Vienna is a city steeped in history and art, yet has a reputation for being modern. This mix of old and new seemed like the perfect place for a trip with my mum as even though travel styles differ vastly Vienna appeared to have something for everyone to enjoy.
Getting to Vienna
Using Avios points we took the two hour flight with British Airways from Heathrow, which was a much classier mode of transport than my usual budget airline from Gatwick.
Vienna airport was huge but well sign posted and soon after landing we jumped on the train into town. The City Airport Transit also runs straight from the airport taking a speedy 16 minutes to get into town for €12 one way or €19 return. We opted for the cheaper S7 train which took almost half an hour, but was only €4.
Instead of navigating the U-Bahn from Wein Mitte we hopped in a cab from the rank to the Holiday Inn Vienna City which was around €10 euros for the 10 minute journey. Uber is also available in Vienna but as there was a cab right in front of us it seemed like and easier option on this occasion.
Day One In Vienna – Shopping
Getting to the hotel, I was impressed by its stylish interior, welcoming staff and clean rooms.
We arrived in the evening so instead of venturing too far, in a strange city, in the dark we took a short stroll up the street and ate at Margareta, a simple yet delicious Italian serving up traditional pasta and freshly made pizzas.
After a nightcap at the hotel bar it was time to rest up for our first full day exploring. Still recovering from a stomach bug I slept much longer than I anticipated so quickly got ready and headed out for breakfast. Luckily nothing was too far from the Holiday Inn so there was no real rush.
It was my mum’s birthday and the only activity she wanted to do was shop so we made our way towards Mariahilfer Straße, which is Vienna’s equivalent of Oxford Street.
I knew I would need plenty of energy before for some Saturday retail therapy so we stopped of at small, modern café Budapest Bistro. I love European pavement café culture and enjoyed the slow start to the day, sitting outside in the sunshine watching locals go about their daily business.
I kept my breakfast choice simple and went for a boiled egg, which came served with warm freshly baked bread and rolls.
Caffeinated, I was ready to take on the shops; Mariahilfer Straße had many of the same branded stores as London but also a few European favourites such as C&A, mid range designer shoe and bag store Humanic, Weekday, beauty store Douglas and a whole range of department stores.
Just off the main street there were also many smaller stores and independent shops selling everything from jewellery, leather goods, speciality food and unique clothing.
I got my mum some pretty gem stone pieces from Phantasy Schmuck Galerie and myself a less pricey infused water from from Juice Deli to freshen up before we continued shopping.
After further browsing the many store my mum settled on treating herself a CK bag and boots whereas I was a little more constrained only getting a couple more black basics from Weekday (outfit post coming soon).
Walking a different way back to our hotel we came across some amazing street art and a thriving market place which was way more my scene than the glossy stores we had visited earlier.
My plan after this was to go to the Third Man Museum but I was scupperrd by their cash only policy. As a card kind of gal this became an annoyance throughout our stay.
Giving up on finding an ATM I took the opportunity to check out the hotel’s gym; a small yet well equipped room.
By the time I had worked up a sweat it was time for dinner so I looked on Foursquare to see what was around. There were many options within walking distance but Sixta, a traditional Austrian restaurant, had the highest rating so we opted for there.
A dark wooden pub-like eatery this place was informal but had a great atmosphere. The staff were rushed off their feet but it didn’t stop them from taking shots with their buddies as well as providing top notch service.
I ordered the egg and potato dumplings which was a simple, hearty dish, perfectly seasoned and packed with flavour. I love trying out authentically local, low keys joints so this place was right up my street.
Feeling very full but content we popped round the corner to much more modern Zweitbester, a cool hangout for younger Austrians which reminded me a lot of East London. Though undoubtedly hip everyone was once again extremely accommodating and made us feel very welcome.
I was impressed by Vienna, even though we explored at a much slower pace than my usual city breaks I loved the fusion of old and new and could not wait see some of its more classic and cultural attractions on our second day ( full post coming soon).
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