Airlines & Airports
Shannon Wolf | September 23, 2015 9:00 PM ET
Austria: Not Just Mozart and Mountains
PHOTO: Vienna is filled with many historical gems, such as the Parliament building — so grab a famous coffee, put on those walking shoes and go sightseeing! (photos by Shannon Wolf)
When I first thought of Austria, the things that came to mind were “The Sound of Music,” Mozart and mountains.
To be honest, before going to Austria I really didn’t know a thing about it. Then again, that’s exactly why I travel — to broaden my spectrum of cultures and after spending nearly two weeks (when really, I had only planned on three days) I can honestly say that Austria has some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met and is one of those few places that I would gladly go back to in a heartbeat.
Everyone’s first stop is typically the capital city of Vienna — which from the outside looks a tad stuffy. But once you arrive, you’ll realize that it’s quite cozy and a perfect mix of urban meets nature, and see firsthand why it has gained accolades as a top city with the best quality of life.
All you need in the city is a few days, but make sure to travel throughout the rest of the country to truly experience its richness.
PHOTO: My couchsurfing host took me on a wonderful adventure through the hiking trails overlooking all of Vienna!
Best Budget Hostel: Palace Hostel (€16.10 on weekdays/€21.50 on weekends for a dorm)
• Reading light in dorm beds
• Lockers/luggage storage
• Outdoor terrace
• Common room/cable TV/foosball
• Hot showers
Note: Austria is heavily meat-based so if you are a vegetarian or vegan, your options are limited when eating out.
• On a budget? Go to the all-you-can-eat, pay-what-you-can curry buffet at Der Wiener Deewan — the fare actually tastes amazing!
• Famous Foods: Wiener Schnitzel, Frankfurter, Gulash, Liptauer Cheese Spreads
• Famous Dessert: Sacre Tort with apricot filling, Apfelstrudel.
• Check out Nash Market: One of the largest market squares in Europe with moderate prices, located in the old town.
• Enjoy an espresso at the famous coffeehouse Kaffeehauser where Klimt, Freud and Mozart frequented (€3-€5).
• Apricot or Peach Schnapps!
• Top rated Austrian beer: Bevog Rudeen Black IPA
• Gelber Muskateller White Wine
• Bermuda Triangle
• The Slammer
• The Travel Shack (popular with backpackers)
• Visit the impressive Belvedere? Art Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, including “The Kiss.”
• Wander through the beautiful gardens of Schoenbrunn Palace.
• Visit the many churches, markets, gardens, parks and galleries — entry to most places are free.
• Hang out in Vienna’s Museum Quarter as locals do, where you can sit back and relax while sipping on a famous coffee.
• Eat a Sacre Tort at Sacre Hotel (where the original Sacre Tort came from!).
• Enjoy a wonderful view of the city and hike up to Wienerblick in the Lainzer Tiergarten.
Places to Visit Outside of the city:
• Eisriesenwelt Caves (The world's largest ice cave just outside of Salzburg.)
PHOTO: I spy with my little eye, the beautiful countryside beyond city lights.
Things you probably didn’t know about Austria:
• Austria has incredible local white wine and Vienna is the only capital city to produce its own.
• Austria is a very Catholic country and so a lot of towns and cities are named after saints.
• PEZ were invented in Vienna.
• The original snow globe was invented in Austria.
• The tap water is some of the highest quality drinking water in the world — both out of the tap and straight out of its numerous crystal clear lakes.
• The Danube River was originally used as a natural border against invaders and runs through four capital cities from its starting point in Germany’s Black Forest and mouth in the Black Sea.
• Every year, there are over 200 balls in Vienna — one of the most famous of these events being the Life Ball.
More by Shannon Wolf
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