By Abdul Rawuf
Destination is renowned as a city of tradition with a glorious past, being home to some of the most influential musicians, philosophers and scientists
Vienna is different. That is what Austrians say about their own capital, but it is hard to understand what makes the city so special, until experiencing the wonder of it for yourself.
Though Vienna is renowned as a city of tradition with a glorious past, being home to some of the most influential musicians, philosophers and scientists of all time, Vienna today is a must-visit destination in Europe that has become increasingly modern and has earned itself a reputation as a hot and happening place.
Vienna resident and city advocate Antonia Felgner, Marketing Communications Manager at Park Hyatt Vienna, offers some insider tips on how to make your trip to Vienna even more special, with lots of must-sees and must-dos for your stay in Vienna:
A walk through town from past to present
Take a ride through Vienna’s first district, located directly in front of Park Hyatt Vienna, the luxury hotel in the heart of the city, and take a trip back in time. In some places the monarchy still seems present. Shops with beautiful antiques, but also fashion boutiques of international brands, are located within walking distance of the hotel.
Traditional fare for gourmets
The traditional food is still popular in Vienna, and restaurants like ‘Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer’ or ‘Plachutta’ offer Viennese specialties such as succulent Viennese Schnitzel or Tafelspitz. City trips can be stressful, but not in Vienna. The Viennese coffee house culture is an old tradition that is still very much celebrated nowadays, complete with a variety of grade A brews and a plethora of delicious pasties, all offered in a relaxing yet sophisticated setting.
The newly opened “Café Am Hof", located at the oldest square in Vienna, presents guest with homemade cakes, pralines, macarons and many more delectable treats. The outside terrace boasts views onto the lively Bognergasse, where tourists mingle with local Viennese.
A horse ride through history
When in Vienna, you definitely have to take a horse carriage ride through the city centre. See all the top sightseeing spots in the first district like the State Opera House, the Burgtheater, the Albertina, the Belvedere or the Hofburg Palace, from the comfort of your wagon, while feeling transported into the past.
A short drive outside the city centre, but well worth a visit, is the wonderful imperial palace, Schloss Schönbrunn, a remarkable structure so beautiful, it could easily appear in a Disney movie, a little girl’s dream or a fantastic fairy tale. On your way, you pass the city’s biggest daily market, which is dominated by Turkish and Italian delicacy stands, but also has local fruit, vegetables, spices, cheese, fish and meat on offer. The Naschmarkt is reminiscent of a colourful oriental bazaar, offering the best food from local and international sources. Take a break at one of the alternative cafés or high-end fish restaurants and watch the crowds go by.
Awestruck is an understatement, when describing the feeling you have when reaching Schloss Schönbrunn with its lush majestic gardens, home to the biggest zoo in the country. Be sure to grab breakfast at the ‘Gloriette' before taking a Grand Tour of the palace grounds, which includes staterooms and the private residences of Franz Joseph and Sisi, the famous Emperor and his Duchess wife, who lived in the castle in the late 19th century. Get a sense of the various stylistic eras of the imperial monarchy and a glimpse into the lives of the palace’s former inhabitants. From there, take the carriage ride back to the city and tell the coachman to drop you off at Hoher Markt, which is very close to St. Stephens Cathedral. At 12.00pm you will see the Ankeruhr, an Art Nouveau clock, 4 m (13.1ft.) in diameter, placed between the two buildings of Anker Insurance Company in Hoher Markt. As a tribute to Vienna’s past, twelve figures made of copper represent famous historical characters in Austria, enhanced by background music from different eras.
The perfect way to end the day
Find the ideal place to unwind and de-stress at Arany Spa at Park Hyatt Vienna, after a full day of exploring the city. At this luxurious haven, you can take a dip in the pool, go for a sauna session or just spoil yourself with a relaxing massage or rejuvenating body treatment.
Finish your day with an exceptional dinner at ‘Albertina Passage’, an unexpected gastronomic experience under the Vienna Opera House. Situated underground, the restaurant offers a club ambience, coupled with the highest in culinary indulgence. Listen to live jazz music during dinner, before the restaurant turns into a very stylish nightclub later in the evening.
The Austrian capital is especially charming at this time of year, when temperatures allow for a sunny stroll around town, to discover the many historic sites, the numerous museums and galleries, and all the other attractions the royal city has lots to offer. Book your flights to Vienna and check in at the stunning Park Hyatt Vienna for a truly mesmerising stay in this remarkable destination.
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