EAT in Vienna:
The fine Flein is located in the magical garden of the French cultural institute and is certainly one of the most charming restaurants in the city. Somehow it feels as if you were sitting at your friends' place and that they just happen to be phenomenal cooks. The menu changes on a daily basis and most of the dishes have a French touch. Although it was mentioned in the Gault Millau, prices have remained quite fair: There is nothing that costs more than 20 euros, and the flavour experience is invaluable. The lunch menu, in particular, is a great value. Small tip: In the summer, don't get put off by the mosquitoes in the garden. You'll find mosquito deterrent in the bathrooms, on the house.
Nothing fancy, not expensive, but cosy and popular: This is the perfect description of the restaurant of the two Lieserl'n. The menu is rich and varied: Wiener Schnitzel, Parisian, Serbian, unbreaded Schnitzel and Cordon Bleu, pork or turkey. We recommend the Wiener, which not only tastes wonderful but also comes along in an unbeatable size. After all, this is what the place is famous for. The Schnitzel size is just as legendary as the cosy Schanigarten in the patio as well as the perfect potato salad. Small tip: Normal eaters can easily order the children's portion.
On level ground?
In a way it is unnecessary to recommend this restaurant: When you see the little Biedermeier house at the Spittelberg, you won't want to go passed it anyhow. The restaurant is just as enchanting as it is simple; the only thing where one has over-egged the pudding is with the name. It serves Viennese cuisine, rather down-to-earth and simple yet tasty. The drinks are regional, too: Most wines and also the liquors are from Austria. We don't know whether or not Nestroy would come eat here. But you should, in any event!
SHOPPING in Vienna:
This shop could have been flown in from New York or Paris, in its entirety. The fashion victim will find two purist white floors in which she or he finds a lot that has to come home at any cost. Cool street wear, stylish fashion and funky accessories are designed by international newcomers as well as established designers such as Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester, Haltbar and Hussein Chalayan. What has become commonplace in Barcelona, continues to stand out in Vienna: Next to the gear, that all cries out go home with you, the most beloved books and magazines of each designer are on sale.
In this case vintage doesn't mean that the stuff has been worn before, that it looks ragged or smells of moth balls. It rather feels like a please-touch museum of past fashion. The collection consists of selected pieces from the years between 1880 and 1980 - anything more recent than that you will look for in vain. The owners of the boutique have got such a good touch for beautiful things that the Flo has become world famous: Stella McCarney, Marc Jacobs and Kate Moss have been here to look for glamorous garments from the 1920s, New Look from the 1950s or whacky designer pieces from the 1980s. The shop also has traditional costume, headdresses and extravagant jewels.
The Yppenplatz is the heart of the trendy neighbourhood around the Brunnenmarkt. This is where Lisi Lang's showroom is located. Her true name is less well-known than her label Lila, whose product line is sold in many shops in Vienna. The Lila garments are most beautiful, however, when they keep to themselves: The small, bright shop is only opened on Saturdays, so one can purchase the entire collection at once. The package includes: Skirts, dresses, coats, shoes, lately even for men and children. As usual the cuts are astute and the clothes extremely comfortable.
SIGHTS in Vienna:
The Viennese aren't exactly famous for being fast and lively. Yet once a year half of Vienna is on its feet, in order to show that cosiness toughens you up. The Vienna City Marathon is the greatest running event in Austria and has been taking place since 1984 and on April 14th, 2013 it's time again! The course is particularly beautiful: There is a relatively relaxed start at the Wagramer Straße, from there the runners cross the city centre, along the Mariahilferstraße and finally on the ring road to the Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square). In case you are in a really good shape, you may admire the most beautiful corners of the city before becoming a hero. The spectators are almost as committed as the runners and contribute greatly to the event. Breathe deeply and run!
Few Vienna visitors can get by without a single visit to the imperial family. One of the most beautiful destinations with an imperial crown is the Schönbrunn Castle. The imperial residence from the 17th century attracts 6.7 million people a year - just follow the masses, you won't miss the main entrance. You can join a tour though the parlours, side rooms and rooms, or you just retire into the palace garden, where you can make your own discoveries. Find your middle ground in the imperial maze, jaunt to the Roman ruin or climb the glorious Gloriette, the belvedere on the Schönbrunn hill. Too little action? Then go play with the wild animals in the most beautiful zoo in Austria, visit the small desert house or the tropical plants. Attention: A sunny day just flies by in Schönbrunn.
Amidst the Viennese Prater, we find a hidden club of a special kind: the Pratersauna. It's not a shady sauna club, but the in-club in Vienna. A few years ago, the Pratersauna was still a filthy and dubious underground sauna. Today, the club has replaced the Flex along the Danubian canal - which has been deemed the Viennese hotspot for a long time before. However, the Pratersauna is not only a club but also an artspace providing room for art, and even offers a pool landscape with garden. Brand new: the café-bistro with organic food and home-made smoothies. The swimming pool in the garden is a good bet for the summer months. In comparison to the public pools, it's never too crowded and pleasant lounge music provides for a relaxed atmosphere. If you badly want to, you can afterwards go to the famous Schweizerhaus, located on the opposite street, for a Budweiser beer and a pork knuckle. But that's a different story again...
STAY in Vienna:
The Méridien is the youngest of the extravagant houses at the ring road. The lack of tradition is balanced with super modern design and fancy styling. The furnishing in the rooms is minimalist but tasteful, and at night the hotel bar Shambala turns into a happening club scene: DJs such as Rodney Hunter and Erdem Tunakan make you dance with an international crowd. If you are mildly hung over the next day you might want to visit the fitness area: One round in the pool or a relaxing steam bath will refresh tired spirits. A night in a double starts at about 180,- euros.
Sharon Stone, John Malkovich and similar bigwigs have spent the night here. No wonder: The Sacher continues to be one of the most elegant hotels in Vienna. Its namesake is the dark-black, world famous Sacher tort. Lady Anna Sacher, who took over the traditional house in 1880, is just as legendary as the cake. She knew how to enjoy herself, loved thick cigars, indulgent luxury and small dogs. The suites aren't exactly cheap, yet the hotel offers the best service, a lot of style and much space. The rooms are named after operas, singers or famous hotel guests. One night in the suite starts at about 395 euros.
The hotel has 25 rooms that are so cosy that you immediately feel at home. The rooms are tastefully furnished and situated around a living-room, where a minibar and a well-stocked library invite you to stay for a while. And if you don't want to leave the house at all, you'll never get bored. The hotel has its own cinema showing Austrian classics. Moreover, there is a spa to relax and a wonderful garden, which makes you forget that you are in the middle of a big city. Tipp: Just around the corner you find the star restaurant Hollmann Salon. A night in a double starts at 140 euros.