This year, Vienna hosts F5 Agility. In advance of the event, we take a look at the hot spots and hidden gems of Austria's capital
Located in the east of Austria, on the shore of the Danube River, Vienna has a population of approximately 1.8 million. With an intellectual legacy shaped by the likes of Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud, the city is well known for its imperial palaces and culture. Despite Austria’s language being influenced by a number of bordering countries, German is spoken by Viennese natives.
For the culture vultures
Vienna boasts a rich cultural tapestry that will not leave fans of art and music short of places to visit:
MuseumsQuartier – As the eighth largest cultural area in the world, Vienna’s artistic hub is truly a playground for culture seekers, boasting enough museums, exhibition halls and art spaces to keep you occupied for days. We recommend the ‘mumok’, a collection of around 9,000 modern and contemporary artworks by immortal artists such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. Once a thirst for art is quenched, visitors can observe the picturesque courtyard from a number of outdoor restaurants and music venues.
Architecture – Defined by an intertwining of traditional remnants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and contemporary designs, Vienna’s architectural scene is rich. Containing over 1,400 rooms, former imperial summer residence Schönbrunn Palace is a glamorous example of Austria’s heritage. Alternatively, explore the Hofburg imperial palace in the old city, originally the centre of the vast Habsburg empire and now the official seat of the Austrian President.
Vienna State Opera – With a history dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world. Despite being unpopular with the public when it was first constructed, today it is the jewel in the crown of the Viennese cultural scene. The institution now offers a large repertoire of performances, some of which are even screened live outside to the general public in the summer months. If you’re in town for Agility, why not book tickets for the performance on May 16th?
Out on the town
If culture isn’t your thing, Vienna offers plenty of other attractions - did you know that Vienna is home to the world's oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, founded in 1752?
Shopping– Mariahilfestraβe, the Viennese equivalent to London’s Oxford Street, is the most popular shopping destination in the city. Referred to locally as Mahü, this is the ideal location if retail therapy is on the agenda.
Naschmarkt – A vast market with origins in the 16th century, Naschmarkt hosts over 100 food and vintage stalls serving a range of global cuisines and quality produce.
Nightlife – For those looking to extend their evenings a little longer, look no further than Strandbar Herrmann, an open-air bar that caters to a varied client base. Filled with hammocks, deckchairs, global cuisine and DJ sessions for those inclined, why not take advantage of this relaxed environment after a day of intellectual stimulation.
Dancing - If you consider yourself a dab hand at the waltz, Vienna will offer plenty of opportunities to show off your moves. The city hosts over 150 public balls each year, so don’t forget your dancing shoes!
Seeing the city - Packed closely together, the various districts of Vienna are easy to navigate, either by foot or via the Ringstraβe, a road connecting the main sights. Alternatively, why not avoid public transport and hire a bike to travel the city?
Once the sights of Vienna have whet your appetite, there are more than enough restaurants and eateries to keep hunger at bay:
Lunch – For a quick lunch, why not try the famous finger sandwiches at Trzesniewski, a famous buffet in the heart of Vienna. Steeped in tradition and well over 100 years old, Trzesniewski specialises in open sandwiches that don't break the bank, at only €1 each. The most popular filling is rumoured to be bacon and egg – the recipe remains a secret!
Dinner – If you are looking to spend a little extra for a quality dining experience, Steirereck im Stadtpark is famed for its visually astounding dishes. Using local ingredients, such as Danube salmon, this elegant restaurant is considered among the world’s best 20.
Ice cream - Alternatively, if you're in the spirit of Spring, Zanoni & Zanoni ice cream parlour is a must-visit, having served Vienna natives and tourists alike for 40 years. Whether on a lunchtime stroll or walking back to the hotel after a meal, this is the perfect spot for some quality gelato.
Wiener Schnitzel – A common misconception, the traditional Wiener Schnitzel is actually made from veal and no other meat. Although other types of schnitzel are commonly made using turkey or pork, they are not allowed to be called Wiener Schnitzel!
With this information in your back pocket, why not test out those German language skills you left at school and explore all that Vienna has to offer.