Vienna Will Steal Your Heart

It doesn’t take long for Vienna to steal your heart. It is a fabulous city with a rich heritage and is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. While my husband and I were happy to wander Vienna’s elegant streets and admire the beautiful buildings, others come to attend a performance at the famous State Opera House or at one of the concert halls to listen to the music of Mozart, Strauss and Beethoven. During the celebrated three month ball season, many come to Vienna to attend one of the extravagant formal balls. My husband and I may not have waltzed the night away but we had a great visit. We especially enjoyed the incredible Imperial palaces of the Habsburg Emperors  that have been transformed into wonderful museums.

The Gloriette At The Schoenbrunn Palace

We arrived in Vienna late in the afternoon after a beautiful drive along the Danube River that runs through the Wachau valley a little more than an hour outside the city. Vienna is divided into different districts with many good hotels in each but for our first visit to the city we wanted to stay in the Innere Stadt (1st district). This historic district in the very heart of the city has a wonderful amount of palaces, museums, and churches to visit. This is also where you will find lots of restaurants and cafes, many on pedestrian only streets, to enjoy after a full day of sightseeing.

We decided on the Bristol Hotel. The hotel is located just across the street from the Vienna State Opera House. The doorman quickly greeted us, took our car and had the luggage delivered to our room while we registered at the front desk. The Bristol Hotel has a nice mix of history and modern comfort and felt very welcoming.

Click on any photo in this article to enlarge and see a slide show.

When making our reservation, I able to choose between staying in one of their classically designed rooms or one of their new Art Nouveau rooms which was my choice. Upon being shown to our Bristol Suite, I was thrilled. Our corner room was filled with light from floor to ceiling wrap around windows that looked out at the Opera House. The living area was not only beautifully designed but was very comfortable with a seating area in front of a bookcase wall with a fireplace and TV, a desk behind the sofa and a small dining table set up with an Italian coffee maker.

The separate kingsize  bedroom also had a floor to ceiling window looking out at the Opera as well. I guess you could say that staying in this beautiful suite made me feel like Cinderella…all I needed was to be able to go to one of Vienna’s famous balls.

The hotel’s location was great as most everything we wanted to see was within walking distance.

On a rainy day…yes, the clouds and rain continued to follow us from Berlin, Prague, the Bavarian Forest and now Vienna, we bought tickets through the hotel’s concierge for the hop on, hop off bus tour. One of the bus stops was right in front of the Opera. The bus tour was a good introduction for our first visit to this beautiful city.

The Karlsplatz tram and U-bahn interchange was just steps outside the Bristol Hotel and was very useful for going to the sites that were not within walking distance, such as the impressive Schoenbrunn Palace.

After a full day of traveling, we wanted to find a cozy little restaurant where we could relax and have a good dinner on our first night in Vienna. I asked the concierge at our hotel and he recommended an Italian restaurant called Sole just off the main shopping avenue that was within walking distance of the hotel.

We were warmly greeted and shown to one of the last available tables in the tiny restaurant. After a delicious meal, the owner, Aki Nuredini stopped by to make sure that we enjoyed our meal and offered us after dinner drinks. Aki, such a warm  and sincere gentlemen, treated us as kindly as the famous opera singer who was dining at a nearby table. His restaurant is a favorite with singers, conductors and musicians that perform in Vienna as well as politicians and actors. I can certainly see why it is a favorite, it feels like your home away from home.

The fine food and the personal attention shown at the restaurant had us returning on our last evening in Vienna for another meal. This was the first time in all the years of traveling that my husband and I returned for a second meal in a city we were visiting so that lets you know how much we enjoyed Sole. At the end of the evening, Aki walked us out and wished us safe travels.

While Vienna is both an elegant cultural and musical destination with fine restaurants, it is also is known for its traditional coffee houses, pastries such as apple strudel and a famous chocolate cake called Sachertorte and Wiener schnitzel. You can have a good meal in a Michelin rated restaurant or at a simple café, there is surely by something on the menu to please your taste.

