Walking through Austria’s biggest city, Vienna, is a bit like walking into the pages of a fairytale, as a horse and carriage trots past one ornate palace after another. The Austrian capital is bursting with Imperial history and Baroque architecture, with a musical accompaniment by Mozart and Strauss. But there’s also a more modern side, with Art Nouveau and modernist art.
With a population of around 1.7 million, fewer than when it was the centre of a great empire, Vienna is large enough to be a true metropolis but small enough to be easily understood and explored. Vienna’s elegance and tradition are centrally located in the Inner City, or more formally, the first district. In its 3km2 of space you’ll find stunning architecture made up of palaces, museums, theatres and churches.
Many tourists stay in this small area of Vienna to see the major sights, then head out thinking that’s all there is to the Austrian capital. Pity, those people missed out on seeing what Vienna is really about. To do that, you have to get out of the Inner City and head over to the districts that surround it. There’s the Naschmarkt (meaning ‘snack market’) that borders the 4th and 5th districts and is where to locals go to dine.
There’s the 7th district with its huge shopping street and the bohemian flair of its funky coffeehouses and local designer stores. Even further out, the 19th district, displays a strong wine culture with vineyards growing within the city limits.
Like in many famous European capitals, the sheer number of visitors here each year can push up the prices, but it is still possible to fill yourself up on the city’s history, culture and sachertorte without having to spend big.