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.

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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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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

106 thoughts on “Vienna Will Steal Your Heart

    1. 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. 🙂

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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 😉

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. 👍

  6. 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

    1. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  9. 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!

    1. 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.

  10. 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

    1. 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.

  11. 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! 🙂

    1. 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. 😀

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  13. 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. 🙂

  14. 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.

    1. 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. 😀

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

    1. 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.

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