Beyond Schnitzel and Sacher Torte. The Other Vienna.

By: Victoria Kwasiborski

10. Red Vienna and Kunst am Bau. “Red Vienna” was the nickname given to the city during the early 20th century period of Social Democratic rule following the dissolution of the Hapsburg Empire. Among the party’s achievements is the extensive network of Gemeindebau, municipal housing.  Start your tour with a visit to the Museum in the Laundry Room in the famous Karl-Marx-Hof for a history lesson and  then wander through a district to seek out the Kunst am Bau, the municipally-funded art commissioned to decorate the otherwise utilitarian constructions.

9. Have fun in, and on, a Flak Tower. The hulking remnants of WWII can not be destroyed, but that doesn’t mean they can not be repurposed. One tower offers a climbing wall; a second tower has been transformed into the Haus des Meers, Vienna’s aquarium.  Head straight to the top of the latter for a commanding view of the city, too!

8. Take in the (thermal) waters. Just as the Hapsburg Court spent their summer days at the Baden Thermalstrandbad with its sanded beach and Art Deco buildings, so can you. The BadenBahn takes beachgoers from Vienna’s InnerStadt to Baden bei Wien in no time at all.

7. Taste Vienna’s answer to France’s champagne with a tour of the Schlumberger Sektkellerei. Tour the cellars of this sparkling wine, stretching many kilometers below Vienna, that was served to the Hapsburg Court, and then sample the sparkling elixir yourself!

6. To market, to market. Just not the Naschmarkt. Yes, the Naschmarkt is a “must-see” if you’re into checking off sights on customary “Top Ten” lists.   But for more local flavor, spend a Saturday morning at one of the lesser known markets, such as the up-and-coming Karmelitermarkt; or the Yppenplatz/Brunnenmarkt with its middle eastern flair.

5. Skip the Schnitzel and Sacher Torte, but still eat like the Kaiser. Savor Backhendl mit Salat, a 19th century delicacy and "culinary symbol of the wealth of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie," although it never officially made its way to the Imperial Court. And for dessert, try the Esterhazy Torte, so named for the Hungarian diplomatic family to the Austrian Empire.

4. Bring home an authentic Viennese souvenir. Snowglobes were invented in Vienna, did you know?  A family-run company for over 100 years, their Snowglobe Museum tour is brief, informative, and all around delightful, leaving more time to purchase several of the handmade creations for yourself and friends in the museum’s gift store.

3. Head to the Hills. Vienna’s boundaries beg to be explored—no need for hiking poles or a GPS, either, for the roughly 450km of trails around and across Vienna are easily navigable and well-marked. Once at the top, reward yourself with views of the city and a small bite at a heurigen, or local wine tavern.

2. Take a walk back in time and impress the hipsters in your family. A new company is offering two-hour photo walk through much of Imperial Vienna. What makes PolaWalk Vienna unique is that the cameras used on the tour are Polaroids.  Two hours and 8 photos later, your city pictures will look way better than any of the Insta-snaps out there.

1. Schloss Schönbrun. Just because you’ve experienced the other Vienna doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself a day to explore the Imperial summer palace, its maze garden and labyrinth, and the oldest zoo in the world.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingVictoria Kwasiborski is an American expat living in Austria. Blog description: A transplanted Washington, DC family and their Foxhound make Austria home.
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Contest Comments » There are 10 comments

Claire McGill wrote 10 years ago:

Always honest and refreshing; loving your work, Victoria. Good luck!

Marcellina wrote 10 years ago:

I have been to Vienna a handful of times but know only a few of the things listed here. These are unique and interesting suggestions and I look forward to trying them on my next visit.

Laurie Johnson wrote 10 years ago:

Victoria-your blog is consistently informational, while filled with the beauty of your photos. An inspiration to this fellow expat and blogger. If you win the prize, I volunteer to be your wingman to destinations unusual (especially if there is food and shopping involved).

Melissa Modell wrote 10 years ago:

I have really enjoyed reading reading this blog. It is very informative and I have really enjoyed 'visiting' Vienna with Victoria. Her sense of humor is wonderful and entertaining!

Jack H wrote 10 years ago:

I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts every week as they are always interesting and insightful. I will most definitely be exploring 'the other side' of Vienna now, thanks to your suggestions. Good Luck!

Elaine K wrote 10 years ago:

Victoria's blog is filled with great information and wonderful pictures. I love her sense of humor, too! Good Luck :)

Robin H wrote 10 years ago:

Your blog paints the vistas of Austria with such vivid descriptions and captures the soul of Vienna in candid conversation.  Always a fan of your photos, your narrative makes those images three dimensional.  Keep on writing; your readers are waiting for the next adventure.

Anthony wrote 10 years ago:

I like her expat blog because it's not too personal, yet the reader still gets a taste of life in Austria.

Marie wrote 10 years ago:

Thanks to Victoria's blog, we get to see that there really is more to Vienna than schnitzel and Sacher Torte!

Anna G wrote 10 years ago:

I like that she writes about things that most people would probably not know about. It makes me think about Vienna in an entirely different way.

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