I advise you to purchase the Vienna card which costs 18,50 (validity 72 hours) per person but grants you discount in many stores, restaurant, bars, monuments and museum entrances, and unlimited trave;on subway, trams and buses.  It can be purchased in every hotel, at the touristic info office, travel agencies and online (www.wienkarte.at).

Vienna downtown is inside the RING (wide boulevards surrounding the downtown) and the most famous place is Stephan platz with the fantastic dom. Make sure to visit the Hofsburg – the Imperial palace and its park, the State Opera, and all the other wonderful buildings.

While I was there I wanted to taste some of the Vienna specialities like the Sacher torte, the Wiener schnitzel and the Apfel strudel (apple strudel) and the best places to go to are:

Sacher café near the Sacher hotel where they bring you a slice of the Sacher torte with fresh whipped cream ( it costs around 4 euro).

Figlmueller the most famous schnitzel restaurant in town where you can order a schnitzel with the salad for euro 14. The schnitzel is as big as the plate, thin and crunchy. In town there are 2 of these restaurants one is the original one and the other one is more modern. Be ready to wait outside the restaurant  for a table because they are always packed. Table booking accepted.

Heindl confectionery for an incredible warm apple strudel (around euro 3). The place offers a large variety of pastries, good cappuccino and coffees; the atmosphere is typical of the area.

I was there last weekend and the max temperature was 12 degrees, it poured down one whole day and the wind was very very strong even if it was July. So don’t forget to bring an umbrella, a jacket, a scarf and in case your ears are sensible a hat.

Since the weather was inclement, I decided to get on the “hop on hop off “ bus to tour the city: the ticket for the whole day is Euro 20 per person and there are 3 tours included: the Ring, the Donau and the Schonnbrunn castle. Each tour lasts one hour and at every stop you can get off , pay the visit of whatever you are interested to see and then get on the next bus to continue the tour.

Absolutely you have to visit the Schonnbrun castel, make sure you have enough time since it is huge inside and outside and then the Belvedere castle. In here you can see the original painting “The kiss” by Gustav Klimt: breathtaking. The ticket costs 9,50 euro per person or 14 euro if you visit upped and lower both Belvedere areas.

Vienna won’t disappoint you as far as shopping concerns. As already said in Mariahilfestrasse you can find Zara, Mango, H&M, Occitane, The body shop, Bonita, Esprit, Intimissimi, Calzedonia, S. Olivier, Gerngross (department store) and many many others. These same  stores can be found downtown  where there are also all the most prestigious luxury brands like Hermes, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Swarovsky, Akris, Chanel, Zegna, Dolce & Gabbana and others.

Make sure you shop at Steffl the 7 floor dept store where you can find all the major brands (6th floor is the Woman paradise shoes floor).

For more detailed info www.wien.info

Check out the photos on my flickr account.

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