****

My husband and I have traveled to Austria many times spending days in the Tirol and the Lake District. We enjoyed the cities of Salzburg and Innsbruck as well as many small villages but we never visited Vienna. Why did we wait so long…I can’t really say. We only had two full days to visit this beautiful cosmopolitan city and the weather was not ideal yet Vienna captured our hearts. I hope that we get the chance to visit this delightful city again on a future visit to Austria.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
This entry was posted in food, lifestyle, photography, travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

105 Responses to Vienna Will Steal Your Heart

  1. As I sit here on a 30F morning, this post swept me away. This Cinderella has many orders to fill for the upcoming holiday…it is really November? A happy holiday to you and yours Karen. Diane

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane, November has come and gone for me without replying to your nice compliment about my post on Vienna…sorry about that. Thank you for your nice wish. 🙂

  2. lulu says:

    Vienna is one of those places where I feel compelled to take a carriage ride.

  3. Old World; yet modern.The food looks amazing and so are your photographs.

  4. Darlene says:

    We only had one day in Vienna and we loved it! Apfel Strudel is one of hubby´s favourite desserts so we had it three times that day! I was suffering from a bad foot (which turned out to be broken but I didn´t know it at the time.) so we had to stop and sit down a lot, usually at one of those charming coffee shops where apfelstrudel was on offer. I wrote about Vienna in my Amanda on the Danube book. One of my favourite Europen cities. Your hotel looks splendid as does the food!

  5. Gerlinde says:

    After reading your post I want to go back to Vienna. I love Vienna , there is so much to see and to do. I remember spending some time with friends in the Vienna woods and there is always the Sacher torte. Happy Thanksgiving Karen!

  6. Beautiful and fascinating Vienna! I want to sleep in that room with a view!

  7. Madonna says:

    I want to go if only for the desserts. It all looks wonderful, and it makes me want to listen to my Andrè Rieu music.

  8. well it stole mine—the Hotel Konig Von Ungarn was grand for us—as was a day spent with a guide the hotel had arranged for us to see the city as well up into the Vienna Woods—he was a retired police officer-absolutely charming.And the apple strudel, well, you know.We actually visited the zoo while there—-it is connected to the Schönbrunn Palace as it was once the Royal Palace zoo. I don’t normally visit zoos when traveling like this—but it was actually great!
    But the highlight was attending a concert of Beethoven’s V at Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church)—
    Vienna is so grand and yet most charming—I actually ordered a Sacher Torte once we got home—I thought my son would love it as his birthday cake—oddly we preferred a homemade typical American birthday cake—go figure 😉

  9. Lovely, lovely, lovely! I’ve been to both Innsbruck and Salzburg but never Vienna. Now I really want to pack my bags!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris, You sound like my husband and I…I don’t know why we waited so long to visit Vienna when we have seen so much of Austria. I know you would love it just like we did.

  10. Mad Dog says:

    That’s a beautiful hotel – the marble fireplace reminds me of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. I’m sure I’d enjoy those octopus dishes and the Wiener Schnitzel.

  11. Simply gorgeous, Karen. What marvellous hotel and room with view. I can’t wait to go and see all the sights and try all that wonderful food in the spring after our winter break in southern Europe. 👍

  12. lifeincharente says:

    Great post and I would love to go there. Not really that far for us so I must pass on a few hints 🙂 Have a good weekend Fiane

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice compliment Diane, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post. You are right, it would be an easy flight from France to Vienna…I hope you get a chance to visit.

  13. Where you stay can be as much fun as touring the countryside. I always liked to stay in a nice hotel preferably in the center of things. Just beautiful…

  14. Debra Kolkka says:

    I loved Vienna too. It is a gorgeous city with music and flowers everywhere.

  15. It definitely stole my heart just watching these pictures! It is a beautiful place (or you a wonderful photographer!)
    Glad to read you and see you, take care!
    G

  16. Just gorgeous, I would love to take up residence in that suite. Wonderful photographs.

  17. Jane says:

    Thanks again, for taking me to a lovely place that I will forever want to visit! Your photos are so enticing! And I’m so happy that you and your husband so enjoy your visits to far off places…I hope we will, too! In the meantime, I’ll live vicariously through you!!!

    Jane

  18. Caroline says:

    Vienna looks amazing and it’s on my list to visit soon. Sounds a fabulous trip you’re having!

  19. Larry says:

    Looks like a great place to visit, beautiful city – the Hapsburgs knew how to live. I used to enjoy the old movies where they would show a big group of the elite waltzing around the room.

  20. debra cantales says:

    I am ready to dust off my luggage! Vienna’s famous chocolate cake looks amazing!

  21. Jemma says:

    Love your photos, writings and the information that you share with us! Beautiful!
    Jemma

  22. NativeNM says:

    I would love to walk through the city, the architecture is so beautiful there. Looks like you are enjoying some fabulous food too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jan, Vienna truly is a beautiful city filled with wonderful architecture. Every meal we had was delicious…we were very pleased with the restaurants.

  23. Your Grand Tour just gets more and more grand. The Sachertorte looks as legendary as it is.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Darryl, This was the longest trip we have ever taken thanks to having to get out of Florida because of the hurricane and you are right…it was grand. 🙂

  24. It’s just like a fairy tale! Gorgeous photos, Karen!

  25. Looks like a gorgeous place! I have been scrolling through your recent posts, and all the photos are so fun to look at! Thank you for sharing the beauty you are seeing with us!

  26. aFrankAngle says:

    Cheers to your travels. I haven’t been to Vienna, but I can also say YET because I think it’s on our 2-year plan! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Dawn Marie says:

    Thank you for the lovely tour through Vienna! Such a treat as I sit here watching the snow tumble down from the heavens in the NE corner of the USA. And yet I can sweetly see and smell the sweet sights you have shared so beautifully!

  28. ladyfi says:

    What magical shots! And that room is amazing too.

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your nice compliment about the photos Ladyfi, thank you. I was so pleasantly surprised when we walked into that wonderful room at the Bristol.

  29. For some reason, I’ve been hearing a lot about Vienna in the past months. I’m adding it to the places to visit in the next few years! The famous palaces and pastries sound like paradise to me.

  30. Karen my friend, thank you so much for sharing with us! I am living vicariously thru you! So absolutely beautiful!

  31. For the Love of Cooking says:

    How fortunate you are to be able to travel to such wonderful places. Vienna sounds like it’s amazing.

  32. Rachel says:

    As usual you leave me hungry – both hungry to travel more and hungry for those treats. Great photos!! Mmm…

  33. Oh gosh Karen– I don’t know what I loved more– the sumptuous hotel room or the Sachertorte!! We love Vienna– It has the sophistication and culture of Paris, but somehow just seems more friendly. Love your post on it!! thanks Karen! xox

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rhonda, I couldn’t agree with you more about Vienna. With all its beauty, it is still a very welcoming city. Thank you for your lovely compliment.

  34. David says:

    Karen – you will find this rather silly, but as a young musician playing in Heidelberg, I had head of the famous bakery, Café Demel. I had a two-day respite form rehearsals so I took an overnight train to Vienna, went directly to Demel, had three pastries and a hot cocoa, and then went back to the train station to return to Germany! Such strange (and prescient) priorities for a 21-year old! I have dreamed of returning to Vienna as an adult and it is definitely higher on the list now, after reading your post. I love that you ate Italian in Vienna! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Your comment gave me a real chuckle David. If you get a chance to go back to Vienna, I know that a visit to Café Demel will still be on your list but I also know that you will definitely stay longer. 😀

  35. Wonderful post .. so much for sharing. I haven’t been to
    Vienna, but your holiday makes me want to! 😃

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice compliment Julie, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post about Vienna. I do hope that you get a chance to visit someday, you would love it.

  36. This is such a timely post! I have just been looking at visiting Vienna and your trip looks amazing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Caroline, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post on Vienna. It would be an easy trip from the UK to Vienna…if I lived on your side of the pond, I would be planning another trip there myself.

  37. rozpaige says:

    Karen, We’ve only been to Salzburg and so very much want to visit Vienna. I loved this post and all of the information and experiences that you shared with us! What a hotel, outstanding restaurant, and photos of the palace/museums! Pinning to remember when we (hopefully) can visit Vienna!
    Happy holiday season!
    Roz

    • Karen says:

      Hi Roz, We were like you and had been to Salzburg several times but for some reason had never been to Vienna. It did not disappoint and as you pointed out…everything was great. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you!

  38. mjskit says:

    From the look of the food, I think I would be eating the whole time. 🙂 Looks like a nice vacation place.

  39. One of my favorite destinations as well! And your hotel and suite look stunning – definitely suitable for Cinderella just in time for the ball 🙂

  40. That Sachertorte looks delicious- they serve Sachertorte in other places but I’m sure it’s the best in Vienna!

  41. Your room looks wonderful with the wrap-around windows! Love these photos.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa, I think the view was absolutely wonderful…I had no idea we were getting that room overlooking the famous opera house. Thank you for your compliment, I glad you enjoyed the photos.

  42. kitchenriffs says:

    I’ve never been to Vienna — yet! One of these days I’ll get there. So I appreciate you scouting out the lay of the land for me. 🙂

  43. Monica says:

    Wish I could go to Vienna and enjoy a Sacher torte, among other things! Thanks for sharing your amazing photos…the hotel room looks incredible, as does the city in general. Plus, you and your husband make such a handsome couple.

    • Karen says:

      Perhaps you’re wishes will come true Monica. It had been on my wish list for a long time and I finally talked my husband into going. Oh and as for my husband…that is not him in the photo that is Aki Nuredini with me. He is the owner of the Sole restaurant and what a charming man he is. 😀

  44. Always I think Vienna was wonderful and beautiful and it is!! (and love Vienna pastries) Thanks by sharing with us so beautiful!

  45. Eva Taylor says:

    I’m sorry I haven’t been around much, we spent the month in Arizona and I thought id have more free time to blog and comment, but no such luck!
    We’ve been to Vienna so many times, ive lost count, it’s a short 2-3 hour drive to Budapest and there are better flights there from Toronto. I think my brother and his family stayed at the same hotelduring our last visit with my Mom in 2001, they were upgraded to the Prince’s Suite and it was awesome! They even had a full-size dining room and a private workout room! We always like to stay in the centre too, it’s such a magnificent city.

    • Karen says:

      Don’t feel bad Eva, I’m been the same way as you can see. Sorry to have taken so long to reply to your comment. I agree, Vienna is wonderful…now Budapest is on my wish list.

  46. I Wilkerson says:

    More beautiful pictures–and you hotel was amazing! You know I think the hop on, hop off tours really do get you seeing a lot, quickly, despite their reputation.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Inger for your compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos of Vienna. Yes, I do think that the hop on, hop off buses are a great way to familiarize yourself with a new city you are visiting. In Vienna, it was an especially good thing to do on a rainy day.

  47. I’ve been to Vienna many many years ago and I loved it! So beautiful photos!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katerina, I don’t know why we waited so long to visit Vienna as we certainly have traveled to lots of places in Austria. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, thank you.

  48. pamela511 says:

    Awesome photos, Karen! We went to Salzburg and Innsbruck, but wish we had visited Vienna, it looks fabulous. Bet the drive along the Danube was beautiful. Great music, museums, food and drinks for sure and the hotel you stayed in, very nice!

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your lovely compliment Pam, thank you. The drive along the Danube to Vienna was beautiful and we loved the city. We enjoyed Innsbruck and Salzburg but this trip to Vienna was special…I don’t know why we hadn’t visited sooner. 🙂

  49. Kathy says:

    Oh Vienna! I can see why she captured your hearts. I always think of the Sound of Music. But have never traveled to Austria. Only Switzerland…

    • Karen says:

      What a nice surprise to hear from you Kathy. Isn’t Vienna lovely? We have traveled through much of Austria and figured it was about time to add this wonderful city to our travels.

  50. I have wanted to visit Vienna for ages, this has made me want to visit even more!

  51. What a magical city, Vienna is. Your hotel looks wonderful, as does your dinner at Sole.

  52. Karen says:

    I think magical is a great word for describing Vienna, Sylvia. The hotel and Sole couldn’t have been better if they tried.

